The fellas at the Wall Street Journal
editorial page predictably backs a comprehensive immigration bill and calls the voices of opposition "shrill" and "closed mind(ed)." I take apart their analysis point by point:
"The GOP is splintered and confused on immigration."
This is not true. Some folks in the GOP establishment are determined to work with Democrats to support an ineffective bill that would lead to more illegal immigrants, lower wages, and higher unemployment. Most Republicans in the Senate opposed this bill, as do most conservative commentators and virtually all members of the GOP in the House. If the few GOP establishment types who have worked with Obama and Schumer would drop the immigration issue altogether, most Republicans would be pleased.
"Too often Americans hear the shrillest anti-immigration Republicans whose only argument is "secure the border," as if that is a sensible policy for the 21st century."
This type of straw-man argument is the sort of thing we would expect from people who have allied themselves with President Obama and Sen. Schumer, but is utterly unpersuasive. Republicans who oppose the type of legislation supported by the WSJ have pointed out that: (1) such legislation will not effectively limit illegal immigrants; (2) will undermine respect for the rule of law; (3) will likely lead to significant increases in government spending at the state and local levels; (4) will likely encourage further illegal immigration in the future; (5) will drive down wages; and (6) will increase unemployment. So far, no one in the GOP Establishment, or at the WSJ, has given a persuasive response to any of these concerns, let alone all of them.
"To fail to fix any part of an immigration system that everyone agrees is contrary to U.S. economic interests, and after the Senate has passed a bipartisan reform, would play into Democratic charges that House Republicans are mere obstructionists."
The obstructionists here are the open-borders fanatics in both parties – including the Bush Administration and the Obama Administration – who have poisoned the well on this issue by refusing to act in good faith when it comes to enforcing U.S. immigration laws currently on the books. Given that there is no reason to believe that any new enforcement provision would ever be enforced, it is impossible to reach any fair agreement on this issue. What the WSJ really wants is for conservatives to let the open-borders types have their way on things like citizenship for illegal immigrants and increased legal immigration, in exchange for empty promises of enforcement that will never be fulfilled. It would be foolish to agree to any such deal.
"Surely there is a Republican agenda beyond militarizing the border and turning ICE into the Republican version of OSHA and EPA that criminalizes employers who create jobs."
Of course there is. Most Republicans will support an agenda that leads to higher wages and lower unemployment for Americans, and that supports strict enforcement of the rule of law. But they will not agree to go along with a regime in which Big Business and Big Government agree to allow for a virtually unlimited supply of immigrants, thus lowering wages and raising unemployment. (By the way, this is yet another straw-man argument.)
"Even if the House doesn't want to take up the entire bill that recently passed the Senate, it can still consider and pass the parts that are pro-growth and that most Republicans support."
In the first place, such a strategy would lead to a conference committee that would likely result in the Gang-of-8 bill (with only a few token modifications) coming up for a vote in the House, where it would pass with mostly Democrat votes. House Republicans would be utterly foolish to follow such a path.
In the second place, let's look at some of those "parts" that the WSJ supports: (1) Allowing foreign graduates to stay in the United States if they have a job – a measure that would likely lower wages for native-born Americans competing with those foreign graduates for jobs. (2) Double the number of H-1B visas for skilled immigrants – another measure to lower wages. (3) Vote to codify the DREAM Act – a measure that would reward those parents who brought their children here illegally. (4) Guest-worker programs and green cards – even more measures designed to address a "labor shortage" that does not actually exist. And finally, in case you haven't gotten the message yet: (5) "Opening more paths for legal immigrants to meet U.S. labor demand." What demand? We have millions and millions of Americans who are looking for work, and who can't find it. Why would we bring in even more workers to drive down wages any further?
Taken together, these examples show that the WSJ continues to press the same old fanatical notion that Americans are suffering from a shortage of workers. This notion was annoying back in 2007, when unemployment was still relatively low. It cannot be taken seriously at all after an economic crisis that has kept unemployment at high levels for almost five years.
In short, the WSJ piece simply repeats the same old slogans and wild-eyed claims that most conservatives have long since rejected. Until the WSJ starts coming up with more serious arguments, and starts seriously responding to the concerns that conservatives have raised regarding the Obama/Schumer bill, there is no reason for conservatives to take the WSJ seriously on this issue.