Ask any American politician to explain his immigration philosophy and the first words out of his mouth are “Secure the border.” What they say in their second breath is what counts. If they make a strong statement endorsing E-Verify, then it’s probable that they’re serious about reducing immigration.

If however they proceed to outline a grand sounding plan that opens the borders wide to all comers, then you know they’re talking out of both sides of their mouths.

Enter the so called “Red Card,” a bad idea that Republicans have kicked around unsuccessfully for years and which Newt Gingrich embraced in his Florida debate performance last week. Gingrich presented the red card as the solution to the United States “broken immigration system” by insisting that it would legalize (without making citizens) millions of aliens who could then work freely at jobs that Americans supposedly won’t do.

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But analyzed closely, the red card opens the borders to a free flow of cheap labor that would further dry up the job market for the 22 million Americans who want but cannot find full time jobs.

Here’s how the red card would work. Individuals living illegally in the United States would have to first go home and then return to America with an employer-issued, easily obtained guest worker visa. Red cards would be handed out in accordance with the number of employer requests received. With no red card ceiling, it’s certain that a significant percentage of employers who currently hire Americans would opt for the cheaper foreign-born worker. So, although red card proponents insist that they don’t endorse amnesty, their idea is actually a massive amnesty.

The red card is the brain child of the Krieble Foundation, a globalist organization that has not the faintest idea of the bureaucratic impossibility of its scheme. The foundation’s president, Helen Krieble, owns a large Colorado horse farm, a business that historically relies on cheap illegal immigrant labor.

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Keep in mind that the federal government cannot effectively manage its existing immigration programs and has no capacity to take on others. Fraud is rampant in non-immigrant visa categories, and aliens move about the country with complete impunity.

Krieble proposes that the red card would involve opening private, government-licensed employment agencies in foreign countries and authorized to issue work visas in accordance with jobs posted and available in the United States.

In a word, the Krieble plan is nonsense, divorced from reality and without any consideration for all the things that could and would go wrong before and during its implementation. The red card would be more widely abused than the H-1B visa, a vehicle for greedy employers who supposedly can’t find American workers.

In theory the red card holder would re-return home when his guest worker visa expired. As a practical matter, however, there would be thousands who would stay. In the meantime, they would have anchor baby citizen children who would enroll in overcrowded public schools and whose presence would set off endless rounds of Democratic-led debates about the urgency of passing amnesty.

There’s a simple two-part litmus test to measure who’s sincere about ending unsustainably high levels of legal and illegal immigration. First, do they support the Legal Workforce Act that would mandate E-Verify, remove aliens from their payroll jobs and discourage illegal immigrants from applying for positions they are not qualified to hold? Second, do they oppose issuing more non-immigrant work visas in any category, at least until the unemployment rate returns to its traditional 5 percent level?

Hedging on either point indicates immigration advocacy.

Joe Guzzardi, a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow, has written syndicated editorial about immigration and related social issues since 1986. Contact him at