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Lamar Smith and His “Gentle” Approach to Immigration: Mass Deportation

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POLITICO reports that Rep. Lamar Smith, incoming Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, is looking to put a kindler, gentler face on his preferred immigration policy of mass deportation.  Rather than insisting that the federal government round up and deport 11 million undocumented workers and their families, apparently Rep. Smith is going to ask these workers to deport themselves.  According to Carrie Budoff Brown:

Smith’s first two hearings will focus on expanding E-Verify, a voluntary electronic system for checking the immigration status of workers that President Barack Obama supports and scrutinizing the administration’s record on worksite enforcement.

“They are what I call 70 percent issues — 70 percent or more of the American people support those efforts,” Smith said. “I think they are popular across the board, and I think they will be appreciated by all American workers regardless of their ethnicity or background or anything else.”

I guess the logic is like this: expand E-Verify, get more undocumented immigrants fired, and they will pack up their homes, kids, and lives and move back to Mexico.  The problem is that they came here illegally because there weren’t jobs in Mexico.  Instead of 11 million people voluntarily removing themselves from the land of opportunity, a more likely scenario is that they will simply move into the underground economy, where employers are all too happy to pay them under the table.

Sorry,  Mr. Smith, the only real solution to the broken immigration system is comprehensive immigration reform that puts all workers on equal footing and makes sure all employers and workers are paying their fair share of taxes.    

If Lamar Smith is truly interested in policies that are supported by 70% or more of voters, he should be particularly fond of real immigration reform. Both comprehensive immigration reform and the DREAM Act are supported by 70% or more of voters.  One policy that doesn’t have 70% support is mass deportation.  According to an election eve poll of likely voters, 76% think such an approach is exceedingly unrealistic.