Regardless of one’s view
as to how the very real inundation of unlawful immigrants and unlawful
prospective immigrants ought to be handled, it is clear that the
Federal Government has not produced a clear and workable process which
likely would lead to a solution. The country remains full of unlawful
immigrants, with estimates varying between high and low gigantic
numbers - namely, various millions.
For lack of a national
plan or even the appearance of a national plan, numerous local
jurisdictions have undertaken, and are undertaking, various attempts at
It is impossible to cite
to a certainty which local county, city, town and other type of
jurisdiction is the most recent to attempt some kind of local
solution. Virginia Beach, perhaps to the surprise of people
unfamiliar with Virginia, is Virginia’s largest city, with a year-round
population of more than 425,000 residents. (Fairfax County is larger,
with more than one million, but, while it has the characteristics of a
city, legally it is a county, with the small City of Fairfax next
door.) Virginia Beach appears to be the most recent major metropolitan
jurisdiction to enact an attempt at control of unlawful immigration.
By city ordnance,
Virginia Beach is to require vendors doing business with the City to
certify that they are complying with Federal immigration laws and at
the option of the City to submit to audit. In view of the relative
void of Federal law on the subject and the workload of the United
States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Administration (with the
doubtless-unintended curious acronym of “ICE”) it is questionable
whether this procedure, even if fully implemented, would be very
effectual in deterring unlawful immigrants from seeking jobs in
Virginia Beach and/or from moving their abode to Virginia Beach, much
less in getting them out of the United States or even out of Virginia.
Most vendors in the City do no business with the City but do business
within the City. For that reason alone the procedure may be of
limited or no effectuality.
communities here and there about the country have conducted public
relations efforts to encourage the unlawful to go elsewhere; have
sought to close hiring locales to which employers (usually seeking day
manual workers) may come to hire; have sought to impose restrictions,
sometimes penalties, upon employers who hire them; so on. The
variations are manifold.
Many times this writer,
a strong “federalist,” prefers a statewide activity rather than a
Federal Government or federally imposed law, regulation, appropriations
largess, appropriations denial or other form of control. In addition
to the theoretically and pragmatically obvious advantages, there often
is the further benefit that other States of the Union, and for that
matter the Feds, empirically can evaluate the workings of a procedure,
benefit, tax or other activity undertaken by one or several States.
However, in this case it would appear that (possibly quite justified)
local frustration may have motivated the new requirement and procedure.
The basic point goes not
to the merits of the Virginia Beach innovation but to the underlying
consideration that there is no effective or reasonably effective
nationwide procedure, or even plan, for dealing with unlawful
immigrants. It may be that unless an illegal immigrant was
convicted of a felony or several misdemeanors the quantum of illegal
immigrants is so gigantic that keeping most of them out of a particular
community - or out of the country at large - is not feasible. It is
obvious that at the Federal Government level more research and more
implementation, including if necessary larger appropriations, are
vitally needed unless the present state of confused affairs is to
continue. The need is imperative whether one wants to legalize all
illegals who have committed no crime while living here, wants to deport
them all or prefers some intermediate goal.
What, if anything, the
White House and Congress will seek to achieve, or achieve, in this
quadrennial election year remains to be seen. In view of the fate of
the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 in the 1st
(2007) Session of the present Congress, apart from the merits and
demerits of that defeated legislation, the likelihood is that on the
national level nothing will happen.