Far too often, government has looked to excessively regulate immigration into this country.
However, to date there has been no true “conservative” immigration plan. The “Leave Us Alone” principle many conservatives adopt towards government, and its role in governing, seem to be forgotten when discussing “conservative” immigration policy. Conservatives argue it is not the role of government to be involved in “X”. Whether is be it the regulation of home-schooling, the right to bear arms, business interference, etc, the conservative mantra has tended to be that the government should simply leave people alone to live their lives.
However, this principle appears to apply only if those people who are facing potential regulation are not native born Anglos.
In an effort to keep this short, those who claim to be “conservative” are either for regulation and government intervention, or against it. If our leaders continue to claim they are “conservative” but argue for government intervention in the hiring of persons (legal or not), the permits for working, the classification of jobs, etc – then they are not conservative.
While the United States was founded and built by those not born on this soil, some in Congress continue to place excessive blockades on those seeking legal employment in America. At the same time, laws and restrictions are placed on businesses which force compliance with arbitrary caps and quotas just to hire willing and able workers.
Just as we have no “conservative” healthcare platform, we have no real “conservative” immigration platform, either.
Conservatives should stick to their basis of conservatism and develop a truly conservative platform, and quickly. The Left and Obama have successfully courted much of the Hispanic vote (many Hispanics are likely to align with the Republican Party until something happens to turn them away – i.e. Tancredo).
The “border security” plan supported by Senators such as John McCain are an issue of national security and should not be confused with, or discussed in the context of, the regulation of a migratory workforce.
The “E-Verify” plan, favored by those such as Sen. Jeff Sessions, which will place the burden on businesses and force all workers to be run through a computer system, has failed miserably in Arizona. This has even resulted in 2nd and 3rd generation Hispanics, born in the U.S., to be red-flagged by the system and prohibited to work in the state as a result. The system is not only flawed in its practical implementation – it is flawed in the fundamental justification that any conservative should endorse such blatant government interference in the employer/employee relationship by forcing compliance with E-Verify.
A conservative immigration platform should consist of the following principles:
Workers should have a right to pursue employment free of government restraints, without invasions of privacy or violation of their civil rights; and that employers have a right to pursue workers without government coercion or presumption of guilt.
In the United States, workers and employers should be free to establish mutually beneficial employment arrangements, i.e., the government should not interfere with employers’ hiring nor should it regulate workers’ employment decisions.
With regard to border security, it is a legitimate function and indeed a central role of the federal government to secure our national borders. However, that issue lies solely within the realm of national security and should not be established to hinder a migratory worker flow.
Businesses should not be required to enforce laws that are rightly the responsibility of the federal government. Employers are ill-equipped to do so and such requirements place an undue burden on a free economy. Businesses should also have a mechanism available to them to be secure from the threat of lawsuits on the one hand, and severe government sanctions on the other.
The American economy requires growth in our domestic workforce at levels that are beyond our current rate of natural population growth. The best way available today to meet the challenge of a workforce too small for our economic needs is to allow increased levels of legal immigration. Failure to do so leads to both illegal immigration and loss of effective control over U.S. borders. The organic level of workers needed for the U.S. labor force should be determined by free and unfettered labor markets.
The current workforce residing in the U.S. should be free to continue to work in the U.S. to the extent that the labor market demands their services. Any reform should provide a means for allowing illegally working residents to eventually enter the process to become documented immigrants.
Are these the perfect tenants of conservative immigration policy? No. But they are much more in tune with the actual principles of conservatism than our current policy.