Contentious Immigration Debate Will Dominate 2015 Congress

Published on December 30th, 2014

By Joe Guzzardi
December 30, 2014

Every day that goes by without border security is another day lost in the fight to end illegal immigration. Just because the nightly news doesn’t lead with segments that show Central American aliens pouring across the border or the morning newspaper’s headlines don’t feature stories about illegal crossings doesn’t mean it’s not happening. The television crews and the media tents so visible this summer during the surge are gone, but the problem remains.

Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley claims that last month about 100 illegal immigrants entered Texas every day. An illegal immigration advocate and facilitator, Catholic Charities offers aliens short-term shelter. Sister Norma Pimentel, who oversees the effort to provide for illegal immigrants, predicts that the numbers arriving will continue indefinitely.

What’s happening in the Rio Grande Valley is also occurring at other border points in Texas and Arizona. And although the White House says that the illegal crossings are down significantly from this summer, they haven’t stopped and will increase when the weather warms.

During the congressional recess, nothing has been done about border security, but steps have been taken to put Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty into motion. U.S. Customs and Immigration Services has hired staff, and the administrations has authorized work permits to be printed in anticipation of rolling out Obama’s amnesty this spring.

Knowing that criticism of Obama’s unilateral immigration action will intensify once the new Congress convenes, pro-amnesty rhetoric has heated up, offering the same age-old, flawed arguments.

First, Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer Tom Donohue has again threatened the GOP that unless it lays down on immigration, which will provide increased availability of cheap labor to his membership, it will withhold its support in 2016.

Second, despite record profits and yields during the last several years, the California-based Western Growers Association wants a separate immigration bill to bring in more guest workers. The WGA suggests that it can’t fill alleged labor shortages without specific congressional action written for the agriculture industry. But the big profits and record high yields were achieved without an Ag bill; 2015 shouldn’t be different. The industry would be better served if it implemented mechanization, something it has steadfastly refused to do.

Finally, in his interview with NPR, Obama spoke harshly in defense of his amnesty. Obama labeled as “nativists” Americans justifiably worried that newly work-authorized illegal immigrants will have a detrimental effect on their jobs, wages, and the overall economy. Obama insisted that “these folks don’t use a lot of services,” even though a mountain of evidence exists that the federal and state programs illegal immigrants depend on far exceeds the tax revenues they pay into the system.

Analysts calculate the aggregate cost of illegal immigration borne by all levels of government at about $113 billion annually even after including taxes generated in the underground and above-ground economies. Furthermore, taxpayers will fund Obama’s amnesty over the next 50 years to the tune of $2 trillion.

During the early months of 2015, the Capitol Hill battle over immigration will be intense. Obama told NPR in no uncertain terms that he can’t work with a pro-enforcement, anti-amnesty Congress, and set the stage for a contentious year. In the meantime, and far away from the spotlight, illegal immigration will continue with no end in sight.

Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. Contact him at [email protected]

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