Politico: Lindsey Graham Touts DACA Amnesty to Trump

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 29: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), C, walks toward the Senate chamber during the Senate impeachment trial at the U.S. Capitol on January 29, 2020 in Washington, DC. Wednesday begins the question-and-answer phase of the impeachment trial that will last up to 16 hours over the next …
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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is meeting with President Donald Trump to talk about amnesty for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) migrants if the Supreme Court cancels Barack Obama’s unilateral award of work permits to roughly 800,000 young foreign migrants, says a report in Politico.

The expected cancellation will create an uproar in pro-“Dreamer” media outlets but can be a political boon to Trump, says immigration reformers. For example, Trump has complained that the judges’ preservation of the DACA program up to now reduces his political leverage to get Democrats in Congress to close various border loopholes and to help deport illegal migrants.

But business interests will also be eager to use any media-magnified uproar over DACA to smuggle their own cheap-labor goals into any DACA deal, said a source on Capitol Hill.

The news of the meeting was leaked to Politico by Graham, who has a long history of pushing legislation that would allow employers to hire more foreign workers when wages rise in the United States. For example, Graham was the original GOP advocate for the 2013 “Gang of Eight” amnesty and cheap-labor bill.

Politico reported:

President Donald Trump is expected to host Republican senators at the White House Thursday to discuss offers to give legal status to people who came to the country illegally as children, according to a person familiar with the plans.

“We got called over,” Graham told POLITICO. “I think the president will win in court on DACA that he can set aside the Obama-era DACA rules, then what do you do? I mean If you’re going to give them legal status I hope we get something for it.”

Other senators invited to the meeting are Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Ted Cruz of Texas, Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Martha McSally of Arizona, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, David Perdue of Georgia and Thom Tillis of North Carolina. Perdue and Tillis have been pushing the White House to expand the number of temporary foreign workers in the United States.

“Graham is trying to seize the initiative … as if he has other people following him,” said Jessica Vaughan, policy director at the Center for Immigration Studies. She continued:

He acts as if a [DACA] amnesty is inevitable, and that the Republicans are not in the driver” seat, and as if they have to scramble to get some scraps from the [negotiating] table. That is not the case at all — the reality is that there is no appetite among voters or most Republicans to enact any massive amnesty giveaway.

The labor and wages dispute can create a political windfall for Republicans, she said. “If Trump and Republicans are the ones who are protecting their [American] opportunities and preventing [immigration] policies that lead to wage depression, they will have a whole new generation of voters,” she said.

Several senators in Graham’s group are backing cheap-labor bills.

For example, Lee and Cramer are backing the much-delayed S.386 bill, which would offer green cards and citizenship to roughly 60,000 Indians each year if they take college graduate jobs from American graduates. Many business groups back Lee’s legislation because it would depress Americans’ salaries and boost investors’ stocks.

Tillis is not a co-sponsor of S.386 but has repeatedly backed legislation allowing employers to import more foreign workers for employers.

In 2017, Johnson backed a bill that would allow states to import foreign workers to replace millions of Americans. The intention of the bill, he said, was “making sure that American businesses have the labor they need.”

Moderates Cotton and Perdue have drafted the RAISE Act, which would help raise productivity — and Americans’ wages — by shrinking the inflow of immigrants.

Politico also noted the likely opposition to a cheap-labor giveaway before the 2020 election:

“In response to a potential Supreme Court decision on DACA, we expect Republican lawmakers to give President Trump political advice consistent with what got him elected in 2016,” said Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which wants to cut the number of immigrants in the country. “A decision ending DACA is not an ‘emergency’ that needs to be exploited to advance Senator Graham’s amnesty agenda.”

The lobbyists’ chatter about the need for more skilled workers “is about the second term,” said Daniel Horowitz, the editor of Conservative Review. Voters who back Trump’s America First agenda must organize this year to defeat next year’s push for cheap labor, he said, adding:

The president needs to hear from his base — now is precisely the time to stand up and not stand down out of fear of pressuring the President. … He wants to be pressured [because] it is very hard for the President to go in one direction when 100 percent of the pressure inside the administration is headed in the other direction. The mistake that Trump supporters make is they wait until it is too late to stop the President from feeling compelled to go with the swamp … The time to get to the President is early and often.

Trump has zig-zagged on this labor and wages issue since 2015.

“I have so many companies coming into this country, you’re not going to have to worry about it,” Trump said in January intreview with Fox News, adding, “It is always going to be a shortage … We have so many companies coming in from Japan … [and] China now is going to start building a lot of things.”

“I’m not talking about cheap [workers] — I’m talking about brainpower,” Trump responded. “They want to hire smart people. And those people are thrown out of the country — we can’t do that,” he said, referring to foreign graduates of U.S. colleges.

Graham and business lobbies have plenty of allies in the administration, including Trump’s chief of staff, Mike Mulvaney.

“We are desperate — desperate — for more people,” Mulvaney told students at an elite U.K. university. “We are running out of people to fuel the economic growth that we’ve had in our nation over the last four years. We need more immigrants.”

The acting head of the Department of Homeland Security is also touting the employer-boosting immigrants-for-growth claim. In an interview at the 2020 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Chad Wolf told Breitbart News:

We need to make sure, as you indicated, that we’re protecting American workers while still allowing certain individuals to come in and continue to grow this economy — the best economy that we’ve ever had. So we need to make sure that we get the right individuals in here and obviously President Trump’s been very vocal about that, making sure that we have high-skilled individuals coming in here but also protecting American workers. So we’re doing that on a variety of different fronts, trying to make sure that we maintain that balance … We want to make sure that we have the right workforce, skilled workforce, merit-based workforce, in place to keep that economy growing.

U.S. employers are already subsidized by the arrival of legal immigrants, which adds one million people — including roughly 500,000 workers — to the economy each year, just as four million young Americans begin searching for jobs, wages, and careers.

Employers are also allowed to import millions of temporary foreign workers. These rules provide a resident population of roughly one million white-collar visa workers and more than one million work-permit workers.

But other administration officials are also eager to help American employees. For example, Ivanka Trump and economic adviser Larry Kudlow praised Trump’s tight labor market during a February 28 CPAC 2020 event.

“Of all the new jobs created last year … 73 percent of them were secured by people on the sidelines of the economy, not even on the unemployment [line],” said Ivanka Trump, who is managing an employee training program for the president.

Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, said:

There is probably, based on our numbers, at least 6 million more Americans who could come back into the labor force. So while we are all in favor of legal immigration reforms based on merit, the fact remains that we have to take care of at least 6 million more Americans [who are not] in the workplace.

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