At Outside the Beltway James Joyner remarks on the incoming Biden Administration’s plan to extend a path to citizenship for every immigrant, whether legal or not:
The plan would effectively amount to amnesty for everyone who broke our immigration laws to get here, unless they can be proven to have broken other laws (in which case one presumes they would just remain in the shadows rather than apply for legal status). That would, yet again, be a slap in the face to those who waited years to get here legally but may beat the alternatives, given the logistics of rounding up and deporting tens of millions of illegal immigrants.
That is an example of the tertium non datur fallacy. There are other possibilities than legalizing everyone and instant enforcement.
IMO what we really need are immigration laws that resemble those of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand—countries that we resemble in a variety of ways. They are neither authoritarian or socialist hellholes but they restrict immigration strictly at least in part by making it difficult for those in their countries illegally to find work. Workplace enforcement is the key to controlling immigration and the Trump Administration’s reluctance to implement it called its sincerity about controlling immigration into question.
Wage growth among non-skilled or low-skilled workers has been slow to non-existent for decades. The main effect of increasing the immigration of non-skilled or low-skilled workers is to apply wage pressure to previous immigrants and to blacks. I believe that is a perverse objective.
Supporters of immigration amnesty programs should recall that after the last such program during the Reagan Administration only a minority of illegal immigrants in the country sought citizenship and a substantial increase in the number of illegal immigrants soon followed. Whether that was intentional or unforeseen we should be aware of the perverse consequences.