The GOP’s leading amnesty advocate, Sen. Lindsey Graham, told CNN that Congress could get a ‘dreamer’ amnesty deal by ending chain migration.
“There’s a deal to be done,” Graham told CNN. “For the DREAM Act, I think you could get strong border security and a break in chain migration.”
CNN’s Dana Bash allowed Graham’s top Democratic ally, Sen. Dick Durbin, to evade his response to a question about chain-migration reform. Durbin’s dodge allows Democrats to tout Graham’s proposed combination of amnesty and chain-migration reform before springing a last-minute, take-it-or-leave-it opposition to chain-migration reform in an amnesty deal.
But Graham’s endorsement for ending chain-migration is a big step, partly because he worked in 2012 with Democratic Majority Leader Sen Schumer to create the disastrously one-sided “Gang of Eight” cheap-labor-and-amnesty deal in 2013.
“Ending chain migration has become one of the touchstone” for reformers, said Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies. “If even someone like Graham — who wanted to double immigration in the ‘Gang of Eight’ bill — is willing to talk about ending chain migration, that is progress,” he added. Graham’s 2013 bill would have legalized roughly 30 million migrants in 10 years, not counting chain migration.
Currently, Graham is part of a loose group of Senators working with Iowa GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley who are seeking to find a business-boosting immigration package that would be acceptable to voters. Graham’s support for chain-migration reform might give the group a path towards a bill that would be popular among voters in 2018.
Graham’s endorsement for ending chain-migration puts him one step closer to President Donald Trump, who has called for ending chain migration as well as the ‘visa lottery’ which annually gives green cards to 50,000 people from far-distant cultures, such as Uzbekistan.
A task force created by House Speaker Paul Ryan is also debating whether to combine chain-migration reform with an amnesty into a voter-boosting package before the 2018 election.
Chain migration is responsible for roughly half of all new immigration into the United States, because it allows new citizens to import an unlimited number of relatives, regardless of their skills, education, ideology, health or age. For example, the 1.2 million people who have arrived since 1994 via the “visa lottery” program have also brought in roughly 3.8 million relatives, as of 2017. Ending chain migration would drop annual immigration by roughly 45 percent, and would likely reduce the wealth gap by pressuring up Americans’ wages.
The “Dream Act” being pushed by Graham and Durbin would provide access to government aid, to green cards and fast-track citizenship to roughly 3 million adult illegals who were brought to the United States as children by their parents.
But without any chain-migration reform, the Dream Act would also allow the 3 million illegals to get citizenship for their illegal-immigrant parents plus an estimated 15 million mostly-unskilled relatives from Mexico and many other countries.
Graham’s endorsement, Durbin’s dodging, and Bash’s fumble are shown in the CNN transcript. Bash’s term, ‘dreamers,’ refers to younger foreign illegals, not to young Americans:
GRAHAM: … So, there’s a deal to be done. Dick’s right about this. For the DREAM Act, I think you could get strong border security and a break in chain migration. If you can put those three things together and put it on the end-of-the-year spending bill, that would be a heck of an accomplishment for 2017.
BASH: Well, Senator Durbin, would you go with that? If they — if the Republican leadership agrees to put protections in for dreamers, would you go for border security and an end to chain migration?
DURBIN: I can tell you, when it comes to border security, we have signed up for that. Senator Schumer said that months ago. We believe that there are aspects of border security that Democrats and Republicans can agree on. When it comes to chain migration, bottom line — and I have even spoken to [Akansas] Senator [Tom] Cotton about this — is, when these dreamers become citizens, they are not going to be second-class citizens. They are going to have the same rights as others in the United States. That’s something that even Senator Cotton and I agree on.
BASH: One last question on this. Senator Graham, do you think a government shutdown is possible over this DACA issue?
GRAHAM: In Congress ….
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) November 24, 2017
Watch the video here.
Graham’s endorsement should be taken with a grain of salt until Graham shows that he supports reduced immigration, not just a temporary moratorium or a transfer of chain-migration visas to another category, said Krikorian. “I would hold off the celebration until I got more details from Graham because it is entirely consistent for him to end chain migration [while giving] all of those visas out in different ways,” he said.
The primary reform legislation is the RAISE Act, authored by Georgia GOP Sen. David Perdue and Arkansas GOP Sen. Tom Cotton, which is also backed by Trump. The RAISE Act would kill the visa lottery and chain migration, ensuring that any amnesty would only cover the immediate beneficiaries, not the larger population of foreign relatives.
If Graham is endorsing the RAISE, said Krikorian, “that would be a real breakthrough and a real concession on his part.” But, Krikorian added “I find it hard to believe that is what he meant.”
Other GOP Senators have muddied the issue. For example, Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford and North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis say their proposed amnesty would resolve the chain-migration issue. But their amnesty bill only delays the chain-migration wave of Democratic voters for a decade by stretching out the pre-citizenship period for the migrants to 10 years. The Lankford-Tillis does not set any new nationwide chain-migration rules that would apply equally to all new Americans, and any reform for just one set of immigrant citizens will be struck down by the courts, say reformers.
Most importantly, any real reform will be opposed by Democrats who are relying on chain-migration to import the foreign votes they need to overwhelm the U.S.-born voters. If chain-migration is included in an amnesty bill “it would certainly almost certainly be a poison bill for Democrats,” said Krikorian.
With the GOP holding only a two-vote advantage over the Democrats, “I don’t see how you can get eight Democrats to vote for that, and that seems always to be the problem,” he said.
Business groups already oppose the Raise Act, fearing that a tight labor market will force up wages and lower stock values.
Graham has been a strong supporter of cheap-labor migration to help his state’s tourism, recreation, and agriculture industries. In October, he promised a group of illegals that he would win amnesty for them. But he then added “what will happen next is I think we’ll set down and deal with the rest of the 11 million … We’re going to increase legal immigration so employers don’t have to cheat [by hiring illegals].”
Just after Mitt Romney’s defeat in the 2012 election, Graham phoned New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer to create the “Gang of Eight” amnesty bill which would have transferred a huge share of the nation’s income from working Americans to Wall Street investors. According to Politico:
Schumer said that shortly after the November election, he received a call from South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) who wanted to restart negotiations on a comprehensive immigration package.
“Lindsey said ‘the band is back together!’” Schumer said.
Graham informed Schumer that [Sen. John] McCain was on board as well.
“My heart went pitter patter,” Schumer said. “That meant we could get something done.”
That “Gang of Eight” fiasco cost the Democrats nine seats in the 2014 election, demoted Schumer to minority leader, and opened the path for Donald Trump to win the GOP primaries and the November election. graham and Schumer pushed the amnesty even though many polls show the public strongly opposes business-first immigration policies which sideline Americans.
Each year, four million Americans turn 18 and begin looking for good jobs in the free market.
But the federal government inflates the supply of new labor by annually accepting 1 million new legal immigrants, by providing almost 2 million work-permits to foreigners, by providing work-visas to roughly 500,000 temporary workers and doing little to block the employment of roughly 8 million illegal immigrants.
The Washington-imposed economic policy of mass-immigration floods the market with foreign labor and spikes profits and Wall Street values by cutting salaries for manual and skilled labor offered by blue-collar and white-collar employees. It also encourages discrimination against American workers, drives up real estate prices, widens 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.