33 Democrat Senators Urge Mass Amnesty by Regulation

José Reyes takes a bus that will take him to the Guatemalan border from where he will continue his journey to the United States with the goal of being able to work and provide better living conditions for his family. (Milo Espinoza/Getty Images)
Milo Espinoza/Getty Images

Thirty-three of the 50 Democrat Senators have asked President Joe Biden’s border chief to grant work permits and a quasi-amnesty to perhaps four million economic migrants from Central America.

The Senators asked Alejandro Mayorkas on January 10 to grant “Temporary Protected Status” (TPS)  — complete with work permits and access to drivers’ licenses.

But the TPS amnesty would be illegal because the troubled economics in Central America do not “come anywhere close to meeting the [legal] standard,” said Rob Law, the director of regulatory affairs for the Center for Immigration Studies.

If the resident migrants get TPS, he said:

Democrats will turn around and say, “This is not fair! How can they not have a path to citizenship when we’ve given them work permits and told them it’s okay to be here?”… There’s nothing sympathetic or humanitarian about what the Democrats are doing. This is a political ploy. By trying to ratchet [migration] up in increments, they’re trying to hide from the American people that the overall objective is just straight-up maximum amnesty and citizenship for this population.

The proposal is a greedy effort to extract human resources from poor countries, he added:

Giving out work permits to illegal aliens is poaching the workforce of all of these countries around the world that are desperate for their own workers to build and rebuild their own economies. This is a selfish push by actors in the United States that is intended to maximize profits. [Democrats] are incentivizing this workforce extraction at overall peril to the home countries.

The request comes as Biden’s amnesty plans are blocked because Democrats cannot push the Build Back Better immigration changes through the Senate. 

The letter was signed by top Democratic leaders, including Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Dick Durbin (D-IlL).

It was signed by two Democrats who face tough elections this year: Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV).

But it was also not signed by two other Democrats in tight races, Sen. Mark Kelly (D-NV) and Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH).

Nonetheless, nearly all of the 17 Democrats who did not sign the letter would not protest the amnesty, despite the harm it would do to Americans.

And the establishment wing of the GOP will likely not exploit the letter in the 2022 elections against Warnock and Cortez Masto. The GOP’s donors prefer GOP leaders to accept their use of illegal migrants in the U.S economy and instead to focus the public’s attention on the chaotic border.

“It is our view that El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua meet the standards for TPS,” says the letter from the 33 Democrat Senators. It claims:

The crisis in Central America is urgent. In the past year, the region has experienced extreme weather events, including two hurricanes followed by a months-long drought. According to the World Food Program (WFP), farmers in the region face the worst dry farming season in 35 years. Hunger in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua has increased almost fourfold … Media report that the region’s citizens are having to choose between migrating or facing hunger.

Over one million Central Americans have been displaced by violence and insecurity. Gender-based violence continues to be a major driver of displacement, with rates increasing dramatically throughout 2020. … Additionally, countries in the region have suffered severe democratic backsliding and political persecution is on the rise, including through the consolidation of a dictatorship in Nicaragua, the dismantling of independent judiciaries, and efforts to intimidate and silence civil society and independent media.

Advocates for more migration cheered the move:

Millions of poor people have been extracted from Central America since 2010 when President Barack Obama’s deputies ignored federal law and created the catch-and-release border policy.

President Donald Trump shut down the transfer in 2020. But President Joe Biden reopened the doors in 2021 by allowing more than one million people across the border, either via quasi-legal loopholes or by the partial implementation of enforcement laws.

Under current estimates, roughly one million Hondurans live in the United States, alongside more than one million people from El Salvador, one million people from Guatemala, and perhaps 300,000 from Nicaragua.

The Democrats’ demand for a TPS declaration is domestic politics, said Law:

Is a continuation of the coastal elites bettering themselves financially and by patting themselves on the back … that they really care about the plight of others. But of course, the others never include their own citizens who are subjected to gang violence or poverty, or opioid epidemics. So it’s really easy for the coastal elites or the suburbanites in their gated communities to hear these sad stories about how poor things are in Central America, while there’s is similar poverty and violence in neighboring communities.

They just simply do not care. This is the class distinction that is going on in the United States: There’s absolute disdain towards the lower class of blue-collar workers in the United States. They have no voice whatsoever, and there’s more perceived sympathy [among elites] for illegal aliens from south of the border than for their fellow citizens.

This imported population from Central America cuts Americans’ wages and raises their housing costs. It also curbs Americans’ productivity, shrinks their political clout, widens regional wealth gapsradicalizes their democratic, compromise-promoting civic culture, and allows elites to ignore despairing Americans at the bottom of society.

Unsurprisingly, a wide variety of little-publicized polls do show deep and broad opposition to labor migration and the inflow of temporary contract workers into jobs sought by young U.S. graduates.

This opposition is growinganti-establishmentmultiracialcross-sexnon-racistclass-based,  bipartisanrationalpersistent, and recognizes the solidarity that Americans owe to each other.

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