Scott Walker Is Now Apparently Against Legal Immigration Too

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is now appealing to the worst aspects of economic populism on the right.

2013 Conservative Political Action Conference

Scott Walker has not yet entered the race for the Republican nomination, but that hasn’t stopped him from rising near the top of the polls, both nationally and in states like Iowa and New Hampshire. Notwithstanding that success, though, Walker’s not-yet-a-campaign campaign has been marked by several missteps and bizarre statements on the part of the Wisconsin Governor, most notably on the subject of immigration reform. As I noted back in March, Walker had previously been supportive of immigration reform that included legalization for people here illegally, or as the GOP base calls it “amnesty,” but had recently switched his position on the issue to put himself more in line with the party base. Now, Walker seems to have decided to double down on the Tea Party’s anti-immigration position by, essentially, coming out against legal immigration:

WASHINGTON — Republicans often rail about undocumented immigrants. But Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, an expected GOP presidential candidate, took it a step further Monday by sounding some critical notes about the number of those who immigrate to the U.S. legally.

“In terms of legal immigration, how we need to approach that going forward is saying — the next president and the next Congress need to make decisions about a legal immigration system that’s based on, first and foremost, on protecting American workers and American wages. Because the more I’ve talked to folks, I’ve talked to [Alabama Sen. Jeff] Sessions and others out there — but it is a fundamentally lost issue by many in elected positions today — is what is this doing for American workers looking for jobs, what is this doing to wages. And we need to have that be at the forefront of our discussion going forward,” Walker said in an interview with Glenn Beck, according to Breitbart News.

Sessions, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s immigration panel, has been one of the biggest opponents of President Barack Obama’s immigration policies and frequently criticizes the administration over its so-called “amnesty” for undocumented immigrants. In a Washington Post op-ed on Friday, he argued that it was time to curb immigration flows into the country “so that wages can rise, welfare rolls can shrink and the forces of assimilation can knit us all more closely together.”

By aligning himself with an immigration hawk like Sessions, Walker may be hoping to placate conservatives wary over his previous support for a pathway to citizenship for many undocumented immigrants. He has since reversed that position after, he said, “talking not just to citizens all across the country but to governors in border states who face real serious concerns about what’s happening on our border and elsewhere.”

Walker’s strategy is somewhat reminiscent of then-Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who, faced with similar questions over his devotion to the conservative cause in 2011, memorably tacked far right of his GOP rivals by endorsing “self-deportation.” Yet not even Romney, who lost the Latino vote to Obama by more than 40 percentage points in November 2012, supported curbing legal immigration, a concept at the core of what it means to be American. Walker’s pivot to the general election, if he makes it that far, could prove difficult, given that he will need to seek the votes of many Americans who immigrated here themselves — or whose parents or grandparents did so.

This isn’t really anything new for Walker. He made similar comments during an interview with Sean Hannity last month in which he essentially stated that legal immigration was only acceptable if the laws ensured that “American workers” were “protected” and that their wages were going up.  His comments aren’t very new, either. In addition to Senator Sessions, the populist anti-immigrant stance that Walker is taking here is one that has a long history in American politics, and not a very pleasant one either. Virtually from the beginning of the Republic, and most certainly beginning in the 19th Century with the first great wave of immigration from Europe, there have been those who have seen immigrants as a threat to the country and to the American worker because they end up “stealing” jobs that “belong to Americans.” In it’s worst form, these attitudes manifest themselves in prejudice and violence, but even in their most benign form they typically lead to the kind of ill-treatment that ethnic groups of all varieties have dealt with in the first generation after their arrival in the country. For the most part, though, this kind of position on immigration had become relegated to the fringes of American politics, with extremists on both the left and the right using the alleged threat posed by immigrants — to American workers, American culture, or what have you — to their political advantage. Recently, though, anti-immigrant sentiments like this have made their way back into the political mainstream, principally inside the Republican Party, and now they are being echoed by at least one serious contender for the party’s Presidential nomination.

Economically, the position that Walker takes here simply isn’t supported by the evidence. While the idea that immigrants “take American jobs” and depress the wages of American workers is one that seems to resonate well on a populist level, there’s never been any empirical showing that this is actually the case. Instead, most mainstream economists agree that immigration is, on the whole, a net plus to the economy. Especially in the first generations that they are here, immigrants typically take jobs that American workers are unwilling to do, for example. Additionally, immigrants who are working and earning money become consumers who help to stimulate the economy as a whole. Finally, immigrants have long been in the forefront of establishing and running new businesses that end up employing others and further stimulating the economy. The rhetoric that Walker, Senator Sessions, Iowa Congressman Steve King, and others engage in on this issue may make for good sound bites, but it isn’t rooted in anything other than the same kind of anti-immigrant nonsense that groups like the Know Nothing Party were  famous for in the Nineteenth Century.

Walker’s comments aren’t going without criticism inside the Republican Party. As David Weigel notes, his position puts him at odds with big Republican-leaning donors such as the Koch Brothers, who have previously been beneficial to Walker’s election efforts in Wisconsin. Additionally, while Walker’s comments were praised by Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, they have come under criticism from other Republican Senators.  Moreover, as Philip Klein notes, Walker’s apparent rightward shift on immigration doesn’t really make much political sense:

Walker doesn’t need to be the most conservative candidate in the race, as long as he remains broadly acceptable to conservatives and to the right of the establishment candidates. But it strikes me that there’s plenty of room to the right of Jeb Bush on immigration without talking about restrictions on legal immigration to protect American workers. Walker, it seems, has decided that he wants to ensure nobody can get further to his right on immigration.

As Ben Domenech notes in his Transom newsletter (subscription required), Walker’s new position “to my knowledge is held by none of the other presidential candidates (Ted Cruz is thought of as the hardliner on immigration, but he has worked to increase high-skilled legal immigration).”

The lack of political rationale behind this latest move suggests that Walker is just telling conservatives what he thinks they want to hear, without really understanding the broader philosophical or policy implications. And that’s not very encouraging for those of us who were hoping he’d be able to make the transition to the big leagues.

The other possibility, of course, is that Walker’s appeal to this kind of mindless, jingoistic populism will be just what’s needed to push his naeceant campaign to new heights. Given the extent to which similar appeals to populism have become a normal part of discourse on the right, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what exactly happens. Both because of its economic illiteracy and because of its appeal to some of the worst moments in American history, it would be quite unfortunate if it did succeed.

Update: For the record, Walker’s camp is denying that the Governor has changed his position on immigration based on these latest comments. Of course, given the fact that he had basically said the same thing to Sean Hannity last month, it’s technically accurate that he hasn’t changed position. That doesn’t negate the fact that his appeal is economically illiterate and politically troublesome.

Update #2: The original version of this post included Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson among the Republican Senators who had criticized Governor Walker. On further review, that appears to be in error and that portion of the relevant paragraph was deleted.

FILED UNDER: Borders and Immigration, Campaign 2016, Economics and Business, 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. Tony W says:

    The other possibility, of course, is that Walker’s appeal to this kind of mindless, jingoistic populism will be just what’s needed to push his naeceant campaign to new heights. Given the extent to which similar appeals to populism have become a normal part of discourse on the right, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what exactly happens. Both because of its economic illiteracy and because of its appeal to some of the worst moments in American history, it would be quite unfortunate if it did succeed.

    Unfortunately this is the mindset of the party of “Family Values”. I appreciate that you recognize it, and hope that many others do as well – and vote in whatever way takes away their power.

  2. Mu says:

    When a guy who made is name as a union buster tries to suddenly make points with the American worker you wonder who advises him on the gullibility of the voter.

  3. grumpy realist says:

    So I guess Scott Walker would have turned Einstein away at the border?

    Thus causing an entirely different ending to WWII, it seems.

  4. James Pearce says:

    the next president and the next Congress need to make decisions about a legal immigration system that’s based on, first and foremost, on protecting American workers and American wages.

    Wow….that is economic illiteracy.

    Maybe by 2020 we’ll get a Republican that resists this kind of nonsense.

  5. DrDaveT says:

    Proving once again that natural, organic stupid is superior to the synthetic kind in every way.

  6. cd6 says:

    Holy crap, this is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. Ben Domenech has a newsletter… that people actually pay to read?!

    I haven’t boned up on my Revelations recently… this is a sign of the apocalypse, right?

  7. David M says:

    Of course he is. Now it might be news for a GOP politician to come out and admit it, but this should have been obvious for a while now.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Scott Walker is a bought and paid for tool of the Koch Brothers. When they say “Jump!” he says “How high?” Right now they are saying, “Make yourself nominatable.” (is that even a word?) and he is. Poor, poor, Scotty…. so many b*s…. The bib isn’t big enough. What ever is he going to do when the KBs dump him for JEB?

  9. Mercer says:

    “coming out against legal immigration:”

    Where did he say he was against any legal immigration? Is any limit on immigration acceptable to you?

    “position on immigration had become relegated to the fringes of American politics, with extremists on both the left and the right ”

    Having limits on immigration enforced was standard US policy from 1921 to 1965. Were all the political leaders then extremists? Ike was much tougher on illegals then Walker. Was his policy an example of “mindless, jingoistic populism”.

    “immigrants have long been in the forefront of establishing and running new businesses that end up employing others and further stimulating the economy. ”

    Southern California has millions of immigrants. How many have started businesses that employ native born Americans? What evidence do you have they employ many Americans?

  10. James Pearce says:

    @Mercer:

    Is any limit on immigration acceptable to you?

    That’s not the question. The question is why does he want to limit immigration.

    His answer:

    protecting American workers and American wages

    Which, if you think about it, is nonsensical. To protect American workers and American wages, we must limit the number of new “Americans.” Because that’s the best way to achieve the goal. (Reality check: It won’t even come close.)

    Truth is, a “path to citizenship” would protect American workers, especially the ones who currently don’t get to call themselves “Americans,” and do much to eliminate this shadow economy that the right is always complaining about. That’s why George W Bush supported it, and many other Republicans since.

    This economically-illiterate nonsense coming from Walker is a step backward. 1912-1965. Those were the days, huh?

  11. DrDaveT says:

    @Mercer:

    Southern California has millions of immigrants. How many have started businesses that employ native born Americans?

    Quite a few of them, as it happens. They employ their children.

    Not what you meant by “native born Americans”? Get over it. Your ancestors were in the same boat.

  12. An Interested Party says:

    Your ancestors were in the same boat.

    Indeed…

    These anti-immigrant people are just as bad as those who are slobbering for war with Iran…the former act as if they have no clue about the history of this country (millions of immigrants coming here from all over the world and how we expanded our country through a war with Mexico) while the latter act as if they have no clue about the history of Iran (how we overthrew a democratically-elected government and put a dictator in charge whose actions led to the 1979 revolution that brought the Ayatollah Khomeini to power)…apparently some people never learned anything in history class…

  13. I hadn’t check this blog in months “Essentially said,” “Essentially said,” “Essentially said,” blah, blah blah, it will be months before I check it out again.

  14. Kylopod says:

    We really need to give up this notion that presidential candidates change their party. That isn’t what happens. What happens is that they are changed by their party.

    That’s why you should take with an enormous grain of salt anytime you hear talk of a “different kind of Republican.” Any different kind of Republican will turn out to be not so different once they enter the presidential race.

    The John McCain who was nominated by the GOP in 2008 wasn’t the same John McCain who opposed Bush’s tax cuts and attacked the Christian Right. The Mitt Romney of 2012 wasn’t the same Romney who favored abortion rights and universal health care. If Rand Paul were to somehow win the nomination next year, he wouldn’t be the same Rand Paul of nonintervention and defense budget cuts.

    Of course the hoops that the party requires its candidates to jump through just keep increasing. It was not that long ago that immigration reform and cap-and-trade were acceptable positions for a GOP candidate. Even Romney’s health-care law in MA attracted very little attention in the 2008 primaries; it hadn’t yet been associated with the black Kenyan Muslim.

    In a way it’s silly to look at this as a problem with the candidates themselves. If they didn’t sell their souls, and they stuck by their original positions, they simply wouldn’t be nominated.

    The problem is the GOP itself, which has now been fully taken over by racist, xenophobic, reality-denying religious nuts whom every candidate who expects to get anywhere must mold themselves into.

  15. Slugger says:

    How many immigrants started businesses that employed Americans? Well, there is me and Andy Grove. My business at its peak before I sold off and retired employed about 150 Americans. Andy Grove ran an outfit called Intel which also employed some people. Dude named Sergey Brin who was born in Russia started an outfit called Google. Etc.
    Immigrants have started lots of businesses in America. Only someone who believes in feudalism over capitalism ( i.e. blood over achievement) thinks otherwise.

  16. Mercer says:

    Slugger

    I said how many immigrants in Southern California become employers. Do you claim Google and Intel are in Southern California?

    The majority of US immigrants are people with low jobs skills not engineers or scientists. Do you think the economy needs more low skilled workers?

  17. David M says:

    @Mercer:

    Aren’t basically all the employers in Southern California only there because of immigration?

  18. James Pearce says:

    @Mercer:

    The majority of US immigrants are people with low jobs skills not engineers or scientists. Do you think the economy needs more low skilled workers?

    So you support the DREAM Act then?

  19. Grumpy Realist says:

    @Mercer: check what happened down south when some state started demanding that all employers in fact check out to make sure every single employee was legal.

    The produce rotted in the fields.

    You going to go out and pick tomatoes and berries? Didn’t think so…

  20. Another Mike says:

    Protect American workers’ jobs and wages. That sounds like a slogan that could take a candidate into the White House. Most of the people I know are American workers, and that phrase will sound about right to them.

  21. Pete S says:

    And obviously the business owners who are bankrolling the primaries don’t want legal or illegal immigration stopped, they like the cheap labor. They own the businesses and could raise wages if that were what they really wanted. They could easily implement their own systems to verify that they are not hiring people in the country illegally, if that were what they really wanted. That would be a market solution to illegal immigration. But they need their puppets candidates to appeal to pander to the “economic illiteracy” of the Republican base.

  22. Mu says:

    The more I think about it, this “shift” is a paid advertisement for campaign dollars, not really a campaign message he wants to carry. It is to distract the Republican working class voters from their misery. It’s not that you’re not getting paid because the boss needs another mansion upgrade in the Hamptons, it’s because of those immigrants that work for less. And it has to include legal immigrants because may of the red states, especially in the mid west and mountain region, don’t see much illegal immigration, so it has to be those “hidden’ legal immigrants that you don’t recognize that cost you money.

  23. Barry says:

    @Mu: “When a guy who made is name as a union buster tries to suddenly make points with the American worker you wonder who advises him on the gullibility of the voter.”

    Shrewd people who know that (a) mindless right-wing populism appeals to mindless right-wing populists and (b) the GOP base is racist, and that includes ******* in suits, as well.

    Doug, please note that Walker has worked very, very hard to reduce the wages of 90% of the people in Wisconsin, and would work even harder if president.

    He does not like high wages – high profits, yes, but wages should be crushed to subsistence.

  24. Tillman says:

    Enjoyed how the HuffPo blogger the first quote was from (I think you forgot to source that in the post by the way, Doug) went out of their way to mention how immigration’s a core value of America, what with the Alien and Sedition Acts and the racial-based quotas they used pre-’65 that prioritized Western European immigration. (Seriously, read up on the National Origins Formula. We had a government plan to maintain current ethnic percentages in the population.)

  25. Stan says:

    According to Wikipedia, see http://tinyurl.com/3ax9em, the percentage of immigrants in the US isn’t much higher than the percentages in Germany and the Netherlands and is less than the percentages in Canada and Australia. Obviously, then, the argument that economic inequality in the US is due to immigration is insufficient. The same is true when it comes to outsourcing and technological advances. Canada and Germany live in the same economic environment as the US, but somehow low paid workers in these countries make enough to live decent lives, while ours don’t. The lowest paid McDonalds workers in Denmark make $21/hour, over twice as much their counterparts in the US. How can this be explained by purely economics arguments? What’s different in the US is a governing class that rivals the greedy monsters depicted by Charles Dickens, Upton Sinclair, and, dare I name him, Karl Marx. How this came about I can’t say.

    I’ve prospered under this system. Since retiring in 2003, my effective income, derived from the sale of securities in my retirement fund, has actually increased, considering that I no longer pay into Social Security, Medicare, and TIAA-CREF. Goody for me, I’m all right, Jack. But it won’t end well. I really fear for the future of the US unless something is done. And that something isn’t ending immigration.

  26. al-Ameda says:

    Guys like Scott Walker represent a very unappealing and unpleasant look into the rear view mirror. There is nothing forward-looking about Walker or 90% of Republican Party politicians, most of them are convinced that we can roll back to some place in the past – Nirvana America – that exists only in their minds.

    Walker is definitely a viable candidate for a place on the 2016 GOP Ticket.

  27. BTW, Senate Republicans have introduced a bill to end birthright citizenship:

    http://www.vitter.senate.gov/newsroom/press/vitter-introduces-legislation-to-close-birthright-citizenship-loophole

  28. C. Clavin says:

    Is this idiocy the reason he lost the Koch Bros endorsement in less than 24 hours?

  29. dmichael says:

    I am surprised that no one has mentioned the popularity of anti-immigrant policies around Europe. In France, it is the National Front, in the UK, UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party) and Austria, Freedom Party of Austria. Those are merely examples of what Mr. Mataconis refers to as “this kind of mindless, jingoistic populism.” Maybe Scott Walker wants to tap into this sewer.

  30. KM says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    A few random things jumped out at me from the HuffPo writeup of the raid Vitter mentions:

    Any women encountered at the locations raided on Wednesday were to be interviewed, and those identified as potential material witnesses will be instructed where and when to report for further questioning, ICE said.

    Some of these are apartment complexes. I really don’t like the idea that every woman ICE ran into got detained and questioned solely due to their gender. Why went they checking everyone they came across, like no men were involved in this at all? If I’m coming home after a long day at work, the last thing I want is some government yahoo in raid gear inquiring as to my current reproductive status as well as my citizenship.

    More expensive packages “include recreational activities, such as visits to Disneyland, shopping malls and even an outing to a firing range,” the ICE statement said.

    Capitalism, baby. This is what the free market looks like in all its glory. If there’s a need, a paying service will appear. I’m honestly surprised this kind of thing is not making cons happy. These women are clearly wealthy or middle class at best, aren’t doing anything illegal (that I can tell – didn’t mention visa status in the article), and are spending tons of money on the local economy. The usual “welfare” cries don’t look like they’d apply here so what exactly is the repub issue other then they’re foreign and “taking advantage” somehow?

  31. C. Clavin says:

    Thank you for this paragraph (the entire thing is important…I’m just quoting part of it for brevity):

    …Economically, the position that Walker takes here simply isn’t supported by the evidence….

    Is anyone really surprised that Walker and Sessions are economically illiterate? They buy into Republican economic theories…which at even it’s most basic level requires economic illiteracy.
    In other related news; Kansas has a bunch of schools closing early due to budget cuts made necessary by tax cuts for the states wealthiest citizens. Kansas, which is running the full monty of the Republican agenda, is proof positive that the Republican agenda simply does not work. It is based on, and driven by, the same economic illiteracy that Walker and Sessions suffer from.

  32. humanoid.panda says:

    @Stormy Dragon: How the hell one proposes a bill to override a constitutional amendment? Constitutional conservatives, my a*s.

  33. grumpy realist says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Someone send this idiot a copy of the US Constitution….

  34. Pinky says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    How the hell one proposes a bill to override a constitutional amendment?

    From the link:

    Vitter’s legislation would close a loophole by clarifying that birthright citizenship is only given to the children of U.S. citizens and legal resident aliens….The 14th Amendment states that citizenship extends to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” The qualification of jurisdiction refers to the jurisdiction that a foreign government has with regards to its citizens.

  35. Pinky says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Scott Walker is a bought and paid for tool of the Koch Brothers.

    I love the non-falsifiability of this. Your thesis is that Walker does whatever the Koch Brothers tell him. If he does something they support, you’d say that it’s proof of your thesis. If he does something they don’t support, you’d say it proves they’d want him to do it. No evidence can be presented that would refute your position.

  36. Pinky says:

    As for the original article, I think Let’s Be Free nailed it. This is tea-leaf reading, extracting meaning from small variations in statements that mean essentially the same thing. Everyone, except for a handful of libertarians, support some restriction on legal immigration. Everyone supports some alteration in our handling of illegal immigrants. None of the candidates will get beyond generalities about immigration reform, because the laws are complicated, and statements taken out of context ultimately result in articles like this one.

  37. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    For some reason, the United States is the only nation on earth that is not allowed to control its own borders.

    For some reason, the United States is the only nation on earth that is not allowed to restrict immigration to advance its own interests, and benefits.

    For some reason, one way to increase the wags of low-skilled workers is to import even more low-skilled workers. Because increasing the size of the labor pool increases its value.

    How convenient it must be to just make up everything on the fly, to suit your own conveniences, disregarding whatever reality might be in the way…

  38. Pinky says:

    There’s also an element of non-falsifiability in the article and its updates. If a candidate says something vague, then says something different but also vague, the commentator says that it constitutes a change in position. If the candidate doesn’t deny it, it’s treated as proof. If the candidate does deny it, it’s treated as a walk-back. No consideration is given to the idea that the candidate was really saying basically the same thing both times.

    (Edited to add: if there is consideration of this possibility, I didn’t see it in the article. Maybe Doug’s theory about a shift is right, but he didn’t support it well enough.)

  39. C. Clavin says:

    @Pinky:
    You are right to an extent…it’s impossible to prove a negative.
    However…what has Walker done that is not aligned with his owners?

    NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report)—Koch Industries is defending its acquisition of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker against charges that it overpaid for the Midwestern politician.
    After co-owner David Koch revealed that Walker had become a wholly owned subsidiary of Koch Industries, he set off a firestorm of criticism that the company had spent too much for a worthless asset.
    “There was absolutely no bidding war for Walker,” an industry analyst familiar with the market value of politicians said. “Even Sheldon Adelson had no interest in acquiring him.”
    While Koch Industries did not disclose the purchase price of the Walker subsidiary, it said that Koch Industries would spend nine hundred million dollars between now and November, 2016, for a variety of upgrades to the Wisconsin governor.
    In a terse statement, Koch Industries argued, “Scott Walker is a perfect fit with our diversified portfolio of elected officials,” but indicated that, if Walker underperforms, the company would be open to selling him at a later date.

  40. Rafer Janders says:

    @Pinky:

    Vitter’s legislation would close a loophole by clarifying that birthright citizenship is only given to the children of U.S. citizens and legal resident aliens….The 14th Amendment states that citizenship extends to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” The qualification of jurisdiction refers to the jurisdiction that a foreign government has with regards to its citizens.

    Meaning that Vitter’s proposed legislation fails on its own terms (as he knows, being a lawyer himself). The language of the 14th Amenndment is plain, and you can’t defeat it with a mere bill — it would require another amendment to the Constittution. There is no “loophole” to close.

    Vitter, along with Bobby Jindal, brings to two the number of Rhodes Scholar Louisiana politicians who are absolute f’in morons.

  41. Pinky says:

    @C. Clavin: This article claims that Walker is opposed to legal immigration, which the Kochs support, and Ozark read that as a sign of the Koches’ influence.

  42. Rafer Janders says:

    Just to be clear, to alter a provision of the US Constittution such as the 14th Amendment, both halves of the U.S. Congress (House and Senate) need to pass a bill by a two-thirds majority in each. Then the same legislation has to be approved by three-fourths of the states (i.e., 38 states).

    Now Vitter, being a Harvard grad, Rhodes scholar at Oxford, former law professor and sitting US Senator knows this perfectly well. He knows his bill is nonsense. But he also knows that his constituents are too dumb and mean to realize it, so he’ll just throw them some red meat while pocketing campaign contributions from the very industries which depend on cheap illegal labor.

  43. Mercer says:

    “So you support the DREAM Act then?”

    No. People can get citizenship with only a GED under the Dream Act. I prefer more MDs instead.

    “what happened down south when some state started demanding that all employers in fact check out to make sure every single employee was legal.

    The produce rotted in the fields.”

    The grocery stores I go to never have a shortage of fresh produce. I also don’t view it as a national crisis if farmers have to pay their workers more.

  44. grumpy realist says:

    Walker also seems to feel that having dead and decaying deer littering Wisconsin’s roads should be Someone Else’s Problem.

    Either he’s going for the Mad Max contingent or he’s assuming all of them will be scrounged by the people who have been thrown out of work.

  45. C. Clavin says:

    @grumpy realist:
    I have to say I’m stunned at $700,000 to get rid of road kill…but on the other hand…all the unemployed teachers in Wisconsin have to eat something.

  46. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: There’s a well-known mechanism for amending the Constitution, if that ol’ birthright citizenship clause is such a terrible thing.

    What people like you and Vitter are whining about is that you don’t get to simply change the Constitution because you feel like it, but have to go through a well-defined and historical procedure.

    If you don’t want to put in the hard work, then don’t complain that you don’t get what you want.

  47. C. Clavin says:

    @grumpy realist:
    Jenos is a self-proclaimed “free-rider” on the health care system…so he hasn’t worked hard…and he still gets what he wants…thanks to the rest of us.

  48. grumpy realist says:

    @Mercer: I in fact agree with you–I think we should pay more for veggie-picking, but everyone would yowl about that because it would raise prices “too much.”

    Also, from a health viewpoint, it would probably be better overall if we were to get rid of all the soybeans/corn/wheat subsidies and use the $ to subsidize veggie harvesting instead, if we we want to encourage more veggie eating. Soybeans/corn/wheat are all easily harvested using mechanical devices.

  49. KM says:

    @Jenos:

    For some reason, one way to increase the wags of low-skilled workers is to import even more low-skilled workers. Because increasing the size of the labor pool increases its value.

    There’s a word you are missing here: willing. You speak of the entire working age population as if it’s in same the “labor pool”. This is as deceptive as talking about how there thousands of people at a Fortune 500 company so adding some more janitors is detrimental when they can “re-purpose” an aide or two. Just because there is a physical body present doesn’t mean they can, will or should do whatever you think. I’ve always felt “low-skill” is a misnomer; “low-public interest” or “basic-function” work better to describe what they really are: the crap jobs that are paid crap because everyone devalues them.

    “Low-skill” work has incredibly high turnover, in no small part due to the low pay and less-then-stellar conditions one often works in. The point gets made over and over that most Americans aren’t interested in these jobs. Maybe it’s due to the social stigma of cleaning toilets or picking fruit but you’d need to jack up wages considerably for it to fly with the public – defeating the purpose of calling them “low-skill” to justify keeping the price down. And workers have power too, remember. If all immigration was closed off, don’t expect Americans to just say “F$@^ it, I’ll go work the field” when the cheap labor dries up. They’ve proven they won’t more then once. Social expectations and career respect don’t change overnight; we’d seen disruptions in basics like the food supply and sanitation happen on a regular basis then have your average suburban kid go out to the farm to work off college as a matter of course.

  50. C. Clavin says:

    @Pinky:
    From the Kochs Hispanic outreach arm, the Libre Initiative…

    But at a minimum, the U.S. should put in place a pragmatic, viable market-based worker visa program that legalizes voluntary employee-employer arrangements in a way that provides immigrant workers fixed, legal certainty, and allows our private sector to adequately respond to market forces.”

    Sounds a lot alike to me.
    Market forces…nothing funnier than oligarchs talking about the free-market.

  51. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @grumpy realist: Hey, dumbass… I haven’t said a THING about birthright citizenship, so don’t go tossing around insults about what I haven’t actually said.

    But let’s look at the actual text of the Constitution that deals with that — namely, the 14th Amendment. Here’s the relevant part:

    All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.

    The argument, as I’ve heard is, is that illegal aliens did not come here under color of law, and therefore have chosen to exclude themselves from the “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” clause. I think that’s a debatable point. After all, if we can find a right to “privacy” in the “penumbras” of the Constitution big enough to hide a right to an abortion where it had been hiding for almost 200 years, maybe that citizenship thingie can also be part of the “constantly evolving document” that is our Constitution, and we don’t need to go through the tedium of actually amending it.

  52. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    The argument, as I’ve heard is, is that illegal aliens did not come here under color of law, and therefore have chosen to exclude themselves from the “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” clause. I think that’s a debatable point.

    Not at all debatable, it’s complete and total nonsense. Everyone present in the US, with some extremely limited exceptions such as foreign diplomats, is subject to the jurisdiction of US law. Really, this is an argument so pathetic in its idiocy that it’s hard even mock properly.

  53. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @KM: I really don’t care what sort of terms or euphemisms you want to call it, so if “low-skill” bothers you, whatever.

    The point I was trying to make is that we don’t exactly have a shortage of people who are not qualified for jobs with high specific skills, high specific training, high specific knowledge, high specific abilities. Call them “entry-level” jobs, if you like. The point is, these jobs are not exactly going begging — and where they are, then employers find that they have to offer more money to get people to take them.

    I think it’ll be a great boon to business — mainly big business — to open the floodgates and bring in a whole bunch of new workers who can’t demand higher pay because they have superior skills, superior experience, superior education and training. I can see the local Wal-Mart manager telling his janitor who wants a raise, “Joe, why should I give you a raise when I have a stack of applications for Miguel, Patel, Irena, and Chang all willing to do your job for less money? What I’m paying you now is enough to balance out the cost of the paperwork in hiring someone new, but if you insist on a raise, see ya.”

    I don’t think big business deserves that kind of help. Apparently morons like Cliffy does, which should raise all kinds of red flags.

  54. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    The argument, as I’ve heard is, is that illegal aliens did not come here under color of law, and therefore have chosen to exclude themselves from the “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” clause. I think that’s a debatable point.

    The subject of the sentence is “All persons born or naturalized in the United States” — that is, the subject is not the illegal immigrant parent, but the baby born to such parent, as the person who has been born. The baby is the one “born…in the United States” and subject to its jurisdiction by virtue of its presence within the US.

    Really, again, this is a Humpty-Dumpty level of torture of the English language displayed with that absolutely idiotic sham of an “argument.”

  55. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Rafer Janders: Not at all debatable, it’s complete and total nonsense. Everyone present in the US, with some extremely limited exceptions such as foreign diplomats, is subject to the jurisdiction of US law. Really, this is an argument so pathetic in its idiocy that it’s hard even mock properly.

    So, then, why can’t we just automatically deport all illegal aliens? Their very presence is prima facie evidence of lawbreaking — they either entered illegally, or overstayed a visa. If they’re subject to the law, then immediate deportation is the obvious remedy.

  56. Rafer Janders says:

    @grumpy realist:

    If you don’t want to put in the hard work, then don’t complain that you don’t get what you want.

    Well, hard work is not exactly something that conservatives are known for.

  57. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    So, then, why can’t we just automatically deport all illegal aliens?

    Legally, we can, within certain parameters.

    Administratively, we don’t have the time, money or resources to identify, find and arrest 10 million people throughout 50 states.

    But legally? Yeah, sure. Illegal aliens have no right to be within the US. If caught, they don’t have very many avenues to resist deportation.

  58. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    “Joe, why should I give you a raise when I have a stack of applications for Miguel, Patel, Irena, and Chang all willing to do your job for less money?

    Funnily enough, I separately know people named Miguel, Patel, Irena and Chang. All of them are American citizens born in the United States.

  59. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Rafer Janders: Bill Clinton had trouble with the word “is.” You seem to have trouble with “and.” In this case, it means it is just as important as the first clause.

    The problem that raises is with that incredibly and accurate descriptive term, “anchor baby.” (Which, since it is so accurate and useful, is well on its way to being declared “hate language,” like “illegal alien.”) The baby, being a citizen, cannot be deported. BUT it is considered inhumane to separate the baby from its parents, SO therefore the illegal aliens who had the child now have a pass to stay, because they are “anchored” by the baby. So we now have an incentive for illegal aliens to quickly have a child.

    Further, the baby cannot support itself. So, we either grant work visas to the illegal alien parents, or give the baby public assistance — administered by its guardians, the illegal alien parents. Again, the law governing immigration has been thwarted, and we have given further incentives to do so.

    I do not necessarily agree with the move to redefine birthright citizenship, but I do recognize 1) it has created some perverse incentives to break immigration laws, and 2) the argument put forth has at least enough legitimacy as others that have been previously accepted as the law of the land.

  60. grumpy realist says:

    @KM: Heck, this is the same thing where you have people bemoaning the fact that staying home and taking care of the kids isn’t considered “real work” and then turning around and bitching about what they have to pay for daycare.

  61. KM says:

    @Jenos:

    I really don’t care what sort of terms or euphemisms you want to call it, so if “low-skill” bothers you, whatever.

    My point was they are NOT “entry-level” jobs. Entry to what, exactly? That term is supposed to be specific to a career ie clerk at a bank is the entryway to the company to learn the skills the bank requires to move up. You put up with the entry-level job and its crap specifically to get your foot in the door. Fruit-picking is entry to…….? What do you pick up tarring driveways that Apple or Boeing or hell even Uncle Sam wants that you can’t get anywhere else? Pardon the pun but you’re comparing apples to oranges.

    These are jobs in their own right, not training for some nebulous later. It’s incredibly hard to move on as well since once you get pigeonholed as Customer Service or Maintenance, your resume tends to get tanked when you go for “superior” positions. Ask a millennial about their difficulties getting a “career” job as opposed to a McJob; computer searches on resumes keyword on things like that and you never get a foot in the door. You can have a Masters in Engineering and if all your work experience is as a Merry Maid to pay your way through, those offers are hard to come by.

    Americans don’t mind entry level jobs by and large. Americans don’t mind because there’s the chance and social expectation to move up the ladder. These? These jobs go nowhere middle-class America is interested in and so give them a great big “Eh, Pass”. That social stigma won’t fade anytime soon so you won’t see people clamoring to do some very necessary jobs the way you assume.

  62. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Rafer Janders: I don’t think that’s funny at all. I know of very prominent American-born political leaders named Piyush, Nimrata, Marco, and Barack. I just picked stereotypical names from four ethnicities that are quite prominent among current immigration populations — Mexican/Latino, India, Russia/Eastern European, and Chinese. Likewise, “Joe” has been a euphemism for “American” for a long time.

    But if you find amusement in it, I’m cool with that. People think the things I find amusing odd, too. We gotta get our entertainment where we can, and it’s almost all good.

  63. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @KM: My point was they are NOT “entry-level” jobs. Entry to what, exactly? That term is supposed to be specific to a career ie clerk at a bank is the entryway to the company to learn the skills the bank requires to move up. Fruit-picking is entry to…….?

    I know someone who started out at Wal-Mart as a janitor. He’s now a department manager.

    As far as advancing as a fruit-picker… I dunno. Not my area of expertise. Hell, I don’t even eat that much fruit — I tend to prefer vegetables. But there are a lot of former fruit-pickers who didn’t do that for the rest of their lives, so there are paths out of it.

  64. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You seem to have trouble with “and.” In this case, it means it is just as important as the first clause.

    That’s cute, but dumb. Very, very dumb.

    The “and” clause modifies the status of the subject of the sentence, that is, those persons “born or naturalized in the United States.” So it goes (i) all persons born or naturalized in the US, AND (ii) subject to its juridiction (that is, not foreign diplomats or some similarly restricted exception) are (iii) US citizens.”

  65. KM says:

    @Grumpy Realist:
    I forgot the exact details but a mother’s salary was calculated out to above the median salary for the US a while ago. People were shocked at how much mothers’ “free labor” was truly worth.

    Air is only valuable when you cannot breath. Water is worth less then dirt till you are somewhere that’s nothing but dirt. Child care is cheap and plentiful until you really really really need to go out Friday night.

  66. Barry says:

    @C. Clavin: “But at a minimum, the U.S. should put in place a pragmatic, viable market-based worker visa program that legalizes voluntary employee-employer arrangements in a way that provides immigrant workers fixed, legal certainty, and allows our private sector to adequately respond to market forces.””

    Indentured servitude. Workers are let in, but chained tied to one employer.

    This means that they can just pick up the phone and have them deported.

    Or rented out to another master employer.

  67. KM says:

    @Jenos:

    I know someone who started out at Wal-Mart as a janitor. He’s now a department manager.

    Yes, that would be an entry level job. It served its purpose. I think you are conflating two difference categories here and I’m trying to point out their separation. Let me be clearer: Janitor -> department manager in same company = entry level job. Ok socially to have lower pay as ability to rise up in the ranks or move to a similar line of work is relatively easy. Walmart to Walgreens for instance is still retail and customer service – you are still moving in the same circles, same profession. Toilet cleaner -> engineer or fruit picker -> data analyst is moving professions, changing careers. Skills sets don’t transfer except the ubiquitous “hard worker” or “punctual”-type attributes so it’s much much harder to escape to stereotyped mold. Can be done obviously but the difficulty/hassle are one more downside to a job that already has too many for most to consider.

    You’re looking at them all as generic lower-tier laborers…. interchangeable. That’s part of the overall problem and came out starkly with the whole rotting-on-the-vine debacle. The assumption made on-high was one piddling poor-paying job is as good as another so the gap would be quickly filled. The working class of America begs to differ having experience with this types of things. There’s a classist element to this that not getting through to the policy makers. For better or worse, that’s the way it is and won’t change if the borders close.

  68. C. Clavin says:

    ` Deporting 11 million immigrants here illegally would cost $250 billion, plus an additional $20 billion each year for enough enforcement to prevent re-entering. That’s about what we spend on Medicaid, which Republicans claim is unsustainable and must be privatized. In addition mass deportation would stymie growth by an additional $250 billion per year. Doug speaks to all of this in his post. Apparently trolls cannot read good.
    ` The 14th was established to curtail systemic racism after abolition, when southern states refused to extend even the most basic human rights to African-Americans. Clearly Vitter, and people who agree with him, are hewing to a long tradition of xenophobia.
    ` Anchor baby is a perjorative term with little basis in fact…Lindsey Graham uses the term regularly; ipso facto it is factually incorrect. About 7% of the kids born in the US each year are born to illegal immigrants. There is zero data for how many of those are these so-called “quickie US citizenship babies”. However logic would dictate that the real motivation for illegal immigrants is the search for work and a better economic standing over the long term. As we know, logic rarely enters into the emotion-based opinions of trolls.

  69. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Rafer Janders: Nice analysis, but you’re assuming the meaning of (ii). I’m pointing out that there are alternative interpretations, and it wouldn’t be the first time people have argued about the precise meaning of phrases in the Constitution. Hell, whole books have been written about the 2nd Amendment, where some say that the “well-regulated militia” is obviously a critical portion of the Amendment, while others say that it is obviously merely an example and not limiting.

  70. Stan says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: As noted in my earlier post, Canada and a number of European countries have higher rates of immigration than ours without experiencing the same degree of economic inequality. Our inequality problem, if you consider it a problem (and I do), owes as much or more to American political and cultural attitudes as it does to economic factors. McDonalds workers in Denmark make twice as much per hour as they do here (http://tinyurl.com/my8r9wn), and from what I’ve seen in casual observation McDonalds does a good business in Copenhagen. Something’s wrong here. You consider yourself a friend of the American working man. Why then do you always take the side of the plutocrats?

  71. grumpy realist says:

    @KM: Raising kids (well) is one of those things that is treated like an expensive hobby by everyone else–but it’s also supposedly absolutely necessary that you’re supposed to do out of your own free will and the goodness of your heart, supposedly.

    One reason I never felt any inclination to be a mother is I knew the interruptions now considered essential would drive me nuts. Raising kids used to be much easier when you didn’t have to obsess about their little brains and interact with them all the time and provide playdates etc. Or nurse them until they’re four years old.

    Heck, the fact that my parents let me fall out of trees is probably enough to bring Child Protection Services down on one nowadays.

  72. C. Clavin says:

    @Stan:

    Why then do you always take the side of the plutocrats?

    The answer to that is so friggin’ simple…
    https://tribuneofthepeople.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/wfnue.jpg

  73. KM says:

    @grumpy realist:

    when you didn’t have to obsess about their little brains and interact with them all the time and provide playdates etc. Or nurse them until they’re four years old.

    …………………… yeah. F- that.

    I’m not a portable “comfort object” (aka pluggy or binkie) which is essentially what letting a 4yr old nurse turns you into. It’s no longer about nutrition at that age but about overly-attached parents and not wanting to “upset” the child. Life is upsetting and learning you can’t get boobies on demand is one of those things a man must learn (preferably early on to save the rest of us grief).

  74. Liberal With Attitude says:

    “Joe, why should I give you a raise when I have a stack of applications for Miguel, Patel, Irena, and Chang all willing to do your job for less money?

    Since when are conservatives opposed to outsourcing?

  75. Jim R says:

    Wow, the Republican primary race is going full retard especially early this time.

  76. grumpy realist says:

    @KM: Yah one of my friends is still allowing her son to nurse to comfort himself ( as method of him calming himself down after a tantrum) and he’s 5. I wonder when she’ll stop using the technique. 6? 8? 10? It seems to me that at some point you really need to say No Mas!

  77. C. Clavin says:

    @grumpy realist:
    I’m 56…and nursing to comfort myself doesn’t seem so bad…

  78. michael reynolds says:

    I lost my fruit-picking job to a Mexican and then I lost my chicken beak-cutting job to a Salvadoran and then I lost my job wiping Alzheimer patients asses to a Dominican.

    Lousy immigrants taking all our jobs.

  79. Grewgills says:

    @grumpy realist:
    No doubt Wisconsin road kill venison will be a growth industry that will rival tourism soon.

  80. grumpy realist says:

    @Grewgills: Well, I guess you could make it into jerky provided you scraped it off the road early enough….

    Didn’t someone come out with a “Roadkill Cookbook”?

  81. C. Clavin says:

    @Grewgills:
    @grumpy realist:
    Then there is armadillo on the half-shell…

  82. Tony W says:

    @michael reynolds: The phrase we often hear “no one else wants these jobs” should be concatenated with “at the wage our corporate overlords are willing to pay”.

    If I could make the 6-figures I make today picking fruit, well I still wouldn’t do it – but many would. Fruit would also cost substantially more than it does. I’m willing to pay. Poor Americans may not be able to, but there would be fewer of them. The ethics here are complex.

    This debate is not unlike the $15 minimum wage discussion. Ultimately the question for me is “as a member of a wealthy society who has benefited greatly from it, am I willing to pay a bit more to know my fruit picker can feed his family?” For me, as evidenced by the free-range chicken eggs in my fridge, the answer is a resounding “Yes”. I can afford it, and would rather pay more to assuage my liberal guilt than purchase another trip to Paris or some-such.

    Bottom line, Conservatives will fight anything that changes the rules – even if they stand to gain from it. They have various reasons (fear, tradition, selfishness), but that’s the common factor.

  83. DrDaveT says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Raising kids (well) is one of those things that is treated like an expensive hobby by everyone else–but it’s also supposedly absolutely necessary that you’re supposed to do out of your own free will and the goodness of your heart, supposedly.

    Spoilers in the recommendation, but since we’ve been talking classic science fiction of late: “Piecework”, by David Brin, in the collection Otherness.

  84. michael reynolds says:

    @Tony W:

    That’s the problem in a nutshell. If we start paying people $30 an hour to pick fruit we’re going to be eating a lot of Chilean and Mexican fruit. Look at California’s valley right now — here’s a place where nature does not want fruit or veggies to be grown. Raise wages and with the water problems the Valley withers away in all likelihood. If we’re going to have domestic agriculture with living wages we’re probably going to need some kind of protectionism.

    In fast food you have a different problem. Employers can’t outsource but they can automate.

    What nativists don’t get is that we’ve used Mexicans and Central Americans as a temporary fix for a crisis in capitalism. Remove the Mexicans and prices will go through the roof, because you ain’t picking strawberries and neither am I. We’ve been lucky in that we had 3rd world nations close at hand with hordes of hardworking people who’ll live ten to a trailer and relocate constantly. If we didn’t already have a Mexico we’d have had to invent it.

    This is a long-term, serious problem with capitalism in developed nations. I have no solutions.

  85. rachel says:

    @grumpy realist: Yes, and I have a copy of it somewhere.

  86. Andre Kenji says:

    Picking fruits is not an easy job. You could pay 200 dollars a hour that almost every Middle Class person could not do a satisfactory job.

    On the other hand, I do agree with Scott Walker and Republicans. Ban immigration in the US, Then there will be more of them going to Brazil.

  87. Bob @ Youngstown says:
  88. Barry says:

    @grumpy realist: ” I wonder when she’ll stop using the technique. 6? 8? 10? It seems to me that at some point you really need to say No Mas!”

    I would very, very strongly urge that the kid be weaned *before* puberty hits.

  89. TheoNott says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I think agriculture in this country is headed towards greater automation. The end result will be a smaller number of human workers making higher wages than they do now. The technology might not exist yet, but necessity is the mother of invention. At some point, we are going to hand some legal status to the vast undocumented population, and then it won’t be possible to continue paying them sub-minimum wages.