Friday, August 04, 2006

Deportation not so hard after all

One of most persistent arguments of the foes of immigration enforcement is "You can't deport 10 million immigrants." And if you can't deport them, well, then you have to do something with them; so you need some sort of amnesty program.

But this is a myth.

Consider this story out of Middletown, Ohio. It begins with this weepy headline:

Talk worries Hispanic immigrants
A community in Ohio becomes less friendly to undocumented workers, so many are moving on.
It continues:

[Bravo] said he has sold at least 10 tickets in recent weeks to people who are moving to Michigan or other parts of Ohio, or who have decided to go back to Mexico.

Tough talk on immigration over the past year in Butler County has alarmed some of the area's immigrants, many of whom work in construction in this booming area midway between Cincinnati and Dayton.

The community has been roiled by debate over the county's resolve to crack down on employers of illegal immigrants, calls for a new law allowing local authorities to expel illegal immigrants, a state legislator's bill to make English Ohio's official language, and protests from civil rights activists after county authorities detained 18 undocumented immigrants.

Around the county, billboards show Sheriff Richard Jones -- arms folded across his burly chest, a revolver at his side -- warning, "Hire an Illegal-Break the Law," with "Illegal Aliens Here" in a circle with a slash through it.

"The public is so frustrated with illegal immigration," said Jones, who contends the hiring of illegal immigrants violates Ohio tax law. He has yet to arrest any employers. But county officials have talked about denying building permits to contractors who hire illegal immigrants.
So merely threatening to enforce the law led illegals to pack up and leave.

The open borders crowd implies that the only way to remove illegal immigrants from America is to drag them kicking and screaming back across the border. But this ignores the incentives that government policies create. Just as a guest-worker/amnesty program would only encourage more illegal immigration, enforcing the law would reduce it and cause many illegals to leave on their own. This is because enforcing the law will increase the risk of being penalized, which will increase the cost of being here. For many illegals, it just won't be worth it, so they will leave.

This is known as the attrition strategy.

Removing illegal aliens from this country is not impossible. It would require enforcing our immigration laws consistently over a period of time. What is lacking in Washington is the will to do so.

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