Unlike the ethnic lobbies, whose campaign for amnesty and open immigration is entirely centered on building political power bases, the business and “free market” lobbies have couched their arguments for mass immigration in terms of enlightened national self-interest. This has been particularly true for those interest groups seeking near unrestricted admission of workers with degrees in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). There simply aren’t enough Americans qualified to do these jobs, the business lobby has contended, and without massive infusions of foreign STEM workers our most vital industries would wither and die.

As it turns out, the case they have carefully constructed is about self-interest, but it is not all that enlightened. Like everyone else pushing for more immigration their motivation has nothing to do with what is good for the nation.

In a press release opposing H.R. 6429, the STEM Jobs Act, one of the most vocal “free market” lobby groups, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), made it clear that their true agenda can be summarized in one word: More—more skilled workers, more unskilled workers, and more family-based immigration.

H.R. 6429 (also opposed by FAIR for different reasons), which passed the House of Representative on Friday, calls for converting the 55,000 green cards currently allocated each year through the so-called Visa Lottery into visas for foreign students who earn post-graduate degrees from U.S. universities in STEM fields. One might think that support for such legislation by a group such as CEI would be a no-brainer. But that was not the case. CEI came out against the bill because “it seeks to use the illusion of immigration reform to decrease immigration.” Their concern is that “there are not enough foreign-born STEM graduates to fill demand for this new visa,” which might result in (gasp!) a slight reduction in overall immigration levels. In addition, CEI objects to a provision that would create a public database of companies that hire immigrant workers instead of Americans.

In the final analysis, groups like CEI do not seek to make America more competitive by enhancing innovation and productivity, but rather by driving down the cost of labor – and immigration is nothing more than a means to that end.