This is a step in the right direction. It means some elements of the mainstream press are getting much more realistic about immigration. However there is a problem:
As I wrote last year, even a $40,000 per violation fine as proposed in the house legislation isn't enough to make illegal immigration truly unprofitable.
The closest thing we have to a market in immigration rights is the dowry market for Indian Engineers. An Indian engineer in India whose family participates in the dowry system can expect about $50K at marriage. That same engineer with an H-1b visa can expect $100K or more. An H-1b visa typically confers a 50% chance at a green card. Thus, we can infer that the market value of a green card is at least $100,000.
What that means is that employers able to help facilitate a green card for an illegal alien can expect about $100,000 in unpaid labor from that illegal alien. If the fines are $40,000/violation facilitation of illegal immigration still pays well-especially when you consider the chance of getting caught is low.
I think we need to look at violations for repeat offenders more at the level of $500,000—gradually ramped up over time so folks have a chance to adapt.
We also need to get serious about enforcement-which could mean funding local police to arrest illegal aliens the same way they currently can currently arrest military deserters.
In my personal opinion, it might be acceptable to couple these policies with a guest worker program if there were a net outflow of illegal immigrants and guest workers from day one-and a reduction of legal immigration (particularly work related visas in areas of declining wages) and we could eliminate the "anchor baby" laws and chain migration.
We also need to think seriously how to make sure that the workers that leave the US have jobs back home. A jobs program for Mexico and some serious support for political leaders in Mexico willing to help create jobs there could help with the transition.