‘Moderates’ Reject Amnesty Compromise, Deny Border Upgrades

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

So-called “moderate” Republicans have rejected proposals to combine their amnesty with popular immigration reforms, including greater use of E-Verify, and border-law changes to reduce migration of people from Central America, says a report in Politico.

The business-first moderates have apparently rejected the compromise because they are pushing for a no-strings amnesty of at least two million people, which would sharply reduce pressure on employers to raise voters’ wages before the November election. According to a report by Politico:

Moderates on Friday balked at conservatives‘ demands for beefed-up immigration enforcement measures in return for hard-liners’ support for a new path to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of Dreamers …

Border security — and that is to include things well beyond any appropriations for wall funding — remains the biggest stumbling block,” said [Rep. Mark] Meadows, chairman of the Freedom Caucus. “Most conservatives want to make sure if we deal with this DACA issue, we’re not having to deal with it again in another decade from now. That’s why the enforcement issue is so critical.”

The E-Verify proposal would require companies larger than 50 employees to use the E-Verify system to screen out illegal migrants when hiring employees. In practice, the proposal would hit few medium-sized companies because many firms — especially those in agriculture or construction — employ fewer than 50 people and hire most of their staff via sub-contractors. Polls show E-Verify is very popular.

The proposed border-upgrades would narrow the legal loopholes used by migrants to squeeze through the wall. These loopholes include the 1997 Flores decision which forces law-enforcement officials to release migrants who bring children with them. Once released, few of the migrants turn up at their court hearings. Government officials are now trying to close that loophole by housing children while their parents wait in detention for their court date.

Both goals have been championed for many years by pro-American immigration reformers, and President Donald Trump included the border-security upgrades in his ‘four pillars’ immigration reform, which he announced at the 2018 State of the Union speech. Trump’s reforms would gradually reduce the inflow of migrants, and so pressure employers to raise wages and use more labor-saving machinery in factories and farms.

“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.

Also, GOP Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is trying to peel off some of the GOP signers of the discharge petition. If the breakaway group of GOP legislators gets 25 GOP signatures on the pending petition, they will ally with Democrats to rush a no-strings amnesty through in a June 23 floor vote, despite the impact on the GOP.

Politico reported that McCarthy has persuaded one potential signer to delay adding his name to the current list of 23 GOP signers:

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy phoned Rep. Dennis Ross on Monday and offered the Florida Republican what he wanted in hopes of keeping him from joining the moderates’ discharge petition: the promise of a vote on a guest worker program before August recess.

“I’m probably going to take myself off the [discharge petition] watch list,” Ross said in a brief interview. A guest worker program for immigrants employed in agriculture and construction and the like “has been my big issue. We need to have labor. We’re in a negative population growth in the United States … Where we going to find people to do these jobs?”

That demand for more cheap imported labor is a central goal of the donors who are funding the GOP politicians on the discharge-amnesty list.

“Our goal is to not cut legal immigration,” Florida Rep. Curbelo told RollCall.com on June 8. 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, and 1 million people legally immigrate each year.

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 even 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.

Also, a large share of the discharge-amnesty group is composed of GOP legislators from agriculture districts where cash-poor farmers and dairy farmers cannot easily replace the legal and illegal workers who leave the farm for better-paying jobs in town. The problem is tougher for farmers near Democratic-controlled cities, such as New York, where officials tout their determination to block the enforcement of immigration laws.

But the amnesty is deeply unpopular in the GOP base, including among the millions of people who are seeing their wages rise under Trump’s no-amnesty policy. One leader in the discharge-petition group, GOP Rep. Jeff Denham, 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.

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.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.