Friday, June 23, 2006

Lehigh Snarks on Immigration

Boston Globe columnist Scot Lehigh treats the immigration issue with the seriousness it deserves in his column today. Here's a sample:

[P]erched as we are here on the Mexican border, the effects [of illegal immigration] are impossible to ignore.


After years as an overcrowded boomtown, the Boston area is finally seeing a salubrious outflow of people. Since there's little more beneficial to regional economic health than reinforcing a national impression that we're becoming one of those historical ghost towns so popular with the tour buses, the governor could do even more to scare people off.

Here's one idea: He could take a remote harbor island and set up a detention center for the illegal immigrants he's apprehended. We could call it . . . Mittmo.
Lehigh goes on to defend (humble Elias would be flabbergasted) Attorney General Tom Reilly for pointing out that immigration is really an issue for the federal government by talking to other state Attorneys General who concur.

If you want to stop illegal immigration you only need to do two things. First, fine the companies that employ them more than they save by hiring them under the table. That will stop, or at least slow down the demand for their labor. Second, make it easier for people to come to the US legally. If it's really just the illegal part of illegal immigration that we're worried about, then we should have no problem increasing the number of legal immigrants. Guess what? Neither of those solutions are tools available to a state -- they're both controlled by the Federal Government, at least if you believe the Attorneys General quoted by Lehigh. Until the Feds act, most of the debate here in Massachusetts is just xenophobic demagoguery.