Elites in the permanent political class are on the retreat, and no issue reflects that more than amnesty legislation. Not surprisingly, amnesty represents the divide between the Masters of the Universe in the bipartisan permanent political class and American workers.
For nearly thirty years, American workers have held the line on amnesty. As Michael Lind notes in Politico Magazine, which is one of the favored publications of the permanent political class, Obama’s recent executive amnesty delay was another “massive defeat for America’s elite consensus” and exemplified how when the public is presented with facts, they strongly come out against “the set of policies that establishment Republicans, centrist Democrats, and independents” in the permanent political class “tend to agree on.”
This “billionaire consensus,” he notes, “is shared by most corporate managers and many if not most editors and political commentators, regardless of party affiliation.” And he observes that Republican pundits “can break ranks” and get affirmation among these elites “by supporting increases in legal immigration as well as legal status for most illegal immigrants resident in the United States.”
But “billionaires and their allies are getting nowhere,” as, “to the horror of wealthy donors, corporate managers and the editorial pages of prestige publications,” massive amnesty bills, along with Social Security cuts and Common Core programs, have been defeated over and over again. Lind observes:
If the billionaires had any say, then comprehensive immigration reform of some kind would have granted a path to legal status for most illegal immigrants, while at the same time greatly expanding categories of legal immigrants, including both low-wage and high-skill guest workers. But having the support of bipartisan members of the financial, corporate and journalistic establishment–or for that matter famous business titans with very deep pockets–is not enough to get a policy through Congress, especially in economically tough times like these.
Lind, the conservative-turned-liberal scholar, mentions that “bipartisan elite support did not prevent comprehensive immigration reform from failing in 2007, despite the backing of a Republican White House, nor did it prevent the DREAM act from being voted down in 2010, despite the backing of a Democratic White House. The Democrat-controlled Senate voted for a newer version of comprehensive immigration reform in 2013, but it is bottled up in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.”
Since the amnesty debate in 2013, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), with the help of conservative new media, has relentlessly–and sometimes alone–sought to present the American public with facts about the immigration bill. He and his tireless staff discovered that the amnesty bill would not increase border security; it would nearly double–and possibly even triple–the number of guest-worker visas that are awarded; and it would possibly admit another 30 million more immigrants when wages for American workers are stagnating. When Americans learned what was in the bill, they revolted, preventing the House from taking up the measure even though the Republican leadership wanted to pass various immigration bills.
Lind mentioned Sessions’ “Masters of the Universe” speech last week in which he “denounced tech-industry executives who seek to increase” guest-worker visas while laying off American workers. After Sessions suggested that Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg “hire some of the 18,000 American workers recently laid off by Microsoft,” Facebook board member Marc Andreessen went ballistic, calling Sessions an “odious hack” who was “clinically insane” for supporting American workers over foreigners.
Perhaps Andreessen was privy to some information that the rest of us did not have because days after his rant, the president of Zuckerberg’s pro-amnesty FWD.us group got canned for failing to move the ball on amnesty legislation.
“So I have a message today to all the special interests, the global elites, the activists, and the cynical vote-counting political plotters that are meeting in secret at the White House,” Sessions said last week on the Senate floor. “And the message is this: you don’t get to sit in a room and rewrite the laws of this country. Congress writes the laws. You may not be used to people telling you ‘no,’ but I’m telling you ‘no’ today.”
He also spoke clearly to the American people the permanent political class often treats with contempt:
I also have a message for the American people: you have been right from the beginning. You have justly demanded that our borders be controlled, our laws enforced, and that, at long last, immigration policy serve the needs of our own people first. For this virtuous demand, you have been demeaned, even scorned by the governing class. They know so much, this cosmopolitan elite. They want you to believe your concerns are somehow illegitimate. That you are wrong for being worried about your jobs, or your schools, or your hospitals, or your communities, or your national security. These elite citizens of the world speak often of their concern for people living in poverty overseas, yet turn a blind eye to the poverty and suffering in their own country. They don’t want you to speak up. They don’t want you to be heard. They don’t want you to feel you have a voice. But you do have a voice. And your message is being heard. And I am delivering that message to the Senate today.
Months earlier, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin said that “average American workers – native-born and wonderful legal immigrants of all races, backgrounds, and political parties – do care” about Obama’s lawlessness on immigration, “because we’re the ones getting screwed as we’re forced to follow all our government’s rules while others are not required to do so.”
“Many now feel like strangers in their own land,” she wrote on the pages of Breitbart News while calling for Obama’s impeachment for his potential executive amnesty. “It’s the American worker who is forced to deal with Obama’s latest crisis with our hard-earned tax dollars while middle class wages decrease, sustainable jobs get more scarce, and communities become unrecognizable and bankrupted due to Obama’s flood of illegal immigration.” She asked, “Who’s looking out for the American workers? Who has their backs? Who fights for them?”
Lind notes that this “rejection of the elite consensus in favor of greater immigration is not limited to Republicans.” He cites a June 2014 Gallup poll in which “Americans who favor decreasing immigration–41 percent–outnumber those who favor increasing immigration–22 percent–by nearly two to one” and “even among Democrats, more respondents want to reduce immigration (32 percent) or keep it at the same levels (37 percent) than wish to increase the number of immigrants (27 percent).”
National polling has found that 63% of Americans disapprove of work permits for illegal immigrants and a plurality say they are less likely to vote for candidates who support a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants. And a Polling Company poll, as Breitbart News reported, found that “half of Americans age 65 and over” and 46% of Midwesterners “support a zero immigration policy.” In addition, “independents (47%) were more likely than Republicans (40%) or Democrats (37%) to want zero new immigrants allowed into the country” while “an overwhelming 90% of likely voters felt that U.S.- born workers and legal immigrants already here should get first preference for jobs.”
“At this point in history, there is less of a basis than ever for establishment conviction that a combination of some sort of amnesty for illegal immigrants combined with massive expansions of both low-wage and high-skill guest-worker programs just has to pass Congress,” Lind writes, before noting that “comprehensive, nonpartisan and technocratic” policies appeal to “elites in business, the press and the academy” but is “appalling to the masses.”
Unfortunately for the elites, though “members of the economic and educational elite have multiple ways to influence public policy–by donations, by philanthropy, by access to prestige media,” but ordinary citizens still have the vote and final say in a democracy. Lind notes the revolt against the ruling and permanent political class on issues like massive amnesty legislation is “producing the modern-day equivalent of peasants with pitch-forks–that is, a strong populist base–with staying power in each party.” He observes that policies like amnesty, Common Core, and Social Security cuts for the elderly are reviled even more when rich one percenters are “calling for sacrifice.”
On amnesty legislation, American workers of all backgrounds understand that illegal immigration detrimentally impacts their wages and jobs, and that is why they have revolted each time Congress has considered sweeping amnesty bills. The so-called bipartisan permanent political class will keep trying to pass amnesty legislation against the wishes of the public. They have already spent an estimated $1.5 billion during the last decade to get a comprehensive amnesty bill. But the increasing clout and reach of new media outlets will make each attempt a bit more difficult.