Scalise: GOP Leaders Are Freezing Amnesty Discharge-Petition

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GOP House Whip Steve Scalise said Tuesday that GOP leaders’ backroom talks would help keep a breakaway group of GOP legislators from reaching their 25-signature target on the amnesty discharge-petition.

“I’m very hopeful that won’t happen tonight,” he said at a June 12 event hosted by Politico. He added:

I don’t think they’re going to get a discharge position. You just saw [Florida GOP Rep.] Dennis Ross come out saying he won’t sign the discharge petition. I know I talked, as well as other members of our leadership team, talked to Dennis about his concerns and I think it was important he and others that we’ve spoken to, that were going to sign, ultimately didn’t sign the discharge petition.

Ross’s exit leaves the discharge group with few possible signatories, such as Rep. Dan Newhouse in Washington State. He is a farmer who has pushed the GOP to expand guest-worker programs to help supply more cheap labor to dairy farms and apple orchards.

FWD.us, a pro-immigration lobbying group for Silicon Valley investors, urged DACA supporters to call Newhouse’s office to persuade him to sign the petition.

If the GOP group gets 25 GOP signatures on the petition by the evening of June 11, they will be in a position to ally with Democrats on June 23 to push a no-strings amnesty through the House. If backed by the Senate and signed by the President, that plan would quickly expand the legal labor supply by more than one million workers.

Scalise portrayed the issue as a border-security problem caused by former President Barack Obama:

This problem … was created by Barack Obama. Remember Barack Obama is one who said ‘Come to America illegally, bring your kids to America illegally. We’re not going to try to solve the problem, just look the other way and let someone else fix it.’ Now we are trying to fix it.

But that portrayal hides the growing pressure from GOP donors for a boost in the labor supply to deflate growing pressure for pre-election wage raises.

President Donald Trump’s four pillars of immigration reform would go the opposite direction. It would gradually raise wages and boost investment in labor-saving machinery by reducing the inflow of chain-migration immigrants and by walling off the supply of cheap illegal labor from south of Texas. That pro-American policy is popular among voters, partly because it is already helping to nudge up wages.

Yet Scalise suggested that GOP leaders see large-scale immigration as a big political problem for the GOP’s future as he sketched the leaders’ draft combination of reform and a cheap-labor amnesty. He said:

If you look at our conference … in the House, immigration probably has been one of the most divisive issues, meaning that we have a lot of [views]. I’m a cosponsor of the Goodlatte-McCaul [immigration reform] bill. I think that’s the right approach to secure the border, to fund the wall, to address a lot of the loopholes and then to solve the DACA problem. But clearly, we have some members on the other side of that issue, especially as it relates to DACA. And so we’ve been having a kind of a cross-section of all of those numbers in meetings for the last few weeks and making a lot of headway …

In comments echoing Rep. Jim Jordan’s June 8 interview on C-SPAN, Scalise continued:

What we want to do is get a real agreement that secures the border. If you go back to 1986, a lot of people harken back to the last big immigration agreement. [In] 1986, they give amnesty with the promise of border security and the border security never came.  Let’s actually get the border security up front. There seems to be broad agreement that we should secure the border, so why not go and do it and then address these other problems.

A lot of the [border] loopholes that are out there, there is wide agreement on. A good example is Homeland Security Secretary [Kirstjen] Nielsen has talked about this. If someone comes to America illegally and then commits a felony in America, serve their time, when they get out of jail depending on which country they’re from, if she wants to send them back to their country, she has to call and get an agreement that the country will take them back: ‘Hey, I have a felon that just came out of prison, will you take them back?’ Surprisingly the answer is usually no, so they have to stay in the United States. That’s a ridiculous policy. Why don’t we fix that? In our bill, we’re working on fixing those kinds of problems.

Scalise’s description did not include any planned cuts to extended-family chain-migration, which reformers say is the most important reform in Trump’s plan.

However, the economic angle pushed its way into the Scalise interview when the Politico reporters asked about the farm bill.

“The farm bill itself wasn’t where the problem was and clearly the farm bill got pulled into the immigration debate,” said Scalise, who then acknowledged that the farm bill cuts food-stamp funding to help pressure more non-working Americans to look for jobs. He said:

The farm bill is really good policy and especially we put some new work requirements in place, and especially when you look at the way the economy is growing. More and more companies — [the] Wall Street Journal last week was reporting there are more job openings today than there are people looking for jobs. That’s a great remarkable success story but at the same time, why are we paying people that are able-bodied not to work when there are companies that are looking to hire? So the work requirements in the farm bill are really important for the economy. President trump wants that too. Let’s get the farm bill passed [but] we have to work through the immigration issues first. I think we will get there soon.

The economic issue is driving the amnesty debate in the House because business donors and advocates for discharge petition oppose Trump’s plan to reduce legal immigration.

“Our goal is to not cut legal immigration,” said the leading advocate for the discharge petition, Rep. Carlos Curbelo told RollCall.com on June 8. Also, the number of illegals who get green cards from the amnesty should be “as high a number as possible,” he said. The number of young illegal immigrants in the United States is estimated at up to 3.6 million.

The discharge-petition Republicans are backed by major GOP donors amid growing worries that the donors’ special interest may wreck the GOP’s broader interests — the electoral base of the GOP and the prosperity of white-collar and blue-collar Americans.

Curbelo’s donors include some of the Florida millionaires who have threatened to cut off donations until Ryan approves an amnesty. For example, Mike Fernandez’s MBF Healthcare Partners has donated $10,800 to Curbelo in the 2018 cycle. Fernandez’s pro-amnesty group frankly states that it wants more migrants to serve as consumers and workers:

ABIC promotes sensible immigration reform that supports the economy of the United States, provides American companies with both the high-skilled and low-skilled talent they need, and allows the integration of immigrants into our economy as consumers, workers, entrepreneurs and citizens.

A large proportion of the discharge-amnesty group is composed of GOP legislators from agriculture districts where cash-poor farmers and dairy farmers cannot easily replace the legal and illegal workers who leave the farm for better-paying jobs in town. The problem is tougher for farmers near Democratic-controlled cities, such as New York, where officials tout their determination to block the enforcement of immigration laws.

Politico reported June 11 that Ross has decided not to sign the petition because GOP leaders offered to schedule a vote on a bill that would provide more foreign workers to local employers:

“I’m probably going to take myself off the [discharge petition] watch list,” Ross said in a brief interview. A guest worker program for immigrants employed in agriculture and construction and the like “has been my big issue. We need to have labor. We’re in a negative population growth in the United States … Where we going to find people to do these jobs?”

Amnesty advocates use business-funded pollsters to conduct “Nation of Immigrants” push-polls which show apparent voter-support for DACA amnesty, for immigration, and immigrants. Those pollsters also push their clients’ preferences when they advise their political clients.

But “Choice” polls reveal most voters’ often-ignored strong preference that CEOs should hire Americans at decent wages before hiring migrants. Those pro-American preferences are held by many blue-collar Blacks, Latinos, and by people who hide their opinions from pollsters.

Similarly, the 2018 polls show that GOP voters are far more concerned about migration — more properly, the economics of migration — than they are concerned about illegal migration and MS-13, taxes, or the return of Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

Four million Americans turn 18 each year and begin looking for good jobs in the free market — but the government provides green cards to roughly 1 million legal immigrants and temporary work-permits to roughly 3 million foreign workers.

The Washington-imposed economic policy of economic growth via mass-immigration shifts wealth from young people towards older people by flooding the market with foreign labor. That process spikes profits and Wall Street values by cutting salaries for manual and skilled labor offered by blue-collar and white-collar employees. The policy also drives up real estate priceswidens wealth-gaps, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, hurts kids’ schools and college education, pushes Americans away from high-tech careers, and sidelines at least 5 million marginalized Americans and their families, including many who are now struggling with opioid addictions.

 

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