The decision reached today on US immigration policy (as a compromise on Bush’s guest worker scheme) sounds… confusing. Not to mention expensive. Three categories of illegal immigrant, each slighly more illegal than the last…. What does it mean to be a little bit legal? Is that logically similar to being a little bit pregnant?
I tend to agree with Coyote in Arizona, who is tired of defending his borders:
To answer my premise that “immigration should be legal for everyone” with the statement that “it is illegal” certainly seems to miss the point (it kind of reminds me of the king of swamp castle giving instructions to his guards in Monty Python and the Holy Grail) The marginally more sophisticated statement that “it is illegal and making it legal would only reward lawbreakers” would seem to preclude any future relaxation of any government regulation.
A lot of attention is being paid to the question of whether or not allowing immigrants in the US to seek legal status after arriving illegally constitutes an amnesty program. Seems to me of little import what one calls it. Of far more concern to me is the fact that institutionalizing a drawn-out state of official limbo as an added feature of an already drawn-out immigration process is just a bureaucratic nightmare waiting to happen.
Shall we play “name that unintended consequence”? In this case, my guess is that, just like social welfare programs, this program could create a separate class of pre-citizens working into a de facto state of indentured servitude, having bartered rights for opportunity.
Any government that creates a legally sanctioned secondary class of citizen, even if that status is temporary, is headed for trouble. By definition, you cannot make a market of ‘inalienable’ rights. And a scheme that trades citizenship for labor is nothing but a fancy breed of feudalism.
The black market in labor, where individuals strike illegal deals over gardening, harvesting, sewing or childcare, may or may not be ethical, depending on your personal philosophy, but it is voluntary in a way that government-created and government-regulated secondary labor markets cannot be.