As Loretta Lynch's U.S. Senate confirmation hearings for the office of Attorney General opened on January 28, Republicans were dying to ask her just how friendly she might be to the class of people government defines as "illegal aliens." In an exchange with immigration scrooge Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama), Sessions wondered who Lynch believes has the right to work in America. Specifically, he asked: Who has "more right" - a lawful immigrant, a citizen, or a person who entered the country unlawfully? Lynch wisely opted to dodge Sessions' silly multiple-choice question, instead responding that if a person is here unlawfully, she'd prefer it be as a participant in America's workforce.
Sessions' line of questioning - and the answer he was fishing for - reveal much about the political class' warped thinking. The bipartisan immigration-bashing contingent in Washington believes, as Sheldon Richman notes, "permission to work is theirs to bestow." Unfortunately, that belief is the law of the land. Today, who may work is a question decided largely by Washington bureaucrats and special interests jockeying to buy legal monopolies on their services. While you may think yourself free to pursue work of your choosing, the countless prerequisites and riders imposed by government drastically narrow your choices. If you're fortunate enough to overcome those obstacles, your ability to remain effective at your craft is often curtailed as you're forced to wade through a morass of government-mandated compliance.