Is Goodlatte Good For The Border?

Posted: July 13, 2013

Our Rep. Bob Goodlatte, as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, will play a key role in crafting immigration legislation in the House of Representatives, now that the Senate has passed what it calls its “reform” bill. That legislation is anything but reform, as it would reward 11 million illegal aliens with legal status (amnesty) and a path to citizenship in exchange for essentially worthless promises of future enforcement of our immigration laws.

The bill has no teeth for enforcement. Two of the leading senators making those promises were John McCain and Chuck Schumer. As House members in 1986, both voted for the first amnesty that passed, which pledged to control our borders — a pledge not kept. The predictable consequence was a flood of illegal immigration, an outcome we can expect again if this legislation passes.

Along with cheapening our citizenship and law, the Senate bill sharply increases legal immigration and doubles the number of visas given to temporary foreign workers (many of whom stay permanently). This comes at a time when more than 20 million Americans cannot find a full-time job. The Congressional Budget Office forecasts that the bill will depress American wages and increase unemployment. The Heritage Foundation predicts that it will cost taxpayers more than $6 trillion over the next 50 years.

Mr. Goodlatte will have much to say about this monstrosity. To his credit, he has expressed firm opposition to many aspects of the Senate’s bill, particularly the bait-and-switch of bogus enforcement for legalization.

Unfortunately, Mr. Goodlatte also holds out the possibility of legal status (amnesty) for illegal aliens, bringing them “out of the shadows,” as he described it at the state GOP convention in May, but “not necessarily” granting them a pathway to citizenship. His position on legalization is truly disappointing, given his previously stated opposition to amnesty (once expressed to this writer). What has changed?

Mr. Goodlatte seems to have misgivings about citizenship, but he should understand that legalization will bring it about. The political left, as certainly as the sun rises, will point to the “second class” status of the amnestied illegal aliens, drawing a false analogy to the civil rights movement. Contrived outrage, magnified by the media, will erode the opposition to citizenship.

Mr. Goodlatte should also remember that citizenship and voting rights for a large bloc of low-income people will strengthen the left-wing Democrats he opposes. A top Democratic strategist openly recommends citizenship for illegal aliens as a prime goal for his party.

Also disturbing is the congressman’s longstanding support for the temporary worker programs that the Senate bill would expand, particularly the H-1B program used by companies claiming that there is a “shortage” of American workers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Critics say the shortage is a myth, and that companies simply prefer to hire H-1Bs because they work for less money.

A study by the Economic Policy Institute confirmed this, noting that H-1Bs earn 20 percent less than their American counterparts. It also noted that wages in STEM fields have not increased in recent years — a strange situation given an alleged shortage. Said the EPI report, “[The U.S.] has more than a sufficient supply of workers available to work in STEM occupations.” These are good jobs, ones that could provide a middle class standard of living to U.S. citizens. Thanks to H-1Bs, foreigners are taking the American Dream away from Americans.

Mr. Goodlatte is generally sensible on immigration. Why is he taking positions that would benefit foreigners at the expense of citizens? To find out, call him at (202) 225-5431.

John Vinson is president of the American Immigration Control Foundation.

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