Back to the Drawing Board

June 20, 2011

We were reminded by The Politico this weekend of why it is always a bad idea to elect an immigration attorney to Congress. Aside from the inherent conflict of interest present in electing an individual who will be able to craft laws that directly benefit his bottom line, there are broader issues at stake.

The Politico article¬†sketches out Representative Labrador’s philosophy on immigration reform, which seems to be “a pox on both their houses.” He draws a false equivalence between those that want to see immigration laws already on the books enforced rigorously, and those who want to grant citizenship to nearly 20 million people living in this country illegally.

While the golden mean is a desirable objective in many cases, the idea that you should seek to ¬†compromise the essential principles of this country is misguided in the extreme. Labrador’s support for a guest-worker program is simply another form of corporate welfare that will weaken American laborers and entrepreneurs who are trying to abide by the law and compete in what should be a free market. It establishes a permanent class of non-citizens who are perpetually behind their American peers in both salary and benefits, and who will act as a source of unfettered chain migration in the future. Professor Borjas has delineated all of the problems inherent in guest worker programs for many years, but an argument even more relevant to this discussion is the opposition this proposed program would generate among Republican lawmakers.

The entire premise of the Politico piece, i.e. that Rep. Labrador is in a perfect position to forge a consensus on immigration reform, is flawed because it doesn’t take into account growing Republican reservations over such a bill. Just a few days ago the Utah State Republican Convention supported a resolution that called on its state legislature to repeal HB 116, a law establishing a statewide guest worker program with the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon. The notion that this proposal will be adopted by Congress, or supported by Democrats once it’s decoupled from a broader amnesty plan-as Raul Labrador has promised-is absurd.

The only people interested in perpetuating this fiction are media outlets such as Politico, which refuse to accept the concept that Americans fundamentally disagree with their ideas about what constitutes a functional immigration system in this country. If Representative Labrador is attempting to win the media primary, he’s well on his way to achieving that goal. However, the notion that his “compromise” is a workable solution to the problem of illegal immigration is foolhardy, at best.

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