House leaders are considering a plan to cut legal immigration in exchange for approving some form of DACA amnesty, says GOP Rep. David Brat.
As reported in theHill.com,
Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) said the Republicans are eying a plan consisting of three components favored by conservatives: An effort to discourage chain migration; the creation of a mandatory e-verify system to deter hiring immigrants in the country illegally; and the elimination of the diversity visa program.
If those elements are included, Brat said, conservatives would support a fourth provision: protections for the people eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an Obama-era initiative which President Trump dismantled in September…
“The numbers from those three pieces I just mentioned clearly outweigh the DACA — by a lot,” he said. “And so you’re just saying, ‘OK, we can deal with 700,000 here [in DACA] because we’re getting a reduction in millions here.’ ”
If the three-for-one proposal become law, it would completely change U.S. immigration laws, which have created a low-wage economy by importing a resident population of roughly 32 million legal immigrants, plus roughly 12 million illegal immigrants, plus 2 million temporary workers plus 1 million white-collar guest-workers.
Under current laws, the federal government imports 1 million legal immigrants each year, even though 4 million young Americans enter the labor market to seek decent jobs. The one-in-four annual inflow of foreign workers reduces business incentives to fund training or buy labor-saving machinery, widens geographic disparities, shifts $500 billion a year from employees to investors, and helps keep salaries near 1973 wage levels.
Brat has sponsored his own reform bill, which would halve legal immigration by ending chain migration and kill the visa lottery program. His plan would also reduce illegal immigration by requiring companies use the E-Verify program — but would not offer any form of amnesty benefits to the Democratic Party. “My three pieces are an absolute minimum that should be included in any leadership proposal and that anything more than basic DACA at 700,000 [beneficiaries] is out of the question,” Brat said in response to a question from Breitbart News.
In contrast, Democrats are pushing a bill, dubbed the Dream Act, which would provide a fast-track to citizenship for 3.6 million illegals, and enable chain-migration for roughly 10 million additional foreign nationals. Democrats say they are confident they can pressure Trump to sign the bill and force him to give up on his pro-American immigration policy.
But Trump won the 2016 election because of his immigration policy and is unlikely to drop his October 8 immigration principles just before the 2018 election. In recent weeks, Trump and his staff have toughened his position, which now calls for passage of the three measures in the House proposal — ending chain-migration, killing the visa lottery and mandating E-Verify — in exchange for some form of DACA extension.
A group of Senate Republicans is working with the White House and Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley to come up with some form of DACA extension in the new year. Senators are keeping very quiet about their discussion, but the Senator’s public statements and leaks suggest the Senators want an unpopular, pro-business, cheap-labor amnesty, dressed up in a few token border-security measures. That cheap-labor option, however, is risky because GOP voters hate amnesty and strongly prefer the RAISE Act being pushed by Sen. Tom Cotton and Sen. David Perdue. Moreover, polls show declining voter interest in a DACA amnesty, ensuring no benefits in the ballot box.
One obvious option for the Senate to do nothing until the arrival of more GOP Senators after the 2018 election when some of the 10 Democrats in Trump states will likely be replaced by populist GOP Senators.
In the House, Brat learned about the three-for-one proposal from one of the GOP legislators serving on a task force created by House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Ryan as has asked a group of legislators to develop an immigration plan for passage in early 2018. The group includes Virginia Rep. Robert Goodlatte, Texas Reps. Michael McCaul, John Carter and Will Hurd, Arizona Rep. Martha McSally and Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador. The group has not settled on a plan but is debating whether to push an unpopular, business-friendly amnesty or the three-for-one plan described by Brat, or just punt.
Ryan is expected to play a big role in deciding which plan to push. But he has a long history of supporting unpopular, cheap-labor plans — such as President George W. Bush’s corporatist “any willing worker” plan — which have allowed Democrats to import millions of anti-business voters. Ryan has been very close-mouthed about the possible plan, but on November 9 he said:
“Our members are having lots of conversations. We have a working group on this issue, and that working group is now going to spread out and start talking to our broader conference … active discussions are underway with our members about how the DACA solution should occur. “
On November 15, Ryan told Fox News that “we’re planning on keeping that separate from spending,” which will be set in a December debates.
Florida GOP Rep. Chris Curbelo said November 9 he had talked to some of the legislators on Ryan panel, but planned to push his own amnesty, dubbed the “Recognizing America’s Children Act.” The “America’s children” in Curbelo’s bill amount to roughly 1.4 million imported sons and daughters of illegal foreign immigrants. “There will be a lot of different options” for GOP legislators to choose from, Curbelo told a group of passive reporters at a Hill briefing.
But GOP legislators are split. Some want to go for a pro-American package, others favor a corporatist package that would help business and Democrats, and others just want to avoid an amnesty that would anger voters.
Many legislators do not understand public attitudes about immigration, in part, because their usual pollsters also being paid by their business clients to tout an amnesty.
The industry-funded “nation of immigrants” polls pressure Americans to say they welcome migrants. But other “fairness” polls show that voters also put a much higher priority on helping their families, neighbors, and fellow nationals get decent jobs in a high-tech, high-immigration, low-wage economy. That political power of that fairness priority was made clear in November 2016 when Americans picked a pro-reform real-estate developer for the White House and sent the Democrats’ cheap-labor and amnesty advocate into near-retirement.
The House’s proposed triple-benefit of reduced immigration would be packaged with the singular cost of an amnesty, which will generate intense opposition among GOP voters. That opposition can be very intense. In 2014, amnesty-opponents blocked the pro-business “Gang of Eight” cheap-labor-and-amnesty bill, then flipped nine Senate seats to the GOP and then elected Trump in 2016.
Many polls show the public strongly wants immigration policy to favor Americans over immigrants, by very lopsided numbers. Here’s the key result from an August 2014 survey where Kellyanne Conway explored Americans’ views about immigration, jobs, and fairness: “Overall, 77 percent of Conway’s likely-voter respondents said Americans should be favored [in job hiring decisions] over immigrants. That opinion was shared by 88 percent of Republicans, 79 percent of independents and 78 percent of moderates … 92 percent of Republicans, 81 percent of independents, 63 percent of Hispanics and 53 percent of liberals say the government has not done enough enforcement.”
Also, industry polls overstate public support for illegals. A recent Politico poll also shows declining voter interest in passing a DACA amnesty. Other polls — and the 2016 election — show that many Latino voters also prefer immigration curbs even as they publicly announce support for an amnesty that would cut their wages, crowd their children’s schools, spur crime in their neighborhoods and push them out of the middle-class.
State polls also show the public view prioritizes Americans over immigrants. For example, ten polls in 10 swing states conducted in the summer of 2017 by NumbersUSA, a pro-reform group, show overwhelming support for immigration rules which help Americans.
In Michigan, for example, where Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow is up for election, the poll shows that 61 percent of people “strongly” support “setting up rules to ensure that businesses give first preference for jobs to American workers and legal immigrants already in this country before businesses can ask for new immigrant workers.” Only 10 percent “somewhat” or “strongly” oppose that rule. The Michigan poll also showed that 74 percent of people say “business should be required to try harder to recruit and train from groups with the highest unemployment,” while only 11 percent said, “government should continue to bring in new immigrants to compete for jobs.”
Immigration reformers tell Breitbart News they want the GOP to reach for a victory, instead of just blocking a DACA amnesty. But the reform groups also have to be careful not to alienate their anti-amnesty supporters and they argue opposition to amnesty can only be overcome by wrapping it up in an ambitious, pro-employee, populist bill.
“This is the best correlation of forces that the immigration hawks have ever had, so it is absolutely time to take the initiative,” said Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies told Breitbart News. The strategic goal should be piece-by-piece bills which drive down the numbers of arriving workers and migrants, even if the number-reducing deals require some limited amnesties of current illegals, he said, adding “ultimately it is [all about] numbers.”
“Getting reasonable [numerical] limits on immigration and ensuring that the people we do admit are net contributors to the country ought to be the primary job not just for Republicans but for anyone making public policy,” said Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform. GOP leaders “have a great opportunity and they seem anxious to blow it,” he added.
The many illegals who might want to accept the three-for-one deal will be silenced by Democrats and the media. In 2013, progressives pressured a group of young illegals to reject a deal that would provide work-permits to young illegals, according to a 2013 report in the New York Times:
“A national organization of young immigrants said Wednesday that it would press for a “direct and straightforward” seven-year pathway to citizenship for all 11 million illegal immigrants in the country, and would not support measures that only offered citizenship to young people brought to the United States as children.
Leaders of the organization, the United We Dream network, issued 20 principles they would push for in the debate over an overhaul of the immigration laws, which is rapidly gathering speed in Washington. The young immigrants, who call themselves Dreamers, rejected proposals that would tie their progress toward citizenship to measurements of border security. They said any legislation should allow foreign-born partners in same-sex couples to gain residency.”
Senate Democrats — backed up by an army-sized chorus of business donors and lobbyists — oppose any reduction in the supply of new workers and immigrants. They have 48 seats in the Senate, so they can block any immigration legislation if they stay united. “My guess is that they would demand a much bigger amnesty,” said Jenks, the policy director at NumbersUSA. She continued:
The Democratic Party sees immigrants — legal and illegal — as future Democratic voters. It does not matter how they get to voting status, whether through amnesty or immigration status, they just want them to get here. I don’t think [a deal] is possible if the 10 Democrats who are up for election in states where Trump won don’t listen to their constituents. It is possible if their constituents basically force them to vote the right way on the package … in exchange for a DACA amnesty.
Democratic party opposition to a high-wages-and-small-amnesty package would be a high-risk strategy before the 2018 elections. If the Senate forced a vote, at least 10 Democratic Senators up for election would be forced to either reject a GOP bill which provides populist benefits to many voters — plus a limited amnesty to younger illegals — or else reject the deal because it is not beneficial enough for illegal immigrants. That would leave the GOP leaders with a popular and populist bill heading into the 2018 elections against a pro-illegal, obstructionist Democratic Party.
The three-for-one proposal would also face brutal opposition behind closed doors from business lobbyists who are paid by the CEOs and investors who will lose billions of dollars if Congress ends the national cheap-labor economic policy. Several business groups have admitted that Trump-backed cuts in the labor supply would push up wages. But higher wages also push down profits, so slashing the stock-market wealth of many business leaders, including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the IBM has already denounced immigration cuts. “We oppose attempts to cut legal immigration,” Neil Bradley, the chamber’s policy chief, said November 16. Cuts are “harmful for the economy and for America as a whole,” he said, according to a report in Arkansas Online.
Business lobbyists have huge leverage. Many are former staffers and personal friends of the legislators, and many can draft company subcontractors in the legislators’ districts to impose extra pressure. The lobbyists can grant or withdraw donations, fund push-polls, and pressure legislators’ peers and caucus leaders.
For example, business leaders may try to convert a ban on chain-migration into a program to import salary-cutting white-collar workers, warned Rosemary Jenks, policy director at NumbersUSA. “The fear would be that because Ryan is tight with the business community on cheap labor, that when they talk about eliminating chain-migration, they’re actually talking about turning transferring the family-based [chain-migration] visas into the employment-based visas,” she said.
Business leaders also have a huge impact on young reporters, few of whom have the freedom — or even interest — to follow the flow of money through the immigration debate up to Wall Street. In fact, many reporters view the immigration debate as a matter of social justice for foreign migrants and are simply uninterested in the economic impact on American voters or even on themselves, their white-collar peers and their future children.
The power of business is enhanced by the universities, which are treated as noble arbiters of justice by many reporters — even though the universities profit from laws that allow them to provide work-permits to their cash-on-the-barrel foreign students. In 2013, the universities tried to expand the OPT cash-cow program by supporting a law in the “Gang of Eight” amnesty bill which would allow them to sell green cards to an unlimited number of their foreign graduates at a huge discount from the card’s real value.
The agriculture industry is especially powerful in the GOP. Already, for example, the farm lobby has persuaded Goodlatte’s judiciary committee to vote for a law allowing them to create an imported army of 1 million very low wage H-2C guest-workers in place of better-paid Americans and immigrants.
Even if GOP leaders shrugged off business pressure, any deal which endorses an amnesty is also risky for Republicans.
Voters know Ryan and other leaders have a long record of backing one-sided, pro-business amnesty bills in 2006, 2007 and 2013, and would distrust any promise to cut immigration levels.
But the fairness polls suggest — and so do leaders of some immigration-reform groups — that GOP voters will accept an amnesty if it actually provides clear benefits to Americans which cannot be snatched away by judges, agency officials or closed-door legislation.
Also, GOP legislators are losing ground every year because of the high level of immigration that has turned many solid GOP states into Democratic strongholds or swing-states. California is lost to Democrats, so is Virginia, and Georgia is sliding in the same direction. That rising tide of immigrant votes has also super-charged identity politics in the Democratic Party, which makes it difficult for the GOP’s conservative or business-first wings to win support from second-generation or third-generation immigrants.
Immigration cutbacks might also raise enthusiasm among the GOP voters are increasingly angry at GOP legislators for failing to deliver Trump’s agenda, raise salaries or fund the border wall before the 2018 election — when Democratic voters passionately want revenge for their November 2016 humiliation.
If Ryan were to embrace the three-for-one plan, it would mark an unprecedented reversal of prior bipartisan policy, such as the 2013 “Gang of Eight” amnesty-and-cheap-labor bill which was chiefly authored by Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer.
Schumer’s 2013 bill greatly expanded the flow of government-dependent immigrants to put Democrats on a path to political dominance. The plan offered business a huge wave of wage-cutting, profit-boosting cheap labor if they lobbied Republicans to accept the amnesty.
The plan almost worked — but House Speaker John Boehner blocked the bill amid intense public opposition, which culminated in the defenestration of then-House Majority Leader, the pro-amnesty Rep. Eric Cantor and his pro-amnesty aides, including the U.S. Chamber’s current chief policy officer. Cantor was defeated by GOP primary voters in Virginia’s Seventh District, who also choose David Brat to replace him.
The public, and especially GOP voters, strongly oppose cheap-labor amnesties when they are asked to weigh benefits for migrants against fairness for Americans. In 2014, the public punished Schumer for his cheap-labor amnesty by giving nine Senate seats — and the majority — to the GOP. The GOP voters then rubbed salt in Schumer’s political wounds by deporting pro-amnesty Jeb Bush back to Florida and sending electing Donald Trump to the White House.
The questions facing GOP legislators now is whether they want to solve the immigration problem — and the make the GOP into the nation’s high-wage political party —by sidelining business demands, building public trust and dragging a few Democratic Senators into the “Yea” column.