Questions for Kelly Ayotte about comprehensive immigration reform (amnesty, New Hampshire)

New Hampshire senator Kelly Ayotte comes out for comprehensive immigration reform (aka amnesty) in an OpEd entitled "Why I'm backing legislation to fix our broken immigration system" [1].

Here are some questions I urge everyone to try to ask her (see question authority for the most effective way to ask these questions):

Question 1. In your OpEd, you use several talking points including obscure phrases that several other people have used. You or your staff didn't originate those phrases, so the question becomes who wrote part or all of your article for you?

Your OpEd uses these talking points (see each link for examples of others such as Barack Obama or George W Bush using these same talking points):

* secure the border ("[the Senate bill is] a solution that finally secures our southern border")

* amnesty require ("[the Senate bill] creates a tough but fair means for those who are here illegally to earn citizenship"... "legislation also includes strict requirements for those illegal immigrants who are already here. Before any of these 11 million could earn a green card, they would go to the back of the line, not receive means-tested federal benefits and Obamacare subsidies, and they would be required to pay fines, pay taxes, and pass background checks, learn English, and secure a job")

* system is broken ("Everybody agrees that America's immigration system is broken...")

* jobs Americans wont do (" that Americans won't perform...")

* nation of immigrants ("As a nation of immigrants...")

* immigration line ("Before any of these 11 million could earn a green card, they would go to the back of the line...")

* living in the shadows ("...we need to bring undocumented people out of the shadows to separate those seeking economic opportunity from those seeking to harm us (who must be deported).")

* immigration tradition fallacy ("As a nation of immigrants, we must remember that we're all descended from people who came here from somewhere else in search of a better life. In generations past, immigration has enriched our nation culturally and economically. We are all heirs to the dreams and hard work of the immigrants who helped build this country - neighborhood by neighborhood.")

* "the status quo ...[is] de facto amnesty" (a Marco Rubio phrase)

* immigration terminology (the OpEd uses "undocumented criminals" when "criminal aliens" is the correct phrase)

That's one-third of the talking points on that page. The OpEd has your name on it, but neither you nor your staff came up with all those talking points and phrases. So, who wrote part or all of it for you?

Question 2. Your OpEd starts with the correct acknowledgement that "lax enforcement" is a major part of the reason why there's been so much illegal immigration. What specifically in the bill you support would require the president to enforce immigration laws across the board?

For instance, Obama has decided to prioritize deporting criminals before illegal aliens who aren't criminals. What specifically in the bill would prevent a future Obama from doing the same?

For another example, Obama has enacted DACA - a de facto amnesty (as you and Marco Rubio might call it) for hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens. What specifically in the bill would prevent a future Obama from creating their own version of a DACA program?

For an earlier example, immigration enforcement against employers sharply fell during the George W Bush administration. What specifically in the bill would prevent a future Bush from doing the same?

I expect you to say that we'll have a new president in three years and that you hope he or she will be a Republican. However, that wouldn't be a correct answer since we don't know who'll be the next president (or the one after that). So, what in the bill you support will make sure that a future president will enforce any "tough" provisions in the bill?

Question 3. In your OpEd, you say there's a shortage of technical workers: "After companies make every effort to recruit Americans to perform particular jobs and can't find any - especially those with expertise in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) - they are forced to look elsewhere. This legislation addresses that shortfall by raising the cap on H-1B visas".

It's a fundamental law of economics that when there's an actual shortage of labor, wages rise. Has there been an rise in inflation-adjusted STEM wages?

Question 4. In your OpEd, you say that the bill has a "$1,000 fee for those applying for H-1B visas" which will be used to "train the American innovators of tomorrow".

Won't your support for more H1B applicants retard Americans from going in to those careers? Importing more workers will necessarily lower wages, making such careers less attractive to Americans. At the same time, importing more workers will incentivize schools in foreign countries to produce more technical workers for the American market. Please explain how both of those very likely outcomes will result in more American STEM workers rather than fewer.

Question 5. Regarding skilled immigration in general, how many doctors can struggling Third World countries stand to lose to the U.S.? When the few doctors and other skilled professionals in struggling Third World countries move to the U.S., that makes the situations in those countries even worse. Even the New York Times has admitted that. What sort of blowback (terrorism, necessity of bailouts, decreased U.S. influence, increased instability, decreased trade) can the U.S. expect from that in the coming decades?

Question 6. In your OpEd, you write: "under this bill all employers would be required to use an employment verification system - known as "E-Verify" - to check that job applicants are lawful for employment. To put teeth into the law, employers would face fines and possible criminal penalties for violations of E-Verify requirements".

The American Civil Liberties Union position on eVerify is well known (this, this, and [2]) and the ACLU tends to be more than a bit litigious. The ACLU has filed several major lawsuits attempting to weaken immigration enforcement, and will continue to do so. They've filed at least one lawsuit attempting to block eVerify in Rhode Island [3].

There's an excellent chance that if eVerify is included in any legislation the ACLU will file a lawsuit attempting to water it down or eliminate it entirely. What in the bill would prevent them from doing that? What specific actions will you promise to take if they do that? Obviously, we can't predict the future, but groups like the ACLU, the Southern Poverty Law Center, MALDEF, the National Council of La Raza, PRLDEF, People for the American Way, and many others have a habit of suing to block immigration enforcement. Even groups like the American Bar Association and the Mexican government have gotten involved in such suits. It would be completely unexpected if those groups wouldn't begin fighting against any "tough" provisions in any immigration legislation. What exactly will the bill do about that, and what exactly will you do about it?

Question 7. Fifteen years from now, who will have gained political power due to the Senate bill, and who will have lost some of their political power? Saying you can't answer that isn't correct, because that can be predicted with certainty [4]. Please tell us who will lose some of their political power due to the bill you support.

Question 8. Your OpEd specifically mentions "our hospitality and agricultural sectors" and "New Hampshire's business community, especially the high-tech industry". Approximately how much have companies in those communities or their top executives donated to your recent campaigns?

[1] ayotte.senate . gov/?p=news&id=974
[2] aclu . org/10-big-problems-e-verify
[3] blogs.ilw . com/gregsiskind/2008/09/aclu-sues-rhode.html
[4] Without a doubt, former illegal aliens will have gained political power due to amnesty, and that means that current American citizens will have lost some of their power. That's certain, the only question is how that would play out politically. It's almost certain that the bulk of any political benefit would go to the Democratic Party, the far-left NGOs listed above, and even foreign governments who'd have people sympathetic to them able to vote in U.S. elections. However, the desired response is to get Ayotte to admit that the bill she supports would reduce the power of current U.S. citizens.