Just when you think the intertwined worlds of politics and policy can’t get any loopier, reality stomps in to prove you wrong. The latest evidence? Attacks by a major U.S. labor union on a federal program that aims to attract immigrants who promise to make job-creating investments.
The program sounds like exactly the kind of immigration policy America needs – encouraging immigration that unmistakably strengthens the economy and actually trickles down to Main Street.
I’m sure it’s not perfect, and therefore equally sure that if and when it gets re-authorized by Congress (which needs to happen by sometime next month), improvements can and should be made – e.g., in oversight, in maximizing the overall hiring requirements, and in ensuring that it meets specific legislative targets (like benefiting poor rural regions, which allegedly have gotten short shrift).
So it’s good that UNITE HERE, the big service sector union, seems to support Congressional Democrats and Republicans seeking such changes. But that’s far from the union’s main objection to the program, according to a new Washington Post report. What’s really wrong with the EB-5 visa process is that it doesn’t benefit enough of America’s illegal immigrants! As a UNITE HERE staff member complained to the Post (for attribution), “How does this [program] help the 11 million people in this country who are stuck in immigration reform limbo?”
There’s nothing new about unions’ steady shift on immigration policy – from fear that excessive inflows would undermine employment and wages for native-born workers to nearly unbridled enthusiasm for opening the border much wider. (The rationale seems to be enlarging that share of American voters who will support the Democratic Party’s Big Government agenda, and gaining access to large number of potential dues-paying members.)
What is new here is at least one major union’s decision that an immigration program that’s unmistakably (if perhaps inadequately) a job-creator needs to explicitly aim at fostering employment for Americans here illegally, as well as for legal residents (including legal immigrants). What’s next? Numerical quotas? Well why not? Continued and even growing public anger at both liberal and conservative U.S. elites’ determination to put Main Street native-born Americans and even legal immigrants last in their economic plans? Count on it.