Bloggings on Immigration Law

by Roger Algase

Bloggings: The Last, Desperate Stand of the Anti-Immigrant Lobby - Will it Succeed? By Roger Algase

One can only be amazed at the determination of the die hard anti-immigrant movement to turn back the clock and refuse to accept the reality of America's demographic change from a white dominated society to a multi-ethnic, truly pluralistic one.

It seems that for organizations such as Dan Stein's Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and Mark Krikorian's even more misleadingly named Center for Immigration Studies (CIS, not to be confused with USCIS), there was no 2012 election, Latinos are not the fastest growing ethnic group in America, and America can continue to exist indefinitely as a society where, to paraphrase Orwell, everyone is equal but whites are more equal than others.

After their success in derailing immigration reform in 2007, it may be easy to understand the anti-immigrant groups' horror over the idea that reform might actually happen this year, as well as their hubris in believing that they may still have the power to stop reform. But if one looks at their arguments against reform in 2013, it is hard to miss a certain note of desperation as their Last Stand grows more and more ludicrous.

In the April 10 Politico, Dan Stein has an article called "5 reasons GOP should say no to immigration plan". These can be summarized as follows:

There will be no hearings on the bill; Democrats will not agree to border security as a precondition to legalization; reform will create a new government bureaucracy to set wages and working conditions; and finally, the bill would be a "budget buster".

The first of these arguments is totally false, according to the latest news reports. There will be plenty of hearings, very possibly in more than one committee. Republicans will have ample opportunity to delay the bill and try ultimately to amend it to death, as they did last time.

Nor are Democrats opposed to more border security; they merely oppose giving anti-Latino bigots such as Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer the final say over when permanent residence would be granted to currently unauthorized immigrants. 

As for more bureaucracy and budget busting, these arguments against reform are almost comic in the light of the fact that the federal government currently spends more on immigration enforcement than on all other law enforcement activities combined. Moreover, the "prevailing wage" system which Mr. Stein now argues against as unwarranted government intrusion is there to limit immigration, not to increase it. 

However, Dan Stein's arguments against reform almost appear rational compared to a letter by William W. Chip, a board member of CIS, published in the April 9 Financial Times (to which yours truly responded with a letter published in the April 11 issue of the same paper). 

Mr. Chip calls the current reform bill (which has not yet even been written) "the most ill-conceived immigration legislation in my country's history". As I said in my responding Financial Times letter, his memory could use some refreshing.

Is a proposal to bring up to11 million people out of the shadows so they can stay with their American spouses and children, earn a living and pay taxes free of exploitation and fear of deportation really more "ill-conceived" than were the Chinese exclusion laws, the notorious 1924 Immigration Act with its "Nordics only" national origin immigration quotas, or the "relocation" of Japanese Americans during World War II? 

The fact that a representative of any organization claiming to have a legitimate voice in the immigration discussion could make such an outrageous statement shows how desperate the anti-immigrant lobby has become in its efforts to block reform under any circumstances.

Will this effort succeed? The coming months will tell.


About The Author

Roger Algase is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been practicing business immigration law in New York City for more than 20 years.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) alone and should not be imputed to ILW.COM.