GOP Senators Revive Push for Quick Amnesty

Sen. James Lankford (R-OK)
Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Pro-amnesty Senators in both parties are trying again to deliver an amnesty to at least two million ‘DACA’ illegals — and also to several hundred thousand people with expiring “Temporary Protected Status.”

MSNBC got a briefing from GOP Sen. James Lankford, and Politico was briefed by multiple GOP and Democratic Senators about their amnesty plans.

Their emerging plans for a quick amnesty are tied to the push for a discharge-petition amnesty in the House, and to the likely court approval for ending the DACA amnesty, which is now held by 700,000 adult children of illegal immigrants. Also, business and progressive advocates want a quick amnesty to help keep the immigration issue out of the November election, out of fear that voters may endorse President Donald Trump’s low-immigration/high-wage policy.

The Politico article included no mention of possible safeguards or wage-protections for American workers amid a new flood of migrant workers, but it acknowledged that the pro-illegal push might be blocked by Trump’s continued campaign for his four-part immigration reform plan. Politico reported:

The path is an exceedingly narrow one, participants on all sides acknowledge. The Senate is scheduled to be in for just four more work periods this year, and it’s expected to take a break for several weeks before the fall election. Plus, [Majority Leader. Mitch] McConnell has been prioritizing noncontroversial legislation like a veterans care bill and water infrastructure plan, as well as confirmation of judges, over contentious issues like immigration.

Democrats are also worried about the president’s influence. He put heavy pressure on Republicans to reject anything other than his plan to make deep cuts to legal immigration as a price for citizenship for Dreamers, and Democrats worry that will happen again in the coming weeks.

The pro-amnesty talks include Colorado GOP Sen. Cory Gardner, who is leading the GOP’s 2018 Senate campaign. His campaign deputy, North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis, is also part of the pro-amnesty group. Politico reported:

“The sweet spot for getting an immigration deal remains now. The closer we get to the election and certainly post-election, the more difficult it will be,” [Gardner] recounted telling the president. “If we wait longer, the more difficult it becomes. They’ll blame it on both parties at that point.”

The Democrats are led by Connecticut Sen. Chris Coons, who allied with Sen. John McCain to push an amnesty bill during the Senate’s debate in February. In this new effort, Coons is pushing to extend the DACA amnesty to include at least 250,000 TPS migrants, and is talking to Tillis as well as Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford.

The Politico story also includes Tennesee GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander and New Mexico Democrat  Sen. Martin Heinrich.

When introducing a joint amnesty bill with Tillis in September 2017, Lankford said the DACA illegal immigrants are good for the national economy:

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.

Tillis has been a constant advocate for outsourcing U.S. jobs to immigrants and temporary workers.

On May 27, Lankford told MSNBC:

There’s a group of us that are meeting quietly to try to see if we can find common ground. [At the] end of February [there was] no grand secret an epic failure of the Senate to pass any one of four bills put forward. All four had bipartisan support from different individuals in different amounts …

even before last September. Senator Tillis and I both put out a proposal for citizenship for those individuals in the DACA program or were eligible for the DACA program because we have a group that was in the DACA program, but we got a group that never signed up. [They] never went through the paperwork, never signed up for whatever reason and they were eligible for it. We would like those individuals to have access to citizenship as well. Now we got to deal with border security. There are reasonable ways to be able to do that have talked about for a long time.

But Lankford also said he wants to deny Trump a border wall, saying:

It’s not really a wall. The president keeps saying it’s a wall. When you talk to the Department of Homeland Security, most of the time they’ll say, “Yeah, there’s a wall in some urban areas where we got to have a clear point of separation. In most areas, it’s technology. We have ways to put technology out in areas of the desert where you can see for miles. We don’t need a wall. A wall slows people down. The running joke is you put a 30-foot wall, you get a 31-foot ladder and people get over.

In February, eight GOP Senators voted for a double-amnesty that would provide citizenship to the DACA migrants and effectively bar the deportation of migrants who are working in jobs. The double-amnesty was supported by Alexander, Maine Sen. Susan Collins, South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham, South Dakota’s Mike Rounds, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, and Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson, and Sen. Jeff Flake, who is retiring.

Also, 14 GOP Senators voted against the Trump-backed plan authored by Sen. Chuck Grassley. The GOP no votes were cast by Collins, Flake, and Murkowski, plus Sens. Ben Sasse, John Thune, John Barrasso, Mike Enzi, Mike Lee, Jerry Moran, Steve Daines, and John Kennedy.

South Dakota’s Sen. John Thune is a member of the leadership team with McConnell.  Sen. Ted Cruz also voted against Trump’s plan, saying he did so because it endorsed an amnesty along with immigration reforms.

The two February votes suggest that roughly 15 of the GOP’s 51 Senators favor some sort of cheap-labor amnesty over Trump’s immigration reforms, which would gradually nudge up wages and reduce real-estate prices over the next ten years

Amnesty advocates rely on business-funded “Nation of Immigrants” push-polls to show apparent voter support for immigration and immigrants.

But “choice” polls reveal most voters’ often-ignored preference that CEOs should hire Americans at decent wages before hiring migrants. Those Americans include many blue-collar Blacks, Latinos, and people who hide their opinions from pollsters. Similarly, the 2018 polls show that GOP voters are far more concerned about migration — more properly, the economics of migration — than they are concerned about illegal migration and MS-13, taxes, or the return of Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

Trump’s policies are delivering higher wages and overtime to many employees, including African-American bakers in Chicago, Latino restaurant workers in Monterey, Calif., disabled people in Missouri, high schoolers,  resort workers in Hilton Head, the construction industry, Superbowl workers, the garment industry, and workers at small businesses, and even Warren Buffett’s railroad workers.






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