Republicans hate immigration reform, right? You know… all those racists and such. Who could blame them? So they must be the ones torpedoing any real, meaningful immigration reform in Congress, obviously. But a recent WSJ editorial seems to put the brakes on this idea, at least in one important area. What shall we do about all of those immigrants yearning not only for freedom, but for a good job? Surely the Democrats and their largest backers are champing at the bit to put them all to work, right? Well… maybe not all of them.
The bipartisan Gang of Eight Senate talks on immigration are continuing, with avowals that a deal is done or close to it. But we also keep hearing that it may not include a flexible guest-worker program rooted in the realities of the U.S. labor market, and that some Republicans may nonetheless go along for the ride.
Specifically, the AFL-CIO has been insisting on a guest program for low-skilled workers to start at a mere 10,000 visas a year, and the Senators may agree on as few as 20,000. These would be the total number of visas for workers across the entire U.S. economy outside of high-tech or agriculture—the likes of construction, hotels and restaurants, landscaping, among so many others. To put that in perspective, in 2011 the U.S. admitted more than two million temporary workers in a work force of 154 million.
Ah… it’s our old friends in the AFL-CIO again. They’re big supporters of the Democrats and the general progressive agenda. (And by “supporters” I mean the people who finance a significant part of the machine.) And the Democrats and progressives are big supporters of immigration reform and legalization of “undocumented workers” in America. So we’re all on the same page, right?
Not if it means more workers competing legally for positions where the unions can’t get all their members on the payroll as it is. This would be a delicious bit of irony if it weren’t for the fact that legal, American workers are the ones who lose on either front. They face competition from the outside for lower skill, lower wage jobs, and unions who rob their paychecks to pay for elections selecting representatives who do nothing to strengthen American business. (And jobs.) It’s pretty much the opposite of a classic win-win.