Marco Rubio’s Common Sense Immigration Reform Ideas

Marco Rubio has some good immigration reform ideas. Will his fellow Republicans listen to him?

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Over the weekend, Florida Senator Marco Rubio gave the first glimpse at an immigration reform proposal that he intends to put forward in the new Congress:

Any overhaul, he says, needs to “modernize” legal immigration. America caps the number of visas for skilled workers and favors the relatives of people already here. “I’m a big believer in family-based immigration,” he says. “But I don’t think that in the 21st century we can continue to have an immigration system where only 6.5% of people who come here, come here based on labor and skill. We have to move toward merit and skill-based immigration.”

He says the U.S. can either change the ratio of preferences for family-based immigration or raise the hard cap on people who bring investment or skills into the country. He prefers the latter, noting that the U.S. doesn’t produce enough science, math and engineering graduates to fill the open posts in high-tech. He says this number can be adjusted to demand: “I don’t think there’s a lot of concern in this country that we’ll somehow get overrun by Ph.D.s and entrepreneurs.”

At the other end of the skill and wage scale, most of the 1.6 million agricultural laborers in America are Hispanics, the bulk of them illegal immigrants. American produce couldn’t be picked without them. The number and type of visas provided through a guest-worker program would have to be sufficient to address this pressing need. From Georgia to Washington state in recent seasons, unpicked fruits and vegetables have rotted in the fields. He’d look to increase the number of visas for permanent or seasonal farm workers.

“The goal is to give American agriculture a reliable work force and to give protection to these workers as well,” Mr. Rubio says. “When someone is [undocumented] they’re vulnerable to being exploited.”

Initially, the illegal migrants now in the U.S. would mostly “avail themselves” of the guest-worker system, says Mr. Rubio. “Just the process to come here to legally work in agriculture is very difficult and very expensive. It doesn’t work well. So that alone encourages illegal immigration.”

(…)

Politically hardest is the question of the up to 12 million illegals currently here. Mr. Rubio’s proposal allows for adults who overstayed their visa or sneaked in to come into the open.

“Here’s how I envision it,” he says. “They would have to come forward. They would have to undergo a background check.” Anyone who committed a serious crime would be deported. “They would be fingerprinted,” he continues. “They would have to pay a fine, pay back taxes, maybe even do community service. They would have to prove they’ve been here for an extended period of time. They understand some English and are assimilated. Then most of them would get legal status and be allowed to stay in this country.”The special regime he envisions is a form of temporary limbo. “Assuming they haven’t violated any of the conditions of that status,” he says, the newly legalized person could apply for permanent residency, possibly leading to citizenship, after some years—but Mr. Rubio doesn’t specify how many years. He says he would also want to ensure that enforcement has improved before opening that gate.

The waiting time for a green card “would have to be long enough to ensure that it’s not easier to do it this way than it would be the legal way,” he says. “But it can’t be indefinite either. I mean it can’t be unrealistic, because then you’re not really accomplishing anything. It’s not good for our country to have people trapped in this status forever. It’s been a disaster for Europe.”

To satisfy conservatives, Rubio’s plan also includes support for increased border security as well as a much more stringent verification system that employers could use to verify that potential employees are indeed legally authorized to work in the United States. On the whole, though, these proposals strike me as a very good start. The Federal Government has been attempting to put together some kind of guest worker program for quite some time now, most recently during the Bush Administration’s aborted efforts as immigration reform. Temporary workers from Mexico and elsewhere who come to work on American farms and ranches have been a fact of life for decades now, and it’s never made any sense that these people don’t have some kind of legal recognition and protection. Indeed, bringing them into some kind of legalized status would arguably go a long way toward improving their working conditions. Similarly, it makes sense to bring a renewed focus on skills-based immigration. Some have suggested that we should offer visas to every foreign student that graduates with a degree in the STEMs, but other ideas have been suggested as well. Finally, the proposal to bring currently illegal immigrants into some kind of legal status that, eventually, would give them an opportunity to apply for citizenship if they choose to do so, seems to be such a blindingly obvious good idea that it’s a wonder that anyone would even question it.

President Obama is also in the process of putting forward his own proposal for immigration reform:

WASHINGTON — President Obama plans to push Congress to move quickly in the coming months on an ambitious overhaul of the immigration system that would include a path to citizenship for most of the 11 million illegal immigrants in the country, senior administration officials and lawmakers said last week.

Mr. Obama and Senate Democrats will propose the changes in one comprehensive bill, the officials said, resisting efforts by some Republicans to break the overhaul into smaller pieces — separately addressing young illegal immigrants, migrant farmworkers or highly skilled foreigners — which might be easier for reluctant members of their party to accept.

The president and Democrats will also oppose measures that do not allow immigrants who gain legal status to become American citizens one day, the officials said.

Even while Mr. Obama has been focused on fiscal negotiations and gun control, overhauling immigration remains a priority for him this year, White House officials said. Top officials there have been quietly working on a broad proposal. Mr. Obama and lawmakers from both parties believe that the early months of his second term offer the best prospects for passing substantial legislation on the issue.

Mr. Obama is expected to lay out his plan in the coming weeks, perhaps in his State of the Union address early next month, administration officials said. The White House will argue that its solution for illegal immigrants is not an amnesty, as many critics insist, because it would include fines, the payment of back taxes and other hurdles for illegal immigrants who would obtain legal status, the officials said.

The president’s plan would also impose nationwide verification of legal status for all newly hired workers; add visas to relieve backlogs and allow highly skilled immigrants to stay; and create some form of guest-worker program to bring in low-wage immigrants in the future.

A bipartisan group of senators has also been meeting to write a comprehensive bill, with the goal of introducing legislation as early as March and holding a vote in the Senate before August. As a sign of the keen interest in starting action on immigration, White House officials and Democratic leaders in the Senate have been negotiating over which of them will first introduce a bill, Senate aides said.

Senator Rubio has been among that group of Senators, but it’s unclear whether what he talked about over the weekend are his ideas or something that reflects what they may end up aiming for when legislation is introduced. It strikes me, though, that it would be politically smart for the Democrats to work with Rubio specifically because he may be the one voice on Capitol Hill that can get his fellow Republicans in the House and the Senate to sign on to some kind of comprehensive deal. Such a deal would have to include border security in order to satisfy the right, but it strikes me that securing the border is, in general, a good idea to begin with and it makes perfect sense to include it as part of an overall immigration package.

Can Rubio succeed here? Well, as Jennifer Rubin notes, it’s not going to be easy:

 Now the challenge is to turn a bold proposal into action and legislation. He will need to gather allies, explain the plan to conservatives, rebut nativists’ claims, reach across the aisle and shepherd through legislation. The quick thumbs up from Norquist is a good sign that the time may be ripe on the right for a plan like Rubio’s. The worst result would be that Rubio offends the hard right but disappoints those who support his plan, leaving him politically isolated and appearing inept.

If he can pull it off, he will have answered the main concern about him, namely that he is all talk and no action. He will have demonstrated political courage and helped his party to get past a huge stumbling block to electoral success. He will have also demonstrated that the loudest and most extreme voices do not control the party.

This is not just a test for Rubio. It will be a test for the party as a whole and for each potential leader of the party. Who decides to play to the exclusionists, and who shows moxie in joining his effort? It is a defining moment for the right.

Rubio is offering the GOP a potential path out of the wilderness on immigration. He will no doubt be condemned by many on the far right just as vigorously as John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and George W. Bush were denounced when they tried to do similar things seven years ago. If Republicans listen to Rubio, though, they’ll realize that it’s time to stop listening to the talk radio guys and the xenophobes who clearly don’t like immigrants to begin with, and start legislating in a responsible manner. Let’s see if they listen to him.

FILED UNDER: Borders and Immigration, Congress, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
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. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. mantis says:

    RINO!

  2. mantis says:

    If Republicans listen to Rubio, though, they’ll realize that it’s time to stop listening to the talk radio guys and the xenophobes who clearly don’t like immigrants to begin with, and start legislating in a responsible manner.

    And if a frog had wings…

  3. C. Clavin says:

    “…If Republicans listen to Rubio, though, they’ll realize that it’s time to stop listening to the talk radio guys and the xenophobes who clearly don’t like immigrants to begin with, and start legislating in a responsible manner…”

    As a general statement…If Republicans stopped listening to the radio guys and the xenophobes…and started legislating in a responsible manner…the entire country would be better off.
    Like Mantis said…when frogs grow wings.

  4. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Rubio’s plan has potential… but ONLY if it is kept unified. As said many times before, we need “comprehensive” immigration reform. Giving the pro-illegal-alien crowd what they want in exchange for future “consideration” of what the pro-legal-immigrant side wants hasn’t worked out too well in the past.

    Keep it bundled, let it all pass or all fail — no piecemeal reforms.

    “Trust, but verify.”

  5. The people that Marco Rubio has to convince about a proper path to immigration reform are the very same ones who already look at him skeptically simply because he’s Hispanic. They aren’t going to listen to a Cuban tell them why America should have better immigration laws, they’d rather ship his ass back to Cuba.

    He’s – we’re – fighting a massive sea of hate.

  6. michael reynolds says:

    Looks good. But Rubio has the problem of his own right wing plus the problem of Democrats wanting to own this issue. Interesting. Should be fun.

  7. Tony W says:

    I have never understood why we do not prosecute the American employers who pay these illegal aliens ‘under the table’. Sure, we do the periodic raids and deport folks back – but my understanding is the offending business is allowed to remain operational and largely without short or long-term pain from the experience. They just bring in a new crop and continue operations.

    During the past few years we have seen illegal immigration numbers from Mexico decline – U.S. jobs just didn’t exist, so the people did not come. We can maintain that environment (and improve the lot of the American worker) simply by ensuring that American businesses abide by the law.

    Of course, that would require Republicans to admit that immigration reform is not truly a conservative priority, but rather is just lip service around keeping a low-information god/guns/guts constituency happy while doing the exact opposite of their wishes on behalf of another more powerful one.

  8. Tony W says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    “Trust, but verify.”

    One of Mr. Reagan’s most moronic platitudes – and that’s saying something.

    You do realize that by verifying, you clearly demonstrate that you do not trust – right?

  9. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Tony W: Congratulations, grasshopper. You grasp Reagan’s wisdom. Reagan realized that trusting the Soviets was folly, but played along with the language.

    The same principle holds here. Don’t trust the other side, but say nice things to keep things civil.

    You don’t have to trust the other side or even like them to work out a deal. You just gotta keep your own interests and goals in mind, and make certain you don’t get taken for a ride.

    As I said: keep it all bundled together, and I got no problems with it. And I bet a lot of others — who like and respect Rubio, who is quite well regarded by the Tea Party movement — will go along with it, too.

  10. mantis says:

    @Jay Tea’s ignorant puppet Jenos Idanian #13:

    Rubio’s plan has potential… but ONLY if it is kept unified. As said many times before, we need “comprehensive” immigration reform. Giving the pro-illegal-alien crowd what they want in exchange for future “consideration” of what the pro-legal-immigrant side wants hasn’t worked out too well in the past.

    Says the guy supporting a party that has insisted for the past 15 years or so that no immigration reform be considered until a 50-foot flaming wall with a moat of lava along the border is completed and half the country be employed as border patrol agents.

    The left agrees to comprehensive reform. Take a look at your own side, chuckles.

  11. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Tony W: The workers and not the employers get busted in immigration raids for the exact same reason that it is the prostitutes and not the johns that get busted – privileged folks protect their own.

  12. Tony W says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: Ya, wealth and power do have their benefits….

  13. Barry says:

    He prefers the latter, noting that the U.S. doesn’t produce enough science, math and engineering graduates to fill the open posts in high-tech. He says this number can be adjusted to demand: “I don’t think there’s a lot of concern in this country that we’ll somehow get overrun by Ph.D.s and entrepreneurs.”

    He’s an f-ing liar. There is no shortage, and we are overrun with Ph.D.’s.

  14. Tony W says:

    @mantis: The party of “small government” to wit!

  15. Barry says:

    @Tony W: “I have never understood why we do not prosecute the American employers who pay these illegal aliens ‘under the table’.”

    Because the whole point of the system is to have an exploitable pool of people. Large parts of the system were set up to help these businesses.

  16. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Barry: There is no shortage, and we are overrun with Ph.D.’s.

    He specified Ph.D.’s in the hard sciences. We got assloads of doctorates in the soft crap.

  17. stonetools says:

    It is a reasonable immigration proposal,therefore the current Republican Party, which is all about punishing and keeping out immigrants, will not support it. SATSQ

  18. Franklin says:

    Republicans love to mention Rubio when they want to demonstrate how multicultural they are, but I’m guessing they’ll play the opposite side of the identity politics game this time. Basically, they’ll say Rubio’s looking after his own kind.

  19. Just Me says:

    Actually there are a lot of people with science oriented degrees who can’t find work-but raising the number of legal immigrants for those with skills makes sense.

    I think the two biggest hurdles are the very expensive a long time it takes to get a visa and the fact that there isn’t any risk for employers (well real risk since they are rarely punished). This country needs to make legal immigration cheaper and easier and they need to make employers fear getting caught so that they hire only legal workers.

    I think the reality is that there is going to have to be some kind of path to citizenship-deporting every illegal immigrant just doesn’t make sense, although I think there should be standards (felony convictions, length of time in the US, etc).

  20. michael reynolds says:

    Here’s what I don’t get: Republicans keep telling us that Mr. Obama’s America is so hostile to business that entrepreneurs will flee in droves. So why would Rubio imagine that entrepreneurs would want to come to the US?

  21. rudderpedals says:

    Rubio’s plan isn’t so much a plan as it is a spoiler of the weekend reports that the President is going to propose comprehensive reform. Rubio’s popular with some fraction of the 10% delusional enough to admit Tea party affiliation but that won’t be enough to avoid an even more reactionary primary challenge.

  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Any overhaul, he says, needs to “modernize” legal immigration. America caps the number of visas for skilled workers and favors the relatives of people already here. “I’m a big believer in family-based immigration,” he says. “But I don’t think that in the 21st century we can continue to have an immigration system where only 6.5% of people who come here, come here based on labor and skill. We have to move toward merit and skill-based immigration.”

    OK. This as far as I got. I will finish the rest in a minute, but I have to ask everyone here: Do you really think we can solve the immigration problem by totally ignoring economic realities? By tweaking a few administrative rules concerning who gets to come in and who doesn’t? It hasn’t worked yet, what makes anyone think it might work this time around?

    What is the greatest driver of illegal immigration? Here is a hint: Apply the laws of supply and demand and you will get the correct answer.

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    OK. The rest of it sounds better and maybe on the whole it might have a chance of working as proposed. But illegal immigrants of low skills are not confined to the agricultural industry alone.

    The fact of the matter is that there is a not inconsequential part of the American business community that does not want to abide by US labor laws, and as long as there are dirt poor desperate people in S and C America willing to come north and live in the shadows so that their children back home have a chance at something better, they will continue to come.

    The supply will always be there. The demand is where the problem is.

  24. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “We got assloads of doctorates in the soft crap. ”

    Says the genius. Which year of high school did you finish?

  25. anjin-san says:

    I seem to recall Jenos cheering for a plan that involved building a wall on our southern border and opening fire on anyone who approached it.

  26. Laurence Bachmann says:

    Rubio is a hypocrite. Exactly what skills did his grandparents and family members have to exhibit when they came from Cuba? Precisely what skills did Cuban criminals and mental patients evince when Castro emptied out jails and hospitals in the Mariel boat lift and tens of thousands were admitted, no questions asked? Cubans have, for half a century been given a free ride by conservatives and Republicans because of their politics while all other Hispanics have been derided, demeaned and told they were unwanted.

    How many millions of Hondurans, Nicaraguans, Argentinians and Chileans were invited here carte blanche to escape dictatorial regimes? A few dozen? A hundred? It is the height of arrogance to propose one policy for yourself and another for everyone else. Only in the Republican party could this be considered leadership.

  27. mantis says:

    @Jay Tea’s unashamedly ignorant puppet Jenos Idanian #13:

    We got assloads of doctorates in the soft crap.

    Well, I suppose it does depend on your definition of “assload,” but let’s look at the data anyway, shall we? I know it’s annoying to consider facts, so I apologize. It’s the Ph.D. in me ;).

    At this link to the NSF you’ll find some info about the doctorates awarded in the US. As you can see, in 2008, 48,802 doctorates were awarded. 32,827 were in science and engineering fields. 15,975 were in non-science and engineering fields.

    So basically we are awarding doctorates in the “hard” fields at a rate greater than 2 to 1 over the “soft” fields, and science and engineering have seen steady growth in recent years while other fields have stayed stable. I’m not sure what the optimal numbers or ratio might be, but it’s hard to argue that we are awarding too many soft degrees compared to the number of hard degrees. I guess you can call those 16k doctorates an “assload” if you want, but then the science and engineering fields are seeing double+ assloads of degrees awarded.

  28. EMRVentures says:

    Does this mean we can scratch Marco Rubio off the 2016 list? Does he go on the heretic list, along with Christie?

  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    It’s over before it even got started. Evangelicals have come out in favor of immigration reform too, now. Something about how Jesus would be in favor of it.

    We are all RINOs now.

  30. Mikey says:

    @mantis: I was going to point that out, too–in 2010 there were around 48K PhDs awarded in the U. S., and over 8K of those were in biological sciences. That’s 20% in one hard-science field alone. Multiple thousands in chemistry and engineering as well.

    I think the “we’ve got assloads of doctorates in the soft crap” is some kind of conservative thing. I’ve heard it before, seems to be a way to denigrate higher education.

    (Source for my numbers: WebCASPAR which is a pretty neat and quick tool.)

  31. Rob in CT says:

    Mr. Rubio says. “When someone is [undocumented] they’re vulnerable to being exploited.”

    Initially, the illegal migrants now in the U.S. would mostly “avail themselves” of the guest-worker system, says Mr. Rubio. “Just the process to come here to legally work in agriculture is very difficult and very expensive. It doesn’t work well. So that alone encourages illegal immigration.”

    I’m happy to give credit to Mr. Rubio for this bit right here. Well said, sir.

    In the end, however, if you want to reduce the flow of low-skill labor, you’ve got to come up with a system that works for that purpose. I can’t see how that happens without going after employers. Vigorously. A few high-profile examples with draconian penalties might be required.

    My #1 priority for immigration reform is to make it easier/more desireable to be a legal immigrant than an illegal one, simply because I think having large numbers of people off the grid is a bad idea in general. Reducing the flow of low skill labor is lower on my list, but it is there (as I think immigration is generally ok, but that “firehose” levels are problematic).

    I’m also ok with more high-skill immigrants – but let’s acknowledge that just like the low-skill American worker worries about the low-skill immigrant coming in and taking his job for less money, the same applies higher up in the food chain. Computer programmers know this well at this point. There will be a certain amount of disruption, so it’s best to be cautious about it. There are people who have suggested “pay to play” type systems which would at least bring in some revenue. I’m wobbly on the merits of that.

  32. grumpy realist says:

    @Mikey: It’s not that we lack people holding doctorates in the sciences and engineering–it’s that we lack people holding doctorates in the science and engineering who are willing to take the cut-rate salaries that are all that businesses are offering.

    Here’s a hint, guys: if you can’t find anyone to fit your job description, you might want to start by raising the salary.

    (For a bunch of so-called capitalists, American businessmen certainly don’t seem to understand what “market forces” mean when it comes to employment.)

  33. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Rob in CT:

    There are people who have suggested “pay to play” type systems which would at least bring in some revenue. I’m wobbly on the merits of that.

    Yeah, no way that could ever lead to corruption.

  34. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mikey:

    and over 8K of those were in biological sciences.

    Let the record show that according to Jenos, Biology is a “soft” science. One works with a lot of soft squishy things in biology.

  35. Mikey says:

    @Rob in CT:

    My #1 priority for immigration reform is to make it easier/more desireable to be a legal immigrant than an illegal one

    We’ve a long way to go to get there. Immigrating to the U. S. is a long, expensive process with no lack of bureaucratic pain.

    When my wife applied to become an American citizen, we went through the process of filling out paperwork, paying the fees, and getting her fingerprints done. Then her application apparently fell into an actual black hole, because that was the last we heard of it for months. I called early and often, to no avail. Finally, we got an immigration lawyer.

    Why did we have to get a lawyer? I have no idea. My wife is from Europe and had no criminal record, and her financial connections were long since severed. But the lawyer made a few calls and suddenly my wife had an appointment…to get her fingerprints done. (Fingerprints get old? Who knew?) Fortunately, we didn’t have t pay the fees again, and a few months later (nearly two years after starting the whole process) she was naturalized.

    Not two weeks later, we read in the paper that the director of the immigration center that was handling my wife’s application had been fired and arrested for taking bribes. Well, no wonder my wife’s application disappeared–we hadn’t slipped the guy a $20…gah.

    Anyway, if dealing with the USCIS is that hard for a woman who’s lived in the U. S. for 10 years and been married to a U. S. citizen the whole time and speaks fluent English, I can’t imagine what a confusing and expensive process it must be for someone who wants to come in and pick lettuce. No wonder they sneak across.

  36. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Good main blog post.

    Rubio’s ideas basically track W. Bush’s proposals, which were quite sound. And years before that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce had an outline of similar proposals, which also were very sound.

    Vastly increased numbers of H-1B visas are a no brainer, especially in view of the collapse of our own public and even private education systems.

    Some sort of guest worker program that takes the black market labor pools and gets them on the books. Again, a no brainer. Increased border security also is a no brainer, but that’s where the left typically unplugs its collective brain and departs Realityville.

    Some other items that don’t get talked about sufficiently are immigration court and appeals/writs reform. Right now our immigration courts not only are backlogged they’ve become yet another cottage industry for shyster attorneys. The entire process should be streamlined. The Art. III federal courts should be taken out of the process as much as practicable. No more vexatious or delaying appeals or writs. Quicker grants of asylum. Faster deporations. Lessen the revolving door of competing and contradictory orders.

    We’d need to differentiate between illegal guest workers who obtain visas to stay here and work and those who were brought here as infants or as very young children. The dude who jumped the fence at age 25 should not be treated the same as the person who was smuggled across the border at age 5. Obviously. Citizenship for the latter is one thing. But for the former we only should be talking about green cards and thus permanent, conditional residency.

    Doubful that any actual legislation will be passed. The far left wants completely open borders and to hand out citizenship like cards being dealt at a casino. It also annoys them that big businesses and small businesses generally speaking are in favor of amnesty; liberals always want to feel like they’re on the “moral high ground.” The xenophobic right completely is irrational on this subject and will not deal in good faith. Not too much room for compromise. Unfortunate.

  37. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mikey:

    Anyway, if dealing with the USCIS is that hard for a woman who’s lived in the U. S. for 10 years and been married to a U. S. citizen the whole time and speaks fluent English, I can’t imagine what a confusing and expensive process it must be for someone who wants to come in and pick lettuce. No wonder they sneak across.

    Amen. My wife is from Spain. When she finally decided to become a US citizen she did not have near the problems your wife did. But she jumped thru plenty of hoops in the years before and even now a speed bump comes along every now and again.

  38. anjin-san says:

    @ OzarkHillbilly
    @ Mikey

    It was pretty hard for my sister in law to both get into the US and to become a citizen, & she had a legit marriage to a US citizen. They had to jump trough a lot of hoops.

  39. Justinian says:

    Here are some things people might want to consider before making up their minds on this issue:

    The unemployment rate for those in their early 20s is, I do believe, 25%, a figure masked by the ease with which such people can go to college. Many people in college have no love of Shakespeare, Aristotle, or any of the rest: they are simply avoiding the stigma of being unemployed, and are piling up quite a heap of personal debt in the process.

    Could it be there is a generation gap here? Those so much in favor of foreign labor in this country, how would you feel if you didn’t have a job, had darned little prospects of getting one, and, if you had one, had to cling to it and take whatever miserable pay came with it because your job market was glutted with foreign labor?

    The rest of the world is twenty times the population of the United States. Whenever you have a global supply of labor for a demand that is only domestic, the job market is sure to suffer.

    The comments by Senator Rubio of Florida, together with some others on this blog, are filled with broad, stereotypical thinking derogatory to Americans. Let me list and respond to them one by one.

    The number and type of visas provided through a guest-worker program would have to be sufficient to address this pressing need. From Georgia to Washington state in recent seasons, unpicked fruits and vegetables have rotted in the fields.

    Look outside your window: is there any unpicked produce in your area? No. All this talk is fabricated by lobbyists. And if a mega-farmer preferred to let his crop rot than hire legal labor to harvest it, then let it rot. (Let the mega-farmer rot, if possible.) With 25 percent of young people in this country looking for work, in no way can anyone truthfully say they cannot find labor for their fields, though they can and do pay lobbyists to lie for them.

    He [Senator Rubio] prefers the latter [bringing in foreign labor predominantly on the basis of skill], noting that the U.S. doesn’t produce enough science, math and engineering graduates to fill the open posts in high-tech. He says this number can be adjusted to demand: “I don’t think there’s a lot of concern in this country that we’ll somehow get overrun by Ph.D.s and entrepreneurs.”

    The educational establishment produces so many persons in STEM fields that the job market is absolutely glutted. Like the tomatoes rotting in the field, tales of companies unable to find domestic labor in science is utterly false. Lobbyists have to be paid big bucks to produce this stuff. The number of graduates in these fields and the number of openings are both kept track of by the Department of Education and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The supply of people exceeds demand by a considerable margin.

    Also to be replied to is the American people: the Third International Math and Science Survey (TIMSS). Everyone who believes we need to import foreign labor into this country because of defects in the educational system in this country owes his opinion ultimately to this study. It is the source, it is the fountainhead, of the vast amounts of stereotypical prejudice against all Americans who are the product of the educational system here. As in times past, those on the receiving end of stereotypical prejudice find themselves out of jobs.

    Refutation of this TIMSS could go booklength, but let me see what I can do in a blog entry:

    1.The United States is not that low on the chart, but ranks with (gasp!) Germany. The report is not that damning even at its face value.

    2. The Survey relies on rank-orderings (who came in first, second, third, and so forth). Rank-orderings are well-known to be among the least robust (that is, least reliable) statistics, from a sheer statistical point of view.

    3. Neither India nor China, the darlings of the foreign labor enthusiasts, participate in the study, and, if they did, would almost surely rank poorly. India had an illiteracy rate of 40% last time anybody counted.

    4. The Study is concerned exclusively with average performance of high-school students. No country, not even one so foolish as the United States, staffs its technical positions with average high-school students, but with diligently and specially trained professionals. The inference of anything from TIMSS to American technical professionals is utterly and hopelessly invalid.

    5. The study is taylor-made to promote thinking in the paradigms of prejudice and stereotype. It presents its data entirely in broad generalizations and reports only averages and not any standard deviations. That is, it does not even invite people to think that there is a spread or variation of academic attainments. It invites policy makers to view people not in terms of their own individual talents and abilities, but only in terms of averages gathered across populations.

    6. The averaging is gross in another manner: the huge extent of the United States as compared with most other countries. Someone looked at subsets of the data and found that Iowa had the same average high-school academic attainments as Singapore, at the top of the list. Yet all variations are lost as the Study paints in the extremely broad brush of casting an average across the entire United States, and then comparing that against similarly broad statistics gathered for foreign countries.

    I have seen people have huge amounts of resentment against the entire government and society of this country whey they are replaced by foreign labor. Not only do they lose their jobs, they cannot find another, because the entire job market is glutted with foreign labor. Congress authorizes it, and the rest of society cheers.

    People should set some standards in forming opinions on bringing foreign labor into the domestic job markets of this country, and should especially watch out for stereotyped thinking. Realize that whenever you buy into the notion that Americans are too lazy to harvest crops or too poorly educated to fill technical positions, you are thinking in terms of prejudice and stereotype. This kind of thinking plays into the hands of business interests; in fact they foment it through their “studies” and their lobbyists.

    With legislation on immigration again heading for Congress, now is the time to be vigilant. The job you save may be your own.

  40. Andre Kenji says:

    @Tony W:

    I have never understood why we do not prosecute the American employers who pay these illegal aliens ‘under the table’.

    Because that would require a national ID e it would also requires bureaucratizing the hiring process of workers.

  41. superdestroyer says:

    Rubio is just showing that he will do the bidding of the cheap labor Republicans. How does Rubio believe that a conservative party survive in the U.S. if he wants to replace most of the middle class whties (the most loyal Republican Party voters) with third world immigrants who will become very loyal Democratic Party voters.

    Rubio is an example of why the Republicans are irrelevant. Rubio cannot count, cannot think past tomorrow, and cannot under demographic trends of the U.S. The U.S. is growing enough people who act like they want to live in the third world. The is no reason to import millions more.

  42. Mikey says:

    @superdestroyer: Rubio understands the demographics quite well–people who think like you are dying off, and unless the GOP starts acting like it is one of the major parties in a nation created and built by immigrants, it will die off too.

  43. Justinian says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    In reply to the following exchange:

    Question: I have never understood why we do not prosecute the American employers who pay these illegal aliens ‘under the table’. Answer: Because that would require a national ID e it would also requires bureaucratizing the hiring process of workers.

    I happened to have followed the immigration issue closely several years back, and so I know something about it.

    In fact, the Immigration and Reform Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) has heavy sanctions for employers. Agents at the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service, as it was then called) found out that the law was so effective that they would be out of a job if they kept fining employers in accordance with this law. There would soon be no illegal aliens left in the country, and thus no INS agents needed to deal with the problem. And so they quickly learned not to fine employers for hiring illegal aliens.

    Incidentally, the “bureaucratizing the hiring process of workers” already occurs, with the I-9 form, which all employers must fill out in order to keep on the right side of federal law.

    Incidentally, a little story I happen to know may shed light on the process. There was a rural county in the midwest that was extremely conservative. The idea that the county government would ever hire an illegal alien was out of the question; they wouldn’t even hire someone from out of the county. Several counties in Southern California probably have a more lenient attitude.

    Which county had INS agents all over it, raking county officials over the coals for not keeping their I-9 forms in pristine condition? You got it right, the extremely conservative county in the midwest, where the probability of actually identifying the employment of an illegal alien was virtually nil.

    The problem is not in the statutory law. IRCA is still the statutory law governing the matter, and it has real teeth to it. The problem is in the enforcement, which hardly exists at all. A problem also exists in Congress, which should conduct an investigation as to why the act is not enforced, but instead Congress investigates other things, such as allegations of steroid use in baseball players and other such wastes of its time and energy.

  44. superdestroyer says:

    @Mikey:

    Rubio does not really understand demographics. All Rubio is doing is pandering to the cheap labor Republicans such as Sheldon Adelson who wants cheap employees to work in his low paid jobs. at his casinos.

    Rubio does not understand that:

    1. Importing millions of third world immigrants in the hopes of getting 1/3 of them to vote for Republicans is the height of stupidity and innumeracy.

    2. Creating economic conditions that move middle class whites down the economic ladder does nothing for Republicans but helps the Democratic Party by creating more poor single mothers, more public sector employees, and more poor people.

    3. Concentrating jobs in a few expensive metropolitan areas where the 20 and 30 somethings who move there will be are discouraged from marriage and having children does not make sense for the more conseravtive party.

    4. Doubling down of STEM immigrants at the same time that the Defense Department is planning massive layoffs of STEM degree holders is a good example of how the Republicans refuse to see how issues are connected.

    That all of the progressives think that Rubio’s ideas are great is all the evidence that any conservative needs to show that it is a bad deal for conservatives and Republicans.

  45. Mikey says:

    @superdestroyer: We heard all the same crap you’re saying back when my grandparents were getting off the boat. It didn’t happen then and it won’t happen now. It’s just recycled xenophobic hogwash.

    The GOP needs to stop fighting these pointless battles and start being the party of fiscal responsibility it claims to be but isn’t.

  46. superdestroyer says:

    @Mikey:

    If you are going to argue that being against amnesty, a huge increase in legal immigration while maintaining the current levels of illegal immigration is xenophobic, then please explain how Rubio’s plan would be good for the middle class whites that make up the core voters of the Republican Party. Does it make their housing costs lower, does it make their schools better, does it make their commutes easier, does it improve their standard of living, does it make their job skills worth more?

    How can a conservative party even exist let alone be fiscally responsible by importing millions of poor, third world immigrants who will cause pay to be lower, housing prices higher, and how will demand higher taxes paid for by the middle class while paying in taxes themselves?

    I guess screaming racism is easier than explaining how comprehensive immigration reform (amnesty and open borders) helps the middle class. Since no progressive seems able to explain how it benefits middle class whites, I guess we can all assume that it will actually harm middle class whites and that is why progressives support it so much.

  47. Mikey says:

    @superdestroyer:

    I guess screaming racism is easier than explaining how comprehensive immigration reform (amnesty and open borders) helps the middle class. Since no progressive seems able to explain how it benefits middle class whites,

    If you don’t want people to scream “racism,” perhaps you should stop emphasizing what you see as an impact on “middle class whites.”

    Just sayin’.

    You say the GOP is slipping into irrelevancy, but you don’t seem to understand it is your mode of thinking that is causing it. Whether you intend it or not, your emphasis on “middle class whites” and your relegation of immigrants to “poor, third world” status comes across as xenophobic. And a lot of those immigrants–the kind of hard-working, socially-conservative, deeply religious people on whom the GOP should have an absolute lock–see that, and flock to the Democrats.

  48. Dave Francis says:

    GENETIC DISEASE OF THE LIBERAL-DEMOCRATS, MORE TAXES, MORE SPENDING AND EVEN MORE TAXES?

    Everybody can have a say in this illegal immigration controversy, by calling their federal and state representatives? President Obama is determined to give people who have no respect for our laws, a path to citizenship; even low key criminals. Zero-in on your politicians and demand they vote for passage of Texas Republican Lamar Smith “(The Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 2885)” to remove unauthorized workers from nationwide business by implementing mandated E-Verify. Both businesses and the American people overwhelmingly support E-Verify. Nearly 360,000 American employers voluntarily use E-Verify and over 2,700 new businesses sign up every week. The program quickly confirms 99.5% of work-eligible employees. It’s free, fast, and easy to use. With 23 million Americans unemployed or underemployed and unknown millions of illegal immigrants working in the U.S., now is the time to increase E-Verify. Then we MUST demand passage of the “Birthright Citizenship bill (Rep. Steve King, R-IA; H.R.140)”, which will collapse the intentional smuggling of the illegal unborn into the United States to collect hundreds of billions of dollars in entitlements from taxpayers by parents. Plus the parents have figured how to scam the child tax credit of $4 to 7 Billion dollars without paying anything, and the IRS ignoring this disgraceful theft. Way above the original figure of $113 Billion dollars is being extracted at state level, with many welfare programs that don’t exist for Americans and legal residents. The welfare state is flourishing for illegal aliens, freeloaders from many different countries and we get the bill?

    Called “anchor babies,” the children of illegal immigrants born/ smuggled into the United States cannot actually prevent deportation of their parents. It is not until they attain the age of 21 that the children are able to file paperwork to sponsor their parents (CHAIN MIGRATION) for legal immigration status. The cost is unbridled for the U.S. taxpayer who is charged with the free education, health care and low income shelter and cash payments. The parents remain illegally exposed until that point and deportable. A well regulated Guest Labor force could be provided for agriculture, but not permanent residency. Plus the STEM program for technical professionals who wish to immigrate, but not unlimited numbers? The impoverished should not apply, as America has millions of its own under privileged. All the facts, the shocking costs to federal and mainly states welfare benefits, which the Liberal Progressives press, does not wish to be known at NumbersUSA website.

    Are we about to lose our rights, our guns to protect our families and a government influenced by the 7.billion annual cost for the United Nations; and the second illegal alien AMNESTY? The cost for this negative immigration application as reported by the Heritage Foundation ($ TWO TRILLION DOLLARS PLUS) for processing, retirement and pensions out of your taxes.