Where are the Anti-Amnesty Democrats?

Mickey Kaus Columnist
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Wanted–Dem Populists: Are there really no Democrats left in Congress like Sen. Byron Dorgan, the “prairie populist” who helped torpedo immigration amnesty in 2007? Dorgan worried about the effects of an influx of low-skilled immigrants on wages and jobs. His arguments then are still powerful now–but the strategic advantage of playing the Latino ethnic card seems to have trumped concern for low-skilled workers among 100% of today’s Democrats. (‘Screw ’em–they’re losers in today’s global free trade system anyway!’)  Here is Dorgan in 2007:

[T]he proposal the U.S. Senate is considering was cooked up by a small group of senators negotiating with the White House. It’s being sold as a “great compromise.” But it is not that at all. ….

This bill’s solution is to simply give the 12 million people who came here illegally — up through December 31 of last year — legal status and a work card. In addition, it provides for a temporary worker program that will bring in additional millions of guest workers who don’t now live in this country, but who will be permitted to come here and assume American jobs.

This bill will flood the U.S. job market with millions of workers who will compete, at low wages, for jobs Americans are now doing. I believe it will drive down American wages and living standards.

Simply put, this bill fails to stand up for hardworking American citizens.

America is a great country. Many people from throughout the world would like to come here and take part in the American Dream. I understand that.

But, if we had no restrictions on immigration and just threw open the doors and welcomed everyone from everywhere we’d be over run by people wanting to move to the United States.

So, we try to manage immigration through quotas. Nearly a million and a half people come to our country legally every year through this process. In addition, another one million people plus come here each year to work legally at agricultural jobs.

Now, I’m sensitive to the fact that some immigrants who have come here illegally have worked hard for decades and even raised their families here. We need to take that into account as we try to resolve their status.

But I don’t think we should decide that anybody who showed up here illegally as of last December 31 should be given a green light to stay here and work here permanently. …

When my amendment to remove the guest-worker provision in the bill was debated, the supporters of this legislation argued that we need the guest-worker provision because “otherwise people will just come across illegally.”

I replied, “I thought you told us your bill would fix the border-security problem. But you’re now telling us you won’t have enough border security to stop illegal immigration!” That doesn’t add up to me.

Twenty years ago Congress passed an immigration-reform bill providing amnesty for illegal immigrants already in the country. That legislation promised to tighten up border security. But nothing changed. Illegal immigration continued. Now, we are presented with new legislation that makes the same promises and provides the same amnesty.

In my view, this legislation simply accommodates the big-business interests that have demonstrated their eagerness to ship American jobs overseas in search of cheap labor even while they want to bring cheap labor into this country through the back door. …

Read the whole thing!

Mickey Kaus