Saturday, June 04, 2005

Back to Reality

Barry Goldwater was a man who believed in the ameliorating power of free enterprise. So it is all the more disheartening when a swath of desert named in his honor becomes the final resting place for those seeking that ideal.
Two women were found dead on the Barry Goldwater Range last weekend, apparently felled by heat exposure as they illegally crossed the border looking for work.
What makes the deaths of illegal immigrants like these so tragic is the lack of realistic federal action on a problem that long ago became a crisis.
While the bi-partisan legislation being drafted in congress, in part by Senators John McCain and Edward Kennedy, looks promising – it grants legal status based on employment and does not give preferential treatment to illegals already working here – the heart of the problem goes unaddressed: it will still be easier to sneak across the border than to try to follow legal pathways.
Take the provision for matching foreign workers with American firms. Employers will have to list jobs in an electronic database and foreign workers could not apply until the job has been offered exclusively to American workers for two weeks. This scheme assumes that American firms can wait more than two weeks to fill essential positions and that starving foreign workers can somehow access this database. Dumb and dumber.
Simpler solutions that focus on documenting migrant workers and allowing American firms more latitude in hiring who they want, when they want would lead the way to a safer border – for Americans and foreign nationals alike.

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