Each month, there are around 4 million entries into the United States by citizens of other countries with legal visas.
The only thing that keeps the U.S. labor market from collapsing down to Third World-level wages is that there also are around 4 million exits each month by foreign citizens who do not decide to remain illegally in the United States and to compete with Americans for jobs.
But how many of those millions of visitors would decide to stay if they knew that the official policy of our federal government is that they could violate their visas and remain in the United States the rest of their lives without consequence?
On the path that Pekoske started us down yesterday, anybody in the world can take a trip to Disney World and then start moving into the U.S. jobs market and never have to leave.
The United States would immediately become the Magic Kingdom where the fantasies of the rest of the world could be pursued.
And that is where yesterday's announcement from the new Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary David Pekoske is taking us. He ordered a 100-day halt in deportations of illegal aliens. The purpose is to decide which illegal aliens to bother with deportation in the future. Based on Pres. Biden's campaign promises, as well as the direction of the Obama-Biden Administration before 2017, it is doubtful that anybody will be deported unless they have been convicted of a violent crime.
I like to first judge our immigration system on how we treat all those foreign visitors to Disney World. On the path that Pekoske started us down yesterday, anybody in the world can take a trip to Disney World and then start moving into the U.S. jobs market and never have to leave. Any visa for work, study, or pleasure would be a "Magic Kingdom Pass."
As the late civil rights icon Barbara Jordan said, a nation without an active deportation system is a nation without an immigration system. And without a system to control immigration, you really don't have a national community, at least not one that looks out for its own members. What you have in a Magic Kingdom Pass country is a globalized open labor system in which the most vulnerable members of your community are tossed into the labor supply lion's pit where they must daily struggle in an economic survival battle in a glutted labor market.
With mandatory E-Verify, the no-deportation system would be like getting a Magic Kingdom Pass that allows you to walk freely around the park as long as you like but doesn't allow you to ever get on any of the rides.
However, there is one way that a Biden dream of an end to deportations of non-violent illegal aliens would not be devastating to millions of American workers: a full-scale, no-match-letter, E-Verify mandate for every employer, with vigorous penalties for violators.
With mandatory E-Verify, the no-deportation system would be like getting a Magic Kingdom Pass that allows you to walk freely around the park as long as you want but doesn't allow you to ever get on any of the rides. The country might fill up with a lot of illegally-present backpackers, road-trippers, and street sleepers, but few of them would be taking jobs away from Americans or driving down their wages.
I have long said that the mark of a good immigration system is one that deports as few people as possible because it includes the disincentives for living here illegally that cause nearly all visitors to go back home. Taking away the method of making a living will do most of that job. Pres. Trump was a colossal failure in his leadership in this area. I believe that by encouraging Congress to pass a mandatory E-Verify bill, Pres. Biden could do more to discourage illegal immigration than all the efforts Pres. Trump undertook combined.
By finally taking away the jobs magnet (something promised in the 1986 amnesty law), Pres. Biden and the country's workers could get by with a deportation policy that moves toward -- but not all the way to -- the minimalist version he appears to seek.
Unfortunately, the immigration legislation the new President is sending over to Congress not only would add millions more foreign workers to legally compete with American workers. The announcement of it sounds like it also would close down the E-Verify system to make sure future Disney World visitors and other vacationers can decide to stay and illegally take U.S. jobs the rest of their lives.
ROY BECK is Founder & CEO of NumbersUSA
Updated: Thu, Feb 4th 2021 @ 11:30am EST