“Following her comments last month that states would forge their own immigration laws in the wake of Congress’s inability to pass immigration reform, Gov. Janet Napolitano has approved a law that will give Arizona the toughest employer sanctions law in the country.” AZ Capital Times teaser.
Immigration is a tremendously complex issue. While I have real trouble understanding how a person could profess to follow Jesus Christ and at the same time oppose programs like food stamps, I have no difficulty seeing how Christians can disagree on this issue. That said, it is an issue that deals with the stranger in your home land and exploitation of the poor and justice for the powerless, so it is hard to say it is an issue for which faith should not have an impact.
Here is why I like employer sanctions: Every year hundreds of people die in the desert attempting to enter this country without proper authorization. Fences will not stop these illegal and dangerous acts of desperation–eliminating the chance to work here without documentation will. Many undocumented workers are exploited by their employers but, undocumented workers cannot avail themselves of the protection of our labor laws because they are not authorized to be here. Finally, employer sanctions puts the burden of limiting immigration on the shoulders of a group who is powerful enough to lobby for change if they need more workers. I don’t think we have too many workers in this country. Unemployment is too low for that to be the case. But let employers, not employees make this argument.
So, good for Arizona for taking this step. I hope it will deter people from making the dangerous and illegal trek across the desert. I hope it will move Americans toward a serious, rational, comprehensive immigration policy.