Nel's New Day

August 3, 2017

GOP Introduces RAISE (aka RAZE) Act

Filed under: Immigration — trp2011 @ 10:01 PM
Tags: , , ,

Congress has temporarily lost the battle for Trumpcare and is moving on to another well-publicized disaster: reduction in immigration. Bills in Congress are almost always presented with little fanfare other than a press release. In his need to distract the public from his other debacles, however, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) jumped on an anti-immigration bill reissued by GOP Sens. Tom Cotton (AR) and David Perdue (GA) in a White House “bill-cutting” presentation. The proposal cuts the number of legal immigrants admitted to the U.S. by one half and restricts them to highly educated, well-to-do, English-speaking people. A description of the point system in the bill is here.

Republicans in the Senate were badly split over the healthcare from endorsing cruel provisions to attempting to protect people. This bill will have equal or worse divisions because some Republicans will understand that farmers can go bankrupt without immigrant workers and perceive that the select group allowed into the country will push higher-wage workers out of their jobs. Even if unanimous among GOP senators, the Senate would need eight Democrats supporting the bill. Odd, too, is DDT’s excitement of this limitation after he increased the number of H-2B visas for non-agricultural industry workers like his workers at Mar-a-Lago. Before that he suspended the “premium processing” option for H-1B visas for highly skilled workers.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) pointed out the need for immigrant workers in his state’s dairy industry, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was more blunt:

“South Carolina’s number one industry is agriculture, and tourism is number two. If this proposal were to become law, it would be devastating to our state’s economy, which relies on this immigrant workforce.”

Graham pointed out that the legislation “incentivizes more illegal immigration.” His bill to allow DREAMers to stay in the U.S. has already picked up support from GOP Sens. Jeff Flake (AZ), Dean Heller (NV), and Lisa Murkowski (AK). Also opposed to RAZE is Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

The Cato Institute explained the faulty reasoning behind the Cotton/Perdue plan: “When measured over a period of 10 years or more, the impact of immigration on the wages of native-born workers overall is very small.” (National Academy of Sciences) An examination of the 1964 termination of the Bracero program supports this finding. When farmers lost immigrant workers, they changed their crops to those requiring fewer workers.

Immigrants and U.S.-born workers usually don’t compete because they turn to different job markets. Instead they complement each other and increase each others’ productivity. The nonpartisan American Immigration Council reports that better education and an aging population has decreased the number of U.S.-born workers willing or available to take low-paying jobs. Even so, non-citizens and naturalized citizens are far outnumbered by U.S.-born citizens. Immigrants are less likely to commit serious crimes or be behind bars than native-born people are, and high rates of immigration are associated with lower rates of violent crime and property crime.

Last April a bipartisan group of 1,470 economists published an open letter to the nation’s leaders about the importance of immigration:

“As Congress and the Administration prepare to revisit our immigration laws, we write to express our broad consensus that immigration is one of America’s significant competitive advantages in the global economy. With the proper and necessary safeguards in place, immigration represents an opportunity rather than a threat to our economy and to American workers.

  • We view the benefits of immigration as myriad:
  • Immigration brings entrepreneurs who start new businesses that hire American workers.
  • Immigration brings young workers who help offset the large-scale retirement of baby boomers.
  • Immigration brings diverse skill sets that keep our workforce flexible, help companies grow, and increase the productivity of American workers.
  • Immigrants are far more likely to work in innovative, job-creating fields such as science, technology, engineering, and math that create life-improving products and drive economic growth.”

DDT’s point system limits the number of low-skilled workers for farms and dairy. It can also let DDT decide which immigrants—probably non-white—to exclude. Supporters of the system use Canada as an example, but that country has started to focus on the needs of specific industries. For example, the U.S. needs tech workers and agriculture laborers. DDT’s system eliminates the latter industry, and experiments in states—including Perdue’s Georgia—limiting immigration show the resulting devastation.

Even if unanimous among GOP senators, the Senate would need eight Democrats supporting the bill. It also doesn’t fit with DDT’s increasing the number of H-2B visas for non-agricultural industry workers like his workers at Mar-a-Lago. Before that he suspended the “premium processing” option for H-1B visas for highly skilled workers.

During a press conference about the proposed bill, Stephen Miller’s temper tantrum at the White House press briefing showed his ignorance in both history and language.  Both news and comedy television has shown Miller’s meltdown that began when CNN’s Cuban-American reporter Jim Acosta asked if the proposed law fits with the message on the Statue of Liberty. Miller launched into a sneering revisionist history lesson about Emma Lazarus’ sonnet, ”The New Colossus,” on the Statue of Liberty being irrelevant because it was added after the statue was installed. The last five lines:

“Give me your tired, your poor,/Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free, /The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, /Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, / I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

Lazarus’ biographer, Esther Schor, agreed that the words were added almost 17 years after the statue’s dedication, but the poem was used in 1883 to raise money to bring the statue to the United States. Miller claimed that the statue represents “America lighting up the world,” but Schor explained that “it’s really about the roots of American liberty in the French Enlightenment.” She said that Miller had to deny the statue’s meaning because it doesn’t fit with the theme of “Make America First.”

Miller’s temper blew sky high when Acosta followed up by asking if the English-speaking requirement meant restricting immigrants from only Australia and the United Kingdom. Miller sputtered:

“That is one of the most outrageous, insulting, ignorant and foolish things you have ever said, and for you that is really …. It reveals your cosmopolitan bias to a shocking degree.”

It appears that Miller was trying to insult Acosta for being worldly-wise and unprovincial, the definition for cosmopolitan. Miller is DDT’s aide who said, “The powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.” Acosta is the reporter who made DDT so angry that he declaimed, “You are fake news!”

At the same time that DDT wants to cut back on immigration, his senior adviser and son-in-law has been subpoenaed regarding Kushner’s selling EB-5 federal visas for $500,000 each as “investors.” EB-5 applicants do not have to provide “skill,” including the ability to speak English. Kushner’ sister, Nicole, has used Jared Kushner’s name to lure investors, and Jared is connected to the company that seeks Chinese investment.

Jeremy Robbins, executive director of New American Economy, a group of business leaders, mayors and others backed by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg that advocates for comprehensive immigration reform, said:

“Our system is broken, but the response should be to modernize it, not take a sledgehammer to it.”

The past six months have shown that Republican legislation know nothing but sledgehammers.

AGR Daily News Service

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