Thoughts on the Gang of Eight Immigration Reform Deal
Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) at yesterday’s immigration reform deal announcement
As if the above photo of Lindsey Graham-nesty and Chuckles Schumer are not foreboding enough. But, seriously, much has been written the past 24 hours since the Gang of Eight Senators announced a framework for immigration reform.
The framework is published here.
Go ahead and read it.
What are my thoughts?
I don’t think much of the framework, if enacted into law will be a disaster for the country, and the GOP. With the President weighing into the fray with a speech today in Las Vegas, there will probably be more objections.
You can read much about the problems of the plan (note: legislation has not been written as of this post) from a number of sources.
First, the initial thoughts of John Hinderaker at Powerline.
1) The proposal begins with the oft-repeated claim that “our immigration system is broken.” But what does this mean? I think our immigration system is fundamentally misguided because it does not serve our interests. We should be recruiting highly-skilled people to come here from around the world, not unskilled people from, e.g., Somalia, who are recruited, in effect, because they are related to someone who is already here. Which, of course, is how that person got here, too. The present system is perverse. But the reorientation of our legal immigration system to emphasize skilled over unskilled labor has nothing to do with the issue of illegal immigrants who are currently here. What reason is there to link the two?
2) Countless politicians and commentators have said today that the presence of 11 million illegals in America is intolerable and we urgently need to do something about their status. But why? We have had millions of illegal residents in the U.S. for a long time. Why is it urgently necessary to do something now?
3) How is the current proposal different from the “comprehensive immigration reform” plans that we have seen through the years? In essence, it provides a “path to citizenship” for something like 11 million illegals in exchange for promises of future law enforcement–the same promises that have been made and broken in the past. See Mickey Kaus on this. Moreover, the Obama administration is now actively subverting our immigration laws, by, for example, recruiting illegals into the food stamp program. Why would anyone expect Obama to enforce future immigration laws any better than he is enforcing the ones we have now?
Heather Mac Donald over at National Review has a good summary of the proposal.
Mickey Kaus and Mark Krikorian have already acutely analyzed the new Gang of Eight’s “comprehensive immigration-reform” proposal; I will simply embroider on their observations. As Kaus has pointed out, the proposal is tantamount to an immediate, unconditional amnesty, and thus will lead to the same moral hazard — attracting further illegal immigration — as every previous amnesty in the U.S. and Europe. Nothing of consequence to an intending illegal alien distinguishes the “probationary status” that will be granted upon payment of a fine and back taxes from full-fledged legal status. It is of no import that a probationer will not be immediately eligible to vote. After the 1986 amnesty, very few newly legal Hispanics sought to become American citizens. Only Proposition 187 spurred a slight uptick in that direction.
No intending illegal alien is going to be deterred from trying to enter by learning that the only thing that stands between him and legal status is paying a fine and taxes. Kaus’s point here is critical: Far from making illegal aliens go to the “back of the line,” this proposal gives them the immeasurable advantage of legal presence in the U.S. while waiting for their green card, unlike aliens obeying the law and waiting in their own country for permission to enter.
Go ahead and read Mickey Kaus’ The Rubio Con and Mark Krikorian’s Lies, Damn Lies and Enforcement Promises.
This proposal will do NOTHING to either solve the burdens of illegal immigration on the United States or prevent illegal immigration in the future. It will merely cynically codify the illegality of over 11 million people who have NO right to be in the United States.
Political demographics drives the narrative – Democrats want more Hispanic voters and the Republicans THINK they can capture some – enough to win a Presidential election.
This is a poor way to set public policy.
I will write more later…..
Video: Immigration Officials Describe Chaos with Obama “Dreamer” Immigration Policy
A pretty sad immigration commentary after the Congress refused to pass The Dream Act.
If this were not an election year, I would think Obama’s immigration policy would be enjoined in the courts and the President facing impeachment.
Let’s just make sure that Obama is not re-elected.
President 2012: Obama Shores Up His Support Among Hispanic Voters By Deporting Illegal Immigrants By “Priority”
Immigrant rights groups and community members call in Los Angeles Monday, Aug. 15, 2011, for an end to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Secure Communities program, which was created in 2008 and calls for police to submit suspects’ fingerprints to DHS so they can be cross-checked with federal deportation orders
In a blatant display of pandering to Hispanic voters, President Obama has used his executive authority to thwart the will of Congress and federal law.
Bowing to pressure from immigrant rights activists, the Obama administration said Thursday that it will halt deportation proceedings on a case-by-case basis against illegal immigrants who meet certain criteria, such as attending school, having family in the military or having primary responsible for other family members care.
The move marks a major step for President Obama, who for months has said he does not have broad categorical authority to halt deportations and said he must follow the laws as Congress has written them.
But in letters to Congress on Thursday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said she does have discretion to focus on priorities and that her department and the Justice Department will review all ongoing cases to see who meets the new criteria.
This case-by-case approach will enhance public safety, she said. Immigration judges will be able to more swiftly adjudicate high-priority cases, such as those involving convicted felons.
The move won immediate praise from Hispanic activists and Democrats who had strenuously argued with the administration that it did have authority to take these actions, and said as long as Congress is deadlocked on the issue, it was up to Mr. Obama to act.
Sounds like a revised “Dream Act” to me. Remember this was the law that was denied passage last December.
The Obama administration announced Thursday that undocumented students and other low-priority immigration offenders would not be targeted for deportation under enforcement programs.
The announcement marks further steps to stop the deportation of people it considers “low-priority” immigrants like so-called Dream Act-eligible students and those with long-standing family ties in the country. These eligible students are those who were illegally brought to the U.S. as children by their parents.
The move means that those who are in deportation proceedings will have their cases reviewed and, if they are set aside as low-priority, could possibly be given work permits. Low-priority individuals will also be less likely to end up in deportation proceedings in the first place, officials said.
In a way this is a backdoor illegal alien amnesty by executive “triage.”
The top House Republican on the Judiciary Committee said the move is part of a White House plan to grant backdoor amnesty to illegal immigrants.
The Obama administration should enforce immigration laws, not look for ways to ignore them, said Rep. Lamar Smith, Texas Republican. The Obama administration should not pick and choose which laws to enforce. Administration officials should remember the oath of office they took to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the land.
There will probably be some lawsuits over this matter, but in the end the courts will decide this is within the discretion of the Homeland Security Department which is under the executive control of the President.
But, now, the political heat and fall out will be a different story.
Farmers Opposing GOP Sponsored E-Verify Legislation
Mexican-American farm workers harvest broccoli March 12, 2009 near El Centro, California
This is NOT really a shocker.
Farmers across the country are rallying to fight a Republican-sponsored bill that would force them and all other employers to verify the legal immigration status of their workers, a move some say could imperil not only future harvests but also the agricultural community’s traditional support for conservative candidates.
The bill was proposed by Representative Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican who is the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. It would require farmers — who have long relied on a labor force of immigrants, a majority here without legal documents — to check all new hires through E-Verify, a federal database run by the Department of Homeland Security devised to ferret out illegal immigrants.
Farm laborers, required like other workers to show that they are authorized to take jobs in the United States, often present Social Security numbers and some form of picture ID. Employers, many of them labor contractors providing crews to farms, have not been required to check the information and are discouraged by antidiscrimination laws from looking at it too closely. But it is an open secret that many farmworkers’ documents are false.
Supporters of E-Verify, an electronic system that is currently mandatory for most federal contractors but voluntary for other employers, argue that it would eliminate any doubt about workers’ legal status. But farmers say it could cripple a $390 billion industry that relies on hundreds of thousands of willing, low-wage immigrant workers to pick, sort and package everything from avocados to zucchini.
“This would be an emergency, a dire, dire situation,” said Nancy Foster, president of the U.S. Apple Association, adding that the prospect of an E-Verify check would most likely mean that many immigrant workers would simply not show up. “We will end up closing down.”
You know, California agricultural interests have been getting a subsidized ride for decades in using illegal immigrations, primarily from Mexico, for harvesting their crops. Crops which pay them BIG MONEY.
Here is how it works.
The illegal immigrations who are migrant and with no papers are allowed to use either forged “Green Card” documents or NO documents in order to work in the fields for below market wages or at least really low wages for back-breaking hard manual labor. They receive in some cases housing and very little in the way of employee benefits that most of us receive. This all to the benefit of the wealth land owners and often corporate agricutural interests.
They can sell their crops for a cheaper price but, of course, their profit is good – very good.
When these illegal folks need health care or education for their children (who are born here as American citizens), the government provides them – not the employer.
In a May letter to the members of the Judiciary Committee, Bob Stallman, the president of the American Farm Bureau, cited a Labor Department survey placing the percentage of illegal workers in the fields at more than 50 percent. Other groups say the figure is closer to 70 percent. Denying farmers that labor supply, Mr. Stallman wrote, would cost them $5 billion to $9 billion annually.
Mr. Smith’s bill has attracted more solid support from nonagricultural business leaders, opening a divide between them and agricultural interests. Many nonfarm businesses have concluded that some form of employee verification is inevitable.
National organizations of restaurant owners and home builders gave their backing. The San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which unites Latino businesses in Mr. Smith’s district that have often been at odds with him, is leaning toward endorsing the bill, said Ramiro A. Cavazos, the president of the chamber.
It is time for the Congress to pass E-Verify and end the BIG subsidy to the agricultural interests. If they cannot staff their fields with LEGAL workers, then they have some remedies.
One remedy would be increased mechanism and efficiency in the fields. Maybe if illegal immigrants did not work in the fields at such low wages, the AG interests would invest in machines to do the harvesting without the back-breaking labor.
Also, the Agricultural folks could seek Guest-Worker legislation in the Congress that identifies and returns workers to their country of origin after a period of time of working in the United States. Costs associated by these workers would be paid up front by the AG interests. Children born of these workers in the United States would NOT be considered native born citizens (although there might be a time consuming Constituional issue here) and would have to return with their parents after a period of time.
The prospects of a E-Verify mandate passing in the House this year is good. In the Democrat controlled Senate, not so good and I am positive President Obama would veto the legislation anyway.
Then, there is the pressure from the AG interests on the Republicans.
Mr. Smith’s E-Verify bill also includes a three-year grace period before growers would have to comply. But such caveats have done little to quell opposition from farm groups, who have been pleading for years for an overhaul to allow a legal immigrant work force.
And that discontent could manifest itself in elections, farm representatives warn.
“Most of our folks are Republicans,” said Paul Wenger, the president of the California Farm Bureau. “But if the Republicans do this to them without a workable worker program, it will change their voting patterns or at very least their involvement in politics.”
Democrat and Republican Members of Congress have turned a blind eye to illegal immigration and agriculture for decades, since before World War II. Money talks in politics and the AG folks spread their money around and have donated a lot to Republicans.
But, American voters understand that these farming companies are prospering to the detriment of the taxpayer and we now have huge social/financial costs dealing with the generations of illegal immigrants that have been allowed to come into this country.
The time to enforce immigration law is long past.
Unfortunately, it will not occur with mandatory E-Verify until after the 2012 Presidential election or even 2016, if Obama is re-elected President.
Poll Watch: 53% Say It Is Extremely Important To Halt the Flow of Illegal Immigrants Into the United States
According to the latest Gallup Poll.
More than half of Americans — 53% — say the need for government action this year to halt the flow of illegal immigrants at the borders is “extremely important,” the first time a majority have held this view in the four times Gallup has asked this question since 2006. Another 29% call it “very important” and 12% “moderately important,” while 7% say it is “not that important.”
The new results from a June 9-12 Gallup poll show an 11-point increase since May 2010 in the percentage rating the issue extremely important. This increase is seen about equally among various gender, race, age, and political party groups, as well as by region of the country.
Concern is slightly higher among men than women, among whites than nonwhites, and among older than among younger Americans. However, the biggest difference is seen by party, with 68% of Republicans rating border control extremely important, compared with 42% of Democrats.
And, what about the illegal immigrants who are already in the United States? There is a greater urgency to resolve the problem.
Here is the graph:
Plus, American continue to favor border control and a plan to halt the flow of illegal immigration rather than developing a plan for those illegal immigrants already here.
Most Americans favor allowing illegal immigrants who have worked and lived in the United States for years, to apply for citizenship under certain conditions. Or, in other words favor a path to citizenship rather than deportation.
In 2006, former president George W. Bush articulated his support for policies that would allow illegal immigrants already working in this country to apply for citizenship under certain conditions, and 61% of Americans agreed with him at that time. Despite the repeated failure of such bills to make it through Congress, nearly two-thirds of Americans, 64%, continue to support the proposal.
Additionally, 13% would allow illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S. for a limited time in order to work, while 21% favor deportation.
Majorities of Americans across all major subgroups favor creating a path for current illegal immigrants to become citizens, including 56% of Republicans, 62% of independents, and 76% of Democrats. Support is slightly higher in the West (at 70%) than in the South (59%), with support in the East (62%) and Midwest (65%) similar to the national average.
So, what are the implications?
Border control garners the majority of the support versus comprehensive immigration reform. The common GOP line on illegal immigration has been border control first. Then when it is working and can be certified by the Governors of border states with Mexico that it is, then and only then start talking about a plan to deal with the millions of illegal immigrants already here.
I think it is also realistic to believe that going into the Presidential election year, there will be little movement on this issue.
Should a Republican President be elected in 2012 or the GOP takes control of the United States Senate, there may be a bill that emerges. But, if not, the issue will linger and the status quo will remain.
California Bill Could Make Fourth State to Reject a Federal Immigration Fingerprint Check ProgramGreat! First the United States Supreme Court orders California to release felons from prisons to relieve overcrowding and now illegal immigration activists in California are pushing a bill to remove California from the federal Secure Communities program.
California could become the fourth state to remove itself from a controversial federal immigration fingerprint check program, following recent moves by the governors of Massachusetts, New York and Illinois.
The state Senate’s Public Safety Committee has scheduled a hearing next week to consider AB 1081.
The measure would remove California’s 58 counties from the Secure Communities program, which uses biometric data from arrestees in local jails to search for illegal immigrants. Each county would then be free to negotiate its own terms for participating in federal immigration checks.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials contend that local agencies are required to participate in Secure Communities. City and county law enforcement officials send arrestees’ fingerprints electronically to federal immigration agents, then hold identified illegal immigrants until ICE can pick them up.
ICE had taken custody of nearly 72,000 people from California county jails in the past two years, through February. Federal data shows that a third of those illegal immigrants previously had been convicted of a serious offense. However, 28 percent of those booked through Secure Communities had no prior criminal record.
Either you enforce the immigration laws or you change them, but do not ignore them like some “sanctuary cities” in California do. Here is another case where left-wing politicos in San Francisco, a sanctuary city/county for illegal aliens want to ignore federal law. As Attorney General Jerry Brown blocked the San Francisco sheriff from opting out of the immigration program. He argued that the Secure Communities program is not voluntary.
Brown should veto this bill.
Poll Watch: 61% Favor State Legislation Shutting Down Businesses Who Chronically Hire Illegal Immigrants
According to the latest Rasmussen Poll.
The U.S. Supreme Court late last week upheld the legality of an Arizona law cracking down on employers who hire illegal immigrants, and most voters support having a similar law in their own state.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 61% of Likely U.S. Voters favor a law in their state that would shut down companies that knowingly and repeatedly hire illegal immigrants. Just 21% oppose such a law, and another 18% are undecided.
Eighty-two percent (82%) think businesses should be required to use the federal government’s E-Verify system to determine if a potential employee is in the country legally. Twelve percent (12%) disagree and oppose such a requirement.
Sixty-three percent (63%) of voters also feel that landlords should be required to check and make sure a potential renter is in the country legally before renting them an apartment. Twenty-eight percent (28%) do not believe landlords should be required to make such checks.
E-Verify and enforcement against businesses who are repeat offenders will end some of the employment magnet.for illegal immigrants, particularly from Mexico. There is no reason why these businesses should be avoiding their burden of complying with immigration law.
The Congress should immediately require E-verify for all employment, in place of the I-9 requirement. If not, then the states should implement the program and pass laws to more stringently punish employers for repeatedly violating the law.
Now, whether the states will take it upon themselves to do it, is another matter. I cannot forsee California ever passing such legistation. The agriculture lobby in Sacramento is too strong.
U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Arizona Illegal Immigrant Hiring LawThe ruling came down from SCOTUS this morning.
The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld an Arizona law that harshly penalizes businesses for knowingly hiring illegal immigrants.
In a ruling that could exert pressure on Congress and other states, the court in what amounts to a 5-3 decision declared that Arizona’s law fits within the state’s powers and does not infringe on federal turf. .
“Arizona hopes that its law will result in more effective enforcement of the prohibition on employing unauthorized aliens,” Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr. wrote, adding that “the Arizona regulation does not otherwise conflict with federal law.”
The highly anticipated decision keeps intact the 2007 Legal Arizona Workers Act. Employers could have their business licenses suspended or revoked for hiring illegal immigrants, under the law.
The law also requires Arizona employers to use a federal program called E-Verify to check the immigration status of potential workers. Justices likewise upheld this provision, with Robert calling it “entirely consistent” with federal law.
The decision affirms the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which had likewise upheld the state law. It is a defeat for the politically powerful U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Obama administration, both of which had opposed the Arizona law.
Now, the House needs to get busy in mandating E-Verify for all employment in the United States. Big corporate business have been dumping their employment problems on American taxpayers for decades and it is time to stop.
Want to bet that with E-Verify, there will be more jobs available for legal resident Americans?
And, if the Congress, does not act or President Obama vetoes the legislation, then the states should take up the issue and pass their own laws.
Illegal Immigration Myths: Jobs Americans Won’t Do
Mark Krikorian explores the myths over at National Review.
I appreciate Prof. Codevilla’s responding last week to my response to his article on the futility of border controls in the Claremont Review of Books (the original article now appears to be online). (…)
I’ll address several other misconceptions in his article below the fold.
Jobs Americans won’t do: At the center of Prof. Codevilla’s jeremiad is the hoary claim that there just aren’t enough Americans suited to do the hard work our society needs to function, and therefore Mexican workers are necessary to fill the vacuum.
Simply as a matter of numbers, this is incorrect. There are perhaps 7 million illegal aliens in the labor force (the other four million or so don’t work), but there are three times that many native-born Americans of working age, with no more than a high-school education, who aren’t even in the labor force. And this doesn’t count those who are unemployed (i.e., actually looking for work) or underemployed (for instance, they have a part-time job but want a full-time one).
What’s more, a detailed look at immigrants by occupation shows that virtually every occupation contains a majority of native-born workers. Some examples:
- Maids and housekeepers: 55 percent native-born
- Taxi drivers and chauffeurs: 58 percent native-born
- Butchers and meat processors: 63 percent native-born
- Grounds maintenance workers: 65 percent native-born
- Construction laborers: 65 percent native-born
- Porters, bellhops, and concierges: 71 percent native-born
- Janitors: 75 percent native-born
How can an occupation be described as “a job Americans won’t do” when most people who do it are, in fact, native-born Americans?
Nor is this just the tail end of some better time, with Americans represented by aging holdovers still willing to do blue-collar work; fully one-third of the native-born in high-immigrant occupations are under 30.
What’s more, the presence of large-scale immigration appears to exacerbate the exodus of Americans from blue-collar occupations. One of my colleagues frequently drives from Washington to central Pennsylvania and notes that it’s remarkable how, as you leave the immigrant-heavy Washington area, the fast food places at each subsequent interchange seem to somehow find a larger and larger share of American kids able to flip burgers.
The data on teen employment bear this out. While it is true that labor force participation for teenagers — the “swarms of youth in malls and campuses” Prof. Codevilla sniffs at — has been declining across all ethnic groups and levels of education, immigration accelerates the process. My colleague Steven Camarota has estimated that “On average, a 10 percentage-point increase in the immigrant share of the labor force reduces the labor force participation rate of U.S.-born teenagers by 5.79 percentage points in 1994-95 and 4.57 percentage points in 2006-07.” More immigrants means fewer teenagers working.
Read all of the rest and the destruction of the other myths.
Rep. Elton Gallegly to President Obama: Illegal Alien Amnesty Will NOT Pass the Congress
California Congressman Elton Gallegly (R-Simi Valley)This is my Congressman’s response to President Obama’s MEGA-PANDER to Hispanics along the Texas-Mexican border today.
From the press release:
U.S. Rep. Elton Gallegly, (R-CA), Chairman of the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement, issued the following statement on President Obama’s call today for Congress to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants:
“Providing a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, as the President called for again today, without requiring illegal immigrants to return to their countries of origin and apply for legal status, is amnesty.
“Amnesty will not pass Congress, Mr. President. It is unfair to the 26 million American workers who are unemployed or underemployed and it is unfair to those who are waiting to legally immigrate to the United States.
“Conservatively, seven million people are working in the United States illegally. Instead of focusing on creating jobs and getting 26 million Americans back to work, the President’ proposal would give millions of illegal immigrants the opportunity to work legally in the United States, attract more illegal immigrants looking for the same opportunity, and take more jobs from American workers.”
My Man, Elton!
I could not have said it better myself.