The Senate voted overwhelmingly today to move debate forward on the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill. Only 15 Republicans voted No. Not all the Republicans who voted to move the bill forward today will necessarily vote for its passage, but it appears to be a foregone conclusion that the bill will indeed make it out of the Senate in more or less its current form.
This is, I think, mystifying. I can understand why Democrats would vote for the bill: over the next ten years, it will result in somewhere between 30 million and 57 million new legal immigrants, the vast majority from Mexico. They and their descendants will be predominantly Democratic voters, and the Republican party as we know it–i.e., as a reasonably conservative party–will probably become extinct at the national level. Moreover, the addition of tens of millions of low-skilled immigrants will lead to the greatest expansion of the welfare state since the Great Society. So what’s for Democrats not to like?
But why would any Republican vote for the bill? Not only does it represent political suicide, it will devastate America’s working class. We understand that Democrats don’t care about working men and women, but don’t Republicans, either? Even Republican opposition to the bill is myopic, as it tends to focus on the non-issue of border security. Border security is relevant only to illegal immigration, and even there, it is only marginally material. But the Gang of Eight’s bill is a disaster because of the vast increase in legal unskilled immigration that it authorizes.
Today Jeff Sessions, who has waged a heroic but lonely battle for common sense on the issue, talked about one aspect of the bill, the guest worker program that it would establish. Sessions pointed out that the bill was drafted by special interests for the purpose of driving wages down; I would add that a second purpose is to drive welfare payments up:
Yesterday I talked with a conservative member of the House who assured me that the House will not pass anything like the Senate bill. Yet John Boehner apparently is committed to passing something, and I have no confidence that most House Republicans understand how disastrous the Senate bill is, regardless of any purported border security, and regardless of how arduous the path to citizenship for current illegals might be made. There is plenty of room for immigration reform: repeal the quota system that we have used since the 1960s, end chain immigration, adopt a rational system like, say, Canada’s. The House should move forward on those fronts and not take up anything that remotely resembles the Senate bill. Toward that end, Republican House members need to hear from their constituents much more loudly than has been the case so far.
UPDATE: A reader adds these comments:
The guest workers provision referenced in Sen. Sessions’s comments is a tremendous disaster. It essentially sets up an industry controlled branch of the executive which can decide when and how many “guest workers” to admit, based on completely phony and, indeed, nonsensical “labor market conditions” to address “shortages.” In effect, there can never be an “illegal immigrant” again. When the scofflaw employers want “more”…the Labor Market Board just huffs and puffs and voila! —- in come the “guest workers” who will never leave and are now perfectly legal.
This new LEEEE-gal immigration regime is all but unlimited in numbers–a throwback to 1889. But we had 38 states then, and only about 70 million is total population. Now we are the THIRD most populous country, after only China and India with about 315 million in total population. There will be a massive influx in population of marginally assimilable third world unskilled workers and their dependents; a crushing of the native-born working and lower class; and massive economic dislocation, to say nothing of the destruction of the environment and transformation of our political system. In 1950 the population was 150 million; by 2050, on this path, it will be easily 500 million! We will have become India or China. What was the population of India and China in 1950?….India: 360 million; China: 560 million…..
But don’t fret–think of the GDP!….lots more taco stands and nail salons….and all the multicultural diversity, and the great ethnic food! Besides, as David Brooks says, you middle class Americans are just going to have to get used to being in more dense, crowded, somewhat disorderly circumstances, that’s all.
That quote should be thrown up in their faces every day.