Arizona businesses rallied behind a bill to create what would have been the first state guest worker program in the country. Their advertising campaign used the slogan "What part of legal don't you understand?"—a tweak of the battle cry of their opponents, who use the same phrase with the word "illegal." ...[snip]
Although the bill never came to a vote, employers said the debate helped make their views known in Washington.
"It's a message to the federal government," said Joe Sigg, director of government relations for the Arizona Farm Bureau ... [E.A.]
Then, a cautionary note:
Employers' groups have not succeeded everywhere.
They can't all be as successful as in Arizona, where their bill never came to a vote. ...
2) Does the employer resistance help or hurt the cause of "comprehensive immigration reform"? The "comprehensive" deal, after all, is supposed to be a) a guest worker program and b) semi-amnesty for existing illegals coupled with c) tough enforcement measures to make future amnesties unnecessary. That's why it's "comprehensive." To the extent powerful employers are fighting those enforcement measures--like "the federal system to check the working papers of new hires"--that would seem to undermine the "comprehensive" rationale and support the anti-comprehensivist claim that we'll end up with the amnesty but not the enforcement (as happened with the 1986 immigration reform).
And how is President John McCain going to plausibly claim he's "secured the borders first" if the chamber of commerce is suing in federal court to poke holes in that security? ...
P.S.: Preston's article seems to be part of a "series" titled "Getting Tough" and introduced by the NYT as follows:
This is the second article in a series that explores efforts by the government and others to compel illegal immigrants to leave the United States.
Isn't that description more than a bit tendentious? You can support enforcement efforts for lots of reasons other than a desire to have "illegal immigrants leave the United States." You might want to discourage further illegal immgration by those not yet in the U.S. for example, but not be especially bothered if current illegals continue to live "in the shadows" for many more years. That's basically my position. ... It's true that Mark Krikorian and others explicitly advocate a strategy of "attrition." Yet it's tendentious to describe even their position as being an effort to "compel" illegals to leave. If the government changes the desirability of staying in the U.S.--by requiring employers to check Social Security numbers or by simply failing to pass McCain's reform bill, thereby increasing "uncertainty about obtaining legal resident status any time soon"-- many illegals will decide to leave. Many won't. That doesn't seem like compulsion. ... 1:22 A.M. link
Sunday, July 6, 2008