House Speaker Paul Ryan apparently wants the GOP to keep importing foreign workers — even though the party’s actual voters are instead backing Donald Trump and his promise of immigration restrictions.
The little-noticed reveal came in a Thursday interview on CNN, when Ryan declared that “this is the party of [President Abraham] Lincoln and [President Ronald] Reagan and Jack Kemp.”
O.K. everyone knows Lincoln and Reagan — but who is Kemp? He’s a former football star, House Representative, cabinet secretary, and failed vice-presidential candidate in 1996.
The key point is that Ryan worked for Kemp in the 1990s. Kemp was a very forceful personality, with a California-style 1960s can-do-anything personal story. He seems to have persuaded Ryan that the U.S. economy could provide middle-class jobs to endless waves of striving unskilled immigrants, who would then back GOP candidates as they campaigned for smaller government, spending cuts and capital gains rollbacks.
Ryan’s invocation of Kemp alongside wartime Lincoln and tax-cutting Reagan “is an absurd equation — Kemp has done noting comparable to Lincoln or Reagan,” said Mark Krikorian, the director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which favors reductions in migrant inflows. But Ryan’s vision of the GOP trinity “means that Kemp is his guy, his mentor, his guru.”
“Americans and immigrants share the same values of work, family and opportunity,” Kemp wrote in 2006.”There is no reason to fear the newcomers arriving on our shores today. If anything, they will energize what is best about our country,” he wrote, while insisting the Americans need a “robust annual flow required to keep our economy growing.”
Kemp’s immigration principles may have been great for Wall Street and the Chamber of Commerce — but a disaster for blue-collar Americans, GOP politicians and Trump’s establishment rivals in the 2016 race.
So now Trump is heading towards the 2016 nomination largely because voters picked Trump’s promise of a strong border wall to stop illegals, plus a pause in legal immigration, plus cutbacks in guest-workers, plus a ban against further immigration of Islamic adherents, with their murderous doctrine of jihad and their Islamic scriptures that repeatedly urge hatred towards Christians and Jews, women and gays, secularists, apostates and modernizers.
But Ryan really doesn’t like Trump’s foreign labor policy, and he laid it on thick in his CNN interview.
I’m just not ready to [support Trump] at this point. I’m not there right now … The bulk of the burden on unifying the party will have to come from our presumptive nominee…
We don’t always nominate a Lincoln or a Reagan every four years, but we hope that our nominee aspires to be Lincoln- or Reagan-esque — that that person advances the principles of our party and appeals to a wide, vast majority of Americans … I think what is necessary to make this work, for this to unify, is to actually take our principles and advance them.
Ryan’s public invocation of Kemp’s immigration principles shows that he’s still wrapped around Kemp’s utterly idealistic vision — even though Kemp’s high immigration/low-wages principles converted his home state, the once Golden State, into political lead for the GOP because poor voters elect Democrats to heavily tax the state’s corps of millionaires and billionaires.
Kemp’s principles invited the immigrants who helped elect Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, and welcomed the low-skill immigrants who have flat-lined U.S. productivity and white-collar and blue-collar wages since at least 2000.
Roughly speaking, 4 million Americans turn 18 each year and begin looking for jobs.
But the federal government imports roughly 1 million legal immigrants, plus roughly 700,000 guest workers to refresh a standing population of roughly 1.2 million blue-collar and white-collar guest-workers, plus it ignores the resident population of roughly 10 million working illegal immigrants, and also ignores the arrival of several hundred thousand new illegal immigrants.
That adds up to two million new foreign workers each year to compete against the four million Americans who graduate from school or college each year.
Unsurprisingly, foreign-borne workers now comprise one-sixth of America’s workforce, leaving many millions of Americans unemployed or underemployed.
Ryan’s own actions also show he’s still entranced by Kemp’s pro-immigration vision.
In 2014, for example, his secretly drafted legislation to bring in more cheap foreign workers was derailed as the last moment when GOP voters defeated GOP majority Leader Eric Cantor in his primary.
In December 2015, he backed a House plan that now allow companies to bring in an extra 200,000 cheap foreign workers to take Americans’ jobs in kitchens and hotels, golf courses and resorts. His plan bumped up the annual inflow of guest-workers to roughly 900,000.
Also, there’s no public evidence that Ryan backed away from his support for the “any willing worker” plan that would allow employers to offer very low wages for jobs and then hire any willing foreign worker once Americans decline the poverty wages.
And there’s no evidence yet that Trump is backing away from his campaign platform, which is on track to convert Ryan’s cheap-labor GOP into a low-immigration, high-wage party for blue-collar and white-collar Americans.
“I am not ready to support Speaker Ryan’s agenda,” Trump responded to Ryan in an emailed statement after the CNN interview.
“Perhaps in the future we can work together and come to an agreement about what is best for the American people. They have been treated so badly for so long that it is about time for politicians to put them first!”
“It is not clear that the two can stay in the same party,” said Krikorian, who opposed Trump in the 2016 nomination race.
Ryan sees Trump “as fundamentally non-American in an ideological sense … [because] the [immigration] platform he ran on is fundamentally in contrast to everything Paul Ryan” thinks about the world’s migrants flocking to America, Krikorian added.
In some way, Ryan shares the same beliefs as President Barack Obama, Krikorian said.
In 2014, for example, Obama told a Democratic audience that Americans do not have the right to exclude migrants. “There have been periods where the folks who were already here suddenly say, ‘Well, I don’t want those folks,’ even though the only people who have the right to say that are some Native Americans,” Obama said.
Sometimes we get attached to our particular tribe, our particular race, our particular religion, and then we start treating other folks differently… that, sometimes, has been a bottleneck to how we think about immigration … Whether we cross the Atlantic, or the Pacific, or the Rio Grande, we all shared one thing, and that’s the hope that America would be the place where we could believe as we choose… and that the law would be enforced equally for everybody, regardless of what you look like or what your last name was … That’s the ideal that binds us all together. That’s what’s at stake when we have conversations about immigration.
Late Thursday, GOP chairman Reince Priebus tried to smooth over Ryan’s cheap-labor and immigration challenge to Trump. “I talked to [Ryan] this afternoon after he made his comments,” Priebus said. “And I talked to Donald Trump, too. And they’re both committed to sitting down and actually talking this out and actually, they’re likely to be meeting next week.”