Your May 7 Cal Thomas column, “Legal and Illegal,” predictably makes the ill-informed argument that illegal immigrants should return to their own countries and work to improve the situation there. Such a deceptively facile thesis fails to see an obvious point: if it were possible for those who chose to illegally immigrate to improve their lives at home, presumably they would have done so. The decision to leave their family and homeland is never an easy one; rather, it is a decision driven by desperation. If the ultimate policy goal is to reduce levels of illegal migration, Washington must choose a variety of constructive programs to promote meaningful development in Mexico, not only the interests of White House connected corporations seeking cheap labor. Thomas also got it wrong as to which political party is pandering to the illegals. Bush and part of his GOP faction fear that the Republicans will become a permanent minority if they cannot make inroads into the potential Latino votes.
A path to citizenship would reduce the incentives to hire illegal migrants by ensuring they are paid minimum wage; unfortunately, deportation will not return jobs to American workers. Employers will continue to outsource to the cheapest labor provider, and with the rise of technology and a globalized economy, employment is no longer limited by national borders.