Opinion: Illegals

POSTED: 10/7/11 2:23 PM

The Freedom Party and the VVD want to make being illegal in the Netherlands a misdemeanor. Whether this will really happen is still an open question because the proposal needs support from other parties for a parliamentary majority.
All the same, Immigration and Asylum Minister Gerd leers has put the thought out there, but at the same time he has announced that he has no plans to start hunting down illegals.
The penalty for a misdemeanor is a fine, with jail time as an alternative for illegals who refuse to pay or who are unable to do so.
Leers told the Parliament yesterday that he wants to focus on illegals who commit crimes. That takes the logic out of the proposal because the country has plenty legislation for prosecuting citizens who commit crimes. The proposal therefore looks like an exercise in blowing hot air, not unlike the Brooks Tower Accord in St. Maarten.
That measure was designed to legalize illegals, but when everything was said and done, the BTA turned out to be a huge failure.
The BTA committee that examined all the applications came up with 1,610 cases that do not qualify for a residence permit. Then the committee announced that all these illegals and their bogus employers had three weeks to correct their situation – or else.
Or else what? Deportation, the committee said in a press release. But Justice Minister Roland Duncan has made clear that he has no intention to deport those 1,610 illegals. Here Duncan is on the same page as Minister Gerd Leers: no illegals hunting.
Maybe Duncan will now start thinking about a Leers-solution and declare being illegal a misdemeanor. At least that way he would be able to collect fines.
But what would be the point? All this would do is put a price on residing illegal in St. Maarten. It certainly would not make illegals go away, or encourage others from coming here.
Are there alternatives? Sure, but politicians who are prepared to accept them will be hard to find.
For one, the government could acknowledge that there will always be illegals on the island and that there is not a darn thing the government is able to do about it. The proof is in the pudding – just look at the BTA process.
Here is an idea: introduce an illegals- tax for all companies with employees. Make this tax payable monthly for all companies. There will be only one way to avoid the tax: employers will have to show proof that their employees are legal.
Steven Levitt, the cold-blooded economist we wrote about yesterday, would love this solution?
Why? Because it gives employers an incentive to set the record straight. That is a huge difference from Duncan’s request for the real employers of these BTA-applicants to come forward, because they would expose themselves to paying arrears in social premiums and wage taxes. Steven Levitt would recognize such a setup in a heartbeat as an incentive not to come forward.

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