Attrition Through Enforcement: A Rational Approach to Illegal Immigration

Scholarly Articles and Books

March 1, 2008

Kris W.Kobach, Attrition Through Enforcement: A Rational Approach to Illegal Immigration, 15 Tulsa J. Comp. & Int’l L. 153 (2008)

For years, the public debate about illegal immigration in the United States has been gripped by a false dichotomy. We have been told that there are only two choices in addressing the fact that twelve to twenty million aliens are unlawfully present in the United States: either attempt to round them up and remove them all, or grant a massive amnesty and provide all (or virtually all) illegal aliens1 legal status.

This is a truly curious assertion. In no other area of law do serious people suggest that the only options are either pursuing total enforcement in order to achieve zero violations, or granting amnesty and thereby accommodating lawbreaking. No one claims that the only options regarding driving under the influence are mandatory breathalyzer checks at every bar and restaurant prior to allowing patrons to drive home, versus the elimination of penalties for driving under the influence. No one claims that the only options in confronting theft are the imposition of a police state with an officer on every block versus amnesty for all thieves.

Perhaps the best analogy is read more.

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