A great debate is raging among conservatives these days. One camp argues the gang of eight immigration reform is amnesty, contrary to conservative principles, amnesty encourages more illegal immigration, and immigrants vote Democrat.
The other camp, led by Senator Marco Rubio and Grover Norquist, argues our legal immigration system has been broken for decades, and we effectively have de facto amnesty because it’s simply not practical, humane, nor economically wise to deport 11 million. They believe our present immigration system, with its arbitrary quotas and massive bureaucracy is inconsistent with conservative free market principles. They reject the notion that immigrants invariably vote Democrat, and see opportunity to win more New American votes, as proven by Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and recently by Canada’s Conservative Party.
A May 2011 poll by Pew Research found “staunch conservatives” split 49%/49%. Three Republican groupings, “staunch conservatives”, “main street Republicans”, and “libertarians” split roughly 60/40% in favor of immigration reform including a path to citizenship.A recent poll found 60% of Republicans support immigration reform, and after details of the gang of eight immigration reform plan were explained, support rose to 75% with just 10% strongly opposed. The perception fostered in the mainstream news media for years is that Republicans are monolithic and opposed to immigration reform, but clearly Republicans have been and still are divided. Before November, Republicans who were shrill about immigration were often quoted in the media, while most Republican leaders tended to avoid the topic or only talk about immigration enforcement, which is less divisive. Since the November election debacle, pro-reform Republicans are more vocal, pushing back against the shrill minority who for years have berated immigrants.
Grover Norquist has been staunchly pro-immigration reform for many years. He participated in a series of immigration reform conferences during 2012. Only the last conference, just weeks after the election, garnered any media attention at all, while Mitt Romney’s self-deportation rhetoric garnered constant media coverage. Most media coverage of conservatives who support immigration reform is recent.
Immigration Before the Progressive Era
Prior to the progressive era, American had no immigration quotas and a few common-sense restrictions, such as barring criminals, prostitutes, paupers, etc.
America’s first unauthorized immigrants were African slaves, imported after Congress banned the importation of slaves in 1808. In the Southern states slavery was still legal, and more slaves needed, and so the importation continued despite the ban.
Later, many Irish immigrants bypassed legal ports of entry because they were simply too impoverished to pay the head tax. The federal government did not have immigration inspectors until 1890, though some states had immigration inspectors. Very few immigrants who arrived in America were turned away. Those who chide unauthorized immigrants with the claim their grandparents came legally would do well to compare today’s immigration laws with the past; the laws are vastly different now.
Immigration as a Tool of Progressive Social Engineering
Prior to the first quotas, Ellis Island admitted 98% of immigrants who arrived. There were no immigrant visas; those who wanted to immigrate simply arrived, and unless they were in an excluded class (i.e. criminal, prostitute, sick, etc.) they were admitted.
In 1921 and 1924 strict per-nation quotas were imposed, designed to bar non-Europeans altogether, and severely restrict immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe. Early modern progressives like Margaret Sanger, Madison Grant, and Harry Laughlin argued Southern and Eastern Europeans were genetically inferior and lowered the intelligence of America’s people”, would never assimilate, came seeking charity, increased crime rates, etc, many of the same arguments we hear today.
Harry Laughlin infamously testified in Congress that 82% of Jewish immigrants were feeble minded.” Madison Grant wrote the book “The Passing of the Great Race, or the Racial Basis of European History” (read here), which argued “Nordics” were superior, and greatly inflamed American public opinion against immigration. Hitler called Grant’s book his “Bible” and ordered it translated and published in Nazi Germany, and Nuremberg war crimes defendant Karl Brandt referred to Grant’s book. Not surprisingly Hitler praised the 1924 National Origins Act.
“…’human weeds,’ ‘reckless breeders,’ ‘spawning… human beings who never should have been born.”
Later, Laughlin founded the Pioneer Fund, which later financed today’s leading anti-any-immigrant organizations with millions, and still funds academic “research” about “differences” between the races. Numerous Pioneer funded studies were referenced in the book “The Bell Curve“, which insinuates blacks have lower intelligence levels than whites for genetic reasons. The book has been widely debunked by other researchers, but the ideology keeps cropping up, most recently among the anti-any-immigrant lobby headed by FAIR, NumbersUSA, and the Center for Immigration Studies. FAIR grew with the help of millions in funding from the Pioneer Fund.
John Tanton, founder of the modern day anti-any-immigrant movement is very much like Madison Grant, except Tanton’s bigotry is much more subdued, since most modern day Americans won’t listen to bigots. Like Madison Grant, John Tanton is a liberal, conservationist, eugenics activist, and has held leadership positions in Planned Parenthood, Zero Population Growth, etc. Most of the arguments Tanton and his disciples use to argue against immigration and for population reduction are identical to those of his ideological great-grandfathers Madison Grant, Harry Laughlin, Margaret Sanger, and Paul Ehrlich (author of The Population Bomb).
Is the Gang of Eight Immigration Reform Amnesty?
Those who constantly throw out the term “amnesty” in describing the gang of eight immigration reform would do well to consult Webster’s dictionary:
amnesty: the act of an authority (as a government) by which pardon is granted to a large group of individuals.
pardon: the excusing of an offense without exacting a penalty.
With $2,000 in fines and a ten year wait to even apply for permanent resident status, clearly a stiff penalty is exacted, in addition to a tough set of requirements such as proof of payment of taxes, background check, etc. The 1986 immigration reform clearly was amnesty, as no fine or wait time was required. Those who met the requirements were simply granted permanent resident status.
Is “Amnesty” a Magnet for More Illegal Behavior?
Opponents of the gang of eight immigration reform argue amnesty is a magnet for more illegal immigration, and point to the increase in illegal immigration after 1986 as evidence that amnesty is a magnet.
Historically, what has been America’s experience with mass amnesty? Did past amnesties lead to more illegal behavior?
America’s first mass amnesty was Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation granting amnesty to confederates who would swear a loyalty oath to the United States. Lincoln didn’t live to see the end of the civil war, but President Andrew Johnson honored Lincoln’s amnesty, though he added exclusions, for example refusing amnesty to top confederate leaders. How many civil wars have we experienced since 1865? Zero!
If the U.S. had made a serious effort to prosecute confederates for treason during time of war, we could probably have denuded a number of forests building gallows for hanging hundreds of thousands. However, the nation saw the need to move on after a bloody civil war, and virtually all confederates were granted amnesty in exchange for regaining their loyalty to the U.S.
America’s first immigration mass amnesty came in the late 1920s. Early modern progressives saw immigration laws as a tool for social engineering. Immigrants from various nations were barred, starting with the Chinese in 1882.
In the early 20th century, 200,000 Italians immigrated to the U.S. each year, but in 1924 Italy’s immigration quota was set at under 4,000, a 98% reduction! Similar reductions were imposed on Russia and other Eastern and Southern European nations. Not surprisingly, within a few years the U.S. had several million unauthorized immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe, who were “inspected” and allowed to stay. Then, as today, it was considered impractical to deport so many. Recently the New York Times opined that Hispanics are the New Italians, drawing parallels with 20th century immigration.
Did the late 1920s immigration amnesty lead to more illegal immigration? Clearly not, because the great depression soon followed and the economic forces that led so many to immigrate illegally vanished.
Critics of immigration reform argue the 1986 amnesty served as a magnet to more illegal immigration, but was this really the case? In statistics, there’s a term “correlation is not necessarily causation.” A doctor once pointed out in an op-ed the correlation between pantyhose usage and lung disease, but pantyhose clearly doesn’t cause lung disease!
There has indeed been more illegal immigration after 1986, but a review of the inflows of unauthorized immigrants reveals that inflows followed to the state of the economy, not policy. During the late 1990s illegal immigration inflows surged, while in recent years net illegal immigration from Mexico has dropped to zero, as the U.S. experienced a jobless recovery while Mexico’s economy has been strong, and Mexican birth rates have declined. AFTER a 1996 law that toughened immigration enforcement, there was a surge in illegal immigration. Clearly illegal immigration inflows have much more to do with economics than policy!
Is Today’s Immigration Policy “Conservative” or “Progressive”?
The quota concept originated with early modern progressives, who were huge believers in racial eugenics and social Darwinism. The infamous Dillingham Commission (1907-1910) authorized by Congress devoted entire volumes of their report to immigrants as charity seekers, criminals, and predicted immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe would never assimilate and become a vast underclass. Children of immigrants were often “retarded” according to the Dillingham Commission.
I have read through several volumes of the Dillingham Commission Report, and one thing stands out: Southern and Eastern Europeans were smeared in the same manner as Hispanic immigrants are today. A vast permanent underclass was predicted by early modern progressives, but for some reason I’m not able to find a vast underclass of Southern and Eastern European descendants in America today, nor am I able to locate a large population of feeble minded Jews as predicted by 1924 National Origins Act architect Harry Laughlin. In fact, Jews are among the most successful demographics.
The blatantly racist per nation immigration quotas and bars to non-European immigration were eliminated in 1965, but the quota concept remains with us to this day, for both immigrants and guest workers.
Do quotas make sense? I think not! Immigration is driven by economics, and inflows should be driven by labor markets, not arbitrary quotas influenced by special interest groups (i.e. big labor). Critics of immigration reform point to America’s immigrant quota as largest in the world. However, as a percentage of population U.S. immigration inflows are #22 of 34 OECD nations. Canada admits 2-1/2 times as many immigrants; Switzerland and Germany five times as many, and tiny Luxembourg ten times as many immigrants, as a percentage of population. For some strange reason our demise as a nation is predicted if we accept more immigrants, but 21 other nations already accept more immigrants and don’t experience the dire consequences predicted for America.
Similar arguments were made by slavery proponents, that freeing the slaves would bankrupt the U.S. We freed the slaves and paid for a long civil war, but didn’t go bankrupt in the process.
Conservative Principles in Immigration Reform
Conservatives believe in limited government in free markets and limited government, but are current immigration policies consistent with conservative principles? I say emphatically not! The main features of today’s immigration policy are arbitrary quotas with no basis in free market capitalism, with massive government bureaucracies telling employers how many immigrants they can hire, how to recruit them, and even how much to pay. Some employers, particularly farmers, must deal with several big bureaucracies, with no assurance their harvesters arrive in time for harvest, and big fines for honest paperwork mistakes. Not surprisingly, farmers bitterly complain how difficult the system is to use, and less than 10% of farm ‘guest workers’ have visas.
Conservatives also believe in the ‘rule of law’ and conservatives are against amnesty, as amnesty by itself is a temporary solution. As a conservative, I am opposed to amnesty in and of itself, as that doesn’t address the underlying problem. In 1986 Congress passed immigration amnesty with some enforcement provisions which proved largely ineffective. Congress failed to follow up for many years on border security, and never followed up on guest workers. In effect, in 1986 Congress ‘kicked the can down the road’, making three million immigrants legal, without addressing the root causes of the problem.
Current immigration and guest worker quotas have no rationale in economic need. Historically whenever economic demand for immigrants and guest worker labor exceeds quotas, the result has always been widespread illegal immigration. This happened in the 1929s, again in the 1950s when a resurgent post war economy required more guest workers than the quota. We’ve often experienced illegal immigration since the braceros program was eliminated during the 1960s at the behest of big labor unions. Big labor continues to be a major obstacle to guest worker programs. We presently have 9-9.5 ‘guest workers’ of which 1.8 million have a work authorized visa. The balance would no doubt be happy to obtain a visa if those were available to them, but they’re not.
Immigration Reform and the Rule of Law
As a conservative, I support the ‘rule of law’, but I also recognize that enforcement alone cannot turn bad policy into good policy. If we lowered superhighway speed limits to 20 MPH to conserve gasoline we’d surely have enforcement problems! Then would we pour massive enforcement resources to stop speeding, or step back and recognize that policy and enforcement are intertwined, and sensible policies result in manageable enforcement? Or would we take an ‘enforcement first’ stance and massively enforce a 20 MPH speed limit until everyone stops speeding, before setting rational speed limits?
When guest worker visas are limited by arbitrary quotas to less than 20% of demand, we should not be surprised that many come here illegally seeking work. Obviously we’d like for everyone to enter the U.S. through the front door, but when that door has been broken for decades we should not be surprised that our ‘hired help’ enters through the back door or windows. It’s obvious that the best way to divert migrant workers from illegal channels to legal channels is with sensible guest worker programs.
It’s Time to Pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform
I’m not happy with all aspects of the gang of eight immigration reform. I’d rather see us get rid of quotas, perhaps implementing a tariff on guest worker wages payable by employers, to tile the table in favor of hiring Americans workers first. It’s easy to predict future waves of illegal immigration, when demand exceeds quota and Congress again fails to act, under pressure from big labor. Big labor has already been hard at work undermining guest worker reforms, for example limiting the number of guest worker visas in the construction industry. However, once housing rebounds, and the need for guest workers exceed quotas, we can expect unauthorized immigrants to fill that gap.
I’m also not keen about e-verify. The federal government has been trying to make e-verify work since 1996. E-Verify is a deeply flawed system. Unauthorized immigrants can readily circumvent e-verify by using a real person’s name and social security, with fake ID. As long as the name and social security number match, most will pass e-verify. U.S. citizens who are unlucky enough to be the subject of errors in government databases, and their employers, can expect to spend weeks dealing with mammoth bureaucracies to get errors fixed!
The gang of eight immigration reform plan calls for increased use of e-verify, and buried within the bill are provisions to incorporate biometrics into e-verify. Biometrics will make it much more difficult to circumvent e-verify, but many Americans will balk at providing biometric information such as fingerprints, DNA, etc., viewing it as the invasion of privacy it is. Another major annoyance will be exit controls for everyone leaving the country. Without capturing information about those leaving the U.S., the entry/exit tracking for visa overstayers cannot work. However, this will impose delays on all travelers exiting the U.S.
However, all-in-all, the gang of eight immigration reform plan would be a big improvement over the present situation. Eliminating quotas is not likely as long as progressives and their big labor backers are wedded to the notion of quotas, especially for guest workers. Guest worker programs would be streamlined, and guest worker visas would become portable. It may also be easier for Congress to act in the future with the most contentious issue – legalization – behind us. We should all back the gang of eight immigration reform plan, while also writing our elected representatives with suggestions for improvement.
Bob Quasius is the founder and president of Cafe Con Leche Republicans.
Freer Labor: A Biblical Concept for Immigrant Labor
At first glance when reading through the Bible, one would think that the Bible does not directly address the concept of free labor – the concept that immigrants should legally be allowed to travel and be employed without any overly encumbering restrictions. However, if one takes a closer look, one will notice several key biblical principles that can support the idea behind a biblical policy for immigrant labor. Moreover, economic data also reveals that there is also a net benefit that is achieved from immigrant labor. In Romans 13, Paul is clear that God gave the sword to the government to punish those who do evil and God expects the government to reward good behavior. The United States government does much good and it gets many things right. Yet, one of its grave shortcomings has to do with the issue of immigration. The current immigration system in the US can even be considered unjust due to three inherent flaws: (1) its regulations infringe on the Christian individual/business owners’ rights to be able to carry out God’s command to be hospitable towards immigrants, (2) its regulations are unrealistic towards immigrant laborers and employers, (3) and its regulations go against God’s command to do good for the nation’s people.
First, the scripture makes it clear that God expected His people to be hospitable towards immigrants. The Hebrew word used to refer to resident aliens or immigrants in the Old Testament is gēr. This term is used to refer to both Israel and any other people group residing in a foreign land (Ex 23:21). In a sense gēr is referring to an individual’s status or position in the foreign nation. The scriptures also makes mention of the verb gur, which means to “reside [as an alien].” According to Rousas Rushdoony, the biblical laws dealing with hospitality towards aliens both “permanent and temporary” are dealing with those who resided in the land and not those foreigners who were just passing through. This concept of hospitality was a personal, individual, or familial decision to take care of the immigrant.
God called his chosen people to treat the resident immigrant justly. In fact, the Old Testament is very specific in requiring the people of God to treat the immigrant as a protected class (Ex 20:10, 23:12; Lev 16:29). This is most clearly shown in Exodus 22:21 which states, “You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt,” and Deuteronomy 27:19, “‘Cursed is he who distorts the justice due an alien, orphan, and widow.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’” (NASB) In the book of Exodus, God reminds the nation of Israel that they were once resident aliens in Egypt. One can therefore infer that the reason God willed for them to remember this, was so they would make it a point to treat the immigrants in their land as they would have wished to be treated in Egypt.
God also had expectations of how the nation of Israel was to treat foreign laborers, in matters such as being given the right to glean for food and to be employed as residents if taken in by a family to work on their residence. Daniel Carrol states,
Without land and kin, many sojourners would be dependent on Israelites for work, provisions and protection. They could be day laborers (Deut. 24:14), and the Old Testament mentions that they were conscripted to do the labor in building the temple (1 Chron. 22:2; 2 Chron. 2:17-18). 
In other words, God expected his people to treat the immigrant labor justly. Bernhard Asen even further bolsters this point by stating that Israel was not just to treat the ger as a protected class, but the people of Israel were to also incorporate or include them into their society. Asen States, “in addition to protection, inclusion of the gēr into the community to share privileges also is seen as important.” This incorporation according to Christopher Wright included the “feast of weeks and booths,” and a resident alien who happened to be a hired laborer could also be included at Passover. Write argues the eligibility was based on the fact that they would have been included within an Israelite family with whom they were residing. Therefore, the people of God in the Old Testament were to be hospitable toward the resident alien and include and protect them as a class, just as they would have wanted to have been treated when they were in slaves in the land of Egypt.
This concept is even more important if one looks at the teaching of Jesus. As he stated in Luke 6:31, “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.” Thus, just as Christians would want people from other nations to give them help and employment, so that they could take care of their families, so then should Christians help out those immigrants who wish to labor for their families. However, this has proven problematic in the United States since there are unrealistic worker visa programs that make it almost impossible for Christian business owners to be able to be hospitable and have the opportunity to hire immigrant laborers who are in need. The current federal caps on immigrant labor incentivize many immigrants to come here illegally and risk being caught. Many of these people, if they could, would have obtained a work visa or a legal means to come to the United States.
This becomes a problem, biblically, for Christians because as the chosen people of God they too should be hospitable towards aliens and any other class of people who should be protected. This is why the current immigration policy restrictions pose a dilemma for Christians, because while they are to be submissive and respectful to the government God has placed over them, they also have an obligation to protect and seek justice for those who are in classes that need to be protected, like the resident alien. Christian individuals/business owners should respect their government, while at the same time seek for a more biblical policy that will lead to a more realistic policy towards aliens seeking work, and continue to work to incorporate the alien into the community. This is all founded on the basic biblical concept of loving one’s neighbors and treating them, as the believer would want to be treated if he or she were in a similar situation.
The second problem with the immigration system is that it has unrealistic regulations on immigrant labor. As previously mentioned, the scriptures do not ban migrant or immigrant labor. Rather, it takes for granted that foreigners would be around and would need protection. Just as prohibition failed because it was an unrealistic regulation on human action; so too the current immigrant labor quota system is failing because it is unrealistically regulating labor. There is not a biblical mandate on the total number of immigrants a nation should allow to enter its borders; rather, the Scriptures simply presuppose that resident aliens will be around. The guest worker program in the United States is broken down into three major sections H-1b(skilled labor) which is capped at 65,000 persons and the H-2a(agricultural) and H-2b (non agricultural) visas – both capped at 66,000. These all do not even come close to meeting the demand for labor that many American industries need.
In addition to these quotas, the Federal government, under the current administration, has made it harder on farmers to legally higher immigrant labor. According to an Immigration Works policy brief, the Obama administration’s new regulations eliminated “the streamline application process for employers” implemented by the Bush administration and instead in required employers to “submit to a lengthy DOL(Department of Labor) review,” to apply for immigrant laborers. The Obama administration also has raised the federal minimum wage on foreign workers to $9.48, and increased fines to $1,500 per employee for farmers who are missing even one piece of paper work. This is on top of that fact that it costs farmers thousands of dollars to hire lawyers to help them file all the legal paper work with the department of labor. Another added cost for farmers created by new regulations is the increased risk for being sued. David Bier explains,
Labor Department requirements mandate U.S. employees be treated similarly to migrants, but Obama officials created a new definition of ‘corresponding’ treatment that could be interpreted by courts to include the housing, transportation, and in some instances, meals that H-2A regulations require employers to supply to migrants. Disgruntled employees who are citizens or permanent residents could sue under the ambiguous definition and potentially collect damages.
The current administration has also passed new regulations on highly skilled laborers with H-1b visas that are adding cost to businesses that would keep their business here in America if it were not for these added costs. One such regulation dictated that no company who had employees with H-1b visas could be eligible to partake in federal bailouts through the Trouble Asset Relief program known as TARP. There has also been an increase in the processing fees of business with more than 50 employees who wish to higher immigrants with H-1b visas “from $325 to as much as $2,300.” These are all added cost that do harm to business and ultimately the nation’s economy.
All of these added costs and legal liabilities incentivize farmers to hire illegal immigrants. The caps on legal immigration also incentivize immigrant workers to come work in the United States illegally, even with increased federal enforcement. The fact is, “if the extra cost of such enforcement[along with these new regulations] is larger than the net fiscal cost of illegal immigration, then driving illegal immigration to zero would fail a cost benefit test.” Current federal enforcement for hiring legal immigrants may cost more than to take a risk to higher immigrants who are not authorized to be here. A perfect example of this risk taking by business owners can be found in Arizona, since it passed the Legal Arizona Workers Act (LAWA). LAWA required Arizona employers to use E-verify to ensure the legal status of their employees. In response to this law, employers and immigrants responded differently. First, there was an increase in self employment by 73%, of which, “about 25,000 Arizona Hispanic noncitizens dropped out of the formal wage market and became self-employed.” Moreover, employers responded with only a “72 percent” participation rate in 2010, and a “67 percent in 2011.” The reality is that this is a Genesis 3 world; unrealistic laws like prohibition and immigration labor regulations are unjust because they do not coincide with basic human nature. The government should seek to do good for its citizens (Rom 13:4), and placing unrealistic labor restrictions that incentivize individuals to sin by breaking laws is not good. This is why Christians should seek to reform immigrant labor laws to be more free and open by removing these unrealistic restrictions.
Thirdly, the current immigration policies inhibit economic growth and reduce national productivity. This is counter to the idea that, “one of the primary responsibilities of government is to act as God’s servant to ‘do good’ for the citizens of a nation (see Rom. 13:4).” The reality is that immigration will increase the nation’s ability to produce and therefore increase economic growth. Yet, there are some detractors who disagree with this position like Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS), and possibly the most academic detractor when it comes to low skilled immigrant labor is Economist George Borjas.
For example CAPS runs sensational TV ads, insinuating that Americans are unemployed, because immigrants are “taking American jobs.” This is clearly Malthusian’s thinking that there are only a set number of jobs. There are not a set number of jobs. Jobs are created and lost every day; there is no set labor force. Since the 1950s, there has been an increase of about 90 million new workers in the labor force including women, and baby boomers. This has not resulted in any “long term increase” in unemployment rates. Many activists who support immigration and immigrant labor argue that immigrants do the jobs that Americans won’t do, at least for the wages being offered, but if the wages were increased then Americans would apply for those jobs. In some cases this may be true, but it does not ring true in all situations. The problem is that higher wages would mean that many of those jobs would no longer be there. Benjamin Powell explains,
Approximately one third of all garment workers in the United States are immigrants. If wages needed to be higher to get Americans to take the jobs, many of these jobs would have gone overseas. .. In Arizona, for example, only 30 percent of the 2004 lettuce crop was harvested; the rest was left in the ground to rot. Losses were nearly $1 billion. Farmers certainly could have paid higher wages to get the crop harvested, but losses would presumably have been even greater.
In the end, an increase in wages could result in a loss of productivity and economic growth.
Another proponent of the idea that immigrants are taking “American jobs” is Harvard Economist George Borjas. In 2010 he coauthored an article arguing that African American incarceration rates were on the rise because low skilled immigrants were taking their jobs. Diana Furchotgott-Roth explains the flaws in Borjas’s study. First, African American men started to “withdraw from the labor force in the 1960s,” when immigrants made up “less than 1 percent” of the labor force.Moreover, “The percentage of black men between ages 16 and 24 who were not in school, not working, and not looking for work rose to 18 percent in 1982 from 9 percent in 1964. It then reached 23 percent in 1997 and remained at that level as of 2011.” Finally, Borjas does not even mention in his study the changes in laws and policies, nor does he consider how both have been enforced. Therefore, immigration is not the reason for the rise in African American unemployment or the direct reason for the increase in their incarceration rates.
Another problem with this argument that immigrants take American jobs is the fact that, many more families are moving towards both parents working outside of the household. Hanson found that this, “often requires hiring outside labor to care for children, clean the home, launder clothes, and tend to the yard.” He also found that the in cities where immigrant labor was prevalent that these services were more affordable.
Borjas in several of his studies showed that cheap immigrant labor harms the high school dropouts by reducing their wages. In 2003 he claimed wages dropped by 9%, in 2004 by 7%, and in 2006 by 5%. There are two other studies worth noting. One is by David Card which showed that low skilled immigrant labor reduced low skilled workers wages by 3 percent in cities where the population of immigrants was higher. The second study was done by Giovanni Peri, who found that immigrants only cause 0.7 percent decrease in low skilled workers’ wages. In other words, even though wages are depressed for high school drop outs, there is not enough decisive evidence to point out how much wages are lowered, nor is there enough negative evidence to call for a reduction in low skilled immigrant labor compared to its benefits.
There any many benefits to having affordable labor. As previously mentioned, in cities that boast a high percentage of low skilled immigrant labor, goods and services are provided at a more affordable rate. This translates into cost savings for the population as a whole. It is imperative to understand that the total national income is not lost from these savings; rather it is redistributed by creating employer gains and savings for consumers. The savings for the consumer will allow them to later choose where they would like to spend the extra cash, which would in turn help another business, consequently, helping the employees of that business. In the end, the wealth is not lost. In addition, high skilled laborers who are paid less than native born employees actually add to economic growth and job creation. Economist Peri explains that “firms pay immigrants less than their marginal productivity, increasing the firms’ profits. Such cost savings on immigrants act as an increase in productivity for firms…[T]his allows firms to expand production and employ more people in complementary task many of which are supplied by natives.” Therefore, immigrant labor helps to creates more affordable goods and services by increasing profits to businesses and helps them to employ more Americans, which are net benefits, instead of a net loss.
In conclusion, a biblical policy towards immigrant labor would be to allow for a freer more open system, because it fulfils God’s command that the government do good to the people, and it allows Christian individuals/business owners to legally carry out God’s command to be hospitable towards immigrant laborers. This should include the removal of federal caps on labor and a shift towards a system where the free market decides the number of laborers that are needed. There should also be a removal of unrealistic federal mandates and regulations that make it harder for business owners to legally hire immigrant labor. A policy based off the free market would not just benefit the United States, but it would also benefit the immigrant who comes to the United States to make several times more than he or she could have earned in their home nation. In many cases, this move would also improve the immigrant’s standard of living. Some may argue that these immigrants harm low skilled native born workers; but the reality is that these people already have protections which come in the form of unemployment insurance, welfare, food stamps and so on. Ultimately, the government’s job should not be one of creating jobs, but one of being just. A just society creates the ideal framework for economic growth and prosperity – for both the citizen and the immigrant.
 The term freer labor is used instead of Free Labor because, the author does not believe in open borders, but does believe that the free flow should be allowed by the Government who should screen and have limited regulations, but not cap allowing people to freely and legally come to work in the United States.
 Baker, D. L. Tight Fists or Open Hands?: Wealth and Poverty in Old Testament Law. Grand Rapids, Mich: William B. Eerdmans Pub, 2009.178.
 Baker, Tight Fist Open Hands, 178. This verb “gur” (1481a.גּוּר)has been translated by the NASB several ways which many can convey the idea of residing, or dwelling: “abide*(1), alien(1), aliens(1), assemble(1), colonize(1), dwell(3), dwells(1), habitation(1), live(4), live as aliens(2), lives(1), reside(13), resided(1), resides(3), sojourn(11), sojourned(9), sojourning(1), sojourns(13), stay(6), staying(4), stays(1), strangers(3).” Robert L. Thomas, ‘1481aגּוּר gur.” New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries : Updated Edition (Anaheim: Foundation Publications, Inc., 1998).
 Rushdoony, Rousas John. The Institutes of Biblical Law 2, Law and Society. (Nutley, N.J.]: Craig Pr, 1982.):199.
 M. Daniel Carrol R., Christians at the Boarder: Immigration, the Church, and the Bible. (Grand Rapids: Baker Pub. Group, 2008): 95.
 Carrol, Christians at the Boarder, 103.
 Bernhard Asen, “From Acceptance to Inclusion: The Stranger (גֵּר /gēr) in Old Testament Tradition, in Christianity and the stranger: historical essays. (ed. Nichols, Francis W. Atlanta, Ga: Scholars Press, 1995): 16-35.
 Christopher J. H. Wright, God’s People in God’s Land: Family, Land, and Property in the Old Testament. (Grand Rapids, Mich: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co, 1990.): 101.
 Wright, God’s People in God’s Land, 101-102.
 Andorra Bruno, “Immigration of Temporary Lower-Skilled Workers: Current Policy and Related Issues,” Congressional Research services. (2012): 9.
 Immigration Works USA, “Reduced Access: New Regulations Aimed at Temporary Worker Visas.” (2009):1.
Beir, Obama’s Secret, 2012.
 Beir, Obama’s Secret, 2012; & Immigration Works USA, “Reduced Access,” 2009, 3.
 Beir, Obama’s Secret, 2012
 Alex Nowrasteh, The Economic Case against Arizona’s Immigration Laws, Cato Policy Analysis No. 709. (2012).9.
 Nowrasteh, The Economic Case, 9.
 Wayne Grudem, Politics According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for understanding Modern Political Issues in the Light of Scripture, (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 2010), 269.
 Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS), “Press Release: Memorial Day TV Ad Ask why President Obama is admitting millions of Immigrant Workers when 1 in 3 Young Veterans are Jobless.” 22 May 2012.
 Powell, Case for Immigration, 2010.
 Powell, Case for Immigration, 2010.
 Powell, Case for Immigration, 2010.
 Borjas, George J., Jeffrey Grogger, and Gordon H. Hanson. 2010. “Immigration and the Economic Status of African-American Men.” Economica 77, no. 306: 255-282.
 Furchotgott-Roth, The Path Forward, 2012, 12.
 Harrison, Immigration and Economic Growth, 2012, 28.
 Harrison, Immigration and Economic Growth, 2012, 28.
 Furchotgott-Roth, The Path Forward, 2012, 9.
 Furchotgott-Roth, The Path Forward, 2012, 9.
 Harrison, Immigration and Economic Growth, 2012, 28.
 Peri, Giovanni. “IMMIGRATION, LABOR MARKETS, AND PRODUCTIVITY.” CATO Journal 32, no. 1 (Winter2012 2012): 35-53.44.
Asen, Bernhard, “From Acceptance to Inclusion: The Stranger (גֵּר /gēr) in Old Testament Tradition, in Christianity and the stranger: historical essays. ed. Nichols, Francis W. Atlanta, Ga: Scholars Press, 1995.
Baker, D. L. Tight Fists or Open Hands?: Wealth and Poverty in Old Testament Law. Grand Rapids, Mich: William B. Eerdmans Pub, 2009.178.
Beir, David, “Obama’s Secret Anti-Immigrant Campaign.” Real Clear Politics.com, 9 July 2012, (16 April 2013).
Borjas, George J., Jeffrey Grogger, and Gordon H. Hanson. 2010. “Immigration and the Economic Status of African-American Men.” Economica 77, no. 306: 255-282.
Bruno, Andorra, “Immigration of Temporary Lower-Skilled Workers: Current Policy and Related Issues,” Congressional Research services.2012.
Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS), “Press Release: Memorial Day TV Ad Ask why President Obama is admitting millions of Immigrant Workers when 1 in 3 Young Veterans are Jobless.” 22 May 2012.
Carroll R., M. Daniel. Christians at the Border Immigration, the Church, and the Bible. Grand Rapids: Baker Pub. Group, 2008.
Furchotgott-Roth, Diana ,“The Path Forward for Immigration”. Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. 12 December 2012.8.
Grudem, Wayne, Politics According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for understanding Modern Political Issues in the Light of Scripture, Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 2010.
Harrison, Gordon H., Immigration and Economic Growth, CATO Journal. 32, 1 (2012): 31.
Immigration Works USA, “Reduced Access: New Regulations Aimed at Temporary Worker Visas.” (2009):1.
Nowrasteh, Alex, The Economic Case against Arizona’s Immigration Laws, Cato Policy Analysis No. 709. (2012).1-20.
Peri, Giovanni. “IMMIGRATION, LABOR MARKETS, AND PRODUCTIVITY.” CATO Journal 32, no. 1 (Winter2012 2012): 35-53.44.
Powell, Benjamin , An economic Case for Immigration, 7 June 2010.
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Thomas, Robert L. ‘1481aגּוּר gur.” New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries : Updated Edition,Anaheim: Foundation Publications, Inc., 1998.
United States citizen and immigration services, “Cap Count for H-2B Nonimmigrants,” 17 April 2013, (21 April 21, 2013).
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This was originally published on Thomas’s personal Blog Arizona Seminarian
Reposted with author’s permission – original link.
Editors note: as with all blog postings that appear with a by-line, the opinions presented are the author’s and not necessarily the positions of Cafe Con Leche Republicans.
Thomas Martin Salazar is an Arizona leader of the Café con Leche Republicans. Thomas was born and raised in Arizona. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in History from Grand Canyon University and is currently working on obtaining a MDiv in Biblical Communication from Phoenix Seminary. Thomas has also served as the Grand Canyon University College Republicans Vice President and interim President (February 2007-April 2008) and as a Maricopa County Republican Precinct committeeman (August 2009 – August 2012).
A m e r i c a n P o s t – G a z e t t e
Distributed by C O M M O N S E N S E , in Arizona
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
by Bob Price (re-posted with author’s permission – original link)
Immigration reform should be viewed as a matter of national security and not social engineering. Currently our immigration system is more about family reunification than it is about economic needs and national security. In fact, the current system is so broken that we have millions of undocumented people wandering around the country, and we have no idea who they are, why they are here, or the history of their background. The current system must be reformed, not to pander to the voting block of one particular group or another, but rather because our national needs require it.
Many times groups try to label any attempt at immigration reform as amnesty. They dig their heels into the ground screaming “Amnesty, Amnesty” like it is some kind of honorable battle cry. The reality is, their blocking of immigration reform has actually granted a de facto amnesty to those who have entered the country illegally and those who entered legally but remained after their visas expired. Millions of people are allowed to stay without examination as to purpose or history. This is a dangerous situation to us all.
Furthermore, our current stance of increasing border security (which should continue) without correcting the problems of our broken immigration system have led to much lawlessness along the border and across the nation. While our borders have become more secure, we do not have any kind of guest worker program for people to come here legally, which has created a market for human trafficking and slavery. Instead of simply applying for a legal work permit, people who are starving for work to support their families are forced to engage in criminal behavior to come here. Not only do they spend thousands of dollars to human smugglers, they end up bringing their families because it is too difficult to come and go legally.
The revenue of human trafficking along our borders also helps fuel the armies of the drug cartels. A virtual civil war is going on along our southern border making parts of Mexico more dangerous than Iraq. Thousands of Mexicans are being killed because of this. Furthermore, once the human cargo has arrived in the United States, we have created more lawlessness as many unscrupulous employers will illegally hire these workers and improperly misclassified them as independent contractors, pay them sub-standard wages, steal wages from their workers and deprive the government of much needed tax revenue.
Most of the millions of people who are here and who come here illegally, do so without any evil intent. They come here seeking work and wages whereby they can support themselves and their families. But for those who do come here with criminal intent, our broken system enables them to hide in the shadows. Once they have committed crimes, they can simply change their names and disappear into the darkness, or they can simply move to another community and start over again. A reformed system should provide for a biometric identification system which would render annonymity much more difficult.
In addition to the national security needs of our nation, immigration reform is also needed for economic reasons. Despite the fact that our nation suffers from high levels of unemployment and underemployment, there is still a high and unfulfilled demand for manual labor workers. Our current education system is focused on sending people to colleges and universities for high-paying white-collar jobs. In the mean time, employers in the service, construction, agriculture and many other industries struggle to find workers.
Immigration Reform and Guest Worker Programs are not about providing cheap labor to employers. It is about providing workers who are willing to do the work. I remember hearing President Bush, in a State of the Union speech, say that we need immigrant workers to do the jobs American’s won’t do. I was angry – very angry. I thought that was a lie. But as I have studied this problem and talked with employers who want and can’t find legal workers in adequate supply, I have learned that it really is true. Groups like FAIR, the Center for Immigration Studies, and NumbersUSA claim that a guest worker program would create a slave-labor class of workers. The exact opposite is true. Our current broken system has already created a slave labor pool of unidentified workers who cannot compete in the open marketplace and who are afraid to report substandard wages and wage theft.
McAllen International Bridge between US and Mexico
Workers participating in a legal guest worker program would be able to compete in the open marketplace for jobs. If an employer attempted to abuse the worker’s rights either by paying substandard wages or comitting wage theft, the worker would be able to report the employer’s unethical and illegal behaviors as well as move to another job.
Immigration reform would also help legitimate employers in the marketplace. Under our current system, unethical employers are able to have an improper competitive advantage over companies who seek to follow the law. They do this by avoiding taxes through misclassifying workers as independent contractors, paying substandard wages and even stealing wages from a captive slave-labor market. In addition to unfair business competition, these unethical employers also place a burden on taxpayers. By misclassifying workers as independent contractors, they allow deadbeat parents to hide from the child support collection process thereby adding single parents not receiving child support to our welfare roles. Furthermore, by not providing workmen’s compensation and health insurance benefits to their “independent contractors”, workers who are injured on the job end up being dumped in emergency rooms adding to our expanding healthcare costs. Additionally, many of these employers hold these workers under hostile conditions where they are truly held as captors in a slave-labor market.
Border Security and Immigration Reform must both move forward. Not because it is pandering to one side or the other, but because it is the right thing to do for our nation’s security, social and economic needs. The current standoff plays into the hands of Democrats who want to keep the issue as a wedge issue to separate some conservatives from voting for Republicans. But more importantly, it is simply an ongoing amnesty for the people who are here and for those who illegally and improperly profit from this stalemate. We must continue to make the borders more secure, but we cannot wait until some date in the future to also address the issue of reforming our broken immigration system.
A m e r i c a n P o s t – G a z e t t e
Distributed by C O M M O N S E N S E , in Arizona
A m e r i c a n P o s t – G a z e t t e
Distributed by C O M M O N S E N S E , in Arizona
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Here’s a quick wrap-up of what Republicans have been saying on President Obama’s non-enforcement measure, immigration and the Latino vote:
First my comments:
Next, Congressman Schweikert’s comments:
Then Senator Jon Kyl commented on Fox News:
Senator John McCain on Meet the Press:
Finally, Governor Mitt Romney at the National Association of Latino Elected Officials:
And if you’re curious, here is what the Republican Party Platform says on “Immigration, National Security, and the Rule of Law”
Immigration policy is a national security issue, for which we have one test: Does it serve the national interest? By that standard, Republicans know America can have a strong immigration system without sacrificing the rule of law.
Enforcing the Rule of Law at the Border and Throughout the Nation
Border security is essential to national security. In an age of terrorism, drug cartels, and criminal gangs, allowing millions of unidentified persons to enter and remain in this country poses grave risks to the sovereignty of the United States and the security of its people. We simply must be able to track who is entering and leaving our country.
Our determination to uphold the rule of law begins with more effective enforcement, giving our agents the tools and resources they need to protect our sovereignty, completing the border fence quickly and securing the borders, and employing complementary strategies to secure our ports of entry. Experience shows that enforcement of existing laws is effective in reducing and reversing illegal immigration.
Our commitment to the rule of law means smarter enforcement at the workplace, against illegal workers and lawbreaking employers alike, along with those who practice identity theft and traffic in fraudulent documents. As long as jobs are available in the United States, economic incentives to enter illegally will persist. But we must empower employers so they can know with confidence that those they hire are permitted to work. That means that the E-Verify system—which is an internet-based system that verifies the employment authorization and identity of employees—must be reauthorized. A phased-in requirement that employers use the E-Verify system must be enacted.
The rule of law means guaranteeing to law enforcement the tools and coordination to deport criminal aliens without delay – and correcting court decisions that have made deportation so difficult. It means enforcing the law against those who overstay their visas, rather than letting millions flout the generosity that gave them temporary entry. It means imposing maximum penalties on those who smuggle illegal aliens into the U.S., both for their lawbreaking and for their cruel exploitation. It means requiring cooperation among federal, state and local law enforcement and real consequences, including the denial of federal funds, for self-described sanctuary cities, which stand in open defiance of the federal and state statutes that expressly prohibit such sanctuary policies, and which endanger the lives of U.S. citizens. It does not mean driver’s licenses for illegal aliens, nor does it mean that states should be allowed to flout the federal law barring them from giving in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens, nor does it mean that illegal aliens should receive social security benefits, or other public benefits, except as provided by federal law.
We oppose amnesty. The rule of law suffers if government policies encourage or reward illegal activity. The American people’s rejection of en masse legalizations is especially appropriate given the federal government’s past failures to enforce the law.
Embracing Immigrant Communities
Today’s immigrants are walking in the steps of most other Americans’ ancestors, seeking the American dream and contributing culturally and economically to our nation. We celebrate the industry and love of liberty of these fellow Americans.
Both government and the private sector must do more to foster legally present immigrants’ integration into American life to advance respect for the rule of law and a common American identity. It is a national disgrace that the first experience most new Americans have is with a dysfunctional immigration bureaucracy defined by delay and confusion; we will no longer tolerate those failures.
In our multiethnic nation, everyone – immigrants and native-born alike – must embrace our core values of liberty, equality, meritocracy, and respect for human dignity and the rights of women.
One sign of our unity is our English language. For newcomers, it has always been the fastest route to prosperity in America. English empowers. We support English as the official language in our nation, while welcoming the ethnic diversity in the United States and the territories, including language. Immigrants should be encouraged to learn English. English is the accepted language of business, commerce, and legal proceedings, and it is essential as a unifying cultural force. It is also important, as part of cultural integration, that our schools provide better education in U.S. history and civics for all children, thereby fostering a commitment to our national motto, E Pluribus Unum.
We are grateful to the thousands of new immigrants, many of them not yet citizens, who are serving in the Armed Forces. Their patriotism is inspiring; it should remind the institutions of civil society of the need to embrace newcomers, assist their journey to full citizenship, and help their communities avoid patterns of isolation.
Our country continues to accept refugees from troubled lands all over the world. In some cases, these are people who stood with America in dangerous times, and they have first call on our hospitality. We oppose, however, the granting of refugee status on the basis of lifestyle or other non-political factors.
Congressman Flake says he does not support comprehensive immigration reform.
In 2007, Congressman Flake co-sponsored a bill promoting comprehensive immigration reform which included amnesty for illegal immigrants. (H.R. 1645)
Sounds a lot like President Obama’s decision to grant amnesty to more than 1 million illegal immigrants…
See For Yourself:
To read President Obama’s latest amnesty plan, click here.
To read Congressman Flake’s STRIVE Act, click here.
To read Wil Cardon’s plan to secure our borders and enforce our country’s rule of law, click here.
A m e r i c a n P o s t – G a z e t t e
Distributed by C O M M O N S E N S E , in Arizona
Sunday, January 22, 2012