With the talk of yet another amnesty, which would be the eighth since 1986 and could be the largest ever, Congressional leaders are once again refusing to cut the number of green cards handed out every year.
Paul Ryan’s “compromise bill,” a sop to corporate lobbyists, would amnesty several million people, with subsequent amnesties inevitably to follow, while promising “border security” down the road. It would be up to future Congresses and Presidents to follow through on that promise.
That mandatory E-Verify is not part of Ryan’s amnesty bill proves that he and those who go along with him are not serious about ending illegal immigration and have no intention of ever holding criminal employers to account. E-Verify is overwhelmingly popular with the American people, and it is extremely effective. The former reason is why Rep Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) included it in his DACA bill. The latter is why Ryan left it out of his. The Speaker sides with employers who want to continue to hire illegal aliens in order to tamp down wages and working conditions in the United States.
The Ryan bill does eliminate some family-based chain migration categories, but it reallocates some of those visas to employment-based and puts other into what they are calling an “escrow” account. Also put in escrow are Diversity Lottery visas. This allows Ryan to claim that his bill eliminates the visa lottery and chain migration, while he is merely delaying handing them out. These green cards will go to amnestied aliens and children of certain guest workers. After all “eligible” aliens receive green cards, the escrow visa program will end, which will take 20 to 30 years, at least.
There will be $25 billion appropriated for border security, which includes funding for barriers. We’ve seen this ruse before. The Hoeven-Corker amendment pledged $30 billion for border security in order to win passage of the Gang of Eight bill through the Senate. Maybe all of the $25 billion for border security in Ryan’s bill will be spent accordingly and Trump will get his wall, but anyone who has been around Washington, D.C. for any length of time knows that almost certainly will not happen. Whether the wall is built or not, the amnesty is permanent.
President Trump Can Stand with the American People, Or He Can Side with K Street
President Trump changed the political dynamics on immigration in Washington, but candidates have been running on his immigration platform for the past three decades. The difference with Trump is that he is threatening to follow through on the promises he made on the campaign trail. It is difficult to believe now, but Barack Obama took the “hard line” on immigration when he emerged as a Presidential candidate in 2006. In office, President Obama made it his priority to use immigration to increase the economic and political power of the very narrow special interests he promised to eschew. He championed the Gang of Eight bill, which the Congressional Budget Office (p. 3) projected would reduce average earnings of American workers for two decades. And, he violated the law and the Constitution by establishing DACA after repeatedly admitting he did not have the authority to do so.
Donald J. Trump is President of the United States because of the American people are dissatisfied with federal immigration policy. President Trump has the choice to support legislation that would align with the strong majority of voters, or he can sign a bill that reneges on his promise to the American people.
It is clear that President Trump wants to sign an amnesty for DACA recipients. Many of those who voted for him will still support him if he does. What will anger the electorate is if President Trump does not do as much for the American people as he does for the illegal aliens who will benefit from amnesty.
Will President Trump sign a bill written by the authors of the Gang of Eight, and then gloat that he was able to sign an immigration bill President Obama wanted but could not get?
The Economy Is Better, But Far From Good
President Trump should get credit for the uptick in the economy that has occurred since his election. He should also recognize that he needs to do more to reverse a trend that won’t be reversed by tweets, or by signing a bill that has Paul Ryan’s imprimatur.
President Trump surprised many pundits by winning in Wisconsin, a state that has seen an increase in poverty despite “job growth.” Paul Ryan’s amnesty bill promises to cut immigration maybe in 30 years. How would that help workers in Wisconsin today?
The people who are pushing for mass immigration freely admit why they are doing so. Warren Buffet, who claims there is a “shortage of workers,” was asked whether it would be easier for his companies to attract workers if he raised wages for his employees. His answer:
Well, the people that [sic] are thinking about going into those jobs want to get it solved probably by higher wages [laughs] but the market system works towards solving problems like that. But it is absolutely true now that there are shortages of people in some fairly important type jobs.
What Buffet claims is absolutely false. A shortage of workers means just that –- a lack of people available to work. Buffett and Ryan prefer to create a labor market system that results in poverty wages for those doing “some fairly important type jobs.” There is a shortage of employers willing to pay a living wage. Here is a quote from former Vice-President Joe Biden’s chief economic advisor, Jared Bernstein, demonstrating again that there is a broad center on immigration:
Employers are very quick to raise the specter of a labor shortage, but often it’s another way of saying they can’t find the workers they want at the price they’re paying…they are unwilling to meet the price signal the market is sending, so they seek help in the form of a spigot like immigration.
And this from President Clinton’s Labor Secretary, Robert Reich:
It should be noted that the term ‘labor shortage’ rarely means that workers cannot be found at any price. Its real meaning is that desired workers cannot be found at the price that employers and customers wish to pay.
What is Trump’s plan to deal with the effects of automation, which is already displacing workers in the fast food industry? How is he going to reverse the trend of a decreasing labor force participation rate? Will he follow Buffett’s advice and let the “market system” solve these problems?
The market system does not choose to use immigration policy to drive down the wages and working conditions for American workers. That’s a choice made by those who make immigration policy. What choice will President Trump make?
Paul Ryan chose not to include E-Verify or any actual cuts to immigration in his bill. President Trump has a clear choice about which bill can he sign.
ERIC RUARK is the Director of Research for NumbersUSA
Updated: Mon, Jul 2nd 2018 @ 11:20am EDT