One hundred American jobs…
It is assumed that regardless of its final shape, if any immigration reform will be implemented, it will mean a surge of number of immigrants allowed to come. Argument against it is that these immigrants will take American jobs and increase unemployment. People who have an understanding of business intuitively know that with greater availability of workers economy expands and creates more new jobs. Studies such as the ones by the Partnership for a New American Economy are just some of many putting solid data behind this reasoning. Immigration reform, if passed, will stimulate economy, and as it is with every instance of progress, it will be a disruption; some jobs will be lost and new will be created. Summary outcome will be positive.
Not for everyone, as some jobs will be lost irreversibly. In particular, jobs of people heavily involved in anti-immigration advocacy. NumbersUSA, Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) are among the most recognized influential groups opposing immigration reform. Heritage Foundation, which has broader area of interest, is invested in anti-immigration advocacy as well. The statement by FAIR that they “promote immigration levels consistent with the national interest — more traditional rates of about 300,000 a year” is likely the most representative for this group. For reference, our current legal immigration fluctuates around one million per year. The immigration proposals considered by Congress are vague in defining the levels of future immigration, but one may conclude that about a 10% to 15% increase might occur. Plus, some of the undocumented immigrants might get legal status as well.
On its website FAIR does not tell us why they want only 300,000 immigrants per year. This is the way they see the American tradition. This approach indirectly implies blocking immigration of people who due to their appearance, ethnicity or religion are not “consistent with the national interest;” whatever it might be. In plain language, there is a racial and xenophobic undertone in the anti-immigration rhetoric; despite that they all flatly deny it, and mastered racially neutral phraseology. According to Laird Wilcox who specializes in studying fringe political organizations in the U.S., about 15 to 30 percent of Americans have some racial prejudices. It is enough to form a solid financial and political support for anti-immigration advocacy groups.
Those groups get some genuine support as well from Americans who are just plainly frustrated with a dysfunctional immigration policy and who are manipulated into believing that instead of fixing it, we can get away with practically shutting it down.
Let us imagine something that, based on the current progress on the immigration reform, is hard to imagine — that our politicians negotiate and implement a good immigration policy. Let us put aside what the details of that ideal immigration policy would be, but let us imagine that the number and composition of immigrants coming would stimulate the economy to the point that unemployment will go below 5 percent and most Americans will be earning meaningfully more than before. Let us imagine that new immigrants coming will smoothly integrate into American society, and that somehow illegal immigration will disappear. Let us imagine the unimaginable that finally our politicians develop and implement a policy, in this case an immigration policy that most Americans will be satisfied with.
How will this affect anti-immigration advocacy groups? They will lose grassroots support; they will lose the political clout. Our not working immigration system defines their right to exist. Without it, their leaders, probably about one hundred people within the whole U.S., who for decades made a living off the dysfunctional immigration policy, might lose their jobs. For them, immigration reform is about jobs — their jobs — that will become obsolete as soon as we will have a working immigration policy. Passing any reasonable immigration reform is against particular interests of these organizations and their leaders.
In the struggle to pass immigration reform many people and organizations throw a lot of money in getting their point heard and understood. Much more can be achieved with much less money, by identifying those one hundred leaders of the anti-immigration reform advocacy, and arranging for them another employment. This will make much easier to pass and implement a reasonable immigration policy.