Democrats Need to Get Smart on Immigration

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Peter Shuck thinks Democrats are right to favor legal status for millions of undocumented workers, including Dreamers. He also believes we should legally admit “many more” than the 1.1 million we do now. He also wants to raise refugee admissions to 75,000. But he also thinks Democrats should take enforcement of immigration laws more seriously:

Effective interior enforcement means mandating that all employers use an improved, pre-hiring E-verify status check, and occasionally using well-targeted work site audits and arrests to enforce employer sanctions, which have been on the books since 1986. No administration, Republican or Democratic, has made that a priority. But it could be a winning issue for a smart Democratic candidate appealing to American working-class and union voters.

I agree with all of that except for the “occasionally” part. This doesn’t have to be like a plague of locusts descending on America’s farms and slaughterhouses, but it needs to be routine enough that employers know it’s a real risk. It also needs to be focused 100 percent on businesses. Workers should be left entirely alone except insofar as they need to be questioned to confirm employer records.

Think of what this accomplishes. ICE is no longer in the business of raiding panicked workers in fields and sweatshops. They are dealing exclusively with fellow American citizens. The fines should be big enough to genuinely deter employers and to fund the agency. Over time, illegal immigration would steadily and humanely be reduced simply because the prospect of a job in El Norte would steadily be reduced.

Now add a national ID card to the mix and you’re really in business.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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