President Barack Obama met with allied religious leaders today to pressure GOP leaders for increased immigration.
But they ignored the impact of additional immigrants on actual Americans, according to the religious advocates who met with the president.
“That subject did not come up,” Jo Anne Lyon, the Indianapolis-based general superintendent of The Wesleyan Church, told The Daily Caller after the presidential meeting ended. However, she added, additional employment will generate more taxes for government.
“Immigration reform is needed for our immigrant communities, but it is good for our entire country,” responded Noel Castellanos, chief executive officer of the Christian Community Development Association, Chicago, Ill.
Many store-owners in Chicago are “undocumented,” and already pay into the city’s tax coffers, Castellanos said. “Imagine if we could bring all those people out of the shadows and into the general economy — it would create a greater economic resource.”
Other leaders at the meeting include Russell Moore, director of the political arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, and Dieter Uchtdorf, a top official of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
The joint push by progressives and business groups is taking place even as 150 million working Americans face a stalled economy, wage stagnation, and a widening wealth gap. They’re also facing increased competition from the 650,000 guest-workers and one million new immigrants that annually arrive in the United States, as well as from overseas companies and workers.
Twenty million Americans are unemployed or underemployed. Four million Americans turn 18 each year, and start looking for jobs.
Economists say that a surplus of workers causes lower wages and an increase in profits. For example, Jason Furman, the chairman of Obama’s council of economic advisors, says a worker-shortage — also known as a “tight labor market” — is one of “a whole bunch of things we can do” to raise incomes.
In contrast, Obama, progressives and ethnic advocates want House GOP leaders to endorse the Senate’s June 2013 immigration bill, which would sharply increase the inflow of immigrants and low-wage guest workers — up to 40 million over the following decade.
Most immigrants vote Democratic when they’re naturalized.
Numerous immigrant groups, mostly Hispanic, also say the president should rewrite regulations or practices to block the deportation of new or long-established illegal immigrants, and that he should allow many — perhaps millions — of deported illegals to come back into the country.
During the April 15 midday press conference, White House spokesman Jay Carney, also sidelined the issue of whether immigration changes would help Americans, rather than business leaders, government tax collectors, immigrants, ethnic advocates and Democratic candidates.
A reform of immigration laws would be beneficial “to our security, to our economy, to our businesses,” Carney said.
Ordinary American evangelicals also oppose large-scale immigration and amnesty. “Among self-identified white evangelicals… 79 percent said they preferred reducing the illegal immigrant population by enforcing the law vs. 13 percent who supported legalization with conditions,” according to an April 2103 poll by Pulse Opinion Research.
One of the religious advocates at the meeting said the president would not change immigration regulations during the next few months, despite pressure from ethnic groups. Instead, he’s telling the pro-immigration groups that they have to pressure GOP leaders to ease immigration.
Carney said Obama’s deputies are continuing their review of immigration-enforcement practices. “The actions the Secretary of Homeland Security is taking at the president’s request is happening, and is a review of practices and the implementation of enforcement guidelines,” he said.
Under Obama, immigration enforcement has dropped. In 2013, for example, agencies released 68,000 criminal immigrants back into the United States. Also, in 2013, officials deported less than one percent of the estimated 11.5 million illegals living in the United States.