If one was creating an imigration system to meet America’s current and future workforce requirements I somehow doubt that the answer would be “10 million Mexican peasants”. I’m not insulting the Mexicans who come here illegally. If I was in their position I’d likely do the same. But the fact of the matter is that these people are poorly educated and only qualified to do menial tasks. It is not as if they free up better educated Americans to work at higher paying jobs. All they end up doing is pushing poorly educated Americans from low-paying jobs to welfare.

America faces major economic competition in the future as India and China start to fulfil their potential. To stay ahead we need more engineers, technicians, managers and entrepreneurs. It is unlikely that many of these peole will come from the ranks of the 10 million Mexican peasants who came here illegaly. They could and probably would come from the ranks of the millions of people waiting patiently to line to emigrate to America legally.

How do we move from the wrong immigration outcome to one better suited to America’s economic interests (as opposed to Mexico’s). A good first step is to correct the current problem of dealing with the 10 million Mexican peasants.

Newt Gingrich, in an email newsletter, promoted a bill that would go a long way towards that first step:

One positive addition to the border-security and immigration debate is Rep. Mike Pence’s (R-Ind.) bill, the Border Integrity and Immigration Reform Act. This bill is as close to the right solution as I have seen. It sets up a four-step process starting with what is needed and universally agreed upon — border security. Second, it does not provide amnesty for people in the United States illegally. It requires them to go home. Next, it sets up a work-visa program using electronic bio-metric security based on conservative market principles. After an American employer can, in good faith, show that no American worker will fill a job offer, a work-visa holder may be hired. The key feature is that, in order for people who are here illegally to get a work visa, they must go home, because work visas will only be issued outside of the United States. Fourth, once the program is set up, companies that continue to ignore the law will be sanctioned severely.

As always, it comes down to incentives. Remove the incentive to come here illegally, make it hard to stay, and over time, the Mexicans will drift home.