Bloggings on Immigration Law

by Roger Algase

Bloggings: First the Hate, Then the Hypocrisy - Immigration Reform Opponents Strike Back. By Roger Algase

On May 6, the Washington Poat posted an editorial on its website echoing some of the points about the Heritage Foundation's attack on CIR which I had made in my ID blogging submitted earlier that day. In my comment, I mentioned that anti-immigrant scare tactics based on the slur that immigrants from unpopular minority groups had no skills and would be a drag on the economy, instead of contributing to it, were at least as old as the anti-Irish movement in the 19th century, and had been used against other immigrant groups as well.

The Post, in its editorial Heritage report distorts the immigration debate says the following:

"In the meantime, lawmakers should bear in mind that waves of previous immigrants - Irish, Italians, Jews, Germans and others - have been greeted by prophesies of doom. Still, the United States thrived - with the help of these same poorly paid, roughly educated newcomers whose integration triggered such derision."

The Post might also have mentioned the contributions made by Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Philippine, Indian, Latino, African , Middle Eastern and millions of other immigrants of color throughout US history, but the point is the same. The fantasy figure of $6.3 trillion that former South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint and the right wing Heritage Foundation which he directs have pulled out of thin air as the alleged "cost" of legalization, a figure which assumes that there would be no economic benefit whatsoever, deserves nothing but contempt

The Post's editorial can be read at the following link:

DeMint, and Heritage's "scholar" Robert Rector, are trying to defend their fantasy cost figure by calling for a "merit-based" *immigration system, as reported in Dana Millbank's May 6 Washington Post article No poor and huddled need apply.

No reasonable person can argue with the utility of attracting more educated and skilled immigrants to America. But if merit-based immigration is so important to our economy (and it definitely is important), what is the point of nearly destroying the H-1B program, as Gary Endelman and Cyrus D. Mehta describe in great detail in their article in the May 6 ID discussing the Senate Gang of Eight's CIR bill?

<Is there not the most obvious and reprehensible kind of hypocrisy at work here? The right wing's anti-immigrant strategy has three prongs.

The first is to kill or at least delay legalization, either by using made-up economic statistics, which even other Republican conservatives such a former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour reject as purely "political" (as the above editorial mentions), or by postponing full permanent residence for legalized immigrants for at least a decade, as in the current Senate CIR bill.

The second prong is to sharply curtail or eliminate legal immigration by targeted ethnic groups. This means cutting back on family immigration, which now allows many Latinos to come, and eliminating the diversity lottery, which has admitted a number of immigrants from Africa over the past two decades.

The third prong is to make it even more difficult for highly skilled and educated immigrants to get visas, such as, for example, by gutting the H-1B program and curtailing L-1 visas even further, as the current Senate bill would do.

This is the ultimate in hypocrisy. Using the need for skilled, more affluent immigrants as an excuse for slamming the gates against less educated or affluent immigrants of color, and then closing the door to the best and the brightest immigrants themselves, is the most transparent form of hypocrisy. Will immigration supporters allow these tactics to succeed?



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.