Immigration reformers are promising to block a proposed amnesty bargain by President Donald Trump’s pro-immigration globalist aides and their counterparts on both sides of Capitol Hill.
The putative deal would grant an amnesty to the 800,000 beneficiaries of President Barack Obama’s so-called “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” amnesty, announced in June 2012, in exchange for a package of real or symbolic benefits for Americans.
“If [Trump’s aides] are left to their own devices, they would exchange this for a few trinkets,” so violating Trump’s campaign promise before the 2018 and 2020 elections, said Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
The proposed amnesty from Trump’s aides “is a trial balloon to see how much they can get away with, to see how much pushback they get” from Trump’s voters, said Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies.
“We will not accept a DACA amnesty for anything less than the end of chain migration and [the establishment of] mandatory E-verify,” and only after Congress has approved new enforcement measures to prevent another rush of cheap-labor illegal aliens, said Rosemary Jenks, government relations director at NumbersUSA. E-Verify is a program which allows — but does not require — companies to screen out illegal immigrants during job applications. A DACA negotiation is only possible if Congress first repairs the nation’s immigration enforcement system by easing repatriations, ending local amnesties by “sanctuary cities,” and by building the wall, she said.
Democrats are also jeering at the White House plan because they expect to win the DACA amnesty at a much lower price.
The suggested deal was outlined in a Tuesday article by Anita Kumar, a reporter for the McClatchy news service. She uses the Democrats’ term ‘dreamers’ – to describe the 800,000 DACA illegals as she wrote:
White House officials want Trump to strike an ambitious deal with Congress that offers Dreamers protection in exchange for legislation that pays for a border wall and more detention facilities, curbs legal immigration and implements E-verify, an online system that allows businesses to check immigration status, according to a half-dozen people familiar with situation, most involved with the negotiations.
The group includes former and current White House chiefs of staff, Reince Priebus and John Kelly, the president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, and her husband, Jared Kushner, who both serve as presidential advisers, they said. Others who have not been as vocal publicly about their stance but are thought to agree include Vice President Mike Pence, who as a congressman worked on a failed immigration deal that called for citizenship, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and Gary Cohn, a Democrat who serves as director of the National Economic Council.
So far, there is no evidence that the pro-American immigration reformers who were so important in the 2016 election have even been invited to the White House to develop a proposed deal for subsequent negotiations with Democrats, business groups and other amnesty advocates.
Reformers say the proposed deal violates Trump’s campaign promises, will be rejected by Democrat politicians, cannot be successfully negotiated by Trump’s pro-immigration advocates, such as Cohn or the GOP’s pro-business, pro-immigration leadership, and will be easier to achieve if the DACA process is first shut down and if Republicans use the immigration issue to win the 2018 elections.
On the campaign trail, Trump said he would revoke the DACA amnesty on “Day One.” Since then, he has reversed himself and continues to award two-year work-permits to the 800,000 prior and new DACA applicants.
Trump has also failed to significantly reform the various unpopular foreign-labor programs — such as the H-1B white-collar outsourcing program — which allow U.S.-based companies to replace roughly 3 million white-collar and blue-collar Americans with foreign workers each year. That inflow of foreign labor allows employers offer lower wages to the four million young Americans who enter the workforce each year, much to the near-term advantage of employers, investors, and Wall Street.
The use of foreign labor is good, say forecasts by business advocates, because it expands the total economy and delivers more tax revenues to the federal government. But those forecasts also show the inflow reduces Americans’ wages.
The inflow of foreign workers to the coastal cities also hollows out businesses in the heartland, spurring the opioid death toll that Chief of Staff Kelly has denounced.
The inflow also preserves Democrats’ political power in the major cities where the middle-class and African-Americans are being pushed out by a combination of a well-paid elite and a mass of low-wage immigrant service workers.
The annual inflow pushes young high-performing Americans away from careers in science, biology, and technology, towards careers in culture, law, and politics. That replacement means the nation is increasingly reliant on H-1B foreigners and immigrants for the technology that is needed to grow per-capita income, per-capita productivity, military power and overall economic clout in the face of rising threats from China and other international problems.
However, Trump has announced his strong support for the pro-American “RAISE Act” which would reduce cheap-labor immigration, cut government spending, raise wages and so shift the nation’s economy away from a reliance on imported consumers and towards a greater reliance on high-tech development and workplace automation.
Democrats are going to reject any plausible deal until Trump and his aides wind down the DACA amnesty, said Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies. “I don’t see that the Democrats are interested in negotiating unless DACA is not actually threatened … why would [Democratic leader Sen.] Chuck Schumer even bother coming to the negotiating table?”
Democrats are already rejecting the deal. For example, the spokesman for Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin tweeted his boss’ quick rejection of the proposed deal:
DURBIN: this is a nonstarter. The DREAM Act is bipartisan—the Admin's immigration wishlist sharply divides the GOP. That’s no kind of deal. https://t.co/qXuZ4HIaKo
— Ben Marter (@BenMarter) August 22, 2017
Trump’s pro-establishment aides are a major problem, the reformers said. For example, Cohn’s Democratic-leaning allies in the business sector gain from the annual inflow of cheap-workers and new consumers, and from the huge level of taxpayers funds that are spent to aid the low-skill immigrants. The recent departure of pro-American advocate Steve Bannon [the editor in chief of this website] and the apparent exclusion of Steven Miller, Trump’s leading advocate for an immigration reform, leaves Trump with few close allies in the West Wing, say reformers.
“It is plausible the [establishment aides] really want to drive a hard bargain, but the way that [McClatchy] story sounded, with Miller not being in the conversation, I’m afraid that it could turn into kind of a swindle,” said Krikorian. “I find it hard to believe that Ivanka and Kushner and Cohn are supporting the RAISE Act …. [and] I have a hard time seeing most of Trump’s aides pushing for anything on immigration except for bad things,” said Jenks.
Democrats are pressuring those aides by describing Trump’s reforms as racist. One union-backed group of young illegals, dubbed United We Dream, issue a press statement on Tuesday denouncing any deal:
We heard the hate-filled chants in Charlottesville calling for a country without people of color, without immigrants. This is no coincidence. The Trump team is pushing a white nationalist agenda to remove immigrants from society, lock us into detention camps and force us out of the country.
The GOP leadership seems unwilling to fight for border enforcement, the RAISE act or a major reform deal, said Krikorian. “Neither [House Speaker Paul] Ryan nor [Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell are likely to be cooperative … neither one will be an advocate making sure that negotiations are conducted with a certain amount of toughness. … [and] Ryan would be willing to give away half of what’s there, if not more,” he said.
If Trump’s aides and the GOP leadership are allowed to negotiate the deal with Democrats, it “would start out as DACA in exchange for all of these [beneficial and popular] things, and it would end up with a DACA exchange for little because both sides of the negotiating table want a DACA amnesty,” Krikorian said.
Instead of rushing for a quick deal, Trump should ensure that his aides put the Democrats and the GOP leadership on the spot in the run-up to the 2017 budget deal and the 2018 elections, say these reformers.
Democrats will face pressure from their own base if a pending lawsuit is expanded to kill off the DACA program, said Krikorian.
Media coverage of polls drafted by progressives or by business groups shows apparent voter support for amnesty and greater immigration. But many other polls of public opinion show why immigration reformers won the 2013 “Gang of Eight” immigration debate, the 2014 Senate elections — which likely will keep Schumer minority leader for at least six years — plus the 2016 presidential vote. Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” policies are also extremely popular, including among Democratic-leaning voters.
“Hold them accountable in the court of public opinion,” said Mehlman, adding that Trump should also press GOP leaders to pressure Democratic leaders. In the Senate, “there are 10 Democrats up for election next year in states that went for Trump… [GOP leaders] have leverage if they choose to use [but] they’re not choosing to use it.”
The Democrats are resisting the “no brainer” popular border-and-enforcement politics that protect the nation from illegal immigration and drugs, said Jenks. “If the Democrats are really so intent on keeping our southern border open, then let them stand on that, let them campaign on that,” she said. “We should not have to beg and plead for enforcing our laws and securing our country,” she said.
“Democrats want to shut the government down [in October] to block funding for the wall [so] the the Republicans should say ‘Your proposal is acceptable,’” said Krikorian. But, he added, “I worry that Trump will think he is the one running out of time because he wants that wall money by the end of September.”
“If the Democrats are not willing to allow the president to complete his campaign promise on building the wall and securing the border, [negotiations] should stop right there until the Democrats are willing to come to the table in [election-year] 2018” or in 2019, Jenks said.
Already, Ryan has reassured reformers that he will pass five popular pieces of pending legislation on enforcement, refugees, asylum-seekers, young migrants and mandatory E-Verify, she said. “OK, let’s move forward with those, put them on the House floor, send them to the Senate and let’s put the Democrats in a bind.”
The current annual flood of foreign labor spikes profits and Wall Street values by cutting salaries for manual and skilled labor offered by blue-collar and white-collar employees. It also drives up real estate prices, widens 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.
Many polls show that Americans are very generous, they do welcome individual immigrants, and they do want to like the idea of immigration. But the polls also show that most Americans are increasingly worried that large-scale legal immigration will change their country and disadvantage themselves and their children.