The Easy Way To Stop Illegal Immigration

Stopping most illegal immigration is easy.

You don’t need border fences.

You don’t need laws with questionable Constitutionality.

You don’t even need to round anyone up.

The simple answer: Penalize businesses that hire undocumented workers.

In attempting to find a solution to illegal immigration, it’s worth studying the root cause of the great majority of illegal entry into the United States. Individuals from poorer countries, mainly Mexico, want to work in the United States. Per-capita GDP in the US is roughly four times that in Mexico, so it’s easy to see why labor is trying to flow towards employment.

If illegal immigrants come to the US to find work, then the easiest way to stop illegal immigration is to remove that incentive. Federal and state governments can easily step up enforcement against businesses which hire undocumented workers, and can increase the fines to the point that it is uneconomical to hire illegal workers. Once the cost of hiring an undocumented worker exceeds that of hiring a documented worker, businesses will naturally follow the profit motive.

The Obama administration has accelerated business audits, quadrupling the previous administration’s efforts in that area. If employer audits were expanded and targeted at those sectors known to use illegal labor most heavily, demand for illegal labor would drop immediately. That in turn would decrease the number of would-be employees crossing into the US, as job opportunities thin out.

Effective enforcement of employment law, even against small businesses, would significantly reduce new illegal immigration. Once the flow of illegal immigrants is slowed from the current 500,000 per year to a trickle, an answer for how to deal with the 12 million among us today can be sought. But until businesses find that hiring illegal workers is unprofitable, the immutable laws of capitalism will cause laborers to find their way to the jobs.

10 thoughts on “The Easy Way To Stop Illegal Immigration

  1. Meanwhile, the incomes of the wealthy have increased by something like 500 times, while middle-class income has stagnated. This has an odor to it, like a plot designed to return us to the days of the robber barons vs. the serfs.

  2. Hogwash! As I understand it the U.S. destroyed corn farming in Mexico, Haiti and who knows where else with our cheap because-it’s-taxpayer-subsidized corn. So then what do those displaced Mexican farm workers do? They learn there’s jobs to be had with big money growers, meat packing houses, and other users of unskilled labor in the U.S., if they can just get themselves into the country.
    Of course, these businesses claim they can’t compete unless they use illegals. The question is: Compete with whom, others users of illegals?
    As for Washington not moving on the immigration issue, that just tells me pockets are getting lined by their owners sitting on their hands.

    1. Hartley, US farm subsidies definitely had a negative impact on Mexican and Central American farmers, many of whom abandoned their farms to head north. But having said that, the easy availability of jobs here (since the US doesn’t enforce labor laws) provided the demand needed.

      From the perspective of many likely voters (who tend to be wealthier on average than non-voters), illegal immigration has long provided a net benefit. It lowers the cost of labor in the US, which means cheaper yard service, cheaper restaurant meals, cheaper houses, and much more. So yes, much of Washington has been loathe to tamper with that.

  3. I disagree with Steven. I live in Wisconsin and we have illegals here that are framing houses, doing roofing jobs and pouring cement. These are jobs that I will be more than willing to do if the contractors are willing to pay a livable wage. The problem isn’t that there aren’t enough workers, the problem is that business’ wont pay a reasonable wage if they can hire an illegal.

    Think of it this way, If I have a business on one side of town and I hire illegals and pay them $7. cash an hour. How is the business across town that wants to do the right thing (by hiring an American tax paying citizen) for a reasonable wage going to compete?

    I am all for competition in the labor market, just keep it on a level playing field.

  4. Your solution does not come close to solving the problem. Ask yourself this why do employers continually hire illegals. Its not that these employers are criminals, its that their just isnt enough workers in this country to fill that low end job need. Our country is shrinking in population, we are getting older, the younger folks dont want these jobs. Here is the truth nobody wants to here, we need imigrant workers in the United States. They fill that void at the low end of the work force ladder that we have difficulty filling. Comprehensive Immigration reform is the only answer. Give these workers a legal path to come across, with Temp work Visa, fine the workers here now the equivalent to the Temp. work Visa. This would aid to the economy and allow these businesses to find the workers they need.

    1. Steven, I agree with you on part of what you’re saying here. I think cross-border immigration should be easier as well, not more difficult. I also have sympathy with workers from Mexico and points farther south who are just coming to get some of their economy back. However, I think the thrust here is about the companies that break the law. It’s sort of like trying to tackle prostititution by aiming at the johns and the pimps instead of the women, who are by in large already suffering exploitation. It won’t completely eradicate the problem but is arguably a more just response.

      To remove the incentive, you have to average the economic gain of hiring illegal employees and create fine that erases that incentive and on top of it has a financial pentalty. You then have to scale that fine based on the prediction that business will likely respond by trying to pay illegal workers less. They will only be able to go so low before they stop being able to attract illegal workers to exploit.

      This is just because businesses capitalize off the existing unequal power over these individuals, and in many cases support laws for maintaining the current US immigration policy because they can profit off of it.

    2. young people can and will work these low paying jobs….. these mexicans are taking American jobs which is fucked up. the businesses need to be fined, and if this continues they deserve to be shut down!! illegals need to be punished. its not right, we dont illegally go into their country and take their jobs without paying taxes. they dont contribute to this economy. they dont deserve to be here!!!!!!!!!

  5. We have all the solutions to solving this problem yet nothing gets done. Politicians are talking about securing the border. That would be impossible and it’s not necessary. We need to make the use of e-verify mandatory and we need to invest into bringing this system up-to-date. Then, as you already suggested in your post, let the employer pay for the deportation. And not just for the undocumented worker but of his entire family as well.

    1. my husband is illegal, and I was born in southern california (no he’s not eligible for even a green card even). he works to support us, his 2 brothers, and his parents. (60+ hour work weeks arn’t unusual, and he makes more money an hour than most people I know)

      so are you saying that our 3 (american) kids and I should be deported also?

      The major problem barring illegal ppl from coming here legally, is simply that the option is not available. (have you looked at the legal requirements ever?) plus most Americans can’t even pass the citizenship test.

      most business are also unaware of their illigal status (unless they do pay people in cash). we even got over 10k back in the last 3 years from federal and state income taxes.

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