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Trump Endorses Plan To Cut Legal Immigration By Half

Immigration Capitol Dome

Yesterday, President Trump endorsed a bill being put forward by two Republican Senators that would change the criteria under which legal immigrants can enter the United States, with the primary impact of reducing the amount of legal immigrants allowed into the country by more than fifty percent:

WASHINGTON — President Trump embraced a proposal on Wednesday to slash legal immigration to the United States in half within a decade by sharply curtailing the ability of American citizens and legal residents to bring family members into the country.

The plan would enact the most far-reaching changes to the system of legal immigration in decades and represents the president’s latest effort to stem the flow of newcomers to the United States. Since taking office, he has barred many visitors from select Muslim-majority countries, limited the influx of refugees, increased immigration arrests and pressed to build a wall along the southern border.

In asking Congress to curb legal immigration, Mr. Trump intensified a debate about national identity, economic growth, worker fairness and American values that animated his campaign last year. Critics said the proposal would undercut the fundamental vision of the United States as a haven for the poor and huddled masses, while the president and his allies said the country had taken in too many low-skilled immigrants for too long to the detriment of American workers.

“This legislation will not only restore our competitive edge in the 21st century, but it will restore the sacred bonds of trust between America and its citizens,” Mr. Trump said at a White House event alongside two Republican senators sponsoring the bill. “This legislation demonstrates our compassion for struggling American families who deserve an immigration system that puts their needs first and that puts America first.”

In throwing his weight behind a bill, Mr. Trump added one more long-odds priority to a legislative agenda already packed with them in the wake of the defeat of legislation to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s health care program. The president has already vowed to overhaul the tax code and rebuild the nation’s roads, airports and other infrastructure.

But by endorsing legal immigration cuts, a move he has long supported, Mr. Trump returned to a theme that has defined his short political career and excites his conservative base at a time when his poll numbers continue to sink. Just 33 percent of Americans approved of his performance in the latest Quinnipiac University survey, the lowest rating of his presidency, and down from 40 percent a month ago.

Democrats and some Republicans quickly criticized the move. “Instead of catching criminals, Trump wants to tear apart communities and punish immigrant families that are making valuable contributions to our economy,” said Tom Perez, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. “That’s not what America stands for.”

The bill, sponsored by Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia, would institute a merit-based system to determine who is admitted to the country and granted legal residency green cards, favoring applicants based on skills, education and language ability rather than relations with people already here. The proposal revives an idea included in broader immigration legislation supported by President George W. Bush that died in 2007.

More than one million people are granted legal residency each year, and the proposal would reduce that by 41 percent in its first year and 50 percent by its 10th year, according to projections cited by its sponsors. The reductions would come largely from those brought in through family connections. The number of immigrants granted legal residency on the basis of job skills, about 140,000, would remain roughly the same.

(…)

The legislation would award points based on education, ability to speak English, high-paying job offers, age, record of achievement and entrepreneurial initiative. But while it would still allow spouses and minor children of Americans and legal residents to come in, it would eliminate preferences for other relatives, like siblings and adult children. The bill would create a renewable temporary visa for older-adult parents who come for caretaking purposes.

The legislation would limit refugees offered permanent residency to 50,000 a year and eliminate a diversity visa lottery that the sponsors said does not promote diversity. The senators said their bill was meant to emulate systems in Canada and Australia.

The projections cited by the sponsors said legal immigration would decrease to 637,960 after a year and to 539,958 after a decade.

“Our current system does not work,” Mr. Perdue said. “It keeps America from being competitive and it does not meet the needs of our economy today.”

Mr. Cotton said low-skilled immigrants pushed down wages for those who worked with their hands. “For some people, they may think that that’s a symbol of America’s virtue and generosity,” he said. “I think it’s a symbol that we’re not committed to working-class Americans, and we need to change that.”

But Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, noted that agriculture and tourism were his state’s top two industries. “If this proposal were to become law, it would be devastating to our state’s economy, which relies on this immigrant work force,” he said. “Hotels, restaurants, golf courses and farmers,” he added, “will tell you this proposal to cut legal immigration in half would put their business in peril.”

Cutting legal immigration would make it harder for Mr. Trump to reach the stronger economic growth that he has promised. Bringing in more workers, especially during a time of low unemployment, increases the size of an economy. Critics said the plan would result in labor shortages, especially in lower-wage jobs that many Americans do not want.

On paper, the idea of encouraging more immigration based on job-skills, or from people seeking to come to the United States to start businesses that would end up employing Americans, is not a bad one. That’s one of the many things that various proposals for comprehensive immigration reform that have been proposed since the Bush Administration have sought to do. Additionally, there have been those who have suggested ideas such as making it easier for students from foreign countries that come here to study in fields such as science and technology to stay in the United States after graduation and contribute to the growth of some of the most important and fastest-growing segments of the economy. Such reforms, though, have not sought to make overall legal immigration more difficult or to seriously impact the ability of people who are here legally to sponsor family members who wish to come to this country. Indeed, most past proposals for legal immigration reform, even from Republicans, have focused on the idea of making legal immigration easier as a means of giving people an alternative to coming here illegally. Trump, along with Senators Cotton and Perdue, is instead seeking to do precisely what opponents of illegal immigration have always denied wanting to do, to make it harder for people to come here legally. The fact that this is would have the ironic impact of increasing the incentives for people to take the risk of entering the country illegally or overstaying their visa, which is a bigger source of “illegal immigration” than the border crossing that Trump’s “border wall” rhetoric addresses.

The fundamental problem with the Cotton-Perdue proposal, of course, is the idea that it’s based on entirely faulty premises regarding the impact of immigration on the economy and wages. In their speeches promoting the legislation yesterday, both the Senators and President Trump made the claim that our current immigration system results in wages for low-skilled workers being pushed down due to increased competition that Americans allegedly face from immigrants willing to work for less money. This is another variation on the old and rather easily disproven idea that immigration results in immigrants taking jobs that would otherwise go to American citizens. As numerous studies have shown, the reality is that immigrants more often than not end up taking the kind of labor-intensive, lower-wage jobs that most Americans would decline to do regardless of how high the wages were. For example, when states like Georgia and Alabama passed laws intended to crack down on “illegal immigration” earlier in this decade, farmers quickly found it far more difficult to find people to pick the vegetables and other crops in their fields no matter how much they offered for the job. The result was that crops ended up rotting unpicked in the field and local economies were adversely impacted as a result.

Examples like this are one of the many reasons why economists from across the ideological spectrum say that proposals like this proposed legislation would be a “grave mistake”. Additionally, as The Washington Post Editorial Board points out today, the kind of war on legal immigration that Trump is backing would be bad for the economy as a whole:

Halving the number of legal immigrants would deprive an array of businesses of oxygen in the form of labor — exactly the opposite strategy required for growth in an economy where productivity is stagnant and unemployment is extremely low. By drastically constricting the supply of legal immigrants, Mr. Trump’s program would also sharply intensify the demand for undocumented immigrants, for whom no wall would be an effective deterrent.

In economic terms, therefore, the legislation makes little sense, which explains why Stephen Miller, the White House senior adviser for policy, repeatedly justified it by saying that ordinary Americans would support it in a poll. (Mr. Miller also made a point of mentioning that the poem summoning the tired, huddled masses to America was not on the original Statue of Liberty but added later. Touché!)

Mr. Miller is correct that as a percentage of the country’s population, foreign-born residents are near their highest level in almost a century. That stark fact is a major cause of the nativist, anti-immigration backlash that helped propel Mr. Trump’s candidacy and that sustains the hard core of his political base even after a calamitous first six months in office.

Yet with the U.S. birthrate at a historic low, and baby boomers starting to retire, it is a simple truth that the United States will need an infusion of immigrant labor to maintain economic growth, let alone expand it. To bar immigrants while the birthrate dips is to emulate Japan, whose own fading economic prospects are a direct result of precisely such conditions and policies.

Rather than depressing wages and hurting the economy as Trump, Cotton, and Perdue have asserted, the truth of the matter is that openness toward immigration has been one of the most important factors that led to the rise of the United States as a major economic power and our continued growth even as other parts of the West face slower economic growth and higher unemployment. Throughout our history, immigrants have reinvigorated the nation and helped sustain economic growth. Their descendants have been the people who have founded companies that have spanned the world and turned the United States into the kind of nation that it is today. Yes, it’s sometimes been true that assimilating new immigrants has been something that has led to pushback from nativists and those clinging to a past that never really existed, but we’ve always been able to survive those stresses and strains and our culture has benefited greatly from the contributions of people from all the regions of Europe as well as Latin America, Africa, and Asia, the last of which is quickly becoming the fastest-growing segment of the next wave of immigrants. Cutting that source of strength off as Trump and his supporters are seeking to do would end up hurting the economy and the long term growth of the country in ways that we can’t even foresee at this point. The entire proposal is a short-sighted attempt to benefit from the nativist and anti-immigrant coalition that Trump cultivated during the 2016 campaign, and it seems clear that Trump’s main purpose in backing it is to pander to that base in an effort to distract people from the fact that his Administration is about to hit the 200 day mark without any significant accomplishments to point to.

Realistically speaking, it doesn’t seem likely that this bill has much of a chance of becoming law. Since the House is out of session and the Senate is apparently wrapping up its pre-recess business today, there’s been limited public reaction from either Republicans or Democrats to yesterday’s announcement. What we have seen, though, has been largely negative, and it seems clear that it would be very difficult for Republicans to get the sixty votes necessary to get a bill like this to a final vote. In fact, it’s likely that many Republicans would refuse to back the package altogether. The bill’s fate in the House also seems unclear given that the large block of GOP Congressman from states with a significant agricultural sector, as well as GOP moderates such as the Tuesday Morning Group, would likely oppose the measure. Nonetheless, the fact that something like this is even being proposed, and now has a Presidential endorsement is something that everyone who supports legal immigration should be concerned about.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. teve tory says:

    “We don’t have any problem with legal immigrants, just the ones that break the law.” –A lie I’ve heard 100 times.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 1

  2. Kari Q says:

    “it’s based on entirely faulty premises regarding the impact of immigration on the economy and wages.”

    But that isn’t really the point for Trump at all. He doesn’t know or care what impact immigration has on the economy and wages, only how he can use the issue to manipulate opinion and distract.

    He’s going with full embrace of Bannon’s racial politics. Affirmative Action at colleges is being reviewed and legal immigration is being attacked, and police are being urged to rough up people they arrest (yeah, I know, it was a joke people!). Add this to the ban on transgender in the military, and we’ve got ourselves a full fledged culture war.

    All this is, of course, supposed to distract us from the fact that Putin told Trump what to say about the meeting Don Jr. had with Russians, and that Trump hasn’t a clue what to do about North Korea.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  3. Dave Schuler says:

    History didn’t start 10 years ago, Doug. Forty years ago agricultural workers in the American Southeast were overwhelmingly black. When they began to organize they were quickly replaced by mostly illegal Mexican and Central American workers practically overnight. In other words there’s more to the interplay between wages and immigration than you seem to think.

    Why do American companies hire foreign workers? I think there are three reasons: they pay lower wages (against the rules) to foreign workers, since the foreign workers require sponsorship they are in a sense captives and consequently less likely either to ask for higher wages or leave for other employment, and because they can’t find American workers with the necessary skills. Increasing pay would attract more Americans to get the necessary skills. Keeping wages low by importing workers has the opposite effect.

    You can decide for yourself the relative significance of those objectives but I don’t think any of them should just be dismissed.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 5

  4. teve tory says:

    Saying Americans would never do those jobs regardless of the wage offered is wrong. There are jobs that Americans won’t do for the wages that have been offered. But it’s trivially wrong (and FWIW a violation of Econ 101*) to say there’s no wage which would clear the market.

    (Arguments that are based on Econ 101 are often stupid and wrong (e.g. “If you raise the minimum wage companies will hire way fewer people.”) but in this case it’s obviously wrong. If you offered $50/hr to pick lettuce, my lazy ass and a lot of others would be there with bells on.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  5. KM says:

    Yep, it’s all those illegal immigrants causing America’s ills so we’re gonna cut legal immigration, especially from certain countries if you know what I mean. That should fix the problem of rich CEOs outsourcing jobs to buy a 5th yacht. We’re totally not white nationalists, why do you ask?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  6. KM says:

    @teve tory :

    If you offered $50/hr to pick lettuce, my lazy ass and a lot of others would be there with bells on.

    But would you *stay* on? If the turnover is huge for such a time critical job, what’s the point?

    There are indeed some Americans who won’t do the work regardless of the price for a number of reasons – usually related to the physicality of the work or its social status. I’ve seen plenty of people try to make it in the medical field solely on the salary, only to quickly quit once the puking and bleeding starts. For all we like to brag about Americans as hardworking, down to earth people in our mythos, there’s a surprising amount of people who would pass up a higher paying job like plumber or sanitation worker to work as in a cube farm with lower wages but less stank. They also want to be able to brag about what they do and use it to propel themselves up the social ladder – no one’s putting trash collector on their resume if they can help it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  7. teve tory says:

    @KM:

    Market Clearing

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. Jen says:

    I’m honestly baffled by this move. Cutting back legal immigration will hurt US businesses and the US economy. There are only a couple of ways for an economy to grow, one is through increased worker productivity and the other is through expanding populations. Productivity has flat lined; we need babies and/or immigrants to continue to grow.

    This shows a profound lack of understanding about economics on the part of the senators who introduced this bill/and the White House.

    If you offered $50/hr to pick lettuce, my lazy ass and a lot of others would be there with bells on.

    Sure, but your purchase volume would crash because of the price you’d need to charge the consumer for that head of lettuce if you are paying workers $50/hr to pick it. Produce has a long supply chain system from where a product is grown to where it is sold at retail. Every part of that system must be profitable for it to make sense to continue to produce, from field to grocery store. Grocery store margins are some of the tightest in any business, around 2%. Even the slightest alteration in production costs has a cascading effect.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  9. teve tory says:

    There are indeed some Americans who won’t do the work regardless of the price

    That’s not my point. My point is that if you keep raising the wage you will eventually hit an equilibrium where the supply of workers meets demand. But employers like to offer shitty wages and then say “we just can’t get anybody.”

    Say you go to publix and say “Here’s a dollar, gimme a t-bone”, and they say no, and then you offer $1.10, and they say no again, and finally you offer $1.15, and they still say no. If you turn around and say, “Well, Publix won’t sell me a steak at any price!”, you’re full of it. And I have personally witness local businesspeople doing that sort of thing.

    Look at trump. His bidness says they need seasonal foreign workers at Mar-a-lago. But they pay $15/hr. I have friends who live a few miles west of Mar-a-lago, and their rent is $1500/mo for a 2-bedroom apartment. Of course you can’t get anyone seasonal to come there for $15/hr. But it’s not true that they ‘just can’t find anybody no matter the wage offered.’

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  10. teve tory says:

    Sure, but your purchase volume would crash because of the price you’d need to charge the consumer for that head of lettuce if you are paying workers $50/hr to pick it.

    Not relevant to my point. My point was the claim ‘we can’t get anyone to do the job at any wage’ is wrong. ‘we can’t get anyone to do the job at any wage which is profitable according to current commodity prices’ is a different argument, and one I wouldn’t dispute.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  11. Jen says:

    @teve tory: Ah, okay. I was operating under the assumption that it is recognized that “can’t get anyone to do the job” means “can’t get anyone to do the job at a wage that allows us to keep operating.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  12. Gustopher says:

    Doesn’t bringing in skilled labor just depress the wages for that? Why are they targeting my wages?

    There’s something a bit more fair about a system that brings in a large variety — not just fair to the immigrants, but to the existing population. Wages are affected across social classes, rather than concentrating the effects on one group.

    Does this plan get rid of the employer sponsored visas? If so, it might actually raise wages in software engineering, since there are so many employees who are tied to their jobs by immigration status, and are unable to negotiate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. James Pearce says:

    favoring applicants based on skills, education and language ability rather than relations with people already here

    Cotton’s playing this as an “increase Americans’ wages” effort, and yet they’re going to favor applicants based on skills, education, and language ability?

    Is he that stupid, or just that dishonest?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  14. JohnMcC says:

    @teve tory: I think your rumination about the inadequacy of Econ 101 would do you some good here. There’s no doubt that SOME wage can be reached that would fill a steaming central-valley field with middle aged white folks who would probably have to have valet parking for their BMWs in the employee lot. But as Jen says that would so completely alter the economy of lettuce growing-picking-shipping-selling that the realistic effect is no. No, the lettuce grower in the U.S. in 2017 cannot pay enough to harvest his crop without the Spanish speaking ladies and gentlemen (and their children, not to forget) who do it now.

    This is not a weighty debate but dealing with capital-C Conservatives in my own family has made me sensitive to arguments from ideology.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  15. Moosebreath says:

    @James Pearce:

    “Is he that stupid, or just that dishonest?”

    Why must it be one or the other?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  16. teve tory says:

    @Jen: That’s an unspoken assumption that seldom gets talked about. We take it for granted that any business should be allowed to pay whatever it ‘needs’ to stay in business. Putting aside the fact that businessmen often lie about that, and simply don’t want to pay their workers more, preferring to keep as much profit as possible*, we should as a society discuss the following situation: If your business plan only works if you pay your workers less than they need to survive, forcing taxpayers to subsidize the situation with food stamps and medicaid and other benefits, shouldn’t you in fact go out of business, thereby freeing up capital for businesses with better business plans?

    (John Shnatter, 2012:

    “Our best estimate is that the Obamacare will cost 11 to 14 cents per pizza, or 15 to 20 cents per order from a corporate basis.

    “We’re not supportive of Obamacare, like most businesses in our industry. But our business model and unit economics are about as ideal as you can get for a food company to absorb Obamacare.

    “If Obamacare is in fact not repealed, we will find tactics to shallow out any Obamacare costs and core strategies to pass that cost onto consumers in order to protect our shareholders best interest.”)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  17. teve tory says:

    But as Jen says that would so completely alter the economy of lettuce growing-picking-shipping-selling that the realistic effect is no.

    That assumes the lettuce grower must, in the end, be a profitable business here. See my above response.

    But these are all side questions which are interesting, but far from my original point, which was simply that “There are jobs no americans will do at any wage.” is an incorrect statement.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  18. teve tory says:

    There are plenty of businesses which cannot be made to work in the US. Look at shipbreaking. When big boats get old and unsustainable, they’re dragged to desperate ports in places like bangledesh and set upon by teams of starving people with saws, torches, etc. Massive amounts of heinous chemicals are spilled onto the beach, into nearby water, onto the workers, in the process of stripping the hulk of its metals and whatnot.

    That used to be done in the US, 100 years ago. Now, you could never make it worth doing in the US. The materials aren’t worth recovering if you had to pay minimum wage and clean up the pollution.

    Point is, just because a business is currently functioning in the US, we assume, without even thinking, that conditions should always obtain such that the business can continue. We should at least recognize the possibility that maybe in some cases it shouldn’t.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  19. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Jen:

    I’m honestly baffled by this move. Cutting back legal immigration will hurt US businesses and the US economy.

    You’re baffled because your mind works logically. The minds of Dumb Don’s base do not work logically.
    This is a non-starter. The southern agricultural states just are not going to let this happen.
    Just the same, the dupes in the Banana Republican base – JKB, Jack, Guarneri, alanstorm, etc. – love this red-meat crap. They don’t even seem to care that they are being lied to. It just makes them all warm and fuzzy to hear it from their leader. And Banana Republicans are only about their emotions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  20. teve tory says:

    I’m pulling out of this particular topic but I thought I’d make a little clearer why I said what I said. My initial comment was

    Saying Americans would never do those jobs regardless of the wage offered is wrong. There are jobs that Americans won’t do for the wages that have been offered.

    My reason for saying this was, knowledgeable people hear “Americans would never do those jobs regardless of the wage offered” and they mentally transform it into something more accurate like “Americans would never do those jobs regardless of the wage offered, within the constraints of current commodity prices etc etc, and for unspecified and indeed unchallenged reasons this job belongs in america in perpetuity etc etc” Fine. Whatever. Our brains always fill in the blanks all the time, communication can never be 100% accurate, I get it.

    But FoxNews types hear it and mentally transform it to “Americans would never do those jobs regardless of the wage offered, so that means Those People just don’t wanna work no matter how much you paid them. I guess they’d rather sit on their ass getting welfare from my paycheck and free Obamaphones etc etc.” and it has a whole different effect. So I think it’s important that we not just accept that trivially-inaccurate statement without refining the conditionals and making them more explicit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  21. KM says:

    @teve tory :

    Point is, just because a business is currently functioning in the US, we assume, without even thinking, that conditions should always obtain such that the business can continue. We should at least recognize the possibility that maybe in some cases it shouldn’t.

    Look I’m all for better wages for the types of dirty jobs nobody respects. But nobody’s gonna pay high wages for crop pickers – they’ll either go full mechanical everywhere they can or scale down the supply to scarcity levels and re-brand it “artisan”. Just because we have a varied national food supply doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. They’ll grow what they can that makes them money and cut out what doesn’t. Things that require more human intervention will turn “specialty” while we’d see corn in even more stuff then it is now. The model will definitely change and most likely not in favor of the workers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  22. Jen says:

    @teve tory:

    Point is, just because a business is currently functioning in the US, we assume, without even thinking, that conditions should always obtain such that the business can continue. We should at least recognize the possibility that maybe in some cases it shouldn’t.

    I get what you are saying here, but there is a vast difference between breaking down a ship and food production. It would be incredibly unwise for the US to outsource all of its food production–that literally would end up being a national security issue. We currently import around 15% of our food. If we increased that to, say 50%, because wages distorted the market, we would potentially be turning over our food security to another country. Think gas shortages during the 70s, but with people starving.

    You can’t take something that people depend on to survive and outsource it entirely, no matter what the market demands as far as wages are concerned.

    The mechanizing that KM discusses above is more the likely outcome–for sturdier crops, that’s already the solution, and as technology improves, you could even see fragile crops being picked and processed by robots.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  23. CSK says:

    Have you read the transcripts of Trump’s phone conversation with Malcolm Turnbull? Don’t if you suffer badly from vicarious embarrassment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  24. michael reynolds says:

    1) This is not happening. It’s just red meat for the morons to distract from Trump’s impotence and corruption.

    2) Every society and every economy had a bottom rung. As Schuler points out above that used to be African-Americans picking strawberries. When they demanded decent treatment they were replaced by another group ready to take that lowest rung. The white people ranting about illegals have zero intention of picking strawberries and indeed offering them those jobs would be seen as an insult.

    3) If it’s going to take $50 an hour to get US citizens to pick strawberries the price of strawberries will go through the roof. At which point a) US agricultural products are replaced by imports and b) to the extent possible, US workers are replaced by machines.

    4) It’s a ‘tell’ that Bannon/Miller/Trump insist on English-speaking as a prerequisite. Not a computer language, a knowledge that might be in short supply, but English of which there is no shortage. This goes to the racist heart of their motivations. So a young Sergei Brin and his parents? No. Random Aussie bartender? Sure.

    5) All that said, I hope Democrats don’t get too far out over their skis. We do have a right to decide who gets into the country, and this policy has an awful lot in common with the immigration policies of a number of progressive countries.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  25. Jen says:

    @CSK: Yeah, I read it. And as a citizen of New Hampshire, I uttered some choice words here and there. For context, every single one of the primary contenders heard about the opioid problem we have here–caused, in no small part, by the over-prescribing of pain medication. But to him, we are a “drug-infested den.” Okay then.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  26. Hal_10000 says:

    @teve tory:

    “We don’t have any problem with legal immigrants, just the ones that break the law.” –A lie I’ve heard 100 times.

    TBF: the bulk of the GOP will oppose this. The most common sentiment I’m seeing from conservatives is “WTH?”

    The gripping hand, however, is that a lot of people do tend to change their views to suit what the party leadership is doing. So I expect *some* support for this, but mostly it will die a quick death in Congress.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  27. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @CSK:

    Have you read the transcripts of Trump’s phone conversation with Malcolm Turnbull?

    And with the President of Mexico.
    It is astounding how dumb Donnie really is. No wonder he can’t even buy a suit that fits, or comb his hair like a normal human.
    This guy John Kelly should easily be able to manipulate the situation in the White House so that he is the de facto President.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  28. Matthew Bernius says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    Why do American companies hire foreign workers? I think there are three reasons: they pay lower wages (against the rules) to foreign workers, since the foreign workers require sponsorship they are in a sense captives and consequently less likely either to ask for higher wages or leave for other employment, and because they can’t find American workers with the necessary skills. Increasing pay would attract more Americans to get the necessary skills. Keeping wages low by importing workers has the opposite effect.

    I think you make some excellent points about how the economics have changed over the last 50 years. However, I think, following your point, you need to look at how the entire market has changed — not just the relationship between producer and employees.

    In particular, the last two to three decades were also market by a shift in marketplace power towards retailers (in particular Walmart and Amazon). The reality is today, they have the disproportionate ability to set the price (and therefore essentially wages) for whole market segments (produce in particular). Which means even if there was a desire to increase wages on the producers side (to attract more American workers) there are heavy pressures on producers to *not* do that.

    So that part of the broader marketplace would need to be prepared to accomodate those changes as well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  29. Mister Bluster says:

    @CSK:..Have you read the transcripts of Trump’s phone conversation with Malcolm Turnbull?

    Here it is.

    Prime Minister Turnbull: Well, yes. Mr. President, can I return to the issue of the resettlement agreement that we had with the Obama administration…

    Pud:…Blah blah blah

    Prime Minister Turnbull: Can you hear me out Mr. President?

    Pud:…Blah blah blah

    Prime Minister Turnbull: With great respect, that is not right – It is not 2,000.

    Pud:…Blah blah blah

    Prime Minister Turnbull: I would not be so sure about that.

    Pud:…Blah blah blah

    Prime Minister Turnbull: Please, if we can agree to stick to the deal,..

    Pud:…Blah blah blah

    Prime Minister Turnbull: No, let me explain why.

    Pud: I am going to get killed on this thing.

    Prime Minister Turnbull: You will not.

    Pud: As far as I am concerned that is enough Malcom [sic]. I have had it. I have been making these calls all day and this is the most unpleasant call all day. Putin was a pleasant call. This is ridiculous.

    Prime Minister Turnbull: Thank you for your commitment. It is very important to us.

    Pud: It is important to you and it is embarrassing to me. It is an embarrassment to me, but at least I got you off the hook. So you put me back on the hook.

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  30. gVOR08 says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: To be fair, neither his hair nor his suits reflect on his intelligence. When he started to go bald he had scalp transplant surgery. Now he needs a $30,000 hair weave to hide his baldness and Frankenstein scalp with what little hair he has left. I suspect he pays similar money for suits. They are well tailored so that, along with his bib like red ties, they hide his bulk. They may look ill fitting, but there are limits to what tailoring can accomplish.

    I say this not as body shaming, but shaming for being so vain and self absorbed that he goes to such lengths to camouflage his appearance.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  31. Not the IT Dept. says:

    I actually don’t have a problem with the policy, as Doug says, “on paper”. Australia and Canada have similar systems and Trump actually seems to understand how Canada’s works. Or at least he did for a day or so.

    What I do have a problem with is our tendency to let this kind of thing get all balled up with xenophobic hysteria so that any good that might possibly result gets tossed out the window. We do have a gift for that kind of thing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  32. Gustopher says:

    @gVOR08: A better suit would make him look better — larger, perhaps, but better.

    The fact that this isn’t the way he rolls reveals a lot about him — he’s not just vain, but amazingly insecure and he thinks people are stupid enough to believe his lies.

    And then he goes and plays golf, and looks like a midsized marine mammal covered in polyester. I don’t know what is up with that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @gVOR08:

    I say this not as body shaming, but shaming for being so vain and self absorbed that he goes to such lengths to camouflage his appearance.

    It reflects on his intelligence that he thinks he is fooling anyone…we all know he is fat and bald.
    I pity Melania…there is no amount of money in the world that would make me crawl into the sack with that pathetic man-child.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  34. Jen says:

    OT: Mueller has impaneled a grand jury on the Russia probe.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  35. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Jen:
    I’m not an attorney…but this seems like some kind of important milestone to me.
    I would prefer to never have a Grand Jury impaneled to look at something I’ve done.
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/special-counsel-mueller-impanels-washington-grand-jury-in-russia-probe-1501788287?mod=e2tw

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  36. Jen says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: Yeah, and it might just step on the “big news” that the gov. of WV has flipped from D to R.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  37. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    We in the legal community liken it to the large lady putting on her costume and getting ready to head for the stage.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  38. CSK says:

    @Jen:

    As your neighbor just to the south, I was equally offended by the characterization of NH as a “drug-infested den.” Well, you guys gave your electoral votes to Clinton in 2016, so I guess you’re garbage in his eyes. I wonder how the NH Trump voters feel now.

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    As if any further proof were needed, that transcript just proves that Trump not only has no idea what he’ doing, he’s absolutely incapable of absorbing information and digesting it. He can’t follow a simple conversation. I mean, Turnbull didn’t use a lot of hard words, did he?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  39. teve tory says:

    @Mister Bluster: someone on twitter said: “Turnbull is talking to trump the way a patient kindergarten teacher talks to a 5-year old throwing a tantrum.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  40. Tyrell says:

    As economic conditions have picked up, there is more demand for roofers, drywall installers, landscapers, and other jobs that require physical labor. If there is a shortage of people to fill those jobs, the pay goes up, and then the prices. These people certainly should be paid well, especially in areas of high heat and humidity. But usually don’t get what they should.
    Most people coming into the US already speak English.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  41. teve tory says:

    I suspect he pays similar money for suits. They are well tailored so that, along with his bib like red ties, they hide his bulk. They may look ill fitting, but there are limits to what tailoring can accomplish.

    I read somewhere that Trump wears Brioni suits. I can hardly believe it. Brioni suits cost $5,000 and they are tailored ten ways to sunday over multiple fittings. They’re the suits James Bond wears in the movies. If he’s wearing Brioni suits and still looks like garbage…yikes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  42. inhumans99 says:

    @teve tory:

    Speaking of suits, the comments about suits reminds me of my favorite brief conversation about suits that took place between Hans Gruber and Takagi in Die Hard…Hans was such a cool cat.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  43. Davebo says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    Says the guy who’s never picked a Cuc. Seriously what are you basing this BS on? Been to Mississippi or Alabama lately?

    The idea that good old white boys will hit those fields at 5:00AM sailed away decades ago.

    I once expected better of you Dave.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  44. Sleeping Dog says:

    In the late 90’s a friend had a small consultancy teaching English as a second language in the work place. His clients were the big hotel chains and food service companies that managed food facilities at airports, convention centers etc. One afternoon over an after work beer, an HR exec for a client confessed that his firm preferred to hire immigrants rather than natives, as they had a greater work ethic and brought fewer personal issues to the job. Wages aren’t the only reason business prefers immigrants.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  45. Slugger says:

    I am an immigrant. My parents had very limited education and brought their children, including me, to the USA. None of us spoke English. My dad took a minimum wage job, and my mother stayed at home. My sister and I became professionals and have advanced degrees. I am not saying all immigrants are Einsteins, but Einstein was an immigrant as were Fermi and lots of others. In our cohort of immigrants there were lots of people who took low wage jobs and whose kids have exceeded the median income and position. In my community the high school valedictorians are all named Nguygen for the last twenty five years. Surely there is some objective study we could look at.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  46. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Slugger:
    Trump is the classic third generation failure.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  47. DrDaveT says:

    “This legislation demonstrates our compassion for struggling American families who deserve an immigration system that puts their needs first and that puts America first.”

    You heard it here first, folks — legal immigrants are not Americans, and are not America.

    Pretty strong words from someone named Drumpf.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  48. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @teve tory:

    Market Clearing

    This article does not cite any sources. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (May 2009)

    Dude, I’ve come to expect that guys like you will be disingenuous, but try to take some level of pride in misconstruing and cherry picking for flock sake. You’re worse than my “Say’s Law proves the minimum wage should be zero” students from 10 years ago. GAWD!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  49. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Jen:

    Cutting back legal immigration will hurt US businesses and the US economy.

    Not if it is accompanied by a reduction of enforcement of illegal immigration and employment of illegals (or did I just give away the game? Perhaps Mr. “Market Clearing” will weigh in with another gem based on his vast knowledge of Econ 101).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  50. Dave Schuler says:

    @Davebo:

    No, I’ve never picked produce. But I’ve done practically every other legal job you can think of from being a gardener to digging ditches to working in a steel mill. I once considered sealing driveways for a living permanently because I was earning as much money doing that as my dad did as a lawyer (and he was a reasonably successful lawyer). I know what work is.

    I’m basing it on facts. In Washington State nearly all of the agricultural workers were white until quite recently. That didn’t change because they all found better work. It changed because the pay fell when those hiring agricultural workers began bringing in primarily illegal workers from Mexico and Central America.

    Pay rates do matter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  51. Grumpy Realist says:

    @KM: the U.K. Is going to discover all this the hard way after Brexit really happens. At present, a lot of the crop picking of delicate eatables like strawberries is done by Eastern Europeans who come over seasonally to do the work. Looks like Englanders won’t do the jobs for the salaries/bennies offered.

    Add to that the increased tariffs for a lot of the veggies that get grown in places like Spain and Portugal and it looks like the British diet is going to get a lot more restricted and expensive.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  52. CSK says:

    Trump’s going to have to be restrained when he sees this cover image:

    http://www.newsweek.com/2017/08/11/issue.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  53. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @CSK:
    Fake Newsweek.
    /snark

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  54. CSK says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    I think a framed copy in a prominent place in the Oval Office as well as his golf clubs is de rigueur, don’t you?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  55. de stijl says:

    @Grumpy Realist:

    Brexit is the death of British influence on anything meaningful.

    They can always make cheeky movies / tv shows. I’m sure that will make up the difference.

    It makes me less embarrassed to think about Trump. Trump is small beer / weak tea compared to Brexit. {crosses fingers}

    We will likely survive Trump

    We will likely survive Trump… I hope

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  56. gVOR08 says:

    @de stijl:

    Brexit is the death of British influence on anything meaningful.

    Trump and W have pretty much ended “The American Century”. Might as well beat the rush and sign up for a class in Mandarin.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0