immigration wage floor

Legalization as a "wage floor"

A relatively new talking point from supporters of comprehensive immigration reform is that their amnesty would help American workers by preventing illegal aliens from lowering wages. This is fallacious for at least two reasons:

1. Not all jobs are open to illegal aliens; only some industries and companies are lax about checking whether someone is eligible for a job. Legalization would mean that current illegal aliens would be able to get any job for which they're qualified. That would increase the competition for a large number of job categories, leading to lowered wages in those job categories. For instance, an illegal alien nurse can't probably work as a nurse illegally. Yet, if they're legalized, they can then go to work as a nurse (licensing issues aside). That would lower wages for U.S. citizen nurses.

2. There will always be a demand from corrupt companies for illegal workers. Those far-left, racial power, and other groups that currently oppose enforcement of our immigration laws will continue opposing enforcement even if they get their "reform". Those groups will enable post-"reform" illegal immigration. That will leave us with a fresh supply of millions of new legal workers and a growing population of new illegal aliens.

Last modified May 4, 2009
Discussed in (click each link for the full post):

More ways Jennifer Rubin is wrong on immigration - 05/27/14

How can you tell when Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post is wrong on immigration? When she's writing or speaking about it. See her name's link for several past examples.

Study: amnesty could shift agricultural workers to cities, decrease wages for Americans - 01/29/13

From this:

Granting residency to undocumented immigrants in California could increase competition for low-end jobs as agricultural laborers shift to cities, while boosting tax revenues as other undocumented workers seek higher-paying positions previously denied to them, experts say.

Aren't those covered by Obama's DREAM Act already working? Will hundreds of thousands of work permits matter? - 06/16/12

The version of the anti-American DREAM Act that Obama declared by executive fiat yesterday would give work permits to hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens; a range that's been mentioned is 800,000 to 1,400,000.

One of the talking points for Obama's action is that the hundreds of thousands of work permits won't matter because those who'd get work permits will already be working.

10 things Obama's "Blueprint for an America Built to Last" doesn't tell you (immigration) - 02/01/12

After the State of the Union speech, the Barack Obama administration released a "Blueprint for an America Built to Last" [1]. I'll briefly describe what the section about immigration doesn't tell you. Here's the section of the Blueprint that deals with immigration:

With millions unemployed, Ag Secy Tom Vilsack demeans American workers, promotes amnesty, opposes enforcement, uses bogus talking points, opposes eVerify - 05/27/11

Secretary of the Department of Agriculture Tom Vilsack held a press conference on Wednesday in which he demeaned American workers, promoted immigration "reform", opposed immigration enforcement, and used a series of bogus immigration talking points.

An account of his remarks is here, with more excerpts at [1].

1. Vilsack ran down American workers, saying: "While some American citizens step up and take (farm) jobs, the truth is even when farmers make their best effort to recruit a domestic workforce, few citizens express interest. In large part that's because this is hard, tough work." The idea that growers want to recruit Americans is more than a bit dubious; many run down American workers as much as Vilsack. Growers tend to prefer lower-wage, more compliant illegal aliens. And, we sent a man to the moon and won World War II, now Vilsack falsely says that most Americans don't want hard work. That's also more than a bit dubious because a good percentage of those doing farm work are in fact Americans. And, there's the fact that the presence of large numbers of illegal aliens tends to reduce farm wages at the same time as decreasing safety in farm jobs.

The pro-American alternative would be for Vilsack to oppose illegal immigration and push something like this plan to get unemployed Americans working temporary farm jobs until the economy improves. That would answer the labor shortage complaints of farmers, improve working conditions on farms, and would save money overall (considering that most of those unemployed will be getting unemployment insurance and considering the costs of illegal aliens).

2. Vilsack supported comprehensive immigration reform, aka amnesty. See the link for the downsides of that plan [1].

3. One of the key selling points of immigration "reform" is that it would include stepped-up enforcement. Vilsack seems not to be such a fan of enforcement, saying: "It's difficult to know when someone is documented and when someone isn't. It's difficult when there are efforts at enforcement that basically disrupt not only undocumented folks but also documented … which we've seen in some of the processing facilities." If "reform" passed, does anyone think Vilsack would do a 180 and support "disrupt[ive]" immigration raids?

4. Vilsack used a long list of bogus talking points. The first item above is the jobs Americans wont do canard, but there were several more. From the article:

Reforms would result in "a reliable, legal workforce," said Vilsack. Reforms would also:

* Continue efforts "to secure the borders."
* Hold accountable "businesses that break the law by undermining American workers and exploiting undocumented workers."

The first is secure the border. The second is what boils down to the immigration wage floor. See both links.

Vilsack also used the deportations false choice, saying "The reality is, if you tried to deport all 12 million it would take several hundred years. That isn't practical." See the link for how he tried to mislead.

Vilsack - just as his boss, George W Bush, and dozens of other hacks have done - used the system is broken canard [2].

5. Vilsack also ran down the eVerify program, at least as a standalone solutiion, saying: "The E-Verify system creates a potential difficulty, particularly for smaller businesses... That's because they'd have to invest resources in equipment and training to participate."

Vilsack was accompanied by Bob Stallman, the president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, who engaged in crops rotting in the fields scare tactics:

"Our concern is that without a legal agricultural guest worker program in place – or without comprehensive immigration reform – you have roughly 500,000 workers out there that, frankly, would be screened out (by) a mandatory E-Verify program. If that happens, the risk of production losses, or production moving outside the country, is very real... If you just put in a mandatory E-Verify program, there's suddenly a huge gap in agricultural that must be filled from somewhere. Otherwise, the crops won't be planted and harvested. That's the reality."

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[1] Vilsack: "There needs to be a comprehensive immigration system that deals with the 12 million people here, many working in our farm fields."

[2] Vilsack: "I've met farmers and ranchers all over this country who are worried about the broken immigration system... Simply put, our broken immigration system offers little hope for producers trying to do the right thing and make a living...

Obama misleads about immigration yet again (May 10, 2011 El Paso version) - 05/10/11

For the past three years or so, Barack Obama has been giving the same immigration speech. In fact, his speeches about the topic aren't that much different from those that George W Bush and a multitude of other hacks have read.

The Nation amnesty editorial lies, smears, promotes anti-American policy (Lou Dobbs) - 10/08/10

Day Two of the Lou Dobbs Saga continues, with The Nation offering the editorial "Make It Legal" (thenation.com/article/155228/make-it-legal). I'll show below why you can't trust The Nation and how their editorial lies, smears, and promotes bad, anti-American policy.

In the first paragraph they falsely state that Meg Whitman's campaign "has at times been vehemently anti-immigrant" which begs the question which universe they live in. Opposing illegal immigration isn't "anti-immigrant", and moreover Whitman hasn't opposed illegal immigration to a great extent as discussed at the last link. Whitman has tried to ignore immigration, she opposes the new Arizona law and Proposition 187 (see her Spanish-language billboards), and she's bent over backwards to pander to Hispanics. Her two strongest positions are opposing letting illegal aliens into some colleges and taking a "secure the border first, then we'll discuss amnesty" position ("When there are no more illegal immigrants coming across the border then the border is secure. And once we have that then we can talk about what the right thing to do is." here). Neither of those are tough, and the latter contradicts her earlier support for a "path to legalization". No one is going to find Whitman taking a tough stance on illegal immigration, much less being "anti-immigrant" as the Nation claims.

Moving on:

Now Lou Dobbs, the former CNN host who made his name with nightly rants against "illegal aliens" and their "illegal employers," joins Whitman's ranks. It turns out that Dobbs has employed at least five undocumented workers in recent years through his landscaping and horse stable contractors. Like Whitman, who may have received a Social Security no-match letter and knew Diaz was unable to travel outside the country, Dobbs and his champion horse-riding daughter, Hillary, must have been in deep denial. The landscaping and horse grooming trades depend heavily on undocumented workers. One immigrant who tended the gardens at a Dobbs estate said the landscaping contractor who employed him never pushed for a "good Social Security number." Dobbs told his gardener to call him "Luis." Whitman described Diaz as "a friend of our family." Yet there appears to have been a tacit understanding in these friendly relationships: some things would not be discussed.

The above is sleazy innuendo and in a legal sense Dobbs didn't "employ" anyone through anyone else as the Nation states; that appears to be an attempt to mislead people into thinking that Dobbs was the employer when that's not the case. In some cases, those who are contractors are in fact full-time employees and the government can force them to be reclassified as such (see this), but that doesn't apply in this case as at least the landscapers were only on Dobbs' property for short periods and no doubt did work for others. Further, just because someone speaks Spanish doesn't mean they're here illegally as the Nation implies. The last sentence is sleazy mind-reading.

Then, we have an outright lie:

With the investigative report in this issue by Isabel Macdonald, we are not out merely to play a game of gotcha. Of course Whitman and Dobbs are hypocrites: they have called publicly for tougher enforcement of immigration laws, claiming it is necessary to protect American workers and their wages, while privately refusing fair pay and humane treatment to their own immigrant workers, who were too afraid of getting caught in the enforcement net to stand up for their rights. Instead they were left working extra hours off the clock (Whitman's maid) or earning poverty wages (Dobbs's gardeners). But the more important revelation here is that undocumented workers are so thoroughly woven into the fabric of our economy that even two professional immigrant-bashers found it difficult to avoid relying on their labor.

Whitman's housekeeper was in fact her "worker". However, the supposed illegal aliens from the Nation article are not Dobbs' "workers"; the Nation lies two times in the paragraph above. Further, neither Whitman nor Dobbs are "immigrant-bashers", and as discussed above Whitman is weak on the immigration issue. As for the "rights" of the supposed illegal aliens from the article, there's nothing I can see alleging a violation of actual rights; if there were, the Nation would surely have contacted government authorities. In fact, the Nation is seeking to confer extra-legal rights to foreign citizens who are here illegally.

As for hypocrisy, that's a weak charge that's one step up from an ad hominem, and one question raised by the paragraph above is whether the Nation really cares about "protect[ing] American workers and their wages". If there were no illegal aliens in the U.S., wouldn't those workers the Nation discusses be working for higher wages under better conditions? Why isn't The Nation supporting that, and instead they're enabling even more illegal immigration? The Nation won't support immigration enforcement now; can anyone see them supporting enforcement later, as there are even more illegal aliens in the U.S. lowering U.S. wages and working standards? Large numbers of low-skilled U.S. workers are in competition with illegal aliens, and The Nation is taking the side of illegal aliens.

Then, they mislead about what Dobbs wants:

On any given day, we've all probably eaten fruit harvested by undocumented workers or meat they butchered. These workers also make possible the lifestyles enjoyed by wealthy Americans like Dobbs and Whitman, with their estates and grounds and stables. How these millions of workers could be extracted from their jobs and deported without causing massive disruption not only to their lives but to the entire economy defies the imagination. Yet this is what Dobbs demands with his call for ever tougher enforcement.

One might expect The Nation to oppose the wealthy using cheap, illegal labor rather than American workers working for good wages under good conditions. Instead, they're promoting the opposite, just as strongly as corporate tool Tamar Jacoby. As discussed at the last link, "[currently a] meatpacker makes roughly $10 an hour, which is the same wage paid in 1980", due to an influx of cheap and illegal foreign labor. The Nation isn't opposing that: they're supporting and promoting it.

Further, The Nation is lying about Dobbs' position: he's never supported mass deportations, and in January of this year he admitted that he supports amnesty, guest workers, and chain migration. Hasn't The Nation been paying attention? Dobbs is now more on their side than mine.

One way to solve this that neither The Nation nor the current version of Dobbs would like is attrition, where we ramp-up enforcement and reduce benefits to illegal aliens, causing many to leave. Around a million illegal aliens have in fact left the U.S. due to no doubt to the economic downturn, and that number could be increased with attrition. Over time, large numbers of illegal aliens would leave and their jobs filled by American workers working for better wages under better conditions. Since that would take place over time, there would be little disruption and that would also spur development of, for instance, newer and better crop-picking machinery and the like. And, that would also be better policy for sending countries. Many countries are to a certain extent satellites of the U.S. due to their reliance on remittances (money sent home by foreign citizens in the U.S.) Massive immigration to the U.S. turns parts of Mexico into ghost towns at the same time as it enriches their corrupt elite and also deprives Mexico of energetic citizens who might press the Mexican government for reform.

Where is The Nation in all of this? On the side of corrupt employers and corrupt foreign governments.

Then:

Despite its populist veneer, the anti-immigration hysteria fomented by Dobbs and his ilk pits American workers against immigrants for the benefit of the corporate class. The United Farm Workers recently called the bluff of those who accuse immigrants of job-stealing with their Take Our Jobs campaign, in which US workers were invited to join them in their backbreaking toil—and found very few takers (aside from Stephen Colbert).

Dobbs didn't before and certainly doesn't now foment such "hysteria". And, those who are helping the "corporate class" are The Nation themselves: their policies would provide the "corporate class" with a ready supply of cheap and most likely illegal labor. It's The Nation that opposes immigration enforcement and that would - even if millions of current illegal aliens are legalized - allow the "corporate class" to encourage the importation of even more illegal labor. The Nation won't stand against the "corporate class" now, and they won't stand against them later. Instead, as they're doing now, they'll help them while trying to hide behind a veneer of pretending to oppose them.

As for the Take Our Jobs campaign, it's not surprising that The Nation would support it as it's an anti-American, pro-abuse plan that ran down American workers as the same time as it promoted abusive working conditions. The Nation has a great deal of trouble being on the right side of anything.

Finally:

If immigrants had a straightforward path to legalization, they could step out of the shadows of the US economy and stand with American workers to demand decent treatment for all. That might make it slightly more expensive for Lou Dobbs to maintain his multimillion-dollar properties - but it's a price he ought to pay.

1. They're using the living in the shadows canard, as has almost every other corrupt supporter of massive immigration from Barack Obama to George W Bush (and including the aforementioned Tamar Jacoby).

2. Their obsession with Dobbs continues; he appears to have really gotten to them despite the fact that he's now mostly on their same side. And, their last swipe at him is just a sleazy ad hominem: most likely Dobbs could and wouldn't mind paying more for his landscaping and the like. The real issue is the sales job that The Nation is trying to make to the rest of us, promoting as they do above cheap illegal labor picking fruit or processing meat. The Nation is using Dobbs as a scapegoat to promote policies that, once again, would benefit the "corporate class" they claim to oppose.

3. Finally, The Nation is using the immigration wage floor talking point; see the link for a description of what that it and why it's wrong. The Nation would add new competition for millions of low-wage American workers and at the same time spur even more illegal immigration, thereby negatively affecting even more low-wage American workers.

For example, let's say that we follow The Nation's prescription and legalize 10 million illegal aliens. Some segment of them will leave low-wage jobs (such as fruit picking) for higher-wage jobs (such as cashiering). Illegal aliens can only do certain categories of jobs; under The Nation's plan, the newly-legalized could do any job for which they're qualified [1]. That will lower wages for previously higher-wage jobs, driving large numbers of Americans out of work. That will also leave a gap at the very lowest end of the wage scale: fruit pickers and so on. What will happen then? The same thing that's happening now: corrupt businesses will in effect pay off politicians to look the other way on illegal immigration just as they do now. And, The Nation will do then the same thing they do now: provide cover for that by opposing immigration enforcement. The Nation won't support immigration enforcement now; what makes anyone think that The Nation would support enforcement later?

If you think The Nation supports good policies and American workers, think again: they're part of the problem. Don't help them.

And, if anyone disagrees with anything in this post or has any questions, feel free to leave a comment.

[1] One way around that is the AgJOBS way, which involves a form of indentured servitude: it would keep the newly-legalized on the farm for a few years if they wanted to be able to get on the "path to citizenship". That's the plan that Stephen Colbert supported before Congress, the one that's proposed by "Take Our Jobs". Instead of opposing a form of indentured servitude, The Nation supports it.

Stephen Colbert shills for growers, supports bad policy in Congressional appearance (+rightwinger fail) - 09/24/10

Stephen Colbert testified before Congress earlier today and shilled for Big Agriculture and promoted bad, anti-American and anti-Mexican policy. And, the wider issue is also yet another example of failure by the rightwing commentariat, tea parties, and similar groups.

1. Coverage of Colbert's remarks is here and here.

2. Colbert is working with the United Farmworkers of America to promote their anti-American, pro-abuse TakeOurJobs effort. I've already written three posts about that effort, the latest was on Wednesday at that link. The two previous are here and here.

3. From his remarks:

This brief experience [of working on an upstate New York farm for a day] gave me some small understanding of why so few Americans are clamoring to begin an exciting career as seasonal migrant field worker. So what’s the answer? I’m a free market guy. Normally I would leave this to the invisible hand of the market, but the invisible hand of the market has already moved over 84,000 acres of production and over 22,000 farm jobs over to Mexico and shut down over a million acres of U.S. farm land due to lack of available labor because apparently even the invisible hand doesn’t want to pick beans.

...Maybe we could give more visas to the immigrants, who - let’s face it - will probably be doing these jobs anyway. And this improved legal status might allow legal immigrants recourse if they’re abused. And it justs stands to reason to me if your coworker can’t be exploited, then you’re less likely to be exploited yourself. And that itself might improve pay and working conditions on these farms and eventually Americans may consider taking these jobs again.

a. A small number of growers with even more questionable loyalty to the U.S. than usual have indeed moved offshore.

b. The solution to that is to reduce labor costs in socially-acceptable ways; Colbert's solution is the opposite. Labor costs can be reduced through mechanization and the like; Colbert isn't promoting that. Instead, what he's promoting would initially *raise* labor costs (legalization). However, what would happen is that growers would collude with politicians to continue allowing illegal immigration in order to reduce labor costs to their current levels. And, some or many of those newly-legalized laborers would leave the farms for other lines of working, competing with, for instance, American construction workers (unless they were held in a form of indentured servitude). Colbert doesn't realize that growers and the political power they have are a major sticking point to solving the situation. See the immigration wage floor page for a related discussion.

c. In the first paragraph, Colbert's comments seem to suggest that only Mexicans and those from Central America are genetically predisposed to doing farm work. However, that conflicts with the second paragraph in which he says Americans might take those jobs. Why isn't Colbert working to help Americans do those jobs right now? The way to do that is to enforce our immigration laws and reduce the numbers of illegal aliens doing farm work. Colbert himself is admitting that the presence of illegal labor has reduced wages and lowered safety standards. His response is to reward the very people - growers, the politicians they influence, and groups like the UFW - who are responsible for the current situation instead of letting them know who's the boss.

d. The pro-American solution is to support citizen or at least legal labor working for acceptable wages in safe conditions. The bottom line is that Colbert is not supporting that. He's supporting something that would simply lead to a repeat of the current situation.

4. This issue is yet another example of failure by the rightwing commentariat, tea parties, and similar groups. I tried to make Colbert look bad before his appearance, and I got very little help with it; see the links in #2 above. Among other things, I started an online petition which got all of three (3) signatures: act.ly/2f5 I also posted here: freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2595102/posts Note the might-as-well-be-helping-Colbert comments. Colbert's appearance is very establishment-friendly pro-grower propaganda, similar to the crops rotting in the fields propaganda efforts stretching back decades. Those groups showed themselves incapable of striking back against such propaganda. And, most of Colbert's fans appear unable to recognize just whose side Colbert is on.

ADDED:

5. I added the "who are responsible for the current situation" above; hopefully that was clear before.

6. Another place I posted about this before the event was alipac.us/ftopict-213281.html That's the same as the Freerepublic post.

7. The failure by many opponents of illegal immigration who are commenting on this issue continues. See if you can find anyone in this long list who is attempting to show how Colbert is wrong. To compound the problem and as an illustration of how they aren't really serious about blocking amnesty, they're also unwilling to link to this post. Instead, they're engaging in wild conspiracy theories (such as that Colbert's appearance was designed to distract from the contemporaneous DOJ/New Black Panthers hearings) or only discussing the meta of Colbert's appearance.

Millions unemployed, Harry Reid wants several million new legal workers to compete against Americans (fairly) - 05/11/10

Harry Reid offers "Our immigration system is broken, and only bipartisan work will fix it" (link). If you've already read a few editorials in support of comprehensive immigration reform, everything he says will be very familiar, right down to his use of trite talking points like system is broken, secure the border, immigration line, and the (more rare) immigration wage floor.

However, American workers - especially voters in Nevada - might want to take a closer look at this paragraph:

Fixing our broken immigration system is also important to strengthen America’s economy. We need to protect American workers. Workers in Nevada and across America are often squeezed by unscrupulous employers who exploit immigrant workers here illegally and use them to undercut American wages. Immigrant workers know that complaining about illegally low wages or harsh working conditions could lead to deportation. Once these workers get right with the law, they will no longer serve as a cheap labor force that competes unfairly with American workers.

In other words, he doesn't mind that those millions of newly-legalized workers compete with Americans, he just wants the competition to be "fair". He's not putting the interests of American workers first and working to enforce our immigration laws in order to minimize competition and raise wages.

Instead, Harry Reid wants millions of newly-legalized workers to compete with Americans on a level playing field. Note that those newly-legalized workers will be able to apply for any job that they're qualified for, and not just those that illegal aliens can get. This would increase competition for already-scarce jobs in many jobs classifications, but Harry Reid doesn't care: he wants the competition, he just wants it to be "fair".

UCLA CAP IPC deceptive study: immigration reform would increase GDP by $1.5 trillion over 10 years - 01/07/10

Earlier today, the Center for American Progress, the Immigration Policy Center, and professor Raul Hinojosa Ojeda of the University of California at Los Angeles released a study making the deceptive and fantastical claim that legalizing all illegal aliens would increase Gross Domestic Product by $1.5 trillion over 10

America's Voice lies, misleads in "The Anti-Worker Truth About the Anti-Immigrant Lobby" - 12/13/09

Frank Sharry's America's Voice offers "The Anti-Worker Truth About the Anti-Immigrant Lobby" [1]. From their summary:

In recent months, some of the most virulent anti-immigrant Members of Congress have been taking advantage of hard economic times to advance their same, old mass deportation agenda. They argue that blocking comprehensive immigration reform would somehow help the American worker and furthermore, that an unrealistic, multi-billion dollar mass deportation plan would provide instant relief to hardworking Americans in need of good jobs.

But a closer look at the voting records of these Members shows them to be some of the most consistent opponents of legislation to benefit American workers. And analysis of their immigration policy proposals reveals their main goal to be expelling millions of Latinos, Asians, Haitians, Africans, and other immigrants from the United States, not leveling the playing field for all workers and expanding the tax base. When it comes to protecting the American worker, the anti-immigrant lobby simply has no legs to stand on.

1. While they do pretend that comprehensive immigration reform would help Americans, they're also more or less implicitly ceding the point of those Members of Congress, that reducing the number of illegal aliens in the U.S. would help Americans. That's why they're using the deportations false choice: because they can't present an argument that a gradual reduction in the number of illegal aliens would somehow hurt American workers.
2. Few - and I would guess none among the referenced Members of Congress - are calling for mass deportations; more on that in #5.
3. No one with any power wants to expel "immigrants", i.e., those who came here legally; America's Voice is trying to mislead their readers.
4. Part of their report consists of the same old debunked smears of FAIR and related groups, such as by using the "hate group" designations of the Southern Poverty Law Center, not exactly a trustworthy source.
5. Their section on the costs of deportations references the Center for American Progress' "Deporting the Undocumented", a joke study that used a highly-flawed methodology. It also mentions the misleading, business-sponsored Perryman Group study that was briefly mentioned in the second footnote here and the misleading Cato Institute study discussed here. For both of the last, America's Voice tries to pretend they aren't on the same side as cheap labor employers, not revealing the business ties of the Perryman study and of the last saying: Even the conservative Cato Institute has said that "legalization of low-skilled immigrant workers would yield significant income gains for American workers and households."
6. Consider the following:

Sending an out-of-work auto worker and her family in Michigan to pick strawberries in California is not a credible answer to the many Americans desperately in need of good jobs at high wages with good benefits. Rather than promoting a race to the bottom, comprehensive immigration reform would expand labor rights and create a level playing field to ensure better jobs and working conditions for all.

That has an un-American and anti-Mexican subtext, as if only Mexicans and Central Americans are able to pick crops and as if Americans are too good to take bad jobs until the economy improves, even if it involves moving to a different state. The latter is a rather un-American idea.

And, in most cases, Americans wouldn't have to move far at all. Reducing the number of illegal aliens in Michigan would free up jobs for Americans, and likewise with California. And, regarding the fallacy of that "level playing field", see immigration wage floor.

[1] americasvoiceonline.org/pages/
the_anti_immigrant_truth_about_the_anti_immigrant_lobby

University of Denver's deceptive amnesty push (Architecture for Immigration Reform) - 12/09/09

The University of Denver has released a report entitled "Architecture for Immigration Reform"; you can download a copy here. They promote comprehensive immigration reform in a deceptive way that uses the same old arguments and talking points we've come to expect, although they aren't quite as bad as others.

Janet Napolitano falsely says she needs immigration "reform" to do her job; says border more secure; sounds like Chertoff - 11/13/09

Speaking at the Center for American Progress earlier today (prepared remarks: www.dhs.gov/ynews/speeches/sp_1258123461050.shtm NYT article: link full video: americanprogress.org/events/2009/11/Napolitano.html), Department of Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano said that she needs comprehensive immigration reform (downsides at the link) to do her job and that such "reform" (aka amnesty) is more attainable due both to supposed increased border security and due to fewer people trying to cross because of the economic downturn. In her speech, she sounded almost exactly like Michael Chertoff and used several of the stock talking points such as secure the border and living in the shadows. She also gave a shout-out to John Podesta of CAP and specifically mentioned the National Association of Evangelicals as one of the groups supporting "reform"; most of that group's member organizations are actually neutral or opposed to "reform".

It's extremely unfortunate that I was unable to get anyone else that I know of to help with my plan to ask her a question at today's event. People are willing to stand on street corners and wave loopy signs, but getting them to do things that could be devastatingly effective is incredibly difficult. Because of the flaws in her comments, someone who's familiar with this issue and who's familiar with "cross-examining" people could have undercut her argument and made her look very bad. That would help reduce the chances of "reform". If people aren't willing to confront politicians, they'll just keep on doing the bad things they're doing.

One of her remarks was this Chertoff-like bit:

When it comes to immigration, I took an oath as Secretary of Homeland Security to secure the nation by enforcing the law and managing legal flows across the border. Let me be clear: to do this job as effectively as possible, DHS needs immigration reform.

She is, of course, lying. Doing her job would involve enforcing the laws and trying to reduce the number of illegal aliens in the U.S. As a recent enforcement action shows, she is not interested in doing that. Every illegal alien who stays in the U.S. is a potential Democratic voter if she can get the amnesty that she and Obama want.

She said that "immigration reform will be a boon to American workers" which is completely false; see the immigration wage floor page.

She also supported chain migration, saying that "Community and faith leaders have also emphasized to me that we need reform because of how difficult the current laws can be on families, especially families of mixed legal status. Our immigration system is outdated where families are concerned, and we need to modernize and streamline the laws governing this process."

And, she supported increasing high-tech visa limits (aka the H1B program). That was after she "held a forum where [she] heard from technology executives in Silicon Valley". Obviously, Napolitano is great at only hearing one side of the story: she also referenced meetings she's held across the U.S. with "stakeholders", saying that "all [at the meetings] reach[ed] the same conclusion: we need reform". Napolitano, someone supposedly working for all of us, is ignoring the input of a majority of Americans and viewpoints that disagree with her.

Some of her remarks follow:

Obama at Hispanic Prayer Breakfast: same old immigration speech (+sounds like McCain) - 06/19/09

Earlier today, Barack Obama spoke at the Esperanza National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast [1]. Others in attendance included Cecilia Munoz, Ed Rendell, and Janet Napolitano; the event was organized by Rev.

Why is John Podesta of CAP willing to hurt American nurses and teachers? - 06/04/09

Angela Kelley of the Center for American Progress quotes her boss (americanprogress.org/issues/2009/06/no_delay.html):

The question that remains is whether there is the political will, especially in tough economic times, to move a reform package. Yet as (John Podesta) stated at yesterday's event, "we need solutions that restore the rule of law while aiding our economy by making taxpayers of all immigrants. So, to those opponents of reform we say this - immigration reform and economic recovery are not at odds with each other, but rather go hand in hand."

CAP is still the "think tank that can't think straight". Podesta didn't provide any sort of counter-argument, he just repeated what his group and others have said before. Clearly, the various problems CAP has - constantly issuing misleading statements and faulty studies and engaging in various logical fallacies - starts at the top.

Moreover, Podesta has no concern for American workers. Any form of legalization would swamp the workforce with millions of newly-legalized workers who would compete for jobs with Americans. And, that impact wouldn't just be on low-wage, low-skilled American workers but would also reach up into the middle class.

For instance, there are tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens who are underemployed: some might be nurses working as maids, others might be teachers working as nannies, and so on. Those illegal aliens are prevented from pursuing their chosen professions due to their status.

A legalization program would make it possible for those former illegal aliens to compete with American workers in their chosen professions. The former illegal alien nurse who's working as a maid would compete with American nurses; the former illegal alien teacher who's working as a nanny would compete with American teachers, and so on. And, that will have the impact of lowering wages not just for low-skilled jobs but for higher-skilled jobs.

Obviously, Podesta and CAP don't care.

"Reform Immigration For America": business, labor, CAP, NCLR, CHIRLA begin new push; summit, townhall meeting; John Quigley - 06/01/09

A new group called "Reform Immigration For America" recently launched in order to push for comprehensive immigration reform, aka amnesty. They're a coalition of business, labor, and far-left/racial power groups; see their slick site here: reformimmigrationforamerica.org.

Mike Kingsbury /SEIU offers bad economics, bad logic (legalization as a "wage floor") - 05/04/09

Mike Kingsbury of the Service Employees International Union offers the exclamation point-rich blog post "What a week for immigration reform!" (seiu.org/2009/05/what-a-week-for-immigration-reform.php). He's so excited he forgot to think things through, saying this about the recent immigration marches:

Why we as citizens don't do this more often, I don't know. I do know that putting a floor under the most vulnerable workers in this country will help maintain a standard of living for all of us. And this year's May Day theme emphasizing America's immigrant history - immigrant roots, immigrant rights -- couldn't have been more on target.

1. The last part engages in the stock immigration tradition fallacy.

2. The first part engages in a new talking point noted recently here which will be called the immigration wage floor fallacy.

3. He continues with the immigration vulnerable fallacy.

4. His use of "citizens" is open to interpretation. Perhaps he realizes that many or most of those marching are not citizens and that most citizens aren't great supporters of illegal activity. Or, perhaps he's just confused.

Simon Rosenberg /NDN: seven good reasons *not* to pass immigration "reform" - 05/01/09

Simon Rosenberg of the New Democratic Network offers "Making the Case: 7 Reasons Why Congress Should Pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform this Year" (huffingtonpost.com/simon-rosenberg/making-the-case-why-congr_b_193621.html). As one might expect from the source, all seven are actually reasons *not* to pass "reform".

His first reason is that we need "reform" in order to remove the "trap door" that allows employers to pay illegal aliens below the minimum wage:

it needs to be understood that these undocumenteds are already here and working. If you are undocumented, you are not eligible for welfare. If you are not working, you go home. Thus, in order to remove this "trap door," we need to either kick five percent of existing American workforce out of the country -- a moral and economic impossibility -- or legalize them. There is no third way on this one. They stay and become citizens or we chase them away.

1. Even if they aren't eligible for welfare, they can still get it either illegally or legally through their U.S. citizen children.
2. Many unemployed illegal aliens are remaining in the U.S., such as by being intermittent day laborers.
3. We don't need to "kick" that 5% out of the country at once. We could take steps to encourage them to leave over time if our political leaders would let us. Given the job situation and the fact that citizens can obtain a host of benefits, illegal aliens leaving and freeing up a job for a citizen would be a net economic gain. "Chasing them away" over time is not a drastic step, and it's the only realistic public policy.

He also says, "[l]egalization does not create a flood of new immigrants", which is obviously absurd. Then: