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GOP Senators: Illegals Are Beneficial, Amnesty Is Not Amnesty

Illegal immigrants are good for the U.S. economy, GOP Sen. James Lankford said today while he introduced a multi-stage amnesty for many young illegal immigrants, including the 690,000 illegals covered under the expiring “DACA” amnesty.

Lankford and GOP Sen. Thom Tillis were asked by a reporter on September 25 if their amnesty legislation would allow illegal immigrants to compete against Americans for jobs, and Lankford answered:

The job issue is an interesting issue, because those individuals are already in the job market. Many of these DACA students are actually DACA young adults, they already have access to the job market right now because they’ve been given deferred action. So they are in higher education, they are in the job market, they are currently a part of our economy, currently. That continual competition in our economy doesn’t hurt us, that continues to help us. It actually hurts us to put those individuals out of the economy.

Cheap-labor immigration inflates the economy with more consumers and workers. It also cuts roughly 5.2 percent from Americans’ wages and salaries — or roughly $500 billion each year — and transfers the funds to company owners and investors, according to a September 2016 report by the National Academies of Sciences.

Cheap-labor immigration also drags down high-tech investment, drives up Americans’ housing costs, and steers business investment away from distressed areas, including many places in Oklahoma and North Carolina. For example, 36 percent of zip codes in North Carolina had fewer jobs or businesses in 2015 than in 2000, according to a new report by the Economic Innovation Group. In Oklahoma, 22 percent of zip codes had fewer jobs and businesses in 2015 compared to 2000, which was a two-decade period of massive cheap-labor immigration.

Tillis — who is a strong advocate for business’ greater use of foreign workers — declined to answer the workplace competition question and instead offered to subsequently provide information to the reporter.

The Succeed bill would allow illegals who say they entered the country younger than 16 by mid-2012 to apply for citizenship. The authors say the bill would cover up to 1 million people, but recent estimates by the Migration Policy Institute say that roughly 3.3 million younger illegals meet the ‘dreamer’ age and date-of-entry requirements. That inflow is equivalent to three new foreigners for every four Americans born in 2017.

In comparison to the Democrats’ fast-track Dream Act, the two Senators’ bill would help GOP politicians by delaying citizenship for Democratic-boosting illegals. But it would immediately provide business groups with millions of illegal-immigrant consumers and workers, and also deny President Trump the political leverage he needs to win passage of the popular RAISE Act which would raise Americans’ income by trimming the inflow of cheap foreign workers.

Both Senators also denied their amnesty is an amnesty, even though it would allow the illegal migrants to compete for jobs and education slots in the United States, full access to welfare and aid programs, and also citizenship. That immediate residency — not voting rights — is the primary goal of the many millions of foreigners who sneak into the country illegally, and of the 138 million people who would like to migrant into the United States.

Tillis denied his legislation is an amnesty, saying:

This is a path, that admittedly, at some point, allows someone to go through the naturalization process. But we think that it is a balanced resolution to a vexing problem that has not been solved for 30 years, and we’ll have to take the hits. We’ll take the hits on the far left for saying you’re not getting them to citizenship soon enough, and you’ll take it on the far right, for saying you’ve ever going the opportunity to pursue citizenship, after they’ve done all that is required for them to continue to have the protected status that is in this bill.

Lankford argued:

This is not an amnesty bill where we take those individuals and just say, ‘We’re going to give you a quick route to citizenship and just ignore the realities of what happened coming in.’

The balancing act that we really want to make here is we didn’t want to ever basically encourage future illegal activity and tell [illegal immigrant] adults ‘Bring children with you, and you get special recognition, you  get special path in, if you bring children if with you when you commit an illegal act. I don’t want to rewards the adults for bringing a child with them when they did it, but I also want to recognize for those children, they were children, many of them two or three years old when they came. They have grown up in this country,  they know no other place. So it is a reasonable option for us to be able to say ‘Let’s take those kids, that had no other option, that came with other adults that brought them illegally, put them in line, not force them to return back to home country, but put them in line here, the only country they’ve known, allow them to be in that line and to be able to get there.’ [That is] an almost identical length of time if they had come from Mexico or Guatemala or Honduras and they started the line there. It would take 15 years to 18 years if they had started there. We’re just allowing them to start the line here.

But the illegals benefit by ‘starting the line’ while they are living in the United States, even as millions of would-be legal immigrants are stuck in their home countries. The bill would also allow the naturalized migrants to sponsor their own parents — and various relatives — for green cards and citizenship. That provision would reward the parents who brought their children into the United States.

The two Senators’ rejection of the amnesty term is a reflection of an extensive behind-the-scenes effort by pollsters to pick soft words which might mollify deep Americans’ opposition to cheap-labor amnesty. 

The two Senators also describe their legislation as a merit-immigration bill because it defines “merit” as working nine months out of the year, even at minimum wage. That low bar would help farm-economy employers in Oklahoma and North Carolina, and it is very different from Trump’s RAISE Act. The RAISE would allocate immigration cards to the skilled foreigners who are most likely to raise Americans’ productivity and wages.

The Lankford bill is supported by the libertarian Niskanen Center in D.C. “We’d expect that the Tillis/Lankford solution would have, conservatively, a small but positive effect on native-born wages,” said Jeremy Neufeld, an immigration expert. “It’s probably higher because it doesn’t just keep the labor force from contracting but also raises average human capital per worker,” he added.

The amnesty bill does not include measures to repatriate the illegals who do not meet the bill’s requirement that illegals compete with Americans for jobs, college places of military slots. Nor does it impose any penalties on the parents who brought their children into the United States. It does not include any security provisions, such as a border wall, but Tillis said he would like to combine his measure with a weak border-security bill developed by Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn.

Utah GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch joined Tillis and Lankford, saying he supports the legislation. Hatch is also a repeated sponsor of the so-called Immigration Innovation bill, dubbed I-Squared. That legislation would an unlimited number of foreign college-grads to compete for white-collar jobs sought by each year’s cohort of 800,000 skilled American college graduates.

Four million Americans turn 18 each year and begin looking for good jobs. However, the government imports roughly 1 million legal immigrants to compete against Americans for jobs.

The government also hands out almost 3 million short-term work permits to foreign workers. These permits include roughly 330,000 one-year OPT permits for foreign graduates of U.S. colleges, roughly 200,000 three-year H-1B visas for foreign white-collar professionals, and 400,000 two-year permits to DACA illegals.

That Washington-imposed policy of mass-immigration stimulates the economy with foreign consumers and workersspikes profits and Wall Street values by cutting salaries for manual and skilled labor offered by blue-collar and white-collar employees. It 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.

The vast majority of Americans tell pollsters that they strongly oppose amnesties and cheap-labor immigration, even as most also want to favor legal immigrants, and many even sympathize with illegals.

Amid the huge inflow of new workers, wages for men have remained flat since 1973, and the percentage of working Americans has declined steadily for the last few decades.

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