Amnesty Dispute Exposes Fight Over Labor, Immigration Numbers

border wall
Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Fundamental disputes over the scale of legal immigration and border security are stalling the push by GOP leaders for a quick amnesty deal that could allow some form of legal status to at least 1.8 million young illegals.

“We’re focused on doing what we told the American people we were going to do, what they elected us to do, and we promised them we would do,” said Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, co-chair of the House Freedom Caucus, who is facing the pro-amnesty GOP leaders in the closed-door negotiations. Americans’ goals, he said, are to:

build the border security wall, end chain migration, stop the crazy lottery system, reform our asylum laws,  and deal with sanctuary city law. And when we do all those things — the President has been very clear — we can address the DACA situation.

Pro-amnesty advocates declared last week that a deal was close — but only because they were eager to sideline the many disagreements about civic security, wages and the economy which surround the promised amnesty. For example, GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a leader in the discharge-petition amnesty group, declared June 8 that an amnesty deal was 80 percent complete:

But Curbelo’s goals — a big amnesty and no cuts in legal immigration — are the goals of business groups who want the federal government to import 1 million new customers and workers every year, no matter the economic impact on the 4 million Americans who turn 18 each year, or the civic impact on 330 million Americans.

“Our goal is to not cut legal immigration,” Curbelo told on June 8. Also, the number of illegals who get green cards from the amnesty should be “as high a number as possible,” he said. The number of young illegal immigrants in the United States is estimated at up to 3.6 million.

In contrast, President Donald Trump’s ‘four pillars’ plan calls for gradual cuts in legal immigration via reduced chain-migration and the elimination of the visa lottery. Trump also wants a border wall and legal reforms of immigration-law loopholes to exclude wage-lowering migrants, in exchange for allowing at least 1.8 million illegals to get an amnesty. Overall, Trump’s plan would trim annual immigration levels, pressure business to raise wages and also invest in labor-saving machinery.

Reporters are beginning to recognize the larger issues behind the race-related claims and the personal stories which dominate media coverage of the dispute.

RollCalls’s Dean DeChiaro wrote June 11:

At first glance, the Republican Party’s latest bout of immigration infighting appears to orbit around one key disagreement: Should so-called Dreamers be given a path to citizenship?

Look a little closer, and it’s clear the rift goes far beyond Dreamers. What Republicans are struggling with is a fundamental dispute over the core values of the U.S. immigration system and who may benefit. And the same disagreements that have previously doomed the prospects of a deal threaten to do so again in this newest round of negotiations in the House.

“The future of legal immigration is the sticking point,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the center-right National Immigration Forum. “There’s a Republican in the White House who wants to end immigration to the United States as we know it. There is not a majority of Republicans in Congress who support that position.”

Noorani’s National Immigration Forum works with cheap-labor groups, including the dairy industry, to ensure the inflow of low-cost manual workers.

CNN reported June 11:

“I’m disappointed that more issues continue to get added when we’re trying to close out,” [amnesty advocate Rep. Jeff] Denham said.

Rather than being new issues, other members described them as issues that were always there, members just hadn’t been able to talk about them yet.

“You bring things up now and some people say, ‘Well, that’s new I never heard it before.’ It wasn’t new to me, we just never got to it,” said conservative Freedom Caucus member Scott Perry, a Pennsylvania Republican. “For me we’re vetting more of the ideas that need to be vetted, but for some people I think they feel like we’re getting further away because they didn’t hear about those things before.”

On the same day that Curbelo declared a deal was 80 percent complete, Jordan used his C-SPAN interview to show the huge gap between the quick amnesty sought by Curbelo’s cheap-labor caucus and the broader concerns of Trump’s 2016 voters.

The leadership’s push for a quick, no-strings amnesty — dubbed a “special path” — is just not good enough for the voters, he said.

We’re not in favor of a special path. What we’re in favor of is doing the border security — all those things I listed the election was about — and then we’re supportive of the same thing the president is supportive of: Making sure once we do all the border security and all the immigration reform that we need to do — secure our southern border, make our immigration system work better — then we’re in favor of allowing the DACA population to stay here … they do not get a unique path to citizenship but get in the back of the line and they can pursue citizenship like anyone else who came here legally.

Jordan repeated the ‘special path’ theme several times to underline his argument that any concession must be part of a broader deal which helps Americans:

When we address that DACA population, those individuals, we have to do it in a way consistent with the rule of law that doesn’t give those individuals a different, a unique, a special pass to citizenship. They have to get in line like everybody else. They can’t jump the line, they can’t have a different path. That to us is just fundamental. So that’s the kind of legislation we’re pushing for. That kind of legislation mirrors closely the bill that Chairman [Rep. Bob] Goodlatte, chairman of the judiciary committee has introduced and we’ve supported for a long time.

Goodlatte’s broad bill offers work-permits to the illegals and a path to permanent residence in exchange for a variety of reforms that would help Americans ensure immigration help their society and economy, and does not overwhelm both with waves of cheap labor whenever business is being pressured to raise wages.

Goodlatte’s bill is opposed many business groups, including, which was created by Silicon Valley investors to protect the inflow of foreign white-collar workers:

Goodlatte’s bill is backed by Trump, but retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan has refused to ‘whip’ GOP legislators to vote for Goodlatte’s bill.

Instead, Ryan is using the 23-member breakaway faction of discharge-advocates to lever a pro-business deal that would give donors a wave of amnestied workers during a tight-labor market — and also provide business with more confidence that Congress will provide them with more foreign white-collar and blue-collar employees whenever they are being pressured to raise wages.

The discharge-petition Republicans are backed by major GOP donors amid growing worries that the donors’ special interest may wreck the GOP’s broader interests — the electoral base of the GOP and the prosperity of white-collar and blue-collar Americans.

Curbelo’s donors include some of the Florida millionaires who have threatened to cut off donations until Ryan approves an amnesty. For example, Mike Fernandez’s MBF Healthcare Partners has donated $10,800 to Curbelo in the 2018 cycle. Fernandez’s pro-amnesty group frankly states that it wants more migrants to serve as consumers and workers:

ABIC promotes sensible immigration reform that supports the economy of the United States, provides American companies with both the high-skilled and low-skilled talent they need, and allows the integration of immigrants into our economy as consumers, workers, entrepreneurs and citizens.

Another leader in the discharge-petition group, GOP Rep. Jeff Denham, has also been dismissed of the economic and civic issues that help Trump defeat the GOP establishment in 2016. He told reporters June 7 that he was done negotiating:

Denham admits his push for amnesty threatens the GOP’s majority. He told the New York Times:

There have been some critics who say that this [discharge-petition strategy] could cost us our majority. My concern is if we do nothing, it could cost us our majority. So yes, it’s risky.

GOP leaders, including Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, are loath to talk about the larger issues.

Amnesty advocates use business-funded pollsters to conduct “Nation of Immigrants” push-polls which show apparent voter-support for DACA amnesty, for immigration, and immigrants. Those pollsters also push their clients’ preferences when they advise their political clients.

But “Choice” polls reveal most voters’ often-ignored strong preference that CEOs should hire Americans at decent wages before hiring migrants. Those pro-American preferences are held by many blue-collar Blacks, Latinos, and by 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.

Four million Americans turn 18 each year and begin looking for good jobs in the free market — but the government provides green cards to roughly 1 million legal immigrants and temporary work-permits to roughly 3 million foreign workers.

The Washington-imposed economic policy of economic growth via mass-immigration shifts wealth from young people towards older people by flooding the market with foreign labor. That process spikes profits and Wall Street values by cutting salaries for manual and skilled labor offered by blue-collar and white-collar employees. The policy also drives up real estate priceswidens 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.