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Posts Tagged ‘immigration’
June 28th, 2013 at 2:04 pm
Passed in Senate, Gang’s Immigration Reform Will Die in the House

After the bipartisan back-slapping subsides, the Senators who passed the Gang of Eight’s immigration reform bill yesterday know one thing for sure – the House Republicans will ignore it.

In place of the ‘comprehensive’ scheme favored by the Senate, the House GOP is already making progress in passing piecemeal legislation that tackles specific immigration issues.

And, unlike the backroom deals used by the Senate Gang and its supporters, the House process is using an open and transparent committee process, reports National Review.

Last week, [House Immigration Committee Chairman Bob] Goodlatte approved two bills out of committee, an interior enforcement bill and an agricultural guest-worker program. This week, he is moving one bill to expand E-Verify nationwide and to reform the high-skill-visa system.

Breaking up a big issue like immigration reform into its constituent parts is the clearest and best way to solve problems. Focusing on specific policies and programs allows Members of Congress – and, just as importantly, the American public – to get their head around the main goal and the means to achieve it.

Kudos to the House GOP for treating the American people, and immigration reform, with the attention and respect they deserve.

June 25th, 2013 at 6:26 pm
Left & Right Agree: Immigration Bill Hurts Workers

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) has been telling anyone who will listen that the immigration reform bill set to pass the U.S. Senate will hurt low-skill and entry-level workers. Flood the market with millions of cheap labor, and the results will be a dip in wages and a scarcity of jobs.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) agrees. This week Sanders, the Socialist who caucuses with Democrats in the Senate, got the Gang of Eight and their allies to include a program that will fund summer jobs for American youths (ages 16-24) displaced by the wave of legalized immigrants once the reform becomes law.

Cost to taxpayers: $1.5 billion over two years.

The Sanders program is one of the price-spiking changes made by the Corker-Hoeven amendment to the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill.

Besides the cost, including the provision undermines the Gang’s argument that legalizing 11 million people won’t have a negative impact on current legal workers.

If this bill becomes law, it’s almost certain that this won’t be Congress’ last attempt to spend its way out of an unemployment problem it is choosing to create.

H/T: Byron York

June 24th, 2013 at 3:05 pm
Rand Stands Firm on Border Security

As the U.S. Senate votes today on the Corker-Hoeven amendment – a last-minute attempt by moderate Republicans to create the veneer of bipartisanship on the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill – Rand Paul is fast-becoming the voice and face of conservative opposition.

Late last week the Senate rejected Paul’s ‘Trust But Verify’ amendment that would have required annual votes by Congress to decide whether the southern border is secure. As written, the Gang’s bill punts the hard decisions about security to the Department of Homeland Security, the same bureaucracy implementing “deferred action” on over 1 million illegal immigrants.

With the Senate refusing to accept responsibility for securing the border, Paul is a solid No vote on the Gang’s version of immigration reform. And for good reason. As the Kentucky Republican noted on CNN, the Gang’s bill is “dead on arrival” in the GOP-led House of Representatives.

My guess is that adoption today of Corker-Hoeven – if it happens – won’t change Paul’s or any other conservative’s support because the slap-dash amendment is little more than a grab-bag of promises that can easily be nullified by DHS. As with most immigration proposals, there are no real teeth when it comes to enforcement.

By contrast, Paul’s ‘Trust But Verify’ amendment makes a systemic change in immigration policy by getting Congress back in the game on border security. Putting politicians on record about the state of the border will force them to focus on the metrics necessary to make such a decision. And since a voting record is the most direct way to measure a legislator’s performance in office, you can bet that a series of border security votes will be one of the key factors in future elections.

This kind of accountability is exactly what the Constitution envisions for Members of Congress. Rand Paul is right to steer clear of deceptive attempts by the Gang and Corker-Hoeven to sound tough on the border while in reality shirking responsibility.

June 21st, 2013 at 1:47 pm
More Senate Chicanery on Border Security

Yesterday Republican Senators Bob Corker of Tennessee and John Hoeven of North Dakota announced that the bipartisan Gang of Eight is willing to accept their new border security amendment to the controversial immigration proposal.

The key elements of the Corker-Hoeven amendment are that (1) it provides for 20,000 additional Border Patrol agents, and (2) calls for completion of the 700 mile border fence, according to the Washington Post.

Though the Corker-Hoeven amendment was made public after my column touting Rand Paul’s border security fix was submitted, the points I made in the Paul piece are still relevant.

First, Corker-Hoeven repeats the delegation game that lets Congress claim credit for ‘doing something’ while in fact shifting responsibility for border security to an executive agency.  Here, the two things Congress does are spending an estimated $30 billion to increase Border Patrol personnel, and passing a third law to build a border fence that is already required by statutes passed in 1996 and 2006.

So far as I can tell, all Corker-Hoeven does is increase the budget deficit and pass a toothless resolution to do something that is almost 20 years past due.

Second, Corker-Hoeven does nothing to increase Congress’ participation in deciding how to secure the border. It’s easy to pass a huge increase in spending without specifying how to recruit and train 20,000 new federal law enforcement officers. Real reform would focus on increasing frontline discretion, not just manpower, as Paul calls for in allowing immigration judges more leeway in deportation hearings.

And don’t get me started on the border fence. For Corker-Hoeven to have any integrity, it would need to complete the unfinished 700 mile fence and then extend or reinforce it. Otherwise, all the amendment does is put a happy face on a complete failure by the federal government to follow its own laws.

I encourage CFIF readers to check out Rand Paul’s ‘Trust But Verify’ amendment to see what is, in my opinion, the most reasonable approach to border security that is currently available. A one-page PDF summary of his amendment is here, and an interview expanding on Paul’s idea can be found here.

Good ideas are out there when it comes to border security. Corker-Hoeven isn’t one of them.

June 4th, 2013 at 2:36 pm
Rubio Sending Mixed Messages on Immigration Reform

So, will he or won’t be vote for his Gang of Eight’s version of comprehensive immigration reform?

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) is starting to sound like a politician who knows he miscalculated on the public’s support for a legalization first approach to fixing America’s broken immigration system.

Consider these two statements from the Florida lawmaker as quoted by The Hill:

“There will have to be improvements [to the Gang’s bill],” Rubio said [after the Senate Judiciary Committee approved it without substantial changes]. “Because the good thing is the American people, the vast majority of them throughout the political spectrum, have clearly said that they are prepared to responsibly deal with those that are here illegally, but they are only willing to do so if we can take measures that ensure that this problem will never happen again in the future. And so, if we can make sure we put in place enforcement mechanisms and a guest worker program that ensures this will never happen again in the future, we’re going to have responsible immigration reform. And if we don’t have that, then we won’t have immigration reform.”

But on Monday of this week, Rubio is sounding a different tune when explaining to a constituent why reform couldn’t be piecemeal as Republicans in the House of Representatives want:

“I give you my word, that if this issue becomes one of those old-fashioned Washington issues where they start horse trading, one part of it for another part of it,” Rubio said in a video response to a constituent’s concern. “If each of these are not dealt with as separate issues even though they are dealt with in one bill, then I won’t be able to support that anymore.”

The problem with immigration though is that it is complex because it is all interwoven,” Rubio said. “It’s all related to each other. It’s literally impossible to do one part without doing the other.”

So, which is it? Is immigration reform as the Gang envisions it in need of major changes to make it acceptable to the House, or is it a done deal that can’t be amended?

I suspect the answer for Rubio is both. The Gang’s bill as-is does not secure the border first, and therefore – among many other serious problems – will be dead on arrival when it hits the House, as it should be. The problem for Rubio, though, is that he is one of the Gang members, making him a co-author of everything that’s in the bill.  To walk away from it now, without any big changes, would indicate that his real problem with the bill is that it’s not popular. What conservatives want instead is for him to oppose it because, as written, it’s wrong on the merits.

Personally, I like Marco Rubio and hope he can find an honorable way to disassociate himself from the Gang of Eight, so that he can be a Senate champion for immigration reform that puts security and enforcement before amnesty.

It’ll be tough, but it’s worth the effort.

May 10th, 2013 at 11:07 am
Video: On Immigration, We Can’t Trust Washington
Posted by Print

In this week’s Freedom Minute, CFIF’s Renee Giachino discusses the loopholes and false promises in the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill and why the politicians in Washington are not and should not be trusted on border security.

 

May 9th, 2013 at 1:50 pm
Poll: Gun Control & Immigration Not in Top Ten Most Important Issues to Americans

A new Gallup poll provides more proof that the liberal fixation on gun control and immigration reform isn’t even on the Top Ten list of the most important issues for Americans:

As you know, there are many different issues on which Congress and the president can focus their time and attention. Please tell me if you think, at this time, Congress and the president should make each of the following a top priority, a high priority, a medium priority, a low priority, or not a priority at all. How about -- [RANDOM ORDER]? May 2013 results

This suggests to me that one way to inject issues 1-10 into the deliberations about gun control and immigration is for Republicans in Congress to ask rhetorically, “Why are we discussing restricting guns and legalizing illegal immigrants when 1) 86 percent of Americans want us help create jobs and help the economy grow, 2) 81 percent want us to make the government work more efficiently and fix our schools, and 3) 77 percent want us to address the financial problems with Social Security and Medicare?”

Rather than letting Democrats pick the two issues that most divide Republicans, GOP members of Congress should be picking issues that divide the opposition. Any of Gallup’s Top Ten are natural strong points for Republicans, and especially conservatives. All they need to do is pick one and start reframing the debate.

Now.

May 9th, 2013 at 1:06 pm
Passing Gang’s Immigration Bill Won’t Translate into More GOP Voters

Setting aside the horrendously bad policy outcomes embedded in the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill, some elite Republicans still support the measure because they think voting in favor of mass legalization will help the GOP win over enough Hispanic voters to reclaim the White House in 2016.

Alas, it just isn’t so.

Using an innovative electoral calculator created by polling expert Nate Silver, Byron York shows that Mitt Romney “would have had to win 73 percent of the Hispanic vote to prevail in 2012.”

For comparison, Barack Obama won 71 percent.

In 2004, George W. Bush, to date the Republican presidential candidate with the highest ever Hispanic vote share, netted only 44 percent.

It’s simply not reasonable to argue, as some Republican supporters of the Gang’s bill do, that a vote for this proposal will make enough of a difference in Hispanic vote preference to change any upcoming election.

Instead, what’s far more likely is that Republican support will give the legislation the veneer of bipartisanship while paving the way for an 11 million person increase in Democratic voters.

May 2nd, 2013 at 2:30 pm
New Version of Secret Immigration Bill has 999 Waivers

Not only does a newly released version of the Gang of Eight’s immigration reform bill expand (from 844 to 867 pages) its previous draft, it also “contains 999 references to waivers, exemptions and political discretion,” according to an analysis by Neil Munro of the Daily Caller.

That means the Gang’s new bill has more exemptions per page than ObamaCare; 1.14 per page to 0.78 by the Daily Caller’s count.

As a reminder, there are now two secretly negotiated versions of comprehensive immigration reform circulating on Capitol Hill, and neither of them includes one word of input from the public, issue experts, or other Members of Congress.

If the U.S. Senate under Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) were following a transparent process it would be expected that the introduced version of the Gang’s immigration bill would change and perhaps get bigger after a few weeks kicking around in committee as Senators and their supporters read and tweaked it.

But the fact that there has been no opportunity for amendments to the Gang’s original bill and barely enough time for opponents to read and understand it – and consequently, find out what’s wrong with it – the arrival of this secretly amended version means that non-Gang members are back to square one trying to figure out what the bill actually says and what it actually does.

With 999 exemptions, waivers and grants of discretion to sort through, it would take the better part of a month to diagram how the law will work when implemented, and ferret out all its unintended consequences.

As it is, the full Senate is expected to start voting on the new version as early as next week when Congress returns from its current recess.

This is government by ambush, and conservatives need to kill both the bill and the perverted process that makes it possible.

May 2nd, 2013 at 1:16 pm
Hidden Costs of Gang’s Immigration Bill

Andrew Stiles explains the reality behind the Gang of Eight claim that illegal immigrants won’t be eligible for public benefits until 13 years after being legalized:

“A notable loophole in the Gang’s legislation explicitly prohibits DHS from considering the likelihood that an applicant for provisional legal status will become a “public charge” — defined as any individual who is “primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, as demonstrated by either the receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance, or institutionalization for long-term care at government expense.” Critics fear that if a significant number of immigrants meeting that definition are given legal status, state and local government could face an immediate financial burden, and one that could worsen over time.”

Moreover, as I explain in my column this week, the Gang’s prohibition against using federal law’s “public charge” criteria to decide whether illegal immigrants should be legalized undermines claims from Gang members and their allies that mass legalization won’t lead to big government spending increases.

The Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector is still studying the impact of the Gang’s legalization effort on government spending, and my hunch is that he, unlike the Gang, will include the probable increases incurred by state and local governments if the public charge prohibition becomes law.

If so, the American people will get a clearer picture of the actual costs of legalization. Only then can we have an honest debate about what to do.

April 26th, 2013 at 1:12 pm
House GOP to Make Immigration Reform Intelligible

The Los Angeles Times has a good piece outlining how House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), a former immigration attorney whose committee has jurisdiction over immigration laws, is planning to contribute to the reform debate begun by the Senate’s Gang of Eight proposal.

In contrast to the Gang’s sprawling 844 pages, Goodlatte is opting for much smaller pieces of legislation that deal with specific issues, such as a guest worker program, border security, and expanding use of E-Verify among employers.

Goodlatte’s process also has another feature that commends it – education for deliberation.

“At the same time, however, the House bills could provide an important educational exercise for many newer GOP lawmakers as they learn the complexities of the immigration debate. Many Republicans represent congressional districts that have very small Latino or immigrant populations, leaving them unfamiliar with the issue. Republican leaders, however, believe that passing immigration reform legislation is vital to their future electoral strategy of attracting Latino voters.

“Goodlatte and others have been conducting study sessions attended by 100 Republican lawmakers to bring them up to speed on immigration issues.”

A big part of Paul Ryan’s popularity is derived from his emphasis on explaining how the current federal system works, where it needs to be fixed, and what solutions will fix the problems. Just like Ryan, Goodlatte seems to realize that Members of Congress, and the public too, will benefit from getting more time, more information, and more debate about how to fix our broken immigration system.

Besides, as ObamaCare has shown, there’s no virtue in “comprehensive” reform if its parts are unintelligible and unworkable. Better to get the policy right the first time.

April 18th, 2013 at 6:51 pm
House GOP to Follow ‘Regular Order’ on Immigration Bill

Robert Costa says that if the Senate passes the Gang of Eight’s comprehensive immigration reform bill, the House of Representatives stands ready to put the brakes on the latest piece of “must pass” legislation. Their mechanism: Regulator order.

“Regular order” allows House Republicans to dictate the pace of legislation and makes “grand bargains” of any sort harder to pass. Consider immigration. Several sources close to the leadership say that even if the Senate passes something on immigration, the bill will be immediately sent to the committees, and then either sent back to the Senate with changes, or rewritten in a bicameral conference committee. This means that the chance of the Senate’s Gang of Eight bill coming to the House floor, as is , is nearly non-existent. House Republicans would first have to mull it, schedule hearings, and then tinker with its legislative language .

That tweaking process could take months, which is just fine with many Republicans, who’d like the public to have as much time as possible to chew over the controversial elements of Obama’s prized bills. The caucus consensus is: The more time Congress takes to consider a bill, the more time the public has to sour on its components.

Unlike ObamaCare where Nancy Pelosi’s Democratic majority rubberstamped the Senate’s rewrite of the nation’s health insurance market, House Republicans want to make sure they know exactly what’s in the Gang’s immigration bill before voting on it.

If necessary, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) is even floating the idea of breaking the Gang’s carefully balanced 1,500 page bill into separate pieces. That way, the most popular measures – such as enhanced border security measures – would likely become law, leaving less desirous elements out until supporters can figure out a way to sell them to the American people.

For a caucus that runs only one-half of one branch of government, regular order sounds like a good strategy to employ.

April 17th, 2013 at 6:45 pm
Immigration Reform Snarled by ObamaCare?

Hat tip to Investor’s Business Daily for pouncing on what will be a very unpopular unintended consequence of passing the Senate Gang of Eight’s immigration reform bill:

Under the immigration reform bill, some employers would have an incentive of up to $3,000 per year to hire a newly legalized immigrant over a U.S. citizen.

In avoiding one controversy — the cost of providing millions of newly legalized immigrants with ObamaCare subsidies — the Senate “Gang of Eight” may have risked walking into another.

The bipartisan legislation released Wednesday dictates that those granted provisional legal immigrant status would be treated the same as those “not lawfully present” are treated under the 2010 health law.

That means they would neither be eligible for ObamaCare tax credits nor required to pay an individual tax penalty for failing to obtain qualifying health coverage. It also means some employers would face no penalty for failing to provide such workers affordable health coverage.

So, in order to avoid the charge that legalization would give illegal immigrants citizen-like access to ObamaCare subsidies, the Gang of Eight simply bars them from access. But that means that legalized immigrants are cheaper to hire than comparable native-born workers who will be competing with more people for less jobs.

There may be a fix, but it will be messy.

Good luck with that.

April 16th, 2013 at 1:46 pm
Legalization Bad for Low-Income Native Workers?

Now that the Gang of Eight’s immigration reform bill has been slowed down a bit, it’s worth pausing for a moment to consider what economic trade-offs might occur if millions of illegal immigrants become eligible to enter the job market. Since many of these newly eligible workers are low-skilled, they’ll be competing with low-skilled, low-wage native workers in an economy with 7.6 percent unemployment.

Members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights are taking notice, says Byron York:

Last week, three members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights wrote to Ohio Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, arguing that legalizing currently illegal immigrants will have far-reaching effects on African-Americans.

“Such grant of legal status will likely disproportionately harm lower-skilled African-Americans by making it more difficult for them to obtain employment and depressing their wages when they do obtain employment,” the commissioners wrote. “The increased employment difficulties will likely have negative consequences that extend far beyond economics.” Among those consequences, according to the commissioners: increased crime, incarceration, family breakdown, and more.

A recent review of the academic literature by Harvard economist George Borjas confirms the negative impact mass legalization will have on low-skilled native wages:

For American workers, immigration is primarily a redistributive policy. Economic theory predicts that immigration will redistribute income by lowering the wages of competing American workers and increasing the wages of complementary American workers as well as profits for business owners and other “users” of immigrant labor. Although the overall net impact on the native-born is small, the loss or gain for particular groups of the population can be substantial.

The best empirical research that tries to examine what has actually happened in the U.S. labor market aligns well with economy theory: An increase in the number of workers leads to lower wages.

If you increase the supply of something, you lower its value. If they want a way to frame opposition in positive terms, expect to see Republican opponents of the Gang of Eight’s reform bill to become the champions of the forgotten working class.

April 12th, 2013 at 11:52 am
The Obama-Bloomberg Axis

Matthew Continetti of the Washington Free Beacon has a must-read opinion piece today explaining why President Barack Obama’s policy agenda ignores the economic and employment concerns of millions of Americans to focus on much less salient issues like gun control and amnesty.

In short, to understand Obama’s refusal to concentrate like a laser beam on improving the nation’s economic outlook, one has to remember that the President cares more about wealthy liberal pet projects from the likes of New York’s billionaire mayor Mike Bloomberg than about anyone on Main Street.

The Bloomberg style has several distinctive features. The first is a complete indifference to or dismissal of middle class concerns. In this view, it matters less that the middle class is enjoying full employment or economic independence or a modicum of social mobility or even action on issues it finds important, and more that it has access to government benefits generous enough to shut it up.

Recall that in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy Bloomberg was far more interested in seeing the Yuppie-filled New York City Marathon take place, and in linking the storm to apocalyptic climate change, than in mobilizing the combined forces of municipal and state and federal government to take care of the white working class on Staten Island and in the Rockaways. Similarly, Barack Obama has nothing new to say on the economy or deficit, but delivers speech after speech on gun regulations that would not have stopped the Sandy Hook massacre, while his allies in the Senate work to import low-wage labor on the one hand and high-end Silicon Valley labor on the other. Meanwhile, the vast majority of the nation hopes for better days.

Another hallmark of the Bloomberg style is its insufferable condescension. One need only have heard the tiniest whine of a Bloomberg speech to know what I’m talking about. The preening attitude of superiority manifests itself in a form of moral blackmail. Adversaries of the Bloomberg-Obama agenda are not simply mistaken. There is, it is implied, something wrong with them personally.

Sound familiar? You can read the entire piece here.

April 10th, 2013 at 5:24 pm
Gang of Eight Border Strategy: Let DHS Decide

The New York Times is reporting that new details are emerging about the border security component of the Senate’s bipartisan, self-appointed “Gang of Eight” plan for comprehensive immigration reform.

The following is particularly interesting:

According to the draft, the legislation would provide $3 billion for the Department of Homeland Security to draw up and carry out a five-year border security plan. Officials must present the plan within six months, and no immigrants can gain any provisional legal status until the plan is in place.

The plan must include how border authorities will move quickly to spread technology across the border to ensure that agents can see along its entire length. The authorities will also have five years to reach 90 percent effectiveness in their operations, a measure based on calculations of what percentage of illegal crossers were caught or turned back without crossing.

Homeland Security officials also have six months to draw up plans to finish any border fencing they deem necessary.

The problem with this proposal is that it puts the responsibility and the discretion over how to secure the border in the hands of the very people who are committed to keeping them open.

As I wrote last week, the Department of Homeland Security is refusing to create a metric to track border security. According to White House aides, that’s because President Barack Obama doesn’t want a distracting – and damning – focus on DHS’s failure to capture more than half of illegal border crossers to derail his push for legalization and amnesty.

Simply giving DHS $3 billion to do a job it is already on record as refusing to do is nonsensical.

Now that Congress has found the one area where the Obama administration refuses to regulate, it’s time for the people’s representatives and senators to get back in the game and pass a border security program that specifies in detail what DHS’s job is, and puts in serious penalties for refusing to implement the law.

April 9th, 2013 at 5:21 pm
Obama DHS Caught Misleading Congress About Border Crossing Data

Here’s everything you need to know about the corruption of border security under Obama’s Department of Homeland Security, helpfully summarized in two stats and one quote by Byron York.

“According to internal reports, Border Patrol agents used the airborne radar to help find and detain 1,874 people in the Sonora Desert between October 1 [2012] and January 17 [2013],” reported the Los Angeles Times last week. “But the radar system spotted an additional 1,962 people in the same area who evaded arrest and disappeared into the United States.”

That means officers caught fewer than half of those who made the crossing in that part of Arizona. If those results are representative of other sectors of the border, then everything the administration has said about border security is wrong.

“These revelations are in stark contrast to the administration’s declaration that the border is more secure than ever due to greater resources having been deployed to the region, and that lower rates of apprehensions signify fewer individuals are crossing,” Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, wrote in an April 5 letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

New information is coming to light almost daily as members of Congress try to assess whether the federal agencies responsible for ensuring the integrity of America’s borders are, in fact, doing their job.

These revelations of malfeasance are compounded by the secretive deliberations of the so-called “Gang of Eight” as they haggle over an estimated 1,500 page version of comprehensive immigration reform that Democrats are trying to rush through the Senate without formal debate.

The more we learn about how badly the Department of Homeland Security is failing to police the border, the less congressional Republicans should entertain any thoughts about comprehensive immigration reform.

April 5th, 2013 at 9:33 am
Video: Immigration Lies and Deception
Posted by Print

In this week’s Freedom Minute, CFIF’s Renee Giachino makes the case for why any serious immigration reform must put our national interests first, including and starting with securing the border.

February 23rd, 2013 at 8:57 am
Kotkin: New Immigrant Hubs Are in the South

Demographer Joel Kotkin draws attention to a new study on America’s fastest growing immigration hubs, and the results are surprising:

Indeed an analysis of foreign born population by demographer Wendell Cox reveals that the fastest growth in the numbers of newcomers are actually in cities (metropolitan areas) not usually seen as immigrant hubs. The fastest growth in population of foreign born residents–more than doubling over the decade was #1 Nashville, a place more traditionally linked to country music than ethnic diversity. Today besides the Grand Old Opry, the city also boasts the nation’s largest Kurdish population, and a thriving “Little Kurdistan,” as well as growing Mexican, Somali and other immigrant enclaves.

Other cities are equally surprising, including #2 Birmingham, AL; #3 Indianapolis, IN; #4 Louisville, KY and#5 Charlotte, NC, all of which doubled their foreign born population between 2000 and 2011. Right behind them are #6 Richmond, VA, #7 Raleigh, NC, #8 Orlando, Fl, #9 Jacksonville, Fl and #10 Columbus, OH. All these states either voted for Mitt Romney last year or have state governments under Republican control. None easily fit the impression of liberally minded immigrant attracting bastions from only a decade ago.

True, these immigrant-attractive locales don’t fit the stereotype for red state resistance to open borders and amnesty.  But it doesn’t necessarily follow that a red state’s overall population is comfortable with the rapidly changing demographics of its urban centers.  While Kotkin is bullish on the economic benefits of increased immigration to many of the South’s growing metro areas, it will be interesting to see whether these red states can absorb and assimilate their new arrivals in ways that enhance their civic cultures and state budgets, not diminish them.

February 8th, 2013 at 3:19 pm
40% of Americans Blame Immigration for Joblessness

I don’t know of a major journalist other than Byron York continually highlighting the plight of the under- and unemployed in Barack Obama’s America.

Summarizing the findings of a new Rutgers study, York excerpted this cautionary stat:

The researchers asked people — unemployed and employed alike — about the “major causes” of joblessness. Seventy percent named “competition and cheap labor from other countries.” The next-highest number, 40 percent, blamed “illegal immigrants taking jobs from Americans.” That 40 percent is more than blame Wall Street bankers (35 percent), the policies of George W. Bush (23 percent) or the policies of Barack Obama (30 percent).

“These strong and enduring concerns about globalization and fears that illegal immigrants hurt job prospects for Americans citizens are likely to make it more difficult for policymakers in Washington, DC to negotiate free-trade agreements and reform immigration laws,” the report concludes, in what is probably a serious understatement.

Whether this perception is correct or not, Republicans in Congress need to take care how they handle immigration reform.  As I wrote last week, conservatives like Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies make a strong case that increasing the legal labor supply when jobs are scarce hurts native workers.  If Republicans are seen as complicit in increasing the Democrats voting base and hurting job prospects for working class citizens, the party will have no one to blame but its leadership for its dwindling popularity.