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A Fresh, New View on a Tough Immigration Issue August 21, 2013 8:01 AM | Tagged as Free Trade E-Verify, Immigration

WSJ August 2, 2013, Page A13: "Think Government Is Intrusive Now? Wait Until E-Verify Kicks" In by John H. Cochrane

The Biz Bucks Guy aspires to write a novel in about two years, The Red Saguaro.   As planned, the novel will combine two very difficult issues of our time, radical Islam and immigration reform. Regarding the latter, this article by John Cochrane, a professor of finance at the University of Chicago and a senior fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution,has moved The Biz Bucks Guy’s opinion.

Many are arguing that immigration reform needs E-Verify, a federal government database that tracks the immigration status of Americans. No bad dude capitalists will be able to say they didn’t know their latest hire was illegal. E-Verify will make it easy to know. Seems great on the surface. The Biz Bucks Guy has advocated that database in the past.

But Cochrane makes a compelling case that government will be able to easily and irresistibly modify the database to track all sorts of things about Americans. Not merely aliens, but all of us. With the current scandal by the IRS of tracking one type of political organization and not others, it seems very plausible that government could step into tracking us on an plethora of meta data.

Consider a federal database that knows who is in a union or not. Consider a database that knows if you were ever laid off, if you own a gun, if you Occupied Wall Street, if you have the right health insurance or even if you write a blog.

Cockrane makes the point if we had an immigration system that allowed workers to come here legally—based on market conditions, the need for E-Verify would vanish.

This is a multifaceted issue. Free trade, not only of goods and services, but labor and capital, is not a zero-sum game. We need an intelligent, economically sound David Ricardo type immigration system, not one based on protectionism. E-Verify is part of the latter. 

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