The Corner

Today’s Senate Immigration Hearing

This morning, the Senate Judiciary Committee met to discuss the “comprehensive immigration reform” bill. As a result of the ongoing events in Boston, Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, did not attend. Nothing particularly surprising was said. Senator Sessions (R., Ala.) asked whether expanding the flow of immigrants was a good idea when so many young people cannot get a job, and warned against the “social danger” of exacerbating already high unemployment. Expanding the labor supply while 90 million people are out of work, Sessions said, would be “madness” — and a victory for “big agriculture.” Witness Peter Kirsanow agreed, suggesting that the bill would t”throw low-skilled Americans under the bus.” We talk about “benefitting the economy,” Kirsanow observed, as if “low-income Americans” aren’t part of it. Senator Flake asked Douglas Holtz-Eakin about welfare. Holtz-Eakin assured him that second generation immigrants get “more college degrees” and have “higher workforce participation” than the general population. Senator Mike Lee (R., Utah), meanwhile, was concerned about the scale of the bill: ”Good policy rarely comes from massive bills,” he warned; this legislation “deserves more than a couple of hastily scheduled hearings” and would be better achieved via a “sensible, incremental approach.” Lee also worried that the approach was to treat 11 million people as “a monolithic group.” 

Senator Franken disagreed. “You need a comprehensive approach,” he argued, before complaining about the unsuitability of “seasonal workers” for the farms of Minnesota. Senator Graham highlighted the dire straits in which the safety net finds itself. By 2043, Graham claimed, Medicare and Social will be extremely expensive — currently, they are “going in the wrong direction” – and there will not be the workers to support the retirees. In the absence of a baby boom, America will need immigration. Graham said that he shared Senator Sessions’s worries about “displacement” but that “you’re not going to find an American worker” for every job. Senators Franken and Hirono brought up “LGBT rights,” advocating for “committed gay couples” to be given the same immigration benefits as married couples are under the existing system. Early on, Senator Schumer warned against conflating the discussion of legal immigration and the news from Boston this morning. 

Once again, I was stuck by the deliberate and widespread conflation of high-skilled immigration with blanket amnesty. It appears that we should normalize 11 million people who crossed the border illegally because “inventors create jobs.”

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

‘Judges for the #Resistance’

At Politico, I wrote today about the judiciary’s activism against Trump on immigration: There is a lawlessness rampant in the land, but it isn’t emanating from the Trump administration. The source is the federal judges who are making a mockery of their profession by twisting the law to block the Trump ... Read More
White House

Trump’s Friendships Are America’s Asset

The stale, clichéd conceptions of Donald Trump held by both Left and Right — a man either utterly useless or only rigidly, transactionally tolerable — conceal the fact that the president does possess redeeming talents that are uniquely his, and deserve praise on their own merit. One is personal friendliness ... Read More

Columbia 1968: Another Untold Story

Fifty years ago this week, Columbia students riding the combined wave of the civil-rights and anti-war movements went on strike, occupied buildings across campus, and shut the university down. As you revisit that episode of the larger drama that was the annus horribilis 1968, bear in mind that the past isn’t ... Read More

Only the Strident Survive

‘I am not prone to anxiety,” historian Niall Ferguson wrote in the Times of London on April 22. “Last week, however, for the first time since I went through the emotional trauma of divorce, I experienced an uncontrollable panic attack.” The cause? “A few intemperate emails, inadvertently forwarded ... Read More

Poll Finds Nevada Voters Support School-Choice Programs

According to an April poll, a large number of Nevada voters support school-choice programs. The poll, conducted by Nevada Independent/Mellman, found that 70 percent of voters support a proposal for a special-needs Education Savings Account and 59 percent support expanding the funding for the current tax-credit ... Read More