June 28, 2006

The Los Angeles Times reports today that several Republican senators have indicated that they might accept delayed implementation of guestworker and legalization portions of an immigration reform bill in order to show that the Senate was serious about enforcement as well.  The compromise is a nod to House Republicans who ardently adhere to an enforcement-only approach.  What specifically would trigger implementation of the guestworker and legalization programs has not been stated and would apparently be a subject of negotiation.  I have not heard anyone explain, however, how this approach would work in practice when employers, subject to strict new verification procedures, have no mechanism for verifying workers whose legalization program has not yet been implemented.  One possibility would be to make the verification program operational but not enforce the sanctions until the legalization program has begun.