Trying to implement immigration reform from the bottom up is strikingly ineffective. Federal policy forced farmers to make additional efforts to advertise jobs and raised minimum wages with little effect on the numbers of non-immigrant labor willing to do the work. The US is a nation of immigrants and needs immigration to grow–no matter how much some people want to deny it..
There’s so little thoughtful discussion of immigration that reading Jose Antonio Vargas’s account of almost twenty years of hiding in plain sight in the Times is a bit shocking. Immigrants are a source of extraordinary dynamism and growth for a country and on simple, cynical, economic terms, the US and Europe need immigration fairly urgently. Vargas vividly illustrates the undercurrent of anxiety he felt for years and years even while he made lemons into lemonade (and won a Pulitzer)..