3/01/2008

Immigration and Project 28

Much debate has surfaced on the topic of immigration. This article is about the "virtual fence" (radar, infrared cameras, and sensors) that has been proposed to stretch across the U.S.-Mexico border. Project 28, as it has come to be called, will amount to $20 million for completion. According to the article, there are currently 14,900 border patrol agents at work, with 3,000 National Guard members helping.

It seems like all we are doing is putting a band-aid on the problem. If we were to stop focusing on keeping illegals out, and focused on refusing to give illegals (though legal immigrants are fine) a reason to come, maybe things would be better.

Currently, the Bush Administration is starting to enforce “E-Verify,” a system that requires employees to confirm employee work status. Federal fines up to $10,000 will be enforced for employers not willing to comply.

Of course there will be ways around this system as well. However, I feel that if we focused on employers and enforced the “E-Verify” program, illegals would have fewer reasons to come to the U.S. because they wouldn't be able to make money. Of course this would only be one element and one minor aid to a bigger problem, but who knows?

2 comments:

Trinity said...

It seems hard for people to remember the negative effects of government regulation. The $20 million required to finish Project 28 might be a steal compared to the millions required to create a governmental agency to enforce compliance and the millions companies must spend to comply.

Dr. Tufte said...

I'm not sure the economics of the immigration problem are important until we figure out exactly what we want.

If we want a closed border, a secure fence isn't that expensive: about $20B out of our $3,000B annual budget.

If we want to keep illegals from getting jobs, then again, enforcement on the demand side is the way to go (just like drugs). But, we don't seem to have the heart for that either.

Lastly, immigration is a symptom of good things not bad. If the U.S. wasn't doing so well, there would be no problem.