Employers have an incentive to hire illegals; they work for minimal wages. That incentive would change if the price of hiring illegals increased. This could be done by raising the cost of hiring illegals through the tax system or the legal system. Suppose the penalty for hiring an illegal was $10,000 per offense and it was enforced. Pretty soon the jobs for illegals would dry up.

The employers would then have a number of options.

1. They could try to attract legal residents and US citizens to perform the work. In some cases, such as in urban service industries, this might be a viable option. Without competition from illegals, poor urban folk living on welfare would have more chance of finding employment.

2. They could look for ways to mechanize the manual labor formerly performed by cheap illegal labor. In agricultural industries this may be viable. Nobody harvests grain with sickle and scythe anymore. Why should workers pick fruit and vegetables by hand? With genetic engineering and carefully controlled growing envionments, it should be possible to ensure that fruit and vegetables can be harvested mechanically.

3. They could move their operations to where the cheap labor lives. With NAFTA, this has proven a viable option for the auto industry, amongst others.

Investing in capital makes America richer. Importing poor Mexicans to do low-paid labor makes America poorer. Bush is wrong to talk about jobs that Americans won’t do. If Americans won’t do such jobs, the jobs don’t belong in America. Automate the jobs or move the jobs to Mexico.

Illegals have many incentives besides employment to enter the US. They can get world class healthcare for free and leave American hospitals stuck with the bill. Here’s a simple change that would change the incentives: US Hospitals will treat illegal immigrants if, and only if, the country of their citizenship agrees to pay all medical costs incurred by their nationals in US hospitals.

They can get welfare. If they needed to prove they were in the US legally before they could qualify for welfare, that incentive would be removed.

Another incentive is that children born in the US become US citizens, despite the fact the parents are in the US illegally. Then the parents can acquire legal residency through family reunion policies. This is madness. The law needs to be changed so that US citizenship is only granted to children born in the US to people legally in the US.

Various cities won’t enforce Federal Immigration laws. These scoff-law sanctuary cities need to learn that voiding Federal laws voids Federal dollars.

Politicians that refuse to act against the flood of illegal immigrants also need some incentives. Voting these characters out of office would be a good start. The voters saw the rioters in LA flying Mexican flags and claiming ownership of US territory. They were not pleased by that sight. They will know what to do with politicians that won’t act against such rude and uninvited “guests”.

The brilliant Thomas Sowell has more thoughts on illegal immigration here and here, where he writes:

mmigration has joined the long list of subjects on which it is taboo to talk sense in plain English. At the heart of much confusion about immigration is the notion that we “need” immigrants — legal or illegal — to do work that Americans won’t do.

What we “need” depends on what it costs and what we are willing to pay. If I were a billionaire, I might “need” my own private jet. But I can remember a time when my family didn’t even “need” electricity.

Leaving prices out of the picture is probably the source of more fallacies in economics than any other single misconception. At current wages for low-level jobs and current levels of welfare, there are indeed many jobs that Americans will not take.

The fact that immigrants — and especially illegal immigrants — will take those jobs is the very reason the wage levels will not rise enough to attract Americans.

This is not rocket science. It is elementary supply and demand. Yet we continue to hear about the “need” for immigrants to do jobs that Americans will not do — even though these are all jobs that Americans have done for generations before mass illegal immigration became a way of life.

My point precisely.