Enforcement and Reverse Migration
August 11, 2007, 07:40 PM
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Pablo Bachelet and Casey Woods write:

Just under half of this ''new states'' group say they will leave the United States in five years, compared with two-thirds of those in the traditional states. Bendixen said previous polls showed only about 15 percent of Latinos planned to return to their home countries.

Both Gonz??lez and Raimundo said they are sick of the constant fear and the crushing days of waiting for work and are among those who are considering heading home.

''If the situation stays this way, not just me but maybe everyone will be leaving,'' Raimundo said.

Gonz??lez is already planning his departure.

''The only thing I'm waiting for is to make some money, because I don't want to go home empty-handed,'' he said. ''With all that's happening, I don't want to be here anymore.''[Migrants agree: It's harder to get jobs, Miami Herald, August 9, 2007]

Now, I have real doubts about the sincerity of the Bush administration's willingness to try to make its new enforcement policy really work well—or to really follow through on this policy.

I'm also very sympathetic to the situation of poor people that have invested what are for them, considerable resources to get to the US and now feel that the rules have been changed on them.

Some ways the situation might be improved:

  • Offer free transportation to any illegal immigrant that wants to return home.
  • Offer a share of fines collected to illegal immigrants willing to testify against their former employers
  • Offer free legal assistance to illegal immigrants that wish to sue their former employers—with the understanding any awards will be contingent upon demonstration of repatriation.

The practice of illegal immigration has brought out some of the worst in too many Americans. Earlier in the article, one of the illegal immigrants complained:

''Some of the bosses yell and say they are going to call the police on us if we don't do what they say or if we ask to be paid,''

This is the type of thing that can and should be dealt with as part of the process of really addressing immigration issues. Just sending some poor people home only deals with part of the issue. We also need to deal justly with the wealthy criminal interests that have made money off this entire process.