In the debate on illegal immigration, I’m finding that people often get caught up in the kinds of sticks to use, and who to use them on. But so far, nobody’s mentioned any carrot. So I have an idea.
My basic premises are: 1) Every business likes free advertising, 2) Every person likes free money, and 3) Nearly every American on both sides of the aisle desperately wants to put the brakes on illegal immigration. So, building on those motivations, why couldn’t we establish a federally-funded and state-managed “Patriot Employer” registry, searchable by zip code and type of business, of employers who agree to regular audits/inspections to verify that they’re adhering to proper hiring practices? Local chambers of commerce could feature a different “Patriot Employer of the Month,” maybe dedicating a prominent billboard to the program. The first three or five people knowing of an employer on the list that doesn’t belong there could receive a small reward for reporting them, once the report is verified. A false report could result in not being allowed to report for a specified period of time. Enforcement efforts could initially target employers receiving the most reports. Any business discovered to be hiring illegals could, among other penalties, be banned from the list for a certain period.
There is enough anti-illegal/pro-American jobs sentiment in this country right now that I believe many, if not most, consumers would gladly choose to patronize only certified Patriot Employers, placing additional pressure on businesses to toe the line. The reporting option would help even out the competition for businesses that might otherwise find themselves at a disadvantage for hiring only legal residents.
I think this would be an excellent pilot program, and would significantly reduce the supply of jobs for illegals, and thus the motivation for them to come over. It could be run relatively cheaply and require few additional resources than what we’re already expending on the problem. It wouldn’t destroy ecosystems, commerce, family structure or communities, and wouldn’t place undue burdens on law enforcement. There would be strong peer pressure among various groups not to patronize unlisted businesses, which would automatically incentivize them to get and stay on the list.
What are your thoughts, Mooses?
P.S. I apologize if anyone’s offended by the term “illegal,” but I originally wrote this as part of a debate on a largely rabid right-wing forum where people strongly object to any other term, and I don’t have time to edit any further. Feel free to substitute “undocumented worker” if that suits you better. 🙂