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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

GRAHAM: IMMIGRATION REFORM DEAD IN THE SENATE

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.
Lindsay Graham has repeated his observation that the health care vote has poisoned the well in the Senate and not to expect any action on the issue this year. According to The Hill:
Graham, who's sought to work with some Democrats on the controversial issues, said that healthcare efforts had 'poisoned the well' for bipartisan cooperation going forward.

'When I say immigration's dead in the Senate, risk-aversion abounds,' Graham said during a press conference on Capitol Hill Thursday. 'Some of my colleagues will lose over healthcare. The consequences of this vote are going to be long-lasting politically.'

But Graham said that winning the support for any legislation was all but impossible in the wake of a divisive healthcare debate that's wrapped up this week in Congress.

'If you think you've created a problem for yourself on healthcare, why would you move onto immigration?' Graham asked, pointing to the number of centrist Democrats would be wary of signing on to support such an effort after already being bruised from the health debate.


I suspect the tantrum Republicans are throwing right now will not last very long. The President and the Democrats have gotten a substantial boost in the polls since the health care bill was signed and public opinion polls now show people are much more supportive of the legislation. Democrats seem to be getting more of a boost from actually passing a bill than they were from trying to be bipartisan.

The GOP risks solidifying their image as the "Party of No" - actually, the party of "Hell No" if you listen to Sarah Palin and John Boehner. That may appeal to the Tea Party crowd, but GOP strategists read polls like everyone else and when they see their prospects for major gains in November start to dwindle, you're going to see the rhetoric start to change. And you'll see the sane wing of the GOP start to break ranks in actual votes.

In the mean time, the Democrats have a lot to gain by pushing immigration this year, even if they ultimately lose. First, they can force the GOP to oppose the bill, something that GOP leaders know will cause them long term damage trying to court Hispanics. The GOP would rather the Democrats not bring immigration up at all so they don't have to cast a vote at all rather than vote no. In the mean time, Democrats will be able to solidify the support they've gotten from Hispanics over the last two election cycles.

Democrats also don't risk very much because polling consistently shows that the public generally does not consider immigration a major issue for them. In fact, it usually doesn't even break the top ten list of issues. Like health care, people are upset that the broken immigration system is getting ignored and they will reward the party that appears most interested in actually trying to solve it. If the Democrats actually won on the issue, they would likely get rewarded by the public simply for doing something.

Anti-immigrants who are upset about any kind of legalization are going to vote Republican anyway. Those folks are small in number and they are going to vote in November regardless of what the Democrats do. The voters Democrats need to worry about are Hispanics. If they don't vote in large numbers in November, close races are going to go the GOP way. And polling has showed these voters are deeply disappointed with the Democrats lack of action on immigration. If they are not energized by November, a number of Democrats will lose their seats.

Losing on comprehensive reform may not be the end of the world either. If CIR fails this time, it's proponents will at least have had their day in court and we might be able to return to some normalcy in immigration law making and focusing on small, passable bills, particularly relating to legal immigration. Not voting on CIR at all will simply put the discussion off another one to three years and by that point, the Democratic majority is likely to be less since that's been the trend historically. And desperately needed changes short of a broad legalization program will be ignored while we wait.

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Comments

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  1. Legal_Alien_from_Roswell's Avatar
    Very insightful analysis Greg, i hope the folks up at DC are reading this.
  2. beppenyc's Avatar
    Greg,
    did you see MTP this morning?
    i was wondering if you heard of any news about a piecemeal legislation, Godfather law, extension of the deadline, ect ect.
    Thank you
  3. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    Hi Beppe - What did they see on Meet the Press?
  4. Another Voice's Avatar
    "If CIR fails this time, it's proponents will at least have had their day in court and we might be able to return to some normalcy in immigration law making and focusing on small, passable bills, particularly relating to legal immigration."

    The problem is that the elephant in the room will continue to be the 12 million people that can't come out of the shadows... Hispanics and their representatives in Washington will have to flex their muscle at some point because that is their constituency. That would put the immigrant community against each other, the good old legal v illegal arguments and in the end that is a lose lose for the whole cause. It will also be interesting to see how the boomer retirement and the pressure that has on SS program, immigrants are young and have children that can contribute to the program finances, legal immigrants have higher paying jobs and can generate higher levels of revenues while un-skilled workers are here in large volumes in the end the economic argument will be hard to ignore with the large deficits looming.
  5. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    While CIR is the best way to deal with the 12 million, there are other options available as well. You'll clear out several million if you do DREAM and AgJobs. You can also change the rules to allow fines instead of entry bars for people who overstay (i.e. when you leave the country, you pay a fine instead of applying for a waiver). This would also allow people with close family as well as in critical job areas who are out of status to have a chance. I'm not saying this is enough, but if given a choice of continuing to hold up all immigration legislation until we get CIR versus taking measures like these (after CIR has been given a chance for a vote this year), I think I would choose the latter.
  6. My 2 cents's Avatar
    Will Obama hold a summit like he did with HCR to court the Cans. No way immigration was never a top priority for him, just did lip service so the Hispanic members of Congress would vote for HCR.
  7. Adi's Avatar
    "immigrants are young and have children that can contribute to the program finances, legal immigrants have higher paying jobs and can generate higher levels of revenues while un-skilled workers are here in large volumes in the end the economic argument will be hard to ignore with the large deficits looming."
    How about unlimited immigration?
  8. George Chell's Avatar
    Sense of forboding for the GOP?

    http://www.nationaljournal.com/njonline/no_20091219_6555.php
  9. George Chell's Avatar
    "How about unlimited immigration?"

    If a person is hired and if without that person the job and tax revenue goes abroad, there is no counter-argument.
  10. Another Voice's Avatar
    I agree with you Greg some progress is better than the staus quo, however usually the people that are not getting help, perceive this whole approach as unfair to them and in the end it makes it impossible because you will not please everyone.
  11. Adi's Avatar
    "If a person is hired and if without that person the job and tax revenue goes abroad, there is no counter-argument"

    Jobs go out due to cheaper costs. It has very little to do with lack of insourcing. Even with abundance of green cards corporations will not stop sending jobs abroad, due to simple mathematics, unless they can pay slave wages here.
  12. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    Adi, you are incorrect. Microsoft opened a facility in Canada, which is not the cheapest, even though they do have offices in India. Main reason is that they don't have to fight immigraiton laws, and at the same time, workers can travel to Redmond and have meetings face to face. Not as convenient as having everyone in the same location, but the next best thing.
  13. Adi's Avatar
    "Adi, you are incorrect. Microsoft opened a facility in Canada, which is not the cheapest, even though they do have offices in India. Main reason is that they don't have to fight immigraiton laws, and at the same time, workers can travel to Redmond and have meetings face to face. Not as convenient as having everyone in the same location, but the next best thing."

    Microsoft opening offices, Google guy working in Canada etc are peanuts compared to millions of jobs sent to India/China etc. I don't think losing 1000 jobs to Canada has any meaningful impact on US tax base.
  14. George Chell's Avatar
    "Jobs go out due to cheaper costs. It has very little to do with lack of insourcing. Even with abundance of green cards corporations will not stop sending jobs abroad, due to simple mathematics, unless they can pay slave wages here."

    According to you obviously foreigners cannot be better qualified than Americans...the only reason is wages.

  15. George Chell's Avatar
    "Microsoft opening offices, Google guy working in Canada etc are peanuts compared to millions of jobs sent to India/China etc. I don't think losing 1000 jobs to Canada has any meaningful impact on US tax base."

    Oh yes....all cheap labor in China...you really make me laugh!

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35892118/ns/business-businessweekcom/
  16. Another Voice's Avatar
    Update on the Georgia Legislature regarding immigration


    SB 385 - Bribe the Counties Bill (Sen. John Wiles, R-Marietta)

    This bill would pay jails 10% more for daily prisoner fees for every undocumented person they have under arrest. And 20% more for daily fee IF THE COUNTY ADOPTS 287g.
  17. Adi's Avatar
    "According to you obviously foreigners cannot be better qualified than Americans...the only reason is wages."

    Did I say that? But millions of jobs leaving US shores are surely not in hunt of better talent. As far as having effect on tax base job losses, its all due to cost of labor nothing more. Few thousand job losses due to talent hunt is not a big deal. Its the bottom line making difference job losses that make huge impact on tax base and it has nothing to do with immigration.
  18. Adi's Avatar
    "Oh yes....all cheap labor in China...you really make me laugh!"

    So you think 1% of top level corporate jobs make chinese labor equal in wages to American workers? Now you make me really laugh. Next thing you will bring in is Mukesh Ambani to exemplify earning powers of Indians!!! Nice joke.

  19. Adi's Avatar
    "This bill would pay jails 10% more for daily prisoner fees for every undocumented person they have under arrest. And 20% more for daily fee IF THE COUNTY ADOPTS 287g."

    Where are they getting the money to do this? Ridiculous indeed. Don't they have better things to do with their time? If not, then fire the buereacrats and save some taxpayer money. Save money and get crime rate in Atlanta in control.


  20. Jack's Avatar
    Unlimited immigration lobbists try to create the impression that pandering on this issue alone is a Republican magic bullet with non-white voters. Unless they're willing to do a broad philosophical extreme makeover, pandering might not be worth bothering with and hurt them more with their base than help them with non-whites. Perhaps George Bush's relative strength had something to do with him being more big-government (self described 'compassonate conservative' + record of never vetoing + pushed gigantic entitlement program). John McCain, meanwhile, was also pro-amnesty, linked with Kennedy on immigration, but perhaps seen as more small-government.

    From George Chell's link:

    Immigration reform might split the GOP somewhat between members from more- and less-diverse places, but few observers are expecting much support from any Republicans for a plan that would include a path to legal status for illegal immigrants.

    But, analysts note, this unity has left the party with an agenda that has attracted only about one-third of Hispanic voters in the past two elections. Antonio Gonzalez, president of the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, a group that registers Latinos, says that the Republican Party's return to such an unbendingly anti-government message will create obstacles in a Hispanic community with "bread-and-butter" needs for such public services as health care, schools, and housing. "If there is one group you could say that does not share the Republican small-government philosophy, it's Latinos," Gonzalez says. "We are Big-Government, government-safety-net, activist-government [voters]. There is a feeling in the community that today we hurt, but tomorrow is ours, so you spend money on your kids, on your community, on your schools."



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