How to Fix Immigration’s Black Market

Alex Nowrasteh and I have a piece in today’s Detroit News arguing that liberalization, not regulation, is the way to shrink immigration’s massive black market. Our main points:

-New rules that came into effect this month, such as raising the minimum wage for H-2A visa holders (that’s the visa for low-skilled agricultural workers) makes cheaper undocumented workers look more attractive for employers. They actually harm legal workers.

-Other new regulations, including background checks, workplace inspections, and mountains of paperwork, cost thousands of dollars per employee. These regulations also make black market workers look more attractive.

-The way to reduce illegal immigration is liberalization. For agricultural workers, that means making their H-2A visas inexpensive, easy to obtain, and keeping the bureaucracy to a minimum.

-When legal channels cost too much in time and money, people will turn to illegal channels every time. That’s how the world works. Getting rid of immigration’s black market begins with admitting that fact.


One response to “How to Fix Immigration’s Black Market

  1. First off, I’d like to state that I typically find liberal or progressive agendas shortsighted and often damaging to the long-term fabric of our country/society.

    That being said, I can’t agree with you more here. Our country has become the most powerful in the world due in large part to the immigrants that have consistently flowed in. The LEGAL immigrants. I am all for deportation of illegals, but that doesn’t stop the root cause. Yes, we can fortify the borders, and should. But your approach helps take away the appeal of coming to the US illegally, and I like it. I’ve long been for a simpler and more cost-effective way to get immigrants here legally. This is a great example of a solid approach that will help stem the tide of illegals, and allow the US to focus on its own internal critical issues.