By Nick Gillespie
Writing in the Detroit News, the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Alex Nowratesh lays out the case that Barack Obama is pretty consistenly anti-immigration, whether legal, illegal, or barely legal. The Obama administration, for instance, has set deportation records of illegals (almost 300,000 in 2009, a 5 percent bump from the previous year), his Labor Department is making it tougher for farmers to (legally) hire temporary workers, and he's pushing to hike fees on virtually every aspect of the processing of visas, forms, you name it.
The Obama administration is also expanding workplace immigration raids. There are more than 25,000 random workplace H1-B visa inspections scheduled next year -- a fivefold increase over last year! The H1-B is a company-sponsored temporary work visa for highly skilled and educated foreigners. Limited to 85,000 for private corporations (there is no quota for nonprofit research institutions), 25,000 inspections could well cover the majority of firms employing H-1Bs.Workplace inspections are very destructive interventions. When government agents inspect businesses, work can grind to a halt for days on end as they take their time checking paperwork, interviewing people, and comparing the acquired information with their files.
President Obama ordered 1,200 National Guard troops to Arizona recently and is seeking an additional $500 million for border security. Add that to more than 90,000 employees in the federal immigration services and more than $20 billion devoted to enforcing immigration laws, and it's clear that Obama is doing more to combat illegal immigration than any president in living history.
Nowratesh calls Obama "the most anti-immigrant president since Eisenhower," a feller who
Besides token support for Comprehensive Immigration Reform and tepid criticism of SB 1070, Obama has not acted like an immigration-friendly president. It's time he changed course.
Expanding legal immigration and streamlining our creaky immigration system are the only real reforms that will do away with the black market in labor and help the American economy start creating jobs again.
Read Reason's voluminous coverage of immigration, which stresses the arbitrariness and destructiveness of longstanding laws, customs, and procedures.