Out of the 11-12 million undocumented immigrants in the US, about 8 million of them work. The overwhelming majority of those who cross the border illegally are not here fleeing violence and oppression, or to plant anchor welfare babies and rape our women, but to do shitty jobs and make money. More to the point, they’re here because a whole lot of people are willing to employ them.
I could be wrong (and it’s one of the reasons I’m starting this discussion), but I don’t feel like I read much about employers of undocumented immigrants getting in trouble. And it seems like it couldn’t possibly be that hard to find them if we really wanted to.
So it seems to me that we’re aiming the zero tolerance policy at the wrong people, and we could slow illegal border crossings to a trickle in six months if we really wanted to. Just allow a 60-day grace period and then declare that anyone caught employing someone in the country illegally pays hefty fines AND does federal time. Pay an undocumented worker to mow your grass or watch your kids? Three months and $10K. Restaurant employs undocumented dishwashers? Owner does a year and pays $100K. Giant grove full of undocumented workers picking avocados? Owner does five years and pays millions. Ignorance is no excuse. Being fooled by good forgeries is no excuse. Zero tolerance means zero tolerance. Crack down early and make some examples all along the spectrum.
OK, so I know why we don’t do this. Whole sectors of our economy would probably collapse. The Republican leaders who want us to believe that illegal Latinx immigration is a serious and imminent threat to our nation are full of shit–they just want to create an “other” that they can promise to protect us from, and they SURE as hell don’t want to put a bunch of white tobacco farm owners and contractors in prison.
Could Democrats make an issue of the fact that Republicans won’t pursue this fairly obvious solution to their problem? Or would the Republicans call their bluff?