Democrats See Growing Political Risk from Central American Migration

Central American migrants walking to the U.S. start their day departing Ciudad Hidalgo, Me
Associated Press/Moises Castillo

Democrat leaders are growing concerned that swing voters will blame their pro-migration policies for the huge Central American migration at the U.S. southern border.

Under the lede, “Donald Trump has Democrats in a nearly impossible position on the border,” Politico reported:

Democrats are struggling with exactly how to confront the deteriorating situation at the southern border — particularly without legitimizing Trump’s harsh immigration stances or bolstering his argument for a massive border wall, which they’re trying to block in court.

Progressives like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) are taking a hard line against Trump’s request, saying in an interview that “this administration has not proven itself worthy of one more dollar” until all families have been reunited. More moderate Democrats argue some funding is needed to assist the thousands of Central American migrants seeking asylum.

The result is likely to be a weeks-long battle within the Democratic Caucus that will expose deep splits on immigration and complicate Washington’s next big funding fight. And with Trump gearing up for his reelection campaign, the issue is only going to get hotter.

The Democrats’ DACA amnesty bill is also stalled by the Democrats’ growing disagreement about offering amnesty to illegal migrants who have misdemeanors — including drunk-driving convictions. The no-strings amnesty would provide benefits to at least 2.5 million illegals, without offering any protections or border reforms that would help Americans.

The Democrats’ concern is partly driven by the Party’s radical base, 80 percent of which approves of the current migration rules or else wants them to be further loosened.

The Democrats’ enthusiasm for wage-cutting mass-migration is fueled by many progressives’ growing moral fervor over apparent racism, which many see as the root cause of the nation’s economic and racial disparities and of the nation’s immigration policies. This moral fervor began around 2012, and is dubbed “The Great Awokening.”

The concern is shared by the New York Times’ editorial board. With one eye on the 2020 election, the board is urging Democrats to approve President Donald Trump’s request for $4.5 billion to cope with the flood of migrants who are using border loopholes to rush into the U.S. job market and K-12 schools.

Democrats are fighting hard to keep those loopholes open, making it easy for Trump to blame the economic and civic costs on Democrats.

The New York Times’ editorial board urged Democrats to fund the request, saying “Both sides need to dial back the fighting words, resist the temptation to finger-point and find a creative way through this minefield.”

The board wrote May 5:

The Democratic chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, Nita Lowey of New York, said that the administration was seeking billions of dollars to “double down on cruel and ill-conceived policies” and bail out ICE for locking up more migrant families than it could humanely accommodate. But until better policies are in place, Democrats need to find a way to provide money for adequate shelter.

Democrats have other, lower-level concerns as well, such as ensuring that the Office of Refugee Resettlement is not used as an enforcement agency or that the contractors and facilities used to care for children meet certain standards. As a condition of handing over additional billions, they are likely to push for at least modest increases in oversight. They should aim to keep such tinkering as narrow and targeted as possible

The Washington Post‘s editorial board is also urging Democrats to look reasonable before the 2020 election, saying:

…on current trends, as many as 1 million [Central American] may be picked up by Border Patrol agents in the current fiscal year — the highest number since 2006 — some of the emergency funding requested by the administration is justified to address what has become a bona fide crisis. And politically, Democrats could do worse than to show they care about border integrity as well as humane treatment of migrants.

There is no immigration deal that will leave everyone on Capitol Hill happy. Teeth-gnashing on both sides of the aisle will be a precondition for major progress. But the alternative is permanent impasse on an issue that is rending the national fabric. Mr. Trump and congressional Democrats have a choice: take some steps toward a solution, or continue to sow division and discord. There’s no question where the national interest lies.

Still, the Post‘s idea of a compromise includes an amnesty for at least 2.1 million illegal and temporary residents that would reward the illegal-immigrant parents of young “dreamer” illegals, encourage further migration, cut blue-collar wages, and set Congress up for another “dreamer'”amnesty for the roughly 125,000 young illegals who leave U.S. high schools each year.

Each year, roughly four million young Americans join the workforce after graduating from high school or university.

But the federal government then imports about 1.1 million legal immigrants and refreshes a resident population of roughly 1.5 million white-collar visa workers — including approximately 1 million H-1B workers — and approximately 500,000 blue-collar visa workers. The government also prints out more than 1 million work permits for foreigners and rarely punishes companies for employing the population of at least 8 million illegal migrants who sneak across the border or overstay their legal visas.

This policy of inflating the labor supply boosts economic growth for investors because it ensures that employers do not have to compete for American workers by offering higher wages and better working conditions.

This policy of flooding the market with cheap foreign white-collar graduates and blue-collar labor shifts enormous wealth from young employees towards older investors even as it also widens wealth gaps, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, and hurts children’s schools and college educations. It also pushes Americans away from high-tech careers and sidelines millions of marginalized Americans, including many who are now struggling with fentanyl addictions. The labor policy also moves business investment from the heartland to the coasts, explodes rents, shrivels real estate values in the Midwest, and rewards investors for creating low-tech, labor-intensive workplaces.


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