2. Illegal Immigration Fines

Illegal Entry Fine

A stiff penalty of $5,000 should be imposed per person per illegal immigration violation. People, such as ‘snakeheads’ and ‘coyotes’, who help illegal immigrants during any part of their journey should be assessed a $10,000 fine for each person they have aided.

Illegal Daily Fine

In addition, each migrant should be required to pay a fine of $10 per day spent illegally in the country.

Processing, Detention, & Deportation Charges

In addition to these fines, illegal immigrants must also pay all other charges associated with this illegal immigration violation. These would include processing and detention charges as well as the cost of transportation back to their original place of origin.


2 Responses to “2. Illegal Immigration Fines”

  • Carl De Vries: February 7, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    I assume this is in the context of the current (2013) illegal immigrant problem. If so, are you suggesting that both fines be imposed on every adult illegal immigrant, or, are you suggesting one or the other, but not both? e.g. If a man entered the US illegally let’s say, 5 years ago, his daily fine would add up to $18,250. Add the $5,000 illegal entry fee and you have one man owing a fine of $23,250. It seems to me that a fine like that would be very, very difficult for any immigrant to pay (even if it was interest free for 10 years), assuming (again) that most immigrants work in relatively low-paying jobs. Please don’t misunderstand me; I firmly believe that every illegal immigrant should be required to pay some kind of retribution for breaking US laws. I don’t know what the answer is either, but has anyone ever considered each illegal immigrant be required to perform 100-200 hours of public service work for every year he has been in the US illegally. (If a person was in the US illegally for 5 years he would be required to perform 500-1000 hours of work at the rate of 8 hours per week until his ‘debt’ is paid off.) Think of all the improvements that could be done this way to our parks, roadsides, streams, bicycles paths, etc., etc.
    Thank you.

    • Policy Proposals Moderator: February 9, 2013 at 11:20 pm

      This point was not meant to be a specific response to our current illegal immigration problem, but rather as a general, permanent policy solution to be applied regardless of whether we have multiple millions or just a few thousand illegal immigrants.

      I think both fines should be imposed because of the nature of this legal violation. First, you have the issue of entering illegally, which is one crime. Then you have the issue of staying here illegally, which I would classify as another crime. Some people are here just a few days before being caught, while others are here for decades and I think, like you do, that a penalty system should reflect that.

      I do agree that these two fines are a hefty penalty, which becomes even more severe when including the processing, detention and deportation fees. The $10 per day may be a bit much, especially when considering a minimum wage job (in California) would generate only about $64/day (and that’s only workdays), but I wouldn’t be willing to go lower than $5 per day. I definitely don’t plan on raising this $10 amount soon and I think I’ll leave it and let inflation whittle it down to a more reasonable level. Right now, I’d say that maybe $7/day should be the level at which this fine is set. If we were to charge this rate and require 160 hours of community service (one month’s worth) per year of illegal residency, that would earn the illegal immigrant $1,280/month (at minimum wage). Two months of community service (or any other minimum wage job) would pay for one year’s illegal residency fee of $2,555. Of course, there are other living expenses that these illegal immigrants need to pay as well, so i understand that all these earning can’t be dedicated to only paying off this fine. The government should be flexible when negotiating a payment schedule with these immigrants.

      Your idea of requiring public service is a very good one and that is probably the best for a lot of these immigrant to help pay off their fines. But I would prefer for these people to stay with their current jobs (if they want to) and earn the money to pay off their fines entirely with their earnings from their current jobs. When they have finished entirely paying off their fines, then they would be deported. The chances are, however slight, that their current jobs would pay a least a little more than the minimum wage which would probably be offered by state and local governments for work picking up litter or cleaning up graffiti or doing other unskilled labor. It should be encouraged that these immigrants find better, higher-paying jobs to both pay off the fine quicker, but also to improve their skills and lives for the future. They definitely shouldn’t be punished by being required to perform minimum wage labor or community service. If they make $25/hour, that’s great because they could pay off the fines quicker and move on with their lives.

      I understand that all these fines would still be a large amount for illegal immigrants to pay off. However, I think that it is a sufficient penalty given that illegal immigration, sort of like inflation, steals from all of us in the sense that it reduces the wage levels of the rest of the legitimate working population. Yes, I understand that there would be fewer jobs available if the effective average wages of the labor market were to rise, but i would say that that would be a short term negative effect that would be rectified both by natural market forces and by other policy changes that have a more long-term view of social health. Any society that is dependent on a constant inflow of cheap labor is not a healthy, sustainable, and fair one. If consumer prices need to rise as a result of cutting off illegal immigration, so be it. The markets will find a balance, unless people, who are so often addicted to only short-term benefits, revolt.

      Thanks for your comment!

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