While President Barack Obama has been campaigning for amnesty and support of the Dream Act, Mitt Romney has presented his new policy of “self-deportation.” This policy would require all employers to verify the legal status of their employees, thus, according to Romney, making it impossible for undocumented immigrants to find jobs and pushing them to leave “voluntarily.”
Romney says this policy encourages, “humane procedures to encourage illegal aliens to return home voluntarily.” I would hardly call forcing undocumented immigrants to return home by making it virtually impossible for them to live here, “voluntary.”
Though this plan does sound simple, I think it is a clear example of Romney’s failure to acknowledge the impact of immigrants on our economy. If the roughly 8 million employed undocumented immigrants were to be laid off tomorrow, the United States would most likely enter a state of panic. Not only would employers be forced to find new workers, but a great majority of them would have to find Americans willing to take over these immigrant’s back-breaking, low-wage jobs. Realistically, how many Americans would take over these kinds of jobs? Without this cheap source of labor, many employers would probably have to raise their wages, also raising the price of products.
Aside from its impact on the economy, “self-deportation” could have devastating effects on families. U.S. born children of undocumented immigrants depend on their parents both financially and emotionally. These children would would be either forced to leave their home country for a country which they have most likely never even visited, or face the devastating reality of life without their parents.
Though it is evident that an immigration reform is needed, we need to work on a plan that recognizes the 11.2 million undocumented immigrants as active contributors to our society, and that is both realistic, as well as truly humane.