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May 26, 2008

The Iowa Immigration Raid--Skeel

The big immigration story over the weekend was the arrest and sentencing of 297 illegal immigrants for using false documents to work at an Iowa meat packing plant, as reported in this New York Times story. The raid is being construed as evidence of a Bush administration crackdown on illegal workers, since criminal charges had previously been quite uncommon in these cases. I personally have a lot more sympathy for the workers than for the company, which may also face charges and which seems to have an unsavory track record.

But I suspect that the raid foreshadows the future of immigration regulation in this country. The centerpiece of future regulation, for better and worse, is likely to be some kind national identification number that everyone will be required to have; and that employers will be responsible for checking and certifying for all of their employees.

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