Let’s Not Drive Down Wages With Immigration “Reform”

Today’s jobs report was disappointing–only 142,000 jobs added, well below analysts’ expectations; 60,000 workers left the labor force; June and July payroll estimates were revised downward; and 12% are either unemployed, or working part-time while seeking full-time employment. All of which raises, once again, the question why anyone would consider it a good idea to import tens of millions of new, unskilled and semi-skilled workers to compete with Americans who already are struggling to find work, or grant amnesty to those who are now here illegally.

Public opinion has turned decisively against such immigration “reform,” which is why Democrats running for election this year are urging President Obama not to issue an executive order on immigration before November:

More top Democrats are pressuring President Barack Obama to slow down on immigration reform, further diminishing the chances that he’ll take sweeping administrative action before Election Day. …

Until now, few Democrats have been willing to break publicly with Obama over his vow to issue an executive order on immigration. Democratic incumbents in this year’s most competitive Senate races have already voiced concern, but the calls from others to hold off on acting suggests Democrats are growing even more anxious about the decision and its potential to upend the fight for control of the Senate.

Hardly anyone doubts, however, that once the election is over, Obama will issue some sort of executive order that will increase competition for scarce jobs and tend to drive wages down.

Dick Morris reminds us of some of the history of open borders advocacy:

The working people of America intuit that their lack of wage growth and employment opportunity is directly linked to the flood of people coming in across the border. And nothing could be clearer in our current politics than the fact that the Democratic Party of Barack Obama wants the inundation to continue, whereas Republicans want it to stop.

It was not always so. In first half of the 20th century, it was the GOP that wanted open borders, the more easily to recruit a low-wage work force and hold down the wages of American workers. Still dimly aware that they represent workers, not the Democratic Party, some labor unions persist in calling for immigration restrictions.

But the lure of ethnic voting has made open borders enticing to the leadership of the Democratic Party, as well as the rapid ascension to voting citizenship of those who arrive.

Yet Republicans are not betraying their heritage in opposing open borders. Rather, they are tapping into the intellectual legacy of Abraham Lincoln, who opposed the Jeffersonian vision of a nation of yeomen farmers, aristocrats and slaves. The wage system, Lincoln argued, was the only way for the working class to advance above subsistence farming. How were workers to secure decent wages, he would ask, when slaves could be coerced to work for free?

So, again, we have the phenomenon of elitist “limousine liberals” arguing for open borders, while workers absorb the brunt of the impact.

Wage stagnation is a winning issue for Republicans. The solution is 1) economic growth, and 2) don’t make the situation worse by importing millions of new low-wage workers.

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