CGD in the News

How to Be a Patriot: Hire an Illegal Immigrant (Bloomberg Businessweek)

July 08, 2011

Senior fellow Charles Kenny's piece on immigration was featured in Bloomberg Businessweek.

From the Article

For a country of immigrants, the U.S. remains vexed about how to deal with the fact that people from elsewhere still want to come here. Two successive Presidents have now been stymied in their attempts to pass comprehensive immigration reform. The latest foray is the DREAM Act, a narrow but important piece of the immigration reform puzzle that would, at a minimum, give the children of undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship. The bill failed in the Senate last December, despite the Obama Administration’s support. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reintroduced the act in May, but the prospects for passing any meaningful legislation before the 2012 election are slim.

In the meantime, the millions of illegal immigrants already here must continue to live and work in the shadows, one false move away from arrest and deportation. Indeed, legislation in states such as Alabama and Georgia is moving toward treating not just illegal immigrants, but also those who employ them, as criminals. And yet if forced to do without illegal labor, vast sectors of the U.S. economy, from agriculture to construction, would founder—not to mention the putting greens infested by crab grass and the children who would run riot without care. Even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports legalizing undocumented workers who are “already contributing to our economy,” provided they don’t otherwise run afoul of the law.

What makes the political impasse over immigration particularly frustrating is that hiring an illegal alien is good for the illegal alien, good for the U.S. economy, and good for the country he or she comes from. So what’s not to like? In cases like this, there is only one moral course available for true patriots: Go find an illegal to hire. Huge numbers of people in border states are doing precisely that.

Read it here.