Amnesty Then and Now

In 1986, lawmakers decided the problem of illegal immigration had to be dealt with. More than 3 million people were living in the United States after crossing the border illegally or overstaying their visas…Less than 30 years later, the number of immigrants living in the country illegally is thought to have nearly quadrupled, and the freighted baggage of amnesty looms over new efforts to reform the nation’s immigration laws,” the LA Times writes.

“Both camps trot out economic projections. Higher immigrant wages will pad tax coffers and boost the domestic product by billions of dollars, one argument goes. Opponents predict a drain on public funds as newly legalized immigrants apply for government benefits, and harm to American workers as immigrants get better jobs.”

“‘After legalization, they’ll be eligible for virtually every job in the country,’ said Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the anti-legalization Federation for American Immigration Reform. ‘People whose jobs are not threatened right now will find themselves in competition with these workers.;”

Kotkin: FWD.us and America’s New Oligarchs

“There’s been a huge surge of Valley investment in Washington lobbying, not just on immigration but also on issues effecting national, industrial, and science policy. Facebook’s lobbying budget grew from $351,000 in all of 2010 to $2.45 million in just the first quarter of this year. Google spent a record $18 million last year. In the process, they have hired plenty of professional Washington parasites to make their case; exactly the kind of people Valley denizens used to demean,” says Joel Kotkin.

“The oligarchs believe their control of the information network itself gives them a potential influence greater than more conventional lobbies. The prospectus for Fwd.us—headed up by one of Zuckerberg’s old Harvard roommates—suggests tech should become ‘one of the most powerful political forces,” noting “we control massive distribution channels, both as companies and individuals.'”

“Bipartisan” House Bill Bogs Down

“A bipartisan group in the House has gotten bogged down in its efforts to craft an immigration proposal, even as a similar group is moving its bill through the Senate Judiciary Committee. After spending most of the winter promising that the bill’s release was imminent, the House immigration group may now stop short of unveiling a comprehensive immigration overhaul and instead settle on releasing only those provisions on which it can reach agreement, according to aides and advocates following the talks,” Roll Call reports.

Council on Foreign Relations Says Border is Insecure

“The yardstick used in the immigration bill to determine border control may produce too rosy a picture of how well the Border Patrol is doing in cracking down on illegal crossings, according to an independent study released Monday that threatens to upend the immigration debate. In their 76-page report, three researchers at the Council on Foreign Relations also said the drop in illegal immigration is only partly a result of tougher border security and about two-thirds because of economic changes in Mexico and the U.S. that have made it less attractive for Mexicans to migrate north,” the Washington Times reports.