Illegal Immigration: Think Locally

( – promoted by Rob “EaBo Clipper” Eno)

The fate of the E-Verify provision in the casino bill speaks volumes about what it will take to make progress on the immigration issue here in Massachusetts.  The Senate version of the bill included a stipulation that the casinos and their contractors would have to use the federal E-Verify system to ensure that the thousands of jobs supposedly created by the casinos would go only to legal workers – a great idea, and a small silver lining for what is being sold (oversold IMHO) as a jobs bill.  E-Verify {E-Verify… is a free and simple system that enables employers to verify that people they hire are not illegal aliens, and is obligatory in more than a dozen states and for federal employers.  The conference committee killed it.  

The fact that the legislative leadership could not bring itself to accept even this most basic form of immigration law compliance and consideration for the interests of U.S. citizens and legal immigrants speaks volumes for the fate of every other state-level proposal that aims to deter illegal immigration.  They don’t stand a chance.  

While such proposals might be useful to expose problems and to highlight where lawmakers stand on the issue, the only way to make real progress in this state in addressing the problems and costs created by illegal immigration is to act locally.  That means passing local ordinances to mandate use of E-Verify by town agencies and contractors, enforcing zoning laws to crack down on illegal rooming houses, requiring police to check the immigration status of arrestees, and requiring town officials to accept only credible forms of identification for licensing and services.   These measures really work, primarily by establishing a rule of law environment that is unattractive to illegal immigrants, who will choose to settle in sanctuary towns instead, or return home.  In the short run, they help reverse the fiscal burden and public safety problems associated with illegal immigration.  In the long run, they will help create the conditions for better state-wide policies.  

About Jessica Vaughan