Krauthammer: Repeating the Mistake of 1986

“Rubio calls it ‘probationary legal status.’ Obama uses the term ‘lawful prospective immigrant.’ But both would instantly legalize the 11?million illegal immigrants living here today. The moment either bill is signed, the 11?million become eligible for legal residence, the right to work and relief from the prospect of deportation,” says Charles Krauthammer.

“This is bad policy. It repeats the 1986 immigration reform that legalized (the then) 3?million while promising border enforcement — which was never carried out. Which opened the door to today’s 11?million. And to the next 11?million as soon as the ink is dry on this reform.”

Labor, Business Lobby Say Guestworker Agreement at Hand

“Labor and business leaders announced Thursday they have agreed in principle to terms that would establish a new guest worker program for foreigners, but they cautioned that details of the program are still being negotiated. In a joint statement, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue expressed optimism over talks on how to make it easier for companies to hire foreign nationals when Americans are not available,” the Washington Post reports.

In an editorial, the Wall Street Journal calls foul on the proposed agreement. “Labor leaders have been insisting instead on a commission to determine when there are worker shortages that immigrants could fill. The commission, first mooted by Jimmy Carter’s Labor Secretary Ray Marshall, would certify labor shortages and set annual limits for temporary work visas and green cards. The President and Congress would appoint its members, whose proposals would be binding unless Congress voted to reject them.”

“Mr. Trumka wants a commission precisely because he knows it will never be ‘independent” in Washington. Its members will always be yanked by political pressure or ideological preference, and Mr. Trumka wants his union allies to control the commission and restrict the supply of immigrant workers. Big Labor talks a good game about solidarity with immigrants, but the reality is that unions don’t want guest workers who compete for jobs.”

The Keynesian Solution on Immigration?

Sol Trujillo and Cesar M. Melgoza embrace the idea that more immigrants are needed to keep the population ponzi going in the U.S. in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. “The economics are simple: Latinos spur demand. Seventy percent of the nation’s gross domestic product is fueled by consumer spending. That means the Latino population—large, growing and increasingly prosperous—will play a key role in America’s economic future,” they say.

“Dire demographics threaten the economies in many developed nations, and the U.S. is not immune to the challenges posed by an aging population. But the problem will be considerably mitigated by immigrants who revitalize the workforce. The average later-life American, whose life expectancy nearly doubled during the 20th century, is already asking: Who is going to pay for the Social Security and Medicare promises of the federal government?”

Is Big Ag Crying Wolf Over Finding Workers?

Rick Mines and Ed Kissam say that the agriculture lobby is wrong to think that a new amnesty will deplete the workforce they rely on. “Agribusiness argues that guest worker provisions are crucial because legalizing currently unauthorized farmworkers will result in a mass exodus from farm work. But the enactment of comprehensive immigration reform would not cause such an exodus,” they say.

Among the reasons: today’s farmworkers are much less fluent in English, have fewer skills and options, and are more likely to be able to find consistent seasonal work than ag workers after the last amnesty. Unlike previous agricultural workers, who used legalization to move up the ladder into more skilled positions in agriculture, today’s workers are unlikely to do so.