Fred Thompson has been trying to gain some momentum in the presidential campaign by talking tough
on the topic of immigration. Basically he`s offering to tighten up immigration enforcement-and even tighten chain migration a bit in return for expanded legal immigration (particularly in the areas catered to by programs like H-1b). This is all in line with his previous record
. (Al Gore`s
immigration rating as a Senator from Tennessee was better than Thompson`s.
)What has changed mainly is he`s trying to make it sound better to the folks that like Ron Paul or Tom Tancredo.
The basic problem is that Thompson`s policies are nowhere near the level of enforcement you need to handle a situation where the profits from illegal immigration are huge for employers. Thompson`s policies would barely dent the lowering of US wages and job quality associated with recent immigration policies (and might not even do that if legal
immigration were expanded enough). Thompson also doesn`t handle the potential for increased US immigration enforcement to destabilize Mexico—which has become rather dependent on remittances.
I`m glad to see that Thompson is at least paying attention to the immigration issue—but a lot more work is needed before there will be something on the table the bulk of Americans would recognize as a solution.