Don’t leave immigration debate to beltway reporters and politicians

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)



The Associated Press speculated Saturday that immigration legislation, which House Republicans say they’ll bring up this week, during the lame duck session, could be seen as evidence that the GOP is “serious about overhauling the nation’s dysfunctional immigration system.”

If you know nothing about immigration, then, yes, you might think the House bill, called the “STEM Jobs Act,” is serious. It would grant more visas for foreign students and help green-card-holding immigrants bring their family members here. That’s it.

Immigration reform, if it is serious, needs to deal with the estimated 12 million undocumented people currently in the U.S. The House bill affects not a one of them.

But the GOP’s window-dressing activities in Washington raise the question for reporters of what Republicans here in Colorado have to say about national immigration reform.

It’s not a story that should be left to the beltway press, just because the decision will ultimately be made there. Colorado will be disproportionately affected, and so the views of the local politicians should be heard, even if they’re ignored.

But lately, we haven’t been hearing much talk from GOP legislators here about it, even from the GOP legislators who not long ago considered introducing an Arizona-style immigration bill for Colorado.

Why isn’t there more talk from Republicans here in Colorado about what national immigration should look like?

One recent murmur I found from came from Rep. Ray Scott of Grand Junction, when he was a guest on KBDI’s Studio 12 public affairs show Sept. 12:

SCOTT:  Probably one of the most impressive programs that I’ve even read about, and maybe you all have read about it as well, is called the “Red Card Solution.”

HOST TAMRA BANKS:  Yes.

SCOTT: …It’s a very thoughtful approach to how to approach immigration issues on the federal level, which obviously drift down to the state level.

Scott gets credit for appearing on Studio 12 at all to discuss immigration issues, because, as Banks told Scott on air, she “called a number of [Scott's] colleagues who would not talk an hour live about this issue.”

Authored in 2008 by Helen Krieble, a Colorado businesswomen in need of menial labor, the Red Card Solution is basically a guest worker program. Paid for not by taxes but by fees from businesses that want workers and by foreign workers who want jobs, it’s proposed to be a market-driven, non-governmental “private sector initiative,” which would control the borders, provide labor to U.S. business owners, and incentivize job seekers to legally enter and work in the U.S.

Undocumented workers in the U.S. would presumably be required to return to their home countries with their families, in a wave of reverse immigration, and obtain workers’ permits to come back to America for employment. They’d pick up their work permits from U.S.-certified private companies operating in foreign countries.

If that sounds thin on details, it’s not my fault. It is, even though big-thinking Newt Gingrich latched onto the idea. It’s been widely criticized as unworkable.

But at least Rep. Scott had the guts to put it out there. Do his fellow Republicans agree with it? Or do they want something else that offers a path to citizenship, like many Democrats prefer, as part of comprehensive immigration reform?

As the immigration debate heats up in DC, with Republicans saying they want to be reasonable but offering little or no details to back them up, I’m hoping reporters seek out the views of local leaders on both sides of the aisle.

Who will talk about it? Who won’t? And why?

25 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. BlueCat says:

    I wonder about this aspect:

    …it’s proposed to be a market-driven, non-governmental “private sector initiative,” which would control the borders,…

    How exactly would the private sector controlling the borders work? Mercenaries?  

  2. davebarnesdavebarnes says:

    1. total amnesty and citizenship for all the illegals currently living here

    2. increased (at least double) immigration goals with a point system

  3. Dn. Quixote says:

    LET’S PASS COLORADO ASSET AND APPROVE LICENSES FOR UNDOCUMENTED RESIDENTS IN OUR STATE. A LICENSE ONLY ALLOWS THE HOLDER TO DRIVE, IT IS NOT A DOCUMENT THAT CAN AND SHOULD BE USED TO WORK. LET’S SEE IF THE DEMOCRATS HAVE THE GUTS TO PROPOSE THIS PIECE OF LEGISLATION AND IF GOVERNOR HICKENLOOPER WILL SUPPORT THIS IDEA. NO MORE FAKE DOCUMENTS!!!  

  4. parsingreality says:

    All that amnesty did was then allow the newly legal residents to apply for immigration for family still back home.

    Our nation is bursting at the population seams.  Family based immigration, compared to the old system which was mostly based on value to America, has been a disaster.  

    I can count a number of immigrants as great friends and wonderful people.  But let me tell you, those wanting to get in know how to work the system.  What to say, what story to weave about why they can’t go back to their own country.

    I’ve also seen how an older Russian couple got in because of their adult children, then qualified for SSI………because the couldn’t speak English and they were elderly.  

    Enough already.  Literally.

  5. BlueCat says:

    and boomers coming into their retirement years, don’t young, hard working, social security, medicare, etc. supporting immigrants solve a lot of problems? And you don’t have to add to the global population by making more babies than you really want.  You also don’t have to wait until they grow up to start contributing. Illegals hiding in the shadows and off the books could come out and get on the books right now.  Although many, if not most of them,  have been contributing for years already because they do pay in on paychecks for which they use phony SS numbers instead of working for cash under the table. But they could get better education, training and better paying jobs if they could come out and pay in more.

    Seems like raising or removing the cap on income subject to paying in to social security at the one end and welcoming young paying in immigrants, especially the ones already here, at the other ought to keep social security, medicare and medicaid, etc. humming along, don’t you think?  We don’t want to end up like aging, low birth rate xenophobic Japan with nowhere near enough workers to support the old.

  6. harrydobyharrydoby says:

    You must be one of those punks that vandalized the holy Statue of Liberty by scrawling this insane rant on it’s base:

    “Give me your tired, your poor,

    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

    My ancestors landed on Virginia’s shore in the 1600′s.  We should’ve locked the borders by 1700!  Oh wait, I’d probably be speaking Algonquian today.

  7. davebarnesdavebarnes says:

    did you miss my “point system”?

    Look at what the UK, Canada and Australia do.

    No points for family members.

    Points for multiple languages, youth, education, skills, assets.

    Our country is not “bursting as the population seams”.

    We could dump 1+ million people into Detroit and never notice the impact on the country.

    You are right about the ex-Soviet Jews (not “Russians”), but they came under a completely different quota.

  8. Diogenesdemar says:

    seen this country before all those Dobys mucked the place up . . .

    ;~)

  9. parsingreality says:

    …if you’ve not noticed.

    Why does that poem get trotted out every time immigration comes up?  First, it wasn’t part of the original statue.  Second, it doesn’t necessarily promote what is best for America.  Third, we just cannot take all the world’s tempest-tossed.

    Let’s be rational and not emotional about this.  

  10. parsingreality says:

    ……..just because I didn’t address your suggested point system.

    One million people dumped in Detroit (what a weird concept) would be, oh, 1/3rd of one percent of our population.  

    If you look at the many problems we have in our society, the bottom line cause is overpopulation for the majority of them. Lack of resources, clean water, urban sprawl, trash, you name it.  Too many peeps.

    And please don’t tell me that the people I mentioned weren’t Russians.  They were.  And I have no reason to believe that they were Jewish, to boot.

    Notch your arrogance down a bit, dave.

  11. AristotleAristotle says:

    ” Lack of resources, clean water, urban sprawl, trash, you name it.”

    Urban sprawl is not caused by overpopulation. It’s caused by unwise planning and the desire of Americans to live out there. If it’s an issue, it can be addressed by building up instead of out, as is happening in many cities today. Denver, restricted from annexation, has seen its population grow because of building up.

    I don’t know that we lack resources, or clean water (which would be environmental, not due to population), or trash (America is a lot less polluted than it used to be). But those are also issues of regulation and policy that are mainly independent of population.

    Perhaps these things are an issue on a global scale (the world does have too many people), but not on a national one. America is the world’s fourth largest nation by area, but its population density is low. While I wouldn’t want us to see Bangladeshi levels of population density, it suggests that we could accommodate more people.

    There are probably some good arguments in favor of strict immigration controls, but these aren’t examples of them.

  12. parsingreality says:

    …the world and the US have way too many people.  There is no magic number of what is correct or proper, it’s just a sliding scale.

    A huge portion of the US cannot sustain much population.  The Great Plains and the Mountain States are very limited, due to water, if nothing else.  We should not be having to address the question, “How do we squeeze a few more in?”  And immigrants have the highest birth rates.

    The Ogalla aquafer is shrinking, the ocean fisheries are on the verge of collapse, cities tranship their trash to far away places, it takes longer and longer to get out of town, whatever your town maybe.  Separate burgs blend into one huge metropolis.  Septic tanks pollute the waterways, expensive central sewage works and pumps become needed.

    Just like we had to face up to our environmentally sick nation forty years ago, we need to have a discussion on population.  And a big part of that is immigration.  

    We should not be the world’s dumping ground for immigrants that every other nation would deny entry to.  As davebarnes implied, we need a point system based on the economic and business needs of America.

  13. Diogenesdemar says:

    that technology will some day provide.

    For example, with enough band width we’ll soon be able to provide clean water anywhere in the country . . . over the internet.

    With enough bandwidth, previously-migrant workers will able to remain at home in their own country, and skim the leaves from your swimming pool . . . over the internet.

    Don’t believe me?; search the internet . . .  

  14. harrydobyharrydoby says:

    Not sure if they were granted a corporate monopoly to grow tobacco, or just escaping the hangman’s noose.  I’ve seen some indications of each ;-)

  15. harrydobyharrydoby says:

    … is that, generally speaking, if you are motivated enough to uproot your family to come to a new country to make a better life, you’re probably a little smarter, ambitious and have a positive outlook towards your adopted country and it’s people.

    We’ve benefited for centuries (and still do IMHO) from draining the brains from other nations to increase our innovation and economic strength.

    Of course we should be choosy and encourage highly skilled immigrants.  But to a degree, even those that evade the process show a certain fortitude that is a net plus for our national character.

    For the vast majority, they aren’t coming here to become criminals — we’re doing that to them, and in many ways taking economic advantage of them through low wages, and taxation with few social benefits in return to them.

  16. parsingreality says:

    Of course we should be choosy and encourage highly skilled immigrants.

    Once upon a time, if you were a rocket scientist, you were in.  Or a similar tech person.  Now, if you are the relative of someone already here, good enough.  And that relative probably got here because he/she was the relative of someone already here.

    No job/academic/science skills required, just lucky sperm.

    Unfortunately for American society, a heck of a lot of the immigration, both legal and illegal, are of very low skill. And when you have millions of very low skill people moving into the workforce, wages will go down or stagnate.  Labor IS a commodity and follows the law of supply and demand.  

  17. harrydobyharrydoby says:

    No job/academic/science skills required, just lucky sperm.

    Describes a lot of us citizens already here in the US.

    And when you have millions of very low skill people moving into the workforce, wages will go down or stagnate.

    It’s not low skill people moving into the workforce depressing wages (cutting lawns or delivering papers doesn’t depress wages for plumbers or mechanics), it’s millions of higher skill workers moving into the global workforce that are readily tapped by global companies (need to hear about Apple and their Chinese assembly workers pulling 16 hour workdays with exactly one day a month off?).

    I do my highly skilled job from home, with little more than a laptop and a fast internet connection.  My counterparts, literally from around the world, tap into our corporate systems 7/24.  I’m just lucky sperm, still earning US-scale wages because I’m a legacy employee.  My younger counterparts, regardless of their location or citizenship, aren’t as lucky.  

  18. Duke Coxdukeco1 says:

    Don Q..remove your caps lock key from your keyboard. Shouting will not sway anyone here. You only annoy people and guarantee that no one will read your stuff.

    You appear to be an Algernon Moncrief sock-puppet, by the way you write.

  19. Gray in Mountains says:

    ought to be expressed by Pols when one signs on

  20. Duke Coxdukeco1 says:

    a little pop-up primer on etiquette would be helpful. I have learned what I learned by being observant and willing…and paying attention to long-time bloggers who have helped me understand things… (still much I don’t).

  21. parsingreality says:

    that all the Mexicans and Costa Ricans haven’t taken their yard care jobs over the decades.

    One reason American grew a great middle class is that the new, low cost labor door was effectively shut in 1926.  Without “fresh nmeat’ getting of the boats daily, labor became more valuable.  Wages went up, in the long haul.  

    The price of labor in America has stagnated since about 1973.  Is it a coincidence that that’s also about the same time that the flood of new immigrants under the 1965 (??) overhaul started arriving?  Not saying THE reasonk, but probably part of it.

    Just look at the meatpacking industry.  From good, multigenerational union jobs to “all” immmigrants who will work for anything, almost.

  22. harrydobyharrydoby says:

    No doubt, we agree competition for jobs is intense (at all levels), made more so by the 2% (or less) growth we’ve seen for far too many years.

    And the wealth that has been created is going disproportionately to the top 1% for many decades.

    Immigration ebbs and flows with the economic tides, but that does not appear to be a primary cause for our wage stagnation.  We need to prioritize public and private investments in R&D, and seed an expanding job market with skilled workers through a life-long commitment to (re-)education.

    We went from a manufacturing society in the ’70′s to a service economy.  By the ’80′s it became more rewarding to move money around inflating the value of assets and leveraging that to effectively print even more money, than it was to invent or make real stuff.

    When the Wall Street sharks figured out how to get much of Washington DC to fall under their sway, the game was permanently rigged in their favor.

    We’ve been working our way fitfully out of that mess since 2008.  But we have a long, long way to go.  As bad as it is now, I still shiver thinking what a Romney Administration would have done to our long term prospects.

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