Oct 27, 2011

Immigration Politics: So Much for the Nativists

A New York Times editorial

NYTimes.com: "Here’s a Capitol riddle for you: Representative Lamar Smith, one of the most reflexively anti-immigrant hard-liners in Congress, is sponsoring a bill to flood the agriculture sector with up to half-a-million visas for guest workers. Understand why and you’re well on your way to unpacking the nation’s dysfunctional relationship with undocumented immigrants.

... A well-designed agricultural guest worker program is not a bad idea. Even when unemployment is above 9 percent, Americans don’t want to stoop in the fields anymore. ... But this is an awful guest worker bill. It would create a system that is far worse than the current cumbersome guest worker program.

... The growers’ rebellion against E-Verify (which Mr. Smith wants to make mandatory), and Mr. Smith’s contortions to buy them off, is further proof that the country cannot live without immigrant labor — no matter what the nativists may claim. That is why, even as Congress has abdicated its duty to fix immigration and left the states to run amok on enforcement, there is still an abundance of visa-related bills on Capitol Hill."

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