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There are, I think, three stages to immigration reform that needs to be achieved if we are to achieve the goal of fixing our immigration system.

First, we need to secure our borders, stopping those that are coming across, or at the least we must know what is coming across our border so we know how to deal with it.

The second stage is employer reform.

And the third is to decide what to do with the ones that are already here and then ensuring a proper immigration system for those who wish to enter this country legally.

It is usually the first and the last one that gets all the attention.  The second one gets little attention, I certainly feel, in the national debate.  It gets some play at the state level but at the end of the day this is a national issue.

The first, and correct, solution to the problem is to punish employer’s for taking on illegal workers if they are discovered working there.  This system seems to work and employer’s feel the pressure and act accordingly.

But I believe that some more pressure needs to be applied to this area in order to continue to make it more hazardous for Employer’s to hire illegal workers, and give them more incentive to hire American workers.

The answer is to eliminate the federal minimum wage, just remove it off the map, while at the same time reducing the State minimum wage where you can.

In the first place the federal government does not have any business deciding what private companies can pay individuals.  This is not in their powers and should not be in their power.

This has the benefit of lowering costs, of encouraging employer’s to take bigger risks on entry-level workers, and to encourage employer’s to hire American workers.

It will take away the primary incentives that employer’s have to take a risk on illegals, while punishing them if they do decide to go through it.  Most people in that situation would not take that risk and thus the demand for Migrant and Illegal Workers will go down.

This is not a perfect solution as many illegal immigrants can still under cut American workers.  But, if they need to work, Americans will take the jobs if they can get paid just as a temporary step.

But if you are to do comprehensive immigration reform then you need to take care of the first two steps, we must know who is coming across the border, we must prevent threats to this country coming across this border, and then we must discourage them from coming across the border and take away the reasons many of them do so.

Then and only then can we work on what to do with the ones here, and then make it so more immigrants can come to this country legally.



  1. Good blog to really get you thinking of this problem from all sides and angles. I agree with most of what you said, however, I’m not sure that removing the Federal minimum wage would really do anything and here are my thoughts why. First off, it’s not just the amount of wages the employer saves when they “hire” an illegal over an American worker, it is the cost of the benefits, and the potential cost of that employee becoming “vested” to possibly one day draw a retirement pension as well.

    When I worked at GE Capital our benefits were a major draw because they were good and added a nice package to becoming an employee. Thus our benefits were not cheap at all. This was a huge cost for the company and so what did they do?? They started “hiring” temporary employees. Ones that they could get quick and easily and not have to pay benefits or allow them to become “vested”. SO by using Temporary agencies the company stood to save alot of money…now and in the future.

    So now you probably have the temporary agencies hiring these illegals. And lets not completely put the blame on the companies as some of these people really know how to work the system as they have elaborate ways to produce fake documents of residency and identity so while it is ultimately on the employer…it takes a keen eye to catch these people when they are attempting to falsify their applications and such.

    So to make a long story short…in this scenario….the “employee” actually works for the Temporary agency not for the company where they do the actual labor. This muddies the water quite a bit unfortunately and makes it difficult for large companies to really know what is going on. And who their “employees” actually are. Do they want it that way? You bet. They can wash their hands of the mess and stay out of this sticky business.

    I’m sure that there are loads of temp agencies that hire illegals everyday and many on forged documents and maybe they look the other way because it is easier, yeah probably, but that is the real issue. So eliminating minimum wage may not really solve the problem entirely as I think cost is only half of the problem here.

    I think you need to have very stiff laws in place to not only punish employers for hiring illegals but maybe offer incentives to companies to report them when they find them.

    Plus their needs to be stiff laws at the immigration office level on dealing with the people who are committing these acts of forged identity.

    Finally, I think companies need some incentive and reward when they hire workers and offer them benefits in lieu of using temporary employees. I don’t know what that would mean…maybe an additional or significant tax break… IDK….but it just seems that sometimes incentives can go alot further than punishment.

    So yeah, it is complicated and it is a multi layered issue that will definitely take some time to solve.

    • Very interesting, and some good solutions, I am weary of tax breaks as you know ;). But it is some serious food for thought

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