Sunday, October 02, 2011

Commentary: Illegal immigration in the real world

By Marcos Breton | The Sacramento Bee

I live in the real world.

In the real world, illegal immigration is a sideshow issue of provocative statements with little resemblance to the truth. It's political calculation minus moral imperative.

For example, during the recent Republican presidential debate, Michele Bachmann said she wanted to build a fence around Mexico.

As president, Mitt Romney says he will stop illegal immigration completely.

In the real world, Mexico is the United States' third most lucrative trading partner – just behind Canada and China. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly $261 billion has changed hands so far this calendar year between the United States and Mexico.

Why don't we lock down the border between the U.S. and Mexico? Count to 261 billion and the answer will become clear. It's also why going after employers – the people attracting and hiring undocumented workers – will always be a political crowd pleaser that breaks down when applied in the real world.

Recently, the House Judiciary Committee passed a bill requiring private businesses to use a federal program that checks the immigration status of all job applicants.

It's called E-Verify.

Guess who is against it? Groups within the tea party movement who don't think private businesses should have to enforce immigration laws. And some of California's biggest agricultural employers, who fear more government regulation will kill jobs.....................

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