Want Smarter Immigration Enforcement? Start at the Workplace, Not the Border

June 26, 2013. On his blog, and in the Huffington Post, Jared Bernstein echoed the importance of labor standards enforcement as a key part of making immigration reform work, as David Dyssegaard Kallick, director of FPI’s Immigration Research Initiative, had stressed in an op-ed piece in Newsday.

At this point, a large minority (Kallick says “as many as 45%”) of the undocumented immigrants already here entered legally and overstayed their visas.  As far as they’re concerned, border security shuts the barn door after the horse is out.

By making the E-verification system mandatory and harder to fool, the Senate bill moves the ball forward.  But as Kallick points out, “it doesn’t take an evil genius to figure out a way around these tightened processes: Employers could just hire workers off the books.”

The best way to lastingly stop this problem is think less about border agents and more about labor inspectors.

The estimated share of undocumented immigrants who are visa overstayers comes from this report of the Pew Hispanic Center.