It's Thursday, and that means that Mark Steyn is on Hugh Hewitt again.
Steyn crosses the Canadian border on a regular basis, and thus makes a point that you'd think would be obvious:
"...as someone who crosses the U.S. land border, I would guess, more frequently than 90% of Americans do, what I don't understand is how they will be able to distinguish these categories. By their definition, illegal immigrants are not people who are in the computer records. So who's to say whether somebody's been here five years, or two to five years. Essentially, an illegal immigrant can give his own date for that. And what means do they have of sifting through the evidence? I would say that essentially, these people will be able to declare what it is they wish to declare, and an already overloaded immigration bureaucracy will effectively just take them at their word. [transcript; MP3]
The official description of illegal border crossers is "entered without inspection" (EWI), and that means that unlike visa overstayers, there's no way of knowing when they entered. And there's and obvious incentive to fraud, which of course is what happened during the 1986 amnesty. Here are three articles by Juan Mann describing the extent of the fraud: