The House GOP immigration bill is big business populism
Washington Examiner ^ | Jan 13, 2018 | Ryan Girdusky
Posted on 01/12/2018 9:07:48 PM PST by Oshkalaboomboom
On Wednesday, Republicans unveiled a House immigration proposal that was endorsed within hours by the White House. The plan is a mix of parts of President Trump’s populist agenda with visa expansions to big business and agricultural lobbyists.
Overall, it’s a good plan, but it wouldn’t help working-class voters that make up Trump’s base as much as he promised.
The Securing America’s Future Act gives Trump supporters basically everything they want on border enforcement, including a border wall, 5,000 new U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agents, a biometric exit-entry system, and advanced border technology, including drones.
In addition, it will create a nationwide, mandatory E-Verify system that will prevent employers from hiring future illegal immigrants. This will be a game changer, as it will make businesses liable if they undercut American workers by hiring illegal immigrants. This would in turn defeat the No. 1 driver of illegal immigration to the United States.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the bill ends chain migration, thus reducing legal immigration by 25 percent, only half of what Trump proposed last year. Citizens and green card holders will only be allowed to bring in their spouse and minor children, but there will be a renewable temporary visa for the parents of American citizens and green card holders, so they can visit for an extended period of time. It would also end the Diversity Visa Lottery system.
That’s the good news for Trump supporters, but the trade-off may be too big a bullet to bite.
DACA recipients who proved they weren’t members of gangs and had no criminal convictions would be eligible for a three-year, renewable legal status that would allow them to live, work, and travel in the U.S. Those recipients would also be allowed to use work or marriage sponsorships to earn green cards and eventually citizenship if they qualify down the road, but it’s not a guaranteed path to citizenship.
This is a fine deal that most Trump supporters would fully accept, but there’s one last provision in the bill that benefits big business at the expense of working-class Americans.
The bill proposes a 45 percent increase in employment-based visas for skilled workers — 55,000 new visas total. Additionally the bill creates an entirely new visa lottery system that would allow for the agriculture industry to bring in possibly hundreds of thousands of new workers annually. This part of the bill is a benefit to an industry that was just beginning to increase wages and offer benefits to draw more American labor.
This is corporate populism, Republicans promising to enact Trump’s policies but only if their donors receive some kind of benefit.
Trump’s original plan, backed up by the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act, or RAISE, would have cut legal immigration without creating any new visa program, and it would have significantly cut the amount of unskilled foreign labor and competition facing working-class Americans. This proposal only dances around the edges and increases foreign labor in some circumstances.
Mass immigration has come at a huge expense for working-class Americans, and it has helped fuel Trump’s populist movement. While the Securing America’s Future Act is the best enforcement bill that also deals with the DACA population, it still does not address the concerns of Trump’s base.
Unless the bill can aid American workers more than corporations, it will not stem the tide of discontent among Trump’s base who feel like Washington is a swamp that looks out for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
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Trump was elected to help the Middle Class, not Big Ag and Silicon Valley, both of which don’t support him in any way other than getting cheap labor. I don’t think he will let his base get screwed over.
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