Immigration Reform and The “Stupid Party”

At a meeting of Republican leaders this past week, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal told his fellow Republicans that the GOP needs to “stop being the stupid party.”  Jindal was referencing comments made by a few GOP candidates about rape and the party’s growing reputation as an anti-science party, thanks to pandering to far right elements that deny evolution and climate science.

But the Republican party holds no monopoly on stupidity.  I could cite a litany of stupid moves and policy positions on the part of Democrats, including trade policy, budget policy and foreign policy.  Among the stupidest of the Democratic positions is its advocacy for immigration reform.  How stupid is it to reward illegal aliens with amnesty and citizenship?  How stupid is it to swell our population yet again with another tidal wave of immigrants when all of the problems caused by overpopulation, driven almost entirely by immigration, grow worse by the day:  unemployment, overdependency on foreign oil and the deterioration in our climate, just to name a few? 

But there’s two kinds of stupid.  There’s real stupidity of the sorts mentioned above.  And then there’s political stupidity – the kind that involves not using the first kind to your advantage with the electorate.  It’s this latter kind of stupidity that Jindal and Republicans are contemplating.  In the case of immigration reform, Republicans seem to have concluded that, although the Democrats’ position on immigration is stupid, their position plays well with those elements of Latino voters who favor illegal immigrants over the best interests of their newly-adopted homeland.  So now, instead of trying to parlay their opposition to illegal immigration and amnesty for illegals into an advantage with the rest of the populace by making a better, more coherent argument for opposing illegal immigration, Republicans have decided it best to simply negate Democrats’ advantage with Latino voters by joining them in their stupidity. 

Yeah, yeah, I know – recent polls have shown that something less than 50% of voters now oppose a pathway to citizenship for illegals.  But not opposing it isn’t the same thing as enthusiastically favoring it.  If given a choice and if armed with intelligent arguments why our worsening overpopulation is a real problem, the vast majority of voters – perhaps even Latino voters – would prefer that we simply enforce the borders and force illegals back home. 

What’s really stupid is that we’ve made this mistake before and we’re about to do it again.  In 1986, Congress passed the “Immigration Reform and Control Act” which granted amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.  The following were the key provisions of that Act:

  • required employers to attest to their employees’ immigration status.
  • made it illegal to knowingly hire or recruit unauthorized immigrants.
  • legalized certain seasonal agricultural illegal immigrants.
  • legalized illegal immigrants who entered the United States before January 1, 1982 and had resided there continuously with the penalty of a fine, back taxes due, and admission of guilt.

It was supposed to be a one-time deal and a permanent fix for the problem of illegal immigration.  Now according to an article just published this morning, here’s the framework of the “immigration reform” deal that Democrats and Republicans have struck in the Senate:

  • Creating a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already here, contingent upon securing the border and better tracking of people here on visas.
  • Reforming the legal immigration system, including awarding green cards to immigrants who obtain advanced degrees in science, math, technology or engineering from an American university.
  • Creating an effective employment verification system to ensure that employers do not hire illegal immigrants.
  • Allowing more low-skill workers into the country and allowing employers to hire immigrants if they can demonstrate they couldn’t recruit a U.S. citizen; and establishing an agricultural worker program.

Point for point, it’s almost exactly the same as the “immigration reform” that was passed 27 years earlier, except that the provision for automatically awarding green cards to foreign students who earn degrees will make it that much harder for American students to find work, and that much harder for American students to afford seats at the universities that are increasingly taken by foreign students. 

Regarding the first point of the plan, there’s already a pathway to citizenship.  It involves going home and applying for a visa.  And we don’t need “immigration reform” to enforce the border and track people with visas.  Those are already provisions of existing law that merely lack the resources and funding. 

Regarding the 2nd point, a study just released this morning found that half of all Americans with college degrees are working in jobs for which they’re overqualified.  And approximately half of all recent college graduates can’t find work at all.  Why do we need to import more students?  How much more affordable would college be if our universities actually had to compete for students instead of filling the classrooms with immigrants?  How much could we cut federal spending on tuition aid?

Regarding the third point, we already have the E-verify system.  What we don’t have are states that require its use.

And regarding the last point, we already have this and employers routinely claim that they can’t find workers without even making any valid effort.

Immigration reform is stupid, plain and simple.  We already have all of the laws we need.  All we lack is the will to enforce them and the backing of economists who understand what worsening overpopulation does to our economy.  Swelling the ranks of the unemployed with more unemployed immigrants is stupid.  Making our over-dependence on foreign oil worse is stupid.  Negating all of our gains in energy efficiency and emissions by growing the population is stupid.  Filling our universities with foreign students we don’t need is stupid.  Destroying the credibility of our immigration laws with round-after-round of amnesty is stupid. 

What’s really stupid is ruining our economy and our country in an effort to court a minority of ill-informed voters, something that has never bothered the Democrats much.   And now  Republicans have concluded that if you can’t lick ’em, join ’em.  It’s easier than standing on principle.

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