The current guest-worker bill in the Senate is quite possibly the single worst bill of the Bush Administration’s tenure in office – which is in itself quite an accomplishment. Heritage Foundation researcher Robert Rector takes an in-depth look at the bill and why it will severely harm the American economy:
If enacted, CIRA would be the most dramatic change in immigration law in 80 years. In its overall impact on the nation, the bill would rival other historic milestones, such as the creation of Social Security or Medicare.
The bill would give amnesty to 10 million illegal immigrants and quintuple the rate of legal immigration into the U.S. Under the bill, the annual inflow of immigrants with the option of becoming legal permanent residents would rise from the current level of one million per year to more than five million per year. Within a few years, the annual inflow of new immigrants would exceed one percent of the current U.S. population. This would be the highest immigration rate in U.S. history.
Within 20 years, some 103 million new immigrants would enter the U.S. This number is about one-third of the current U.S. population. All of these immigrants would be permanent residents with the right to become citizens and vote in U.S. elections. CIRA would transform the United States socially, economically, and politically. Within two decades, the character of the nation would differ dramatically from what exists today.
With all the loopholes in the CIRA bill, we’d be better off in the long term to simply annex Mexico – at least we’d get some nice oil deposits out of the deal. Instead, this bill would basically destroy any attempts to control the flood of immigrants to our country. In fact, there’s a good chance that significant portions of this country wouldn’t be America anymore – you’d have essentially created vast ethnic states of relatively unassimilated immigrants who would be divorced from American politics and culture.
The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act would Balkanize the US in a way that should be absolutely and categorically unacceptable.
Rector’s updated analysis, based on the Bingaman amendment, downgraded the two-decade estimate for immigrants to approximately 66 million under the reform. That remains a total that boggles the imagination. As a result, critical analyses of other aspects of the bill are getting a focused reception in the Senate.
*The bill supposedly would protect American workers by ensuring that new immigrants would not take away jobs. However, the bill’s definition of ”United States worker” includes temporary foreign guest workers, so the protection is meaningless.
*It extends the Davis-Bacon Act’s requirement for the payment of ”prevailing wage” to all temporary guest workers. That puts them ahead of Americans, who have this protection only on federal job sites.
*Foreign guest farm workers, admitted under the bill, cannot be ”terminated from employment by any employer … except for just cause.” In contrast, American ag workers can be fired for any reason.
Not only would this bill create a new American underclass, but it would place them under the same rules that were used during the Depression to keep blacks from getting federal construction contracts. That would not only shut out many small minority contractors and upend the entire agricultural labor market, but would also be tantamount to the government enforcing wage controls on a significant amount of the American workforce. This is most certainly a bipartisan bill – there is something for everyone to utterly despise about it.
The best we could hope for is that it would leave the status quo intact – why would anyone hire a “temporary worker” when they’d have to pay Davis-Bacon’s exhorbitant wages for labor that’s not worth the cost? Instead, there’s a strong likelihood that people would continue to hire illegals at rock-bottom wages unless there’s serious enforcement of rules against doing that – and actually enforcing our immigration laws doesn’t seem to be a priority with Congress these days. It appears as though the rush to please everyone with this bill will end up pleasing no one. How Congress expects a system that brings in millions of largely unskilled workers and demands they be paid well above realistic market averages (not to mention the costs in bureaucratic red tape) will work is well beyond me.
CIRA must be defeated – it is a poorly-written piece of legislation that would create profound negative changes to the American economy and society, and such a program must not be allowed to come to fruition.