NO Illegal Amnesty Without Border Security: Reject Any Rehash of Reagan’s Immigration Error


Two vultures are feasting on the American experiment, one from the extreme left, and one from the extreme right:

The news over the weekend may be the best yet: an agreement in principle between two old adversaries, business and labor, on a new visa program for lower-skilled workers in industries like hotels, restaurants and construction….

I am a pro free market conservative, but I believe that the business sector has been advocating for lax immigration standards so that they can benefit by cheap labor which brings down wages for the average American, who cannot compete against illegals who are comfortable with a much lower living standard. I know of laborers who say they earn ten times as much for the same labor in America as they do in Mexico.

According to negotiators, business won’t get the annual flood of 400,000 guest workers it wanted, but it will get four years of rising visa totals — going from 20,000 to 75,000. After that, visa levels would rise and fall with the unemployment rate and other factors, with a maximum of 200,000 a year.

So business gets more immigrants willing to do the hardest and least paying work, which helps their bottom line, and impoverishes native-born labor competitors (including other Hispanics).

Labor, meanwhile, gets significant worker protections, including the right for immigrants to change jobs and to seek green cards and citizenship if they wish. Labor’s objection to previous guest-worker programs was that they import workers who are shackled to employers and thus acutely vulnerable to exploitation — a recipe for abysmal wages and working conditions for everybody.

I doubt very much that unions actually care about low wages and working conditions – what’s important for them is the influx of new voters that will cement Democrats’ offices and ensure unions’ pillaging of the federal budget.

Here’s the pivotal detail that’s not reported in the New York Times’ opinion cited above:

This is absolutely unacceptable…. we should demand the border be completely shutdown before we come anywhere near considering “legalizing” illegal immigrants.

This was the promise Marco Rubio made, and if he abandons it, he can expect an enormous backlash against him, and against any plan.

While the media lauds this supposed compromise, Rubio has come out saying a deal has not been made.

What angers me the most about these schemes is that they don’t address at all the market forces that will draw millions more illegals if we legalize the ones who are already here:

…once you legalize the immigrants who are here, they immediately become just as onerous to hire as American citizens – much of the appeal of hiring them is lost. They jump up a rung on the employment ladder, compete with Americans, drive those wages down, and leave a gulf of unfilled jobs they previously occupied. What happens to those jobs?

Well, unless the source of illegal labor is absolutely shut off, the word will go out that there are tons of new jobs in Los Estados, and all you have to is make it across that border.

The only way to stop the failed policy we have is to get at the root problem – the porous border. The very fact that the left applauds all immigration plans that don’t address this problem belies their real intent – to guarantee more democratic votes from newly legalized immigrants, while business interests draw in more illegals to buttress their profits at native Americans’ expense.

This was exactly the problem at the heart of what has been reported as Reagan’s greatest regret – the Immigration compromise bill of 1986:

Internal enforcement was critical to Reagan. He knew that the real key to stopping illegal immigration was to cut off the job magnet at the employment place. He was also honest enough to call what he believed would only be a small amnesty by its real name—amnesty. He did not try to deceive the American people into thinking it was not really an amnesty, a deception much in vogue with many politicians today.

For the first six months after the amnesty there was a modest fall in illegal immigration, but within 12 months illegal immigration was breaking all previous records, rising to 800,000 per year. Friends and relatives of the newly legalized immigrants began to pour into the United States. They were followed by more illegal job seekers who saw continued opportunities for more amnesties. In fact, the 1986 amnesty resulted in six more amnesties from 1994 to 2000, awarding legal status to another 3.0 million illegal immigrants. By 1997, the number of illegal immigrants in the country was already back up to the 5.0 million in the U.S. before the 1986 amnesty. Amnesty has proved to be a slippery slope.

 If you want another example of the most intellectually dishonest justifications for a flawed immigration plan, look no further than Democrat Mark Udall from Colorado, who opines that giving illegal immigrants a path to citizenship isn’t amnesty at all. Then, not 3 minutes later, he says that our current immigration policy is “de facto amnesty.” So if they have de facto amnesty, then why is there a rush to give them something that amounts to less than amnesty?

Meanwhile at the border, there is evidence that more illegals are pouring into America based on the mere suggestion that there might be amnesty granted to those who make it. Some have even asked for amnesty once apprehended.

Even more alarming, there’s also some evidence that the Mexican drug cartels are taking advantage of lax border security and planting associates in order to secure their drug distribution lines, bringing greater crime and a plague that destroys our communities.

How many more reasons do we need to shut down the border?!

This has nothing to do with not having enough compassion, it has nothing to do with being anti-immigration. Having lax border security is a real threat to Americans, and advocating anything less than complete border shut down is ridiculous and absurd.

[correction: in an earlier version of this post Mark Udall was mistakenly identified as a representative from Alaska, instead of representing Colorado. We regret this grievous insult to Alaskans, and erroneous compliment to Colorodans.]