Friday, June 14, 2013
The Nightmare built into Immigration Reform
Any proposal to reform immigration must begin with real border security, mandatory employment verification and banning of public benefits to those illegally in our country.
My response to Grassfire:
In short, illegal immigration is a complex set of problems. I don't have any particular insights into how to fix this mess, but cracking down on employment has nothing to do with fixing any of these. Instead, it creates a far more dangerous threat.
If "mandatory employment verification" (MEV) such as E-verify becomes the law, two things will happen:
One, the system will trap many American citizens into a "no-work" status. Supposedly E-verify currently has an official error rate of only 500 in 100,000 when dealing with American citizens. I'm skeptical that it's nearly this good, but if it is that would make one's chances of being put on a "no-work" list one and one half times greater than being the victim of any violent crime (368 in 100,000). Sure, you can appeal, it's easy and fun! OK, it's not easy and fun, it's a hellish bureaucratic nightmare as you are threatened with losing not only your current job but all future employment through no fault of your own. While you are fighting for your very survival (how long can you go without a paycheck again?), for the bureaucrats you're dealing with you're just another case, all in a days work for them, and how it comes out is of no particular concern. Hopefully they'll do a better job than is done with the no-flight lists. Since you're an American citizen, it's not as though you can just leave for employment elsewhere.
But even worse...
Two, once we give government officials a tool or a power, they will exploit it to the maximum and use it in ways never intended (or at least never admitted). MEV will be exploited for political purposes. Targeting political opponents with false "nonconfirmations" would have chilling effect far greater than any of the IRS abuses we've seen. The power of the taxman is fearsome, but it's nothing compared to the power of someone who can prevent you from earning a living in the first place. "Oh, that could never happen in the U.S., where's your *credible* evidence?" Anyone asking this is in denial. It's a law of political economy that government officials will exploit any tool or a power given them to the maximum and use it in ways never intended.
Of course, if you really want to do MEV right, you need truly tamper proof biometric ID. And what better way to do this than with a mandatory implantable chip? The technology was approved by the FDA in 2004, I blogged about it in 2006, and since then has been removed from the market. If MEV is part of a reasonable solution to illegal immigration, is there one good reason why we shouldn't use Verichip?
No one has proposed chipping (that I know of) but why even mess around with national ID's? In fact, E-verify and MEV in general are tyrannical ideas; chipping everyone isn't necessary for this to be a nightmare. Our immigration status quo is far superior to any solution currently proposed by left or right.
Note: the planned mandatory Animal ID program mentioned in my 2006 post was cancelled, and Real ID essentially put on hold, both due to popular opposition. These hardly made the MSM, but were important defeats for the political class. It didn't take that many people to do this, just resolute and vocal ones. Let this be a lesson to us.