Amnesty Always Solution for Zealots
By Joe Guzzardi
Soon after 9/11, immigration activists began a full-scale lobbying effort to encourage Congress to pass an illegal alien amnesty. Their stance was that if illegal aliens received lawful permanent residency, then they would, in the advocates’ terminology, “come out of the shadows.” In the end, the narrative continued, newly legalized aliens would become citizens, embrace the American way, and those that once harbored ill-will against the United States, like the 9/11 terrorists, would eventually assimilate.
Amnesty just months after 9/11 was, on its face, an impossible-to-sell idea, mainly because most of the 9/11 perpetrators were not “in the shadows,” but legally present. In his report, “The Open Door: How Militant Islamic Terrorists Entered the United States, 1993-2001,” Steven A. Camarota found that at the time they committed their crimes, 16 terrorists of the 48 total involved, directly or indirectly, were on temporary visas, mostly tourist visas; 17 were Lawful Permanent Residents or naturalized U.S. citizens, and 12 were illegal aliens.
But amnesty is like the proverbial cork; right after it’s submerged into water, the cork pops back up. In the more than two decades since 9/11, amnesties large and small have been defeated, but swiftly reappeared in other bills. Some amnesties have been introduced in Congress, and were significant in their scope: the 2005 McCain-Kennedy bill and the 2013 Gang of Eight bill. Although heavily promoted as bipartisan and reformative, both nevertheless died in Congress. The most recent amnesty effort wasn’t as straightforward as the previous two. Although amnesty wasn’t advertised as its primary feature, Build Back Better still would have granted the biggest mass pardon in history, about 6.5 million aliens, and would cost taxpayers about $111 billion.
For today, BBB in its massive fiscal totality is stalled. Without missing a beat, however, the amnesty-or-bust crowd is back to work with another far-fetched angle that it should be embarrassed to advance. Their proposed solution to stall raging inflation: press on with BBB’s amnesty via a parole provision that would grant work authorization to illegal immigrants. Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) tweeted that “a comprehensive immigration reform bill,” code words for amnesty, “would help cut inflation.” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who has spent his 30-plus years in Congress voting “yea” for the majority of the immigration expansion bills put before him, agrees. When reporters asked Durbin to share his thoughts about the new amnesty pitch, the Senate Judiciary Chair said: “Oh, most certainly … If there are more workers filling those jobs, it’s deflationary.”
Clemson University energy and sustainability professor Mark Thies wrote a Newsweek opinion piece titled “The Democrats Plan to Fix Inflation: Squeeze Blue-Collar Americans” that chronicled the multiple fallacies in Democrats’ talking points, reiterated year after year but never proven, that immigration benefits Americans. This time around, Democrats illogically argue that more immigration and amnesty will help curb the 40-year high inflation rate that’s crippling the middle class. While it’s true that importing more foreign workers who will become U.S. consumers grows the economy and increases GDP, it’s equally true and much more consequential that more foreign-born consumers don’t increase per-capita GDP. Fundamental economic theory proves that the overwhelming majority of immigration-driven increases in economic activity goes to the immigrants themselves in the form of wages and other compensation. Immigration doesn’t benefit the native-born population.
Should the Democrats’ amnesty vision come true, every paroled or amnestied immigrant will receive lifetime valid work authorization that will enable him to compete with or displace an American worker. If BBB provides millions more work-authorized immigrants, then also add the 1 million lawful permanent residents who arrive annually, the roughly 750,000 temporary guest workers, the asylum and refugee arrivals, and the conclusion is that the U.S. has an immigrant labor overage at a time when millions of Americans are unemployed or underemployed. Not yet considered are last year’s 2 million illegal immigrant border surgers who will stay in the U.S. permanently, and will eventually get employment authorization or, alternatively, enter the underground economy. More cheap labor is a constant threat to working Americans’ job security, inconsequential to congressional Democrats.
Independent and undecided voters wonder what’s happened to the traditional Democratic Party that once prided itself as working Americans’ staunchest ally. The Democratic Party of old is long gone, and today is willfully determined to undermine U.S. citizens’ economic best interests in order to advance the elite donor class. With the 2022 mid-term elections less than nine months away, analysts wonder whether Democrats will shift to the middle to woo the swing voters they’ll need in order to keep their congressional majority. So far, no indication has surfaced that a course change is in the immediate future. So that all Americans may prosper, the U.S. needs Democrats of the mindset from an earlier era to return to the fold. As President Theodore Roosevelt often said, if federal policies don’t work for everyone, they don’t work for anyone.