The GOP's Immigration Opportunity Republicans are natural champions of sensible changes that would make us more secure and benefit the economy."Security" is some mild pro-fence noises, "freedom" means sheltering refugees, but "the economy," in spite of the worst unemployment numbers since the Depression, meansÂ cheap labor for employers.
BY JOE JACQUOT AND DAVID B. RIVKIN JR.
With the incoming Congress looking for accomplishments, here's one the Republican majority should take up immediately: immigration reform. Contrary to conventional wisdom, Republicans are its natural champions. The GOP led the way in 1986 and 1996, when partial immigration reforms were enacted. And a Republican Senate, with the support of President George W. Bush, passed comprehensive reform in 2006, only to see it die in the House.
Under President Barack Obama and a House run by Nancy Pelosi, immigration became a wedge used to separate Hispanic voters from the Republican Party. Thus came the sad spectacle of the Justice Department suing to block Arizonaâ€™s common-sense enforcement efforts. Congressâ€™s failure to move any legislation on the issue has only added to the publicâ€™s discontent.
Republicans should break this logjam by offering a vision of sensible immigration reform that can benefit U.S. citizens and boost Americaâ€™s influence globally. Such reform should focus on three critical national interests: security, the economy and freedom.
Rivkin and Jacquot write "Few U.S. workers seek employment as seasonal or agricultural laborers, or clamor for other physically taxing jobs. The construction tradesâ€”historically passed along from generation to generationâ€”are now dominated by foreign workers (legal and illegal)."
I suppose this means that American workers should welcome their new immigrant overlords. What they're saying is that Mexico has taken over the construction trades.
This is not true—see National Data: Looking (in vain) for "Jobs Americans Wonâ€™t Do" which explains that the vast majority of construction workers, hotel and restaurant workers, et cetera, are not illegal aliens, but Americans.
But even if the illegals had succeeded in stealing every construction job in the country, and destroying the native-born construction trades, it would still be despicable for the Republican Party to help make this hold on American jobs unbreakable.
How deeply are Rivkin and Jacquot in the pockets of the employers? Well, they say that
"The best approach is a gradual and targeted legalization program that serves our economic needs. For skilled workers, employers should be in the driverâ€™s seat to identify who is most needed for economic growth. For low-skill jobs that few or no Americans are willing to perform, Congress should enact a robust temporary guest-worker programâ€”and U.S. employers must accept mandatory electronic verification for foreign workers based on tamper-proof identification."Of course, E-Verify doesn't matter if everybody is legal and employers are "in the driver's seat."
They want to make it easier on employers in other ways:
...Congress must sweep away current regulations requiring employers to house and transport foreign laborers, eliminate burdensome paperwork, and generally refashion a guest-worker program into a user-friendly and attractive economic option.There's a lot more like that, but it's all the same—at no point do they admit that the basic problem is that employers want to pay lower wages, and they are passing the costs onto the taxpayer.