Most GOP senators are dodging the Democrats’ efforts to seduce them into joining very unpopular amnesty bills by citing President Joe Biden’s border meltdown, according to Politico.
“Many of us support giving a path to citizenship,” to younger illegal migrants, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), told Politico. “But now the border is such a disaster that I don’t see how you can do just a bill to deal with [that],” she said March 18.
Politico accepts the border rationale for the GOP evasiveness — and ignores the huge unpopularity of wage-cutting amnesty bills even if the border is under control. In 2014, GOP Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) made that mistake and lost his seat in a surprise primary defeat.
The March 19 Politico report cited other GOP senators’ claim that Biden’s border problem precludes amnesty deals:
“There’s no scenario I would support even what we called the SUCCEED Act, which was a path to citizenship for the [Dreamers], without it being paired with border security,” [Sen. Thom] Tillis said, referring to the conservative alternative to the DREAM Act that he had endorsed.
“I’m in the bipartisan group, but we haven’t touched it,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.). “There’s a problem that needs to be fixed, but I don’t think we’re anywhere near stepping up to it right now.”
“The concern is, as soon as you bring something up to even start discussing it [an amnesty], you’re going to get a surge,” [Sen. James] Lankford said. “So if you’re not ready to really do it, you shouldn’t play with that. I don’t hear us ready to do it.”
Establishment GOP senators have an incentive to hide behind Biden’s mismanagement at the border — it allows them to dodge incompatible and competing demands by voters and business donors, either to block or approve amnesties and migration expansion bills. By talking about the border, the reporters and GOP senators can also jointly ignore the central question — whether migration and amnesty are good for working Americans’ pocketbooks.
Democrat senators need ten GOP senators to overcome the 60-vote threshold for scheduling votes in the Senate. So far, only two GOP senators have attached their names to bills that would amnesty illegal aliens and import even more workers for the jobs needed by Americans.
The zig-zag strategy is also useful because the GOP senators know that immigrant voters cost them their Senate majority in the January 2021 Senate races in Georgia. Any further amnesties will likely push the GOP — and their careers — into long-term political irrelevance and also push the smaller Red states into political oblivion.
The main GOP supporter for amnesty, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), says deals are off the table until Biden recovers control of the border. “We find ourselves in a situation where there is no way forward until you control the border,” Graham told a pro-amnesty March 17 press conference on Capitol Hill. He continued:
The Biden administration has created chaos where there was order [under former President Donald Trump]. And the only way we’ll ever be able to sit down with our Democratic colleagues is for us to regain control of the border, and I want to say without any hesitation, Biden has lost control of the U.S. Mexican border. Until he regains control by implementing policies that work, it’s going to be very hard to do the [DACA young illegal aliens] “dreamers” or anybody else. Why? Because … legalizing anybody under these circumstances will lead to even more illegal immigration.
To Democrats, he said:
So if you’re serious about solving the immigration problem, you will be serious about changing our laws on asylum, you will finish building the wall where it makes sense. You will restore the Remain in Mexico policy, you will go back into the treaties with the [Northern] Triangle countries because that will lead to the calmness at the border we need to find a solution here in Washington.
The evasive, zig-zag strategy adopted by many GOP senators shows the intense pressure they are under from voters and business donors.
The donors gain greatly each time the government OKs another huge inflow of migrants who serve as cheap workers, taxpayer-aided consumers, and high-occupancy renters. But while business groups offer valuable donations — the populist groups can expand or shrink the politicians’ vital vote totals.
The populist groups include Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, NumbersUSA, and the Federation for American Immigration Reform. They have to compete with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the tech companies advocacy groups, such as FWD.us.
A few GOP senators are standing up for amnesty talks:
Sen Rick Scott (R-FL) has drafted an amnesty for at least one million illegal aliens, which his staffers are quietly trying to sell an amnesty bill to staffers who work for other GOP senators. But his office is suggesting that Biden’s policy makes a deal less likely.
“Senator Scott does not support amnesty,” a staffer told Breitbart. “Look at what Biden’s open borders and amnesty plan is doing to our Southern border. Senator Scott has long said reforms to the immigration system become much more simple once the border is secure, and that’s his focus.”
Scott is in charge of fundraising for the Senate GOP’s 2022 campaigns, so he is under intense pressure to import for business donors a new round of cheap labor, taxpayer-aided consumers, and high-occupancy renters.
Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) has announced he will propose an amnesty for a million illegal farmworkers and combine it with a plan to import very cheap H-23A visa workers to fill up all the jobs — and more — that will be opened up when the amnesty’s migrants move to non-agriculture jobs in towns and cities.
“House passage of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act is an important step toward bringing certainty to our country’s agriculture industry and the hard-working producers and farmworkers,” said a statement from Crapo and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO). “We will work together to introduce companion legislation in the U.S. Senate that appropriately addresses the needs of both the industry and the farmworkers that uphold it.”
But that bipartisan swap — cheap workers for the industry in exchange for amnestied farmworkers for Democrats — leaves many ordinary Idahoans and their rural communities in the dust. The H-2A workers would be so cheap that they will be used for additional jobs now held by Americans, and they will also take most of their meager payroll — and their possible tax payments — back home with them every year.
Retiring Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) is also talking up hopes for a deal, Politico reported:
He opposed the sweeping bill in 2013 but wants to put something together before he leaves the chamber and is the GOP’s rare optimist when it comes to seeing the potential for a deal: “I do. But no one else does.”
Portman is one of five retiring GOP senators, along with Roy Blunt (R-MO), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Richard Burr (R-NC) and Richard Shelby (R-AL). The pro-amnesty groups will target them for votes, in part, because they do not have to fear the voters’ response.
In July 2019, Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) complained about the voters’ objecting to his pro-amnesty, business-first perspective, saying, “The problem is, Republicans, fear that no matter what you do, someone is going to start screaming amnesty … And if you don’t know, in a Republican primary that [can be] devastating. I know that. I’ve been accused of that.”
On March 18, Simpson denied that his vote for the 2021 farmworker amnesty is a vote for amnesty, saying:
This bill is not about what’s happening at the southern border … this bill is not amnesty. It does not grant anybody amnesty. It allows individuals to get right with the law and to become a legal workforce in the United States. It’s about providing a stable, legal workforce for the people who put food on our tables.
For years, a wide variety of pollsters have shown deep and broad opposition to legal migration, labor migration, and to the inflow of temporary contract workers into jobs sought by young U.S. graduates.
The multiracial, cross-sex, non-racist, class-based, intra-Democratic, and solidarity-themed opposition to labor migration coexists with generally favorable personal feelings toward legal immigrants and toward immigration in theory — despite the media magnification of many skewed polls and articles that still push the 1950s corporate “Nation of Immigrants” claim.
The deep public opposition is built on the widespread recognition that migration moves wealth from employees to employers, from families to investors, from young to old, from children to their parents, from homebuyers to real estate investors, and from agriculture-heavy and central states to the coastal states.
GOP Sen. Mike Crapo opens Senate door to ag-sector corporatist amnesty: Democrats are to get 1M+ new voters, as big farms & investors get vr. cheap, replacement H-2A visa workers.
But American ag. workers, rural towns, & small Western states get discarded.https://t.co/gTeBR0pSfD
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) March 20, 2021