Thursday, January 07, 2016

Playing Fast And Loose On Immigration

As CNN describes, it an advertisement (below) due to start running in New Hampshire on Tuesday

Immigrants are streaming across our border, and they're wearing pumps and wingtips -- at least according to Sen. Ted Cruz.

The Texas Republican on Tuesday morning released a new presidential campaign ad that showed a different side of border security, featuring actors wearing business suits and clutching laptops and briefcases fording rivers and running through the desert.

The images play as a voiceover runs in the background of Cruz delivering part of his stump speech, where he says illegal immigration would be taken more seriously if the people coming into the country were working different jobs.

"The politics of it would be very, very different if a bunch of lawyers or bankers were coming across the Rio Grande," Cruz said. "Or if a bunch of people with journalism degrees were coming over and driving down the wages in the press. Then we would see stories about the economic calamity that is befalling our nation."

Jobs, and their wages, are declining for reporters in the USA, so they have more to worry about than unemployed men and women streaming over the border from Juarez.  Still, it's encouraging that politicians such as Cruz are concerned about the American worker. It wasn't always thus.

During a recent debate, the Texas senator and the Florida senator squared off on immigration:

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.): “As far as Ted’s record, I’m always puzzled by his attack on this issue. Ted, you support legalizing people who are in this country illegally. Ted Cruz supported a 500-percent increase in the number of H-1 visas, the guest workers that are allowed into this country, and Ted supports doubling the number of green cards. …”

Dana Bash, CNN: “Senator Cruz?”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.): “Look, I understand Marco wants to raise confusion, it is not accurate what he just said that I supported legalization. Indeed, I led the fight against his legalization and amnesty. … I have never supported legalization, and I do not intend to support legalization. Let me tell you how you do this, what you do is you enforce the law.”

The Washington Post's Fact Checker recently evaluated Cruz's claim that he never supported legalization of  illegal  immigrants but concluded "we can’t read minds, and it’s not The Fact Checker’s job to rate claims using speculation, so we will not issue a rating. But readers can certainly draw their own conclusions."

Conclusions may vary only because Cruz claims his intent in offering in 2013 five amendments to the Gang of Eight bill was to defeat the legislation with what is commonly referred to as a "poison pill."   According to The Fact Checker, the amendments were

Cruz 1: To triple the number of Border Patrol agents and quadrupling the equipment along the border.
Cruz 2: To deny means-tested government benefits to those who entered illegally.
Cruz 3: To strip away the pathway to citizenship.
Cruz 4: To expand legal immigration, by increasing employment-based immigration 
             from 140,000 to 1,012,500 per year.
Cruz 5: To raise the H-1B high-skilled worker cap from 65,000 visas to 325,000 per year.

Opposing a path to citizenship, The Fact Checker observed, "Cruz repeatedly said unauthorized immigrants would still be eligible for lawful permanent resident status and for the registered provisional immigrant status." Ted Cruz doesn't want journalists, lawyers, or bankers crossing the border. But when it comes to engineers and other professionals, he's not so negative. They can come and take jobs, the more the better, because they're not so easily stigmatized.

Cruz's dream is the dream of  the  GOP donor class. Legalize illegal immigrants, denying them the benefits of the social  safety net and of voting.  Bring in more immigrants so as to flood the labor market while leaving them beholden to their employer.  Meanwhile, pose as the defender of the great American working class against liberals and pointy-headed intellectuals.  It's a pretty good ploy, if he can get away with it.

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