Catholic University Law Review


The United States is in a quandary regarding immigration. There are over eleven million undocumented aliens residing in the country with about eight million of them working in the American economy.

The federal government has criminalized the illegal entry and the illegal reentry into the United States. Moreover, it has enacted a statute making it illegal to smuggle or harbor aliens. Federal prosecutors across the country have aggressively prosecuted people in violation of these statutes. At the same time, Congress criminalized the illegal employment of undocumented workers, but federal prosecutors rarely ever charge employers with violating this statute.

The economic principle of supply and demand applies to the labor market. Undocumented aliens come to the United States seeking jobs because American employers regularly hire them. If such employers felt significant consequences for such hires, they would be less inclined to violate federal law. With fewer employers hiring undocumented workers, there would be less demand. Consequently, aliens would be less likely to take the risks to come to the United States seeking jobs if they were unlikely to gain employment.

Ultimately, attacking the immigration on the supply side of the issue has failed. Thus, the article proposes targeting the demand side of the issue to promote immigration reform.