House Republican Doubles Down on Amnesty in Davos
FAIR Take | January 2023
Earlier this week, Rep. Maria Salazar (R-Fla.) joined the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, where she doubled down on her push for amnesty for illegal aliens. Specifically, she claimed, “[w]e need to also give dignity to those people who are in the country and those are the people that I represent. We’re talking about 13 to 15 million people — who are, most of them, Hispanics, I would say 85 percent who speak my language, look like me, and sound like me — who are contributing to the economy of this country and they live in the shadows.”
She continued by asserting that this amnesty would not be possible until the border was secure and that it would not include a pathway to citizenship. There are a couple of problems here.
The dignity euphemism is borrowed from a bill she introduced in the 117th Congress, the DIGNIDAD (Dignity) Act, which does expand opportunities for citizenship. And even if citizenship is removed from the conversation, under our current system, lawful permanent residents (LPRs) can sponsor family members abroad to come to the United States, meaning that amnesty for as many as 22 million illegal aliens here today would kick off chain migration for generations to come.
Likewise, her bill follows in the footsteps of many before it, charging that border and worksite enforcement would be implemented before amnesty is offered – but that is never what we see in practice.
Instead, going back decades to the 1984 amnesty under Reagan, what we consistently see are endless delays for enforcement tradeoffs and dramatic spikes in illegal crossings. This is evident today, with a record 5.5 million illegal crossings since the start of the pro-amnesty Biden administration and monthly crossing numbers showing no signs of slowing down, as they surpassed the 250,000 mark in December for the first time.
The economic benefits that amnesty proponents like Salazar often point to don’t accrue to the native-born population but rather almost exclusively to the immigrants themselves in the form of wages and benefits, as noted by Harvard economist George Borjas.
Americans understand this because it is just common sense. When polls are not manipulated by oversampling Democratic blocs or dishonestly framing questions, the public is clearly against amnesty, especially given lax enforcement.
In exit polling conducted last year, just 8.8 percent of voters said granting amnesty to illegal aliens should be a priority. According to data from the polling mainstay Pew Research Center, 57 percent of the public similarly believes “that increasing deportations of immigrants currently in the country illegally should be a very or somewhat important goal of U.S. immigration policy.”
Another polling leader, Gallup, found last year that 78 percent of the public views large numbers of illegal immigrants entering the country as a critical or important threat, with 74 percent saying the southwest border is either a crisis or a major problem.
Even Democrats used to care about all this, which is why under the Clinton administration the Jordan Commission concluded not only that the border needs to be secured and enforcement increased, but that amnesty was out of the question.
As the late Rep. Barbara Jordan (D-Texas) put it in her 1995 testimony before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims, “those who should get in, get in; those who should be kept out, are kept out; and those who should not be here will be required to leave.”
Today, however, open-borders sycophants from both sides of the aisle continue to push for mass amnesty under the guise of dignity, leaving Americans behind without a second thought.
What we have seen the last few decades, what many of us have grown up with, is the federal government’s complete and total failure across decades to either secure the border or implement mandatory worksite enforcement, in the form of E-Verify or otherwise, even as illegal immigration has surged.
Amnesty proposals like Salazar’s are bad for America, bad for American workers, and must be opposed.