How to break the immigration reform coalition.

Figure out where the joins are on the welding job, and hit those.

For a long time, opponents of comprehensive immigration reform have thought: Why shouldn’t the Republican-controlled House pass an H-1B expansion as a stand-alone bill? If the tech people got what they wanted, would they — and their millions of dollars — really stick around to fight hard for the rest of comprehensive reform? Passing an H-1B bill would be an excellent way to split the fragile pro-reform coalition.

[snip of stuff on a upcoming House H-1B expansion stand-alone bill]

If the tech people were to pull out, and take their money with them, or even if they just lost their passion for the fight — where would that leave the tenuous reform coalition? In a much weaker position.

The merits of immigration reform to one side – I am very much a pro-amnesty squish on the subject* – the weakness of the Democratic party on this topic is the usual one, for them: they’ve cobbled together a patchwork coalition for purely political reasons.  That means, among other things, that individual groups inside the coalition are susceptible to being bribed.  And since the GOP leadership knows this, and they also know that they’re already hated by people whose top priority is immigration, there’s actually almost no downside to passing a bill that will make the Democrats fight among themselves. And if this works – I more or less expect it to – they’ll do a limited DREAM Act next.

I know that some of my readers will be distressed to see me write that out.  :shrugging: To quote SM Stirling: this is defeat. Avoid it.

Moe Lane

*Particularly when it comes to the unholy hell that we put legal would-be immigrants through. It should not take over a decade for a non-celebrity to get into this country.

15 thoughts on “How to break the immigration reform coalition.”

  1. I may be in a minority on this topic, but I would be much more open to immigration reform and amnesty for those alreay here – if we would fix the border. But since those are the only cudgel handy for those that want better border security, and many don’t *want* improved border security…

    Here we are.

    1. I’m of a similar mind – there’s no point in talking amnesty with the border open, after that it won’t make much difference in a generation anyway, so ..

      1. Secure the border, then we figure out what to do with the people already here.

        Personally I don’t think the people in the country illegally should be allowed to get citizenship. I think we should make it clear that children born in the US will be citizens, just their parents can’t become citizens as a consequence of breaking the law to enter the country.

      2. The border is a small part of the equation. I was ‘on the border’ in Big Bend, last Nov. Barren, wide open, 30′ wide river crossing. Easy.

        Securing that is big job, too big without also addressing the draws that attract illegals.

        As long as it is less expensive to hire an illegal than it is to comply with the law, one of those draws will continue to pull.

        Rinse, repeat on all the other draws.

  2. And yet the idiotic ann coulter/laura Ingraham wing of the party is currently working to label the H-1B expansion “amnesty” and thus submarine it, allowing the Left to remain United on the issue.
    Meanwhile Ingraham will continue to host Tom Kean sr to Swoon over Christie in a 20 minute long love fest.

    1. Actually Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham are making a very valid point (though their arguments as far as motivations of some Republicans is rather silly).

      We have to be very careful on wording so that we don’t end up with a way for the left to take this to court and overturn the part that bars illegals from getting citizenship. Both Ann and Laura are right to be concerned about this.

      Ann and sometimes Laura are given to alarmist rhetoric at times, however their argument in this case does have some merit.

      1. Ann and Laura are opposed to a guest worker program, and are opposed to any increase of LEGAL immigration.

        1. That part I don’t agree with them on, however they are correct that the people currently here could end up with citizenship if we legalize them (even if we say they can’t be citizens).

          So any reform that is written will have to be very carefully worded. Additionally, we need to secure the border first, then address the other issues.

  3. I’m very much in favor of wide gates and high fences, but I think most requests for more H-1B visas are at least somewhat disingenuous. There may be a shortage of competent tech workers, but H-1Bs don’t really seem to solve that (personal experience): around half go to offshore companies to allow them to export more contractors, while estimates I saw cited someplace or other (The Atlantic, I think, which is probably not the best source) suggested that we have somewhere between two and three times as many potential ‘tech workers’ as we do tech jobs, based on college graduation rates.
    If that’s so, the GOP sponsoring an H-1B expansion may make sound tactical sense, without being sound economically.
    And, yes, I find it terribly uncomfortable to be on the same side of an issue as Ezra Klein. It’s caused a fair bit of introspection on the matter over the last year or so. Ditto for finding myself in agreement with Slashdot.

  4. I will happily back amnesty for those who’ve otherwise kept their nose clean and wide open borders, just as soon as we smash the federal welfare system (states can experiment as they like); expand liberal firearms laws like Idaho, Alaska, and Vermont to all states; eliminate the federal minimum wage (again, states do what they want); and Congress and the states begin making proper use of the militia to keep the peace against cross-border troublemakers and terrorist wannabes.

    If there are no handouts, no way to undercut citizens on labor price, and a hail of ballistic correction for invaders, most of the people who will stay will be those who want a chance to work hard and get ahead.

    1. I would only support amnesty for those that were brought into the country as minors and have served in our military with an honorable discharge. Cause they would have put their life on the line for this country.

      I don’t think anyone else here illegally should get citizenship as a consequence of breaking our laws. I would say that if they come forward they have to sign a document admitting their guilt so they cannot become citizens (I’m going to include people that were brought here as minors (barring those that have served in our military)).

      Any future children of theirs born in the US are of course US citizens. That would destroy the argument that we are creating a permanent servent class. Of course we need to secure our borders to prevent more people from entering illegally.

      1. I agree, but I would push a few things a bit further.

        We cannot simply run every illegal out, it would be logistically impossible. But by securing the border first, (that would serve dual purpose for security against drug and terror smuggling operations), we stem the flow of those coming in to a trickle.

        After that, set a FINITE time-frame in which all illegals have to register. Failure to do so would mean immediate deportation, without condition or consideration and lifetime ban on re-entry into the US. Any person deported from the U.S. would never be eligible for re-entry. The time period would need to be substantially long enough to allow for successful processing all applicants.

        There would also be a substantial fine to be leveled on the individuals for their transgressions, but a payment system after registration would be acceptable, providing that they actually pay, or else get deported. These fines could help defray the cost of the whole process.

        In order to remain in the US, each individual must be found to have no felonies in any U.S. jurisdiction, and not have certain misdemeanors on their record either. Those failing this test would be deported. Any successfully registered individual would have to remain without felony or serious misdemeanor or risk deportation.

        Changes to the all entitlement programs (Federal and any State that would enact it) requiring any applicant for government assistance of any kind to be a full citizen. This should help to keep those crossing the border for free goodies to think twice.

        Obviously, no vote for non-citizens.

        And criminal and civil liabilities for anyone found to be harboring or employing illegal aliens.

        If people want to better themselves and give their families a shot at a better life in America, then here’s their chance. Otherwise, go back to our country and get in line at the embassy for your chance to become a citizen.

  5. I’m not really in favor the H-1B program (if I understand it correctly); it seems to me that if we want to bring in skilled immigrants for one reason or another, we want them to stay, not come in temporary positions tied to one job.

  6. This is not defeat.
    This is betrayal.
    There is a difference.
    My message to the GOP: You will hold the line. Any deserters will be treated as such.

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