Biden’s Amnesty Bill

Every illegal immigrant would have a path to citizenship.

WaPo (“Biden to propose overhaul of immigration laws on first day in office“):

President-elect Joe Biden will roll out a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws the day he is inaugurated, including an eight-year pathway to citizenship for immigrants without legal status and an expansion of refugee admissions, along with an enforcement plan that deploys technology to patrol the border.

Biden’s legislative proposal, which will be sent to Congress on Wednesday, also includes a heavy focus on addressing the root causes of migration from Central America, a key part of Biden’s foreign policy portfolio when he served as vice president.

The centerpiece of the plan from Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris is the eight-year pathway, which would put millions of qualifying immigrants in a temporary status for five years and then grant them a green card once they meet certain requirements such as a background check and payment of taxes. They would be able to apply for citizenship three years later.

To qualify, immigrants must have been in the United States as of Jan. 1, a move meant to blunt any rush to the border.

Beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — which granted key protections for “dreamers” — and the temporary protected status program for migrants from disaster-ravaged nations could apply for a green card immediately. The details were described by transition officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

The president-elect’s plan has been met with praise from pro-immigration advocates and Democratic lawmakers who have toiled to overhaul the immigration system for decades. But it also comes at a time when the Republican Party, led by President Trump, has shifted far rightward on immigration, complicating efforts at a deal that can get enough GOP support.

I don’t know what “enough GOP support” means here. Assuming all 50 Senators caucusing with Democrats go along, they have a majority. If it means “enough to avoid a filibuster,” I would be skeptical, indeed.

The plan would effectively amount to amnesty for everyone who broke our immigration laws to get here, unless they can be proven to have broken other laws (in which case one presumes they would just remain in the shadows rather than apply for legal status). That would, yet again, be a slap in the face to those who waited years to get here legally but may beat the alternatives, given the logistics of rounding up and deporting tens of millions of illegal immigrants.

Cynically, this would doubtless mean tens of millions of new Democratic voters in the 2030 elections. I can’t imagine a lot of opposition from Biden’s party to it on that basis alone.

FILED UNDER: Borders and Immigration, Joe Biden, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. SKI says:

    Missing from the above: substantive analysis of whether it is the right policy.

    Maybe you should rethink the name of the website, James. This is very inside-the-beltway thinking. All the politics, almost none of the policy.

    15
  2. James Joyner says:

    @SKI:

    Missing from the above: substantive analysis of whether it is the right policy.

    I am not, nor do I claim to be, an expert on immigration policy. Regardless, the longest of the three paragraphs of commentary is about whether this is the right policy. I see it as a tradeoff between bad choices and don’t know that I know whether the horrible moral hazard yet another amnesty yields is overcome by the lack of better alternatives.

    2
  3. MarkedMan says:

    I learned everything I needed to know about what US immigration laws are for when I got my first food service job at the ripe old age of 15, at a restaurant/night club controlled by the Greek mob on the South Side of Chicago. I was walking from business to business trying to find someone who would hire a 15 year old when I came to them. All they asked was, “Can you start right away?” I gradually learned what had happened, mere hours before I walked through the door. The bus staff and dishwashers were all illegal immigrants from Latin America. The cooks were all illegal immigrant draft dodgers from Greece. The Spanish speaking contingent found out the house was skimming their tips and demanded what was due them. The owners used the Federal Immigration Police as they were intended. They called an all hands on deck meeting of the Latin Americans, promising to resolve the issue fairly. They told the illegal Greek immigrants to stay home. Then they arranged with the Feds to be waiting to arrest the Latinos as soon as they walked through the door.

    That’s what our immigration policy is. A way for farmers and factory owners to get hard working people who can be treated as second class citizens or worse. And a government organization whose primary function is to help employers screw low paid workers.

    35
  4. drj says:

    I’d offer the GOP a choice, either:

    * stop bitching about illegal immigrants; or
    * get behind meaningful punishments for people/organizations employing illegal immigrants

    If illegal immigrants are good enough to pack your meat, pick your fruit, and work in your kitchens, then they should get a pathway to citizenship.

    If not, jail time and substantial fines for every employer (rather than employee) who breaks the law.

    It is obviously unfair to be OK with profiting from illegal labor while condemning illegal immigrants. But that’s the GOP for you.

    27
  5. SKI says:

    @James Joyner:

    Regardless, the longest of the three paragraphs of commentary is about whether this is the right policy. I see it as a tradeoff between bad choices and don’t know that I know whether the horrible moral hazard yet another amnesty yields is overcome by the lack of better alternatives.

    Why are you sure it is a “horrible moral hazard”? Might it not actually be a good policy?

    Isn’t it possible that what would be best for our country is an immigration policy that welcomes in more legal immigrants to drive the economy and benefit society?

    That a good place to start is those individuals who have already demonstrated they really want to be here and can survive and work here?

    There is no analysis of the substance of immigration policy, James and what is here is principally about (a) the politics and (b) regurgitating political talking points.

    15
  6. MarkedMan says:

    @drj:

    It is obviously unfair to be OK with profiting from illegal labor while condemning illegal immigrants. But that’s the GOP for you.

    Yes. Exactly. That IS the GOP for you. And Dems in farm states. This is not an accidental policy. This is precisely the desired outcome. And they will admit it when they think no one is listening. Ask a farmer or a contractor who gets his staff from the Home Depot parking lot how it would affect their business if they had to treat their employees according to US Law. They will be happy to tell you how these people shouldn’t have rights because they are here illegally. Then they will load a dozen up in the back of a pickup truck, drive them to a work site and figure out the best way to screw them out of the meager wages they promised to pay. And every Election Day, you know damn well they are voting Republican.

    17
  7. Teve says:

    @drj:

    I’d offer the GOP a choice, either:

    * stop bitching about illegal immigrants; or
    * get behind meaningful punishments for people/organizations employing illegal immigrants

    drj some men just told me to type a message to you. Here it is.

    Scram. Our system is working just fine for us. What are you gonna do, write a thinkpiece for Slate? Yeah that’ll persuade our voters AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    PS if you do start to get the slightest bit of traction we’ll just get Hannity and Tucker to say all the illegal immigrants want government-funded sex change operations. Then it’s two terms for President Cotton!

    6
  8. James Joyner says:

    @drj:

    * get behind meaningful punishments for people/organizations employing illegal immigrants

    While, again, I don’t claim to be an expert on immigration policy this has long been my preferred solution. If we’re serious about staunching the flow of illegal economic migrants, then we have to get serious about taking the jobs away. But, yes, if our de facto policy is welcoming said migrants but then giving them second-class status, it’s a huge problem.

    6
  9. James Joyner says:

    @SKI:

    Isn’t it possible that what would be best for our country is an immigration policy that welcomes in more legal immigrants to drive the economy and benefit society?

    Absolutely. I start, though, from the default assumption that we should enforce our laws or eliminate them. Otherwise, we have the worst of all worlds: selective enforcement, which allows for massive abuse while also creating weird incentives.

    There is no analysis of the substance of immigration policy, James and what is here is principally about (a) the politics and (b) regurgitating political talking points.

    Posts where I have a strong policy preference to lay out tend to be rather long. Short posts, on the other hand, tend to be either 1) Hey, look at this thing I found (old-style web-logging) or 2) conversation-starters. This post is the latter and seems to have achieved that purpose.

    7
  10. James Joyner says:

    @MarkedMan:

    This is not an accidental policy.

    To a large extent, it is.

    I listened to a podcast (maybe Malcolm Gladwell?) quite a while back that traces this to us hiring as Border Control chief in the late 1960s a retired Marine general who successfully lobbied for massive funding to do what he thought his job was: keeping the illegals out. The unintended consequence was keeping the illegals in.

    That is, previously, the policy effectively allowed for seasonal migrants to come here, pick our fruits and vegetables etc, and then take the money back home with them and live with their families the rest of the year. But, when the borders got tighter, it was too risky to go back and forth. So they stayed.

    4
  11. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @James Joyner: Well that’s just it. We aren’t serious, politicians only pretend to be for fundraising and votes.

    This is yet another wedge issue that political parties refuse to solve because they’d lose a fundraising and turnout lightning rod if they did. This is simply not that hard. We need workers and to grow the tax base and workers and employers need the threat of raids and deportation removed. Moral Hazzard simply don’t come into view. I believe that is a red herring for refuse to accept. Sure, we should always evaluate incentives inherent in any legislation to avoid building perverse incentive structures into large policies….but moral hazzard? Ive only heard that raised as an issue with legislation addressing issues with the blacks, browns, and poors.

    12
  12. Mikey says:

    @MarkedMan: I have my own story about the immigration system.

    As I’ve mentioned before, my wife grew up in Germany. She is a naturalized American citizen, a process we endured in the early 2000s.

    The initial process–application, paperwork, fingerprints–went fine. And then…silence. I called every few weeks to check status, but no updates came. Fortunately, I logged every call. But over a year passed with no progress.

    Eventually it came down to my boss’s ex-wife’s boyfriend being an immigration lawyer–yeah, the classic “I know a guy who knows a guy.” He took my call logs–again, fortunate!–and got the process moving. It had been so long that my wife had to get fingerprints done again. But finally she got her citizenship.

    Just a few weeks later, we heard on the news that the head of the immigration office handling my wife’s application had been arrested for taking bribes. “See,” I said, “that was the problem–we didn’t slip that asshole a Benjamin.”

    5
  13. MarkedMan says:

    @James Joyner:

    If we’re serious about staunching the flow of illegal economic migrants, But, yes, if our de facto policy is welcoming said migrants but then giving them second-class status, it’s a huge problem.

    Does anything in the past 200 years of immigration policy lead you to believe that the latter isn’t in fact the case? Forget all the talk. Has there ever been any meaningful effort to hold employers accountable? On the very, very rare case you hear of it, if you read far enough you’ll find out that there were also tax shenanigans going on, leading me to believe that was the real issue.

    5
  14. MarkedMan says:

    @James Joyner:

    That is, previously, the policy effectively allowed for seasonal migrants to come here, pick our fruits and vegetables etc, and then take the money back home with them and live with their families the rest of the year.

    That sentence doesn’t jibe with what you said above and in fact reinforces my point. The effective policy was to allow illegal immigrants to come across the border, with no repercussions to the employers. That is still the policy, although we have made the lives of the illegals much more difficult.

    I would agree with you in theory. But there is little doubt that reality has already tromped all over that theory. It’s morally wrong to withhold relief from those people who do the hard work in this country based on a “let’s play pretend” scenario where we are going to hold employers equally culpable. It has never happened and it is not going to happen in the foreseeable future.

    5
  15. JohnMcC says:

    Very short comment to notice the word “amnesty” in the title. Accurate and proper English; inflammatory in this context.

    5
  16. KM says:

    If the system was fairer and easier to navigate, then we wouldn’t have need for amnesty bills. People are breaking the law en masse simply because they cannot fulfill it in a reasonable or meaningful timeframe, not because they like living in fear of deportation. They *want* to do it right but are prevented due to xenophobia and hate. We can control our borders and have a more sensible application process like other sane countries do instead of having the amnesty debate every few years.

    Imagine if you could only get your drivers license at one of 12 sites nationwide that’s staffed by 6 guys who are only open on Wens for 11am-2pm and will straight up tell you “list’s full, go back home”. Imagine it costs $12K for an license you will likely not pass the first time because of unfair and arbitrary changes but they want the money upfront every time. Imagine the process must be started immediately so you can be “legal” but will take years for no good reason even if you’ve done everything right. How the hell do you expect people to not be driving around unlicensed just to function? What’s the reward for trying to do it the legal way instead of the shady way because as we saw with the last Administration, even the “good ones” have to fear the government coming for them while still being processed. If all you get is the stick, there’s no point in hunting around for a mythical carrot…..

    7
  17. James Joyner says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Sure, we should always evaluate incentives inherent in any legislation to avoid building perverse incentive structures into large policies….but moral hazzard? Ive only heard that raised as an issue with legislation addressing issues with the blacks, browns, and poors.

    At OTB, at least, we used it to talk about bailing out the big banks and other giant corporations for their bad decisions in the wake fo the 2008 financial crisis.

    3
  18. James Joyner says:

    @JohnMcC:

    Very short comment to notice the word “amnesty” in the title. Accurate and proper English; inflammatory in this context.

    I don’t see what else you’d call it: it’s a reward for breaking our laws. I call the 1986 Simpson-Margoli legislation that Ronald Reagan (rightly, I think, given the alternatives) signed “amnesty,” too.

    1
  19. SKI says:

    @JohnMcC: James has already indicated this was a post for “engagement”. Inflammatory language helps with engagement. So feature, not a big.

    1
  20. SKI says:

    @James Joyner:

    I don’t see what else you’d call it: it’s a reward for breaking our laws.

    How about smart policy? One that isn’t focused on whether or not the recipient is “worthy” but whether it makes sense for the country?

    2
  21. Kathy says:

    That would, yet again, be a slap in the face to those who waited years to get here legally but may beat the alternatives, given the logistics of rounding up and deporting tens of millions of illegal immigrants.

    James, this is an argument for making immigration, both temporary and permanent, easier than it is, rather than to ignore the bad effects of a terrible immigration policy.

    7
  22. Sleeping Dog says:

    The details of Biden’s proposal, will not be the final legislation could be passed. This proposal is broadly what Dem interest groups want and nothing that Rs want. Biden learned a lesson that Obama never seemed to understand. An Obama proposal would have included all sorts of incentives to encourage R support. Of course the Rs would simply pocket those incentives and demand more concessions before finally opposing the legislation.

    Many R interest groups, farmers, small and large businesses, want and need immigration reform, let them pressure R legislators to get something done that will include addressing border security, guest worker programs etc.

    Recall that the primary reason Bush/43 immigration reform failed, is that it tripped over the Hastert Rule in the House.

    4
  23. MarkedMan says:

    @James Joyner: A question and a comment: What was Simpson-Margoli? And the comment, “Amnesty” is not a reward for breaking the law. It is a forgiveness of the consequences of breaking the law.

    6
  24. KM says:

    @James Joyner:

    I don’t see what else you’d call it: it’s a reward for breaking our laws.

    The question truly is : can they follow the law in a reasonable fashion or is it too easy to break it? After all, if a law is fashioned in such a way that obedience and adherence to it is almost unobtainable, the law-breaking is the default norm. If the bar is set too high on purpose, what else can you expect when people set up to fail just decide to ignore the process? Biased America got smug thinking they showed those people what’s what, only to wake up and realize that there’s way too many of them now to ever be able to address in an actionable way other than mass amnesty.

    We created this lawlessness by deliberately putting obedience to the law outside of sensible reach. You cannot create an outlaw then whine they do not follow your code.

    5
  25. @James Joyner:

    it’s a reward for breaking our laws.

    (The below is less aimed at James, per see, but comments on how we often talk about this subject).

    Well, it is forgiveness for the law-breaking in question, so the word is accurate (even given its political connotations). But it is also the country acknowledging that its system is a mess. And that, as per a lot of the conversation above, the benefits the economy/the broader country has enjoyed as a result.

    I think that focusing solely on the benefits to the undocumented ignores that they are not the only ones involved here. And that it is not solely the fault and not the only ones needing forgiveness nor the only ones getting rewards.

    Ultimately the undocumented aren’t here because there are depraved sociopaths who eschew the rules of society that the rest of us try to follow (that is, I don’t think criminality is the right frame to talk about this subject). They are here, fundamentally due to the powers of the economic forces of supply and demand (and other human considerations in their countries of origin).

    11
  26. Michael Reynolds says:

    Japan’s population is in decline and they can’t do anything about it because they’re too culturally constipated to cope with immigration. China has a demographic problem less with absolute decline than a severe and growing imbalance between productive youth and dependent elders. And they also can’t handle immigration. Russia’s population is in decline because even Russians don’t want to live in Russia.

    Meanwhile Canada is working on gaining population they’ll need to compete economically as well as militarily in the arctic. And they might get there because Canada’s weather sucks but there are opportunities and they cope well with immigration. (Mostly.)

    The ability to manage immigration is a power that some nations have and others don’t. If there are jobs then we want and need immigrants because we also have an inverted pyramid with not enough producers and too many old farts. (Hi!) If there are jobs. Big if.

    But one thing is certain: as detailed in comments above, we’re behaving like assholes toward Mexicans and Central Americans, exploiting and then hating the very people we’re exploiting. The last four years we’ve covered ourselves in shit. Time to get right with our neighbors, time to get right with basic human decency, and if you believe in God, time to get right with it.

    16
  27. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @JohnMcC: Short for: “They are screwing you and getting away with it!”

    1
  28. Mu Yixiao says:
  29. KM says:

    Here’s a fun little exercise: last week went VERY differently. The MAGAts’ insurrection worked and they’ve decided to enact their little Q-Storm violent fantasies on the population. Doesn’t matter if you’re Dem or GOP; unless you enthusiastically bowed to the Orange Lord before Jan 6th, you’re on the list. It’s no longer safe to be in the US and you decide to flee with your family… but Canada and Mexico want no part of this $hitshow and aren’t taking anyone in unless they take the long, official route to citizenship that started *before* all this went down. Walls are going up, bureaucratic and legal roadblocks worsen and frankly, the officials involved are biased to think you deserve it because you let your country become a hellhole. They tightened restrictions because they don’t want your kind here and would gladly send you back to your violent death and oppression in the name of “following the law”.

    Your only choice to be able to live safely and provide for your family is to break the law, sneak in, pray you don’t get caught and hope that eventually the country will recognize you had no choice and offer amnesty. Should you be rewarded for not following the law?

    4
  30. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @James Joyner: That is true. But in context, IIRC the national framing of moral hazzards for bank bailouts was the Left’s reponse to the Right’s constant concern trolling for giving money to the poors to subsidize bad behavior…without having any such qualms for subsidizing reckless Corporate behavior.

    You are a true believer in Conservative principles James which is good and honorable. I just hate that the Republican party co-opted the instincts of decent people and used them to kneecap non constituents.

    3
  31. James Joyner says:

    @SKI: We can debate that while recognizing it for what it is. As noted, albeit obliquely, in the OP, it may well be better to give those already here amnesty rather than rounding them all up. Even aside from whether the latter is desirable economic policy, it may well be more problematic in terms of infringement on the rights of Hispanic citizens and legal residents, sheer cruelty, and simple logistics than enforcing the law would be worth.

    4
  32. James Joyner says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Ultimately the undocumented aren’t here because there are depraved sociopaths who eschew the rules of society that the rest of us try to follow (that is, I don’t think criminality is the right frame to talk about this subject). They are here, fundamentally due to the powers of the economic forces of supply and demand (and other human considerations in their countries of origin).

    We’re in agreement on that. They are, with some exceptions, economic migrants. (A handful are legitimate refugees under international law but the percentage is modest, indeed.) The question is really what to do about it.

    In a fantasy world, I would prefer that we set national immigration policy based on what’s best for the country. That would mean allowing a lot more legal immigration than we do now. I would likely prioritize skilled labor and those who already speak English. But, rather clearly, there’s a considerable demand for low-skill, low-wage workers for agriculture, factory work, the service industry, etc. I don’t have a strong view on whether that ought to come with a path to citizenship but tend to think it should, at least in a longer run.

    But, we obviously don’t live in a fantasy world. We, almost certainly alone on the planet, are a relatively rich country with a massive border with a developing country. Controlling our border completely is next to impossible unless we’re willing to violate human decency and international law to do it. So, to the extent we actually wish to control the number of people coming in from he Mexican border, it essentially has to be on the demand side.

    2
  33. JohnMcC says:

    @James Joyner: Fair enough. No character assassination or similar was meant. Just a notice that “amnesty” has been driven into the ‘inflammatory’ corral.

    2
  34. R. Dave says:

    @drj: I’d offer the GOP a choice, either:

    * stop bitching about illegal immigrants; or
    * get behind meaningful punishments for people/organizations employing illegal immigrants

    Isn’t that essentially what making E-Verify mandatory for all employers would do? And I believe it’s generally Republicans who support that and Dems who oppose it (subject to state and district specific exceptions where “Big Ag” lobbying flips the script).

    1
  35. JohnMcC says:

    @James Joyner: “In a fantasy world I would prefer that we set national immigration policy based on what’s best for the country. That would mean allowing a lot more legal immigration…”

    That would introduce the concept of ‘best policy for the country’ into a debate that has been completely about ‘how people who aren’t like me make me feel’.
    But it’s a good thought. Hope it works.

    Would you like to place a bet?

    2
  36. Sleeping Dog says:

    @James Joyner:

    Another and most humane way to ameliorate the pressure of economic migration is to improve the economic and political conditions in the originating countries. While that would be an impossible task on a world wide basis, it can be attempted for migrants from western hemisphere countries. As Mexico’s economy has modernized, few of the migrants are Mexican and those who are tend to be from the southern part of the country. A great many of the migrants today are coming from the troubled Central American countries of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua. Give those people political stability and economic development and they’ll stay home and our immigration problem goes away.

    It has been a long time since US foreign policy and US intervention in the world beyond our borders has been anything but the military.

    5
  37. R. Dave says:

    @KM: If the system was fairer and easier to navigate, then we wouldn’t have need for amnesty bills. People are breaking the law en masse simply because they cannot fulfill it in a reasonable or meaningful timeframe, not because they like living in fear of deportation. They *want* to do it right but are prevented due to xenophobia and hate.

    I’m pretty left of center on immigration issues, but even I recoil from this particular rationalization. “I wouldn’t have stolen it if it wasn’t so unreasonably expensive/difficult to buy it legally” just isn’t a very convincing moral defense for breaking the law. Much more persuasive and morally defensible, in my opinion, to base the justification in the terrible economic and/or political conditions that many illegal immigrants are fleeing.

    Think of it like this: if some rich kid from France decides to overstay his student visa and live/work here illegally because he can’t get a work visa, how much sympathy does his “it’s just so darn hard / slow to do it legally” excuse generate for you? Alternatively, change the hypo so it’s a poor kid from Honduras fleeing the gang violence and poverty of his home country and coming in illegally, that presumably bumps up the sympathy level considerably. So, it’s really the conditions the person is coming from, not the onerousness of the application system, that morally excuses their violation of the law.

    3
  38. Jay L Gischer says:

    If we wanted to get more serious about enforcing the borders, we would have to, for instance, double (or more) the size of courts handling immigration cases. So many illegal immigrants stay in the country because the backlog is too big, and it would be years before they got their day in court, which I insist on.

    Which demonstrates the sort of unseriousness Republicans bring to the topic. We can spend millions on a Wall, but nothing on courts.

    If, for instance, we could make a deal with a batch of R senators who would like immigration reform (remember a solid bill once passed the Senate, and died in the Tea-Party dominated House), it will probably look something like this – increased spending on border enforcement and courts, together with amnesty and a path to citizenship.

    That Biden is proposing eligibility for a far bigger group than the DREAMers may be a bargaining position, it’s hard to say.

    3
  39. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    double (or more) the size of courts handling immigration cases.

    Not a bad idea anyway as it would provide a means of diluting the trump judges.

  40. JohnMcC says:

    @Jay L Gischer: From the WaPo story about the Biden immigration proposal: “…includes a heavy focus on addressing the root causes of migration from Central America, a key part of Biden’s foreign policy portfolio when he served as Vice President.”

    Somehow avoids “amnesty”. Grump Grump

  41. drj says:

    @R. Dave:

    And I believe it’s generally Republicans who support that and Dems who oppose it

    Except that GOP elected officials are generally not supporting it, it seems. The reason? It reduces the supply of cheap labor.

    Also, talk is cheap:

    Trump touted a national E-Verify mandate while running for president. […]

    Trump has yet to use the platform of the presidency to rally support for a national requirement, opting instead to push for building a wall, militarizing the border and stepping up deportations.

    1
  42. R. Dave says:

    @drj: Fair point, drj. It seems I was conflating “conservative intellectuals/commentators/advocates” and “GOP voters” with “GOP elected officials”. E-Verify expansion is a common proposal in the right-leaning policy world and has broad support with Republican voters because it’s an anti-immigration policy, but you’re right that GOP elected officials don’t actually push it forward when they’re in power.

    2
  43. Sleeping Dog says:

    @drj:

    Support for E-Verify is mostly rhetorical and when it has been invoked the business community howls.

    @R. Dave:

    E-Verify should be used and it is a popular idea among both conservative and liberal policy wonks, but beyond rhetoric there is little support for its use in Congress and outright opposition from the business community.

    3
  44. Kurtz says:

    @MarkedMan:

    They will be happy to tell you how these people shouldn’t have rights because they are here illegally

    So much for this quote from FedSoc.

    The reason that governments are “instituted among men” is to protect our natural rights, as the Declaration of Independence states. Those natural rights of life, liberty, and property protected implicitly in the original Constitution are explicitly protected in the Bill of Rights. That right of liberty is the right to do all those things which do not harm another’s life, property, or equal liberty.

    The government doesn’t grant rights according to them, it protects rights every human has by virtue of birth. Unless it’s convenient for their policy preferences, that is.

    Choosing whether an elected Republican is stupid or an awful person would be my favorite parler game, but the answer is too often both.

    1
  45. Kurtz says:

    @drj:

    I’d offer the GOP a choice, either:

    * stop bitching about illegal immigrants; or
    * get behind meaningful punishments for people/organizations employing illegal immigrants

    I’d offer a much different compromise.

    Remember that dude Andros who posted from WebTV or whatever? He claimed immigrants were coming here to “take advantage of our largesse.”

    You want tight immigration controls? Cool, then we are also going to bring our social programs in line with comparable countries.

    The thing is, as Gischer points out above, Republicans are unserious about this. I’d argue they are unserious about everything. I actually don’t think the ones with any intellect whatsoever actually believe that they say anyway. They’re nihilists.

    2
  46. DrDaveT says:

    @R. Dave:

    “I wouldn’t have stolen it if it wasn’t so unreasonably expensive/difficult to buy it legally” just isn’t a very convincing moral defense for breaking the law.

    It’s a good thing we’re not talking about theft, then.

    This is not a mere quibble — the framing you just implied is in fact the GOP zero-sum framing, in which anyone who comes to the US illegally is literally stealing from Americans, taking bread out of their mouths (if not worse). This, of course, is nonsense. Sneaking into the US to pick strawberries or clean hotel toilets is illegal, but it’s a victimless crime, at least in terms of Real American ™ victims.

    1
  47. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: And yet, just two days ago, my brother was advocating that we need an immigration policy that would look almost exactly like a combination of what you just described and the old “braceros” system from the days of Ike.

    Reason: We have significant numbers of jobs for which only low-wage jobholders will work to the advantage of the economy.

    1
  48. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: It a far more all-purpose message that you’re giving it credit for. It also works for tax reform, regulatory reform, the social safety net, healthcare reform, pretty much every type of policy reform from center right and leftward people might wish to suggest.

    1
  49. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @James Joyner:

    If we’re serious about staunching the flow of illegal economic migrants, then we have to get serious about taking the jobs away. But, yes, if our de facto policy is welcoming said migrants but then giving them second-class status, it’s a huge problem.

    I think you may have hit on something there. If some scam artist er… gig economy entrepreneur were to figure out a way to come up with a We Work or Uber/Lyft type enterprise for hospitality services and agriculture our staffing problems in those sectors would virtually disappear and we could be serious about stanching the flow of illegal workers.

    1
  50. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: True, but amnesty gets tainted on the right out of respect for the “grace for me/judgement for you” theology held by many on the evangelical right. The alternative, “you can have grace, but only after you suffer,” seems to be the other way this plays out. Evangelicals are either a sizable cohort on the right or something about the policies resonates with the general right-wing world view because the attitude seems to be bone deep. It even shows up in discussions here as an enthymeme connected to the moral hazard argument.

    1
  51. Mister Bluster says:

    @KM:..The question truly is : can they follow the law in a reasonable fashion or is it too easy to break it? After all, if a law is fashioned in such a way that obedience and adherence to it is almost unobtainable, the law-breaking is the default norm.

    Reminds me of the 55MPH National Maximum Speed Law.
    Nobody obeyed that law. Every driver in the country should have received amnesty.

    The uniform speed limit was signed into law by Nixon on January 2, 1974, and became effective 60 days later,.. WikP

    I remember seeing highway crews placing the new Speed Limit 55 MPH signs in March of 1974 on the Interstate Highways when my friend Joe and I were returning to the Midwest from California. Talk about dragging ass. I tried to comply but we had just spent 3 weeks westbound on Interstates and the California Freeways at 65 /70 MPH.
    The 55MPH limit was in effect till 1987 when rural Interstates were allowed to raise speed limits to 65MPH.

    1
  52. Raoul says:

    JJ: To call an immigration bill an effort to reward criminals definitely sounds retrograde and certainly allows all of us to see your perspective. To assist people who come to this country to provide much needed labor at a risks to themselves and provide them with the ability to fully adopt their new homeland is a different spin to the same equation. Guess who comes across as an *****. I guess a little Trumpism still lives in you. You could have opted to describe a complex situation in many ways but this is the way you decided to.

    1
  53. al Ameda says:

    @James Joyner:

    Cynically, this would doubtless mean tens of millions of new Democratic voters in the 2030 elections. I can’t imagine a lot of opposition from Biden’s party to it on that basis alone.

    This is my personal anecdote.
    I have Hispanic/Latino neighbors up here in my Northern California hamlet many of whom came from Mexico and Central America in the 1980’s, and acquired citizenship following the ‘Reagan Amnesty.’ Subsequently, they were Republican until 1994 when Republican Governor Pete Wilson actively stronly promoted Proposition 187 which was intended to curtail/prohibit undocumented immigrants from using public services, such as schools. Eventually the courts ruled most of 187 invalid, but not before the damage was done. After that many Hispanic voters, including my neighbors, started voting Democratic. It seems that my neighbors were very transactional with their party allegiance.