2004 March 16 Tuesday
Mark Krikorian On How To Gradually Reduce Illegal Alien Presence

Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, argues that there is a practical way to enforce laws to gradually reduce the illegal alien presence in the United States.

Fortunately for America there is a third way, between the politically impossible and disruptive approach of mass roundups on one hand, and the surrender of our sovereignty by the open-borders Left and its libertarian fellow-travelers on the other. This third way is attrition, squeezing the illegal population through consistent, across-the-board law enforcement to bring about an annual reduction in the illegal population rather than the annual increases we have seen for more than a decade. Over a few years, the number of illegal aliens would drop significantly, shrinking the problem from a crisis to a manageable nuisance.

Krikorian argues that a substantial reduction of the millions of illegal aliens in the US is a practical goal.

This isn’t just a wonkish daydream. There is significant churn in the illegal population, which we can use to our advantage. According to a 2003 INS report, thousands of people stop being illegal aliens each year. From 1995 to 1999, an average of 165,000 a year went back home; the same number got some kind of legal status, about 50,000 were deported, and 25,000 died, for a total of more than 400,000 people each year subtracted from the resident illegal population. The problem is that the average inflow of new illegal aliens was nearly 800,000, swamping the outflow and creating an average annual increase of close to 400,000.

The solution, then, is to increase the number of people leaving the illegal population and to reduce the number of new illegal settlers, so that there is an annual decline in the total number. This is a measured, Burkean approach to the problem. It doesn’t aspire to an immediate, magical solution to a long-brewing crisis, but rather helps us back out of an untenable situation that we helped create through our inattention to the law.

After reviewing the history of unenforced and undermined immigrant laws Krikorian outlines some ideas for what serious enforcement would look like. First Krikorian cites examples of sucessful enforcement and the effects these examples have had.

As I’ve written in these pages before, when we stepped up immigration enforcement against Middle Easterners (and only Middle Easterners) in the wake of 9/11, the largest group of illegals from that part of the world, Pakistanis, fled the country in droves to avoid being caught up in the dragnet.

And in an inadvertent enforcement initiative, the Social Security Administration in 2002 sent out almost a million “no-match” letters to employers who filed W-2s with information that was inconsistent with SSA’s records. The intention was to clear up misspellings, name changes, and other mistakes that had caused a large amount of money paid into the system to go uncredited. But, of course, most of the problem was caused by illegal aliens lying to their employers, and thousands of illegals quit or were fired when they were found out. The effort was so successful at denying work to illegals that business and immigrant-rights groups organized to stop it and won a 90 percent reduction in the number of letters to be sent out.

The reported self-deportation of illegal Pakistanis through the end of 2002 represents about 25% of all illegal Pakistanis in country before the vigorous enforcement against them began. Many more Pakistanis have probably left since then. A vigorous effort to enforce immigration law against all illegals would result in literally millions of self-deportations.

Krikorian outlines what a serious effort at immigration law enforcement would look like.

We know that when we actually enforce the law, eroding the illegal-immigration population is possible. So, what would a policy of attrition look like? It would have two key components. The first would include more conventional enforcement – arrests, prosecutions, deportations, asset seizures, etc. The second would require verification of legal status at a variety of important choke points, to make it as difficult and unpleasant as possible to live here illegally.

As to the first, the authorities need to start taking immigration violations seriously. To use only one example, people who repeatedly sneak across the border are supposed to be prosecuted and jailed, and the Border Patrol unveiled a new digital fingerprint system in the mid ‘90s to make tracking of repeat crossers possible. The problem is that short-staffed U.S. attorneys’ offices kept increasing the number of apprehensions needed before they would prosecute, to avoid actually having to prosecute at all.

It would be hard to exaggerate the demoralizing effect that such disregard for the law has on the Homeland Security Department’s staff. Conversely, the morale of immigration workers would soar in the wake of a real commitment to law enforcement. We’ve already seen a real-world example of this, too. I met with deportation officers in a newly formed “fugitive operations team” in Southern California who, unlike other immigration personnel I have spoken with, were actually excited about their jobs. They still have gripes, but the clear political commitment to locating and deporting fugitive aliens communicates to them that their work is genuinely valued by their superiors all the way up to the White House.

Other measures that would facilitate enforcement include hiring more U.S. Attorneys and judges in border areas, to allow for more prosecutions; passage of the CLEAR Act, which would enhance cooperation between federal immigration authorities and state and local police; and seizing the assets, however modest, of apprehended illegal aliens.

Krikorian argues the way gradually reduce the number of illegals is to create "virtual checkpoints". These checkpoints will catch illegals for deportation, encourage illegals to self-deport, and discourage would-be illegals from entering the United States.

The solution is to create “virtual chokepoints” – events that are necessary for life in a modern society but are infrequent enough not to bog down the business of society.

This is the thinking behind the law banning the employment of illegal aliens – people have to work, so requiring proof of legal status upon starting a job would serve as such a virtual choke point. As discussed above, in the absence of a verification mechanism, such a system couldn’t succeed. But the president signed into law at the end of last year a measure to re-authorize and expand the verification pilot programs that immigration authorities have been experimenting with since the mid 1990s.

Building on this fledgling system, we need to find other instances in which legal status can be verified, such as getting a driver’s license, registering an automobile, opening a bank account, applying for a car loan or a mortgage, enrolling children in public schools, and getting a business or occupational license.

An effective strategy of immigration law enforcement requires no booby traps, no tanks, no tattoos on arms – none of the cartoonish images invoked in the objections raised routinely by the loose-borders side. The consistent application of ordinary law-enforcement tools is all we need.

For more on the question of how and whether immigration law can be enforced see my previous post Can Immigration Law Be Enforced? For more proposals on immigration law enforcement see Eighteen Illegal Alien solutions that are better than any Amnesty.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2004 March 16 06:59 PM  Immigration Law Enforcement

Invisible Scientist said at March 17, 2004 5:59 AM:

In addition to dealing with illegal immigtration,
what Mark Krikorian needs to do is to deal with the
fact that there is a ridiculous green card lottery system which
gives residency and citizenship to random foreigners, instead of
allocating those green cards to smart people with high IQ scores.

What Mark Krikorian needs to do is to create a special quota
for people whose IQ is over 139, who have advanced degrees in science,
who are under 27 years old. The higher the IQ, the more expedited the
green card should be.

This would make the US more competitive demographically.

Luke Lea said at March 17, 2004 11:51 AM:

How about a hi-tech national I.D. card, that you swipe through an on-line reader every time you cash a check, apply for employment, sign a lease, get a driver's license, sign up for welfare, make a significant purchase, etc, which includes a photo and at least one other biometric marker? I wish you would explore what the real downsides of such an approach might be, as oppossed to all the bogus ones (Big Brother is out to get you!). I mean, what kind of society is it that can't quickly and accurately verify its members? So what if it makes tax evasion and money laundering more difficult to do? These are additional arguments in favor of a card, not against it. It would be nice, in my opinion at least, to make the IT revolution shore up our civilization, if it is capable of doing so.

Randall Parker said at March 17, 2004 11:59 AM:


I think the big sleeper issue that is going to push better identity cards is identity theft. It is a rapidly growing problem and is a big reason why we need more accurate ways to verify identities in many contexts. I ought to dig for some figures and make a post on it. A lot of individuals are being horribly victimized by identity theft. Each major identity theft takes literally hundreds of hours of a victim's time to deal with. Repeated letters and phone calls to multiple credit card companies, banks, credit reporting agencies, and other organizations eat up lots of time.

I'm going to go digging this.

David Maples said at April 22, 2004 7:58 PM:

Face the facts on the ground.
1. They are here. Construction, service, hotel, agriculture and landscape industries would fail without them.
2. Those that say that there are American workers that will do these jobs have their heads up their... in the sand.
3. We can't keep them out with the INS (as it presently exists).
4. Our laws on immigration are screwed up. The "family reunification" clauses guarantees that we will continue to have a problem.
5. The temporay worker program that we have now is clearly woefully inadequate.
6. California-style welfare guarantees a continued problem.
7. Central American economies and government corruption drives the problem north.
8. The illegals represent an underground economy with a double whammy. A drain on local and national budgets and a loss of payroll tax revenue.

All the above means that we can't change things overnight - there has to be a transition.

Initial Solutions:
No welfare if you are not an American citizen. No exceptions.
Temporary worker program expanded, simplified and enforced.
Six months to get back below the border if you are illegal. After that, if you get caught without papers, you will never be approved for any kind of visa or work permit, ever.
Employers hiring known illegals will pay $50,000.00 fine per illegal employee. Fines are to be set aside for border patrol agencies' budgets like speeding fines are used by police departments. 10% of all fines are to be set aside to reward whistleblowers.

Longer Term solutions:
Get CAFTA off the ground and running.
CAFTA nations get preference over European and Asian countries.
Cut the drug trade in half, at the minimum, within 5 years.

Bush is right. Family values don't stop at the Rio Grande. Like he said in his speech at Whitehall, freedom is an inalienable right of all people. Governments do not grant it. Jefferson and Madison had it right from the start.

Georgia's US Representative Charlie Norwood has proposed allowing local law enforcement officers to pick up and hold for the INS any illegal who was detained for another cause. Right now the sheriffs, etc. have to turn loose illegals after they have satisfied local laws and punishments. That would go quite a way on removing the lawbreaking illegals. My only problem with it is that the local Bufords will go nuts with selective enforcement. It's a problem I'm prepared to overlook though.

H2B Temporary Worker Programs are working well. I am a participant. We have to document each year that the local labor supply does not fill our needs.

david w. geiger said at September 10, 2004 6:43 PM:

Illegal invaders have taken over my home state of Georgia. Assholes like developers, chicken breeders, construction companies, landscapers, are selling our state (and nation) down the river to buy their wives "trophy houses", second, third homes, diamond rings, bass boats, etc.(short term bullshit). what about the long term sociological and political effects of their handiwork? Unless the "Real America" get united, and understands the consequences, well then, you have your United States of Mexico.

Political correctness will guarantee no reversal once it is in place. End of The Empire.
Done Deal. I want to spend the rest of my years in America, not in some Hooligan infested drug ghetto called Mexirabia, etc., but what I see is a "reconquista" Al Queda must be bent over double with laughter!

Maybe a mass flight from the U.S. to more "civilized" nations will do the trick.

I could go on, but won't.

God Help Us!


c hutchinson said at November 29, 2004 11:57 AM:

I have been trying to figure out what to do. First of all let me say that I am NOT a racist and wish no harm to anyone. I just dont think what is going on at my workplace is fair to the millions of american born people who are hungry, homeless, jobless, or sick. I work for a company that hires mexican workers. If you are a legal citizen here then there is no problem with that. Pay your taxes just like me and all is good. But when you come to work with one name then all of a sudden your name changes to something different it kinda raises a red flag that something is wrong. Even though I work exactly the same hours as they their paycheck is bigger than mine (no taxes). I will see them at the grocery store with a big buggy of groceries meanwhile I can barely afford the few items i am carrying in a small basket. Then they get up to the checkout with a foodstamp card. Why cant i work and get foodstamps too? Then you see them put away their free groceries in a car i could only dream of owning. Not to mention their healthcare is taken care of too. While i struggle to pay for my chidrens health insurance and still have to pay when they go to the doctor. I also have to pay for my own as well. I dont hold any hatred for these people honestly if I could get away with it I probably would too. Thats the problem. They continue to get away with it. We let them. Before I came to this site I went to several places on the net trying to find something that I could do. I couldnt find anything. I wasted my time. Its like nobody cares. I know Mexico is a poor country with little jobs and pay but I can tell you that some american somewhere out there is starving because his job was given to a mexican. I say we take care of our own then we worry about them. Does anyone believe I could go to Mexico and be taken care of so nicely? Looks like the only ones getting the american dream are the ones stealing it from us. Thanks for letting me voice my opion!

Sabertooth said at January 21, 2005 10:29 PM:

Wow, what a small world surprise!

I was Googling around for "self deportation" and came across this page, only to notice that you'd linked to two of my articles at Free Republic last year. Cool.

Here's the thread I was working on tonight: Cornyn Amnesty Interview: Deconstructing Texas' pro illegal alien Senator

Great blog, thanks again.

VICTIM said at January 30, 2007 4:36 PM:


Annoyed by idiot rednecks said at July 22, 2007 8:15 PM:

Welcome to the Facist States of America

So Mr Invisible "Scientist" - can we get rid of all the people already here who's IQ is below 139? like you? BTW - which IQ test will you be using? I'm sure that you're aware that they all give different IQ numbers. And what's with 27 yrs old? Hoping we'll think you're a 27 yr old with an IQ of 139? LOL or is it the other way around??

Mr. Geiger - I wonder if the Creek and Cherokee felt the same way about all those white "illegal invaders" who took over their land a while back?

By the way Mr. Maples - with only 10% of the world's population, the US consumes 2/3 of all the world's illegal drugs - so maybe its all the crackheads and not some illegal immigrants who should be shipped off if you want to lessen the drug problem in this country?

Hey Mr. "Victim" - maybe if you stopped checking out the asian bride websites and got a real girlfriend you wouldn't have to worry about your life becoming a living hell.

PS -
Anyone willing to work 12 hrs in the sun picking tomatoes for 50 cents a day is welcome to take those jobs back from the Mexicans - anyone? anyone?

BS said at September 9, 2007 7:32 PM:

I believe that nowadays everybody are paranic and omophobics due to illegal immigrants.

We complain of illegal immigration taking our jobs, but in fact...they come here to do the work that only few of us would perform. For example, many of us would not work under the sun at a 100F degrees picking up and collecting produces for a mininmum wage! Would you? THEY DO!!!

If you do, you would probably like to have an A/C suit to refresh yourserf, a 15 minutes break every hour, and a nice bathroom on the site to utilize it whenever, oh...and a dinner room with hot meals on time. THEY DON'T! On top of that, you would probably ask for a salary base of $20-45/hour as a salary or according to the UNION, plus benefits. RIGHT! Well, THEY DON'T!!!!

If you do, that, as a concequence, will bring up the cost of living for all Americans, but you don't want to pay $15 dollars for a pound of tomato, rigtht? So, what are you complaining of? Get your ass to work, and shup your mouth up; let that poor people do their work and let us enjoy the low cost of living.

On the other hand, I...myself had an experience at college. I saw an old disabled immigrant taking 21+ units per semester while working a part time; he did not know a single word of English..., so...he had to study ESL; and eventhough, he got a double college degree in only 4 years. While I was complaining of having only 12 units and not working at all.

My friends, that is courage, dedication, and hard work. Think about it, and put yourselve in that situation and prove yourself and your community that we want immigrants out of our country by doing what the great majority of immigrants do...WORK!!!!!


BS said at September 9, 2007 7:50 PM:

PS...Well said!!!! For those that believe that an IQ is measurable, it is just a fallacy, and a joke. Any one whants to chanllenge that? I can prove it wrong. Why, because not a single person in the planet is identical and learn accordingly to the SYSTEM. I do have HDD and was diagnosted at age 40, for many years I was retarded accordingly to the "SYSTEM" implementators (educators)...

Guess what, at age 40...I got a double college degree from the California State University when in fact I did not know any English. I achieved it in only 4 years while working long hours...

I am not saying that my IQ is such or such... I am a normal individual with disabilities. So, can some one explain IQ? lolololol. Challenge me...you will lose... I can prove what I am saying with facts, not with stupid thoughts. I am a FACT. Show me that your intelectual is the most important part of your body...show the world that an individual with a high IQ is a better person, human, and citizen rather thatn an HDD individual...show the world that a HIGH IQ and young person has better feelings and is more compasionate for others...or is maybe a better parent, husband, or friend...Show the world your investigation MR. Scientist, and prove wrong!!!!


franklin thompson said at July 14, 2008 5:52 AM:

Hey , I am an Amrican and and ex marine of 4 yrs . If the young mexicans want to be here then make them go in the service for . But that is not why I am here . Where can I go to to get food stamps ,free medical care , pay no taxes . If someone knows please let me know. I know there has to be a place , if some mexican could just let meknow. I am sure they know.

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