The Year in Review: Immigration Victories Outweigh Losses

Joe's picture

By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

December 31, 2015
Big 2015 wins dwarf the year’s setbacks.

Looking back at 2015 through the immigration reform prism, the year represented the usual titanic struggle with disappointments, but also with triumphs greater than the setbacks.

To be sure, the Obama administration relentlessly pursued its nonenforcement agenda that included reduced interior enforcement and an overall lax approach to domestic security that led to the tragic deaths of innocent Americans like Kate Steinle and the San Bernardino victims, among others. Obama’s Homeland Security Department stripped border patrol agents of some of their most important job duties which led to another Central American alien surge, similar to the 2014 influx that overwhelmed the American Southwest.

Legal immigration continued at the unsustainably high level of an average 1 million people, a total that displaces American workers, depresses the wages of those who remain employed and contributes to environmental degradation.

Hebrew University of Jerusalem Professor Eric D. Gould explained the effects of over-immigration on jobs and wages:

“The overall evidence suggests that the manufacturing and immigration trends have hollowed-out the overall demand for middle-skilled workers in all sectors, while increasing the supply of workers in lower skilled jobs. Both phenomena are producing downward pressure on the relative wages of workers at the low end of the income distribution.”

Jobs-related immigrant visa abuse led to one of 2015’s greatest victories. At Disney, Southern California Edison and Toys“R”Us, the scandals of qualified American engineers losing their jobs to foreign-born H-1B visa holders, and then being forced to train their overseas replacements to ensure their severance packages, appeared in mainstream media headline stories. Although H-1B visa abuse has been commonplace since the 1990s, journalists have ignored the anti-American worker storyline. Even a few in ultra-liberal Hollywood were outraged. Entertainer Bette Midler took to Twitter to spread the word about Disney’s craven management. Midler urged her Twitter followers to “be sure to read the comments [on The New York Times story]. Whew!”

As satisfying as the overdue exposure of H-1B visa abuse was, it paled in comparison to the year’s biggest achievement – the federal and appeals courts defeats of President Obama’s lawless amnesty for nearly 5 million illegal immigrants. In 2014, Obama unveiled his deferred action for parents of citizens and permanent legal resident. Despite his own repeated statements that his office didn’t have the authority to grant temporary legal status, confer work permits and grant other entitlements to unlawful aliens, Obama was committed to pressing ahead until a Texas federal court, and then a New Orleans Appeals court, blocked him. Had Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty gone into effect, reversing it under a new presidential administration would have been nearly impossible.

The 2016 New Year will get off to a promising start. The Obama administration announced that it will target for possible deportation certain Central American families that have surged the border during the last two years. While it would be overly optimistic to expect that many aliens will actually be removed, the policy change is a dramatic shift for the administration, and sends a cautionary message to Central Americans who may be contemplating a future illegal crossing.

Finally, and possibly the most heartening news, analysts predict that immigration will dominate the 2016 election cycle. In the past, immigration has been limited to an inconsequential footnote with candidates vaguely and dishonestly pledging to secure the border. But this year, immigration and its relationship to national security has dominated the preliminary debates, and will carry all the way into next year’s Democratic and Republican conventions. Another good sign: Some immigration advocates, once staunch opponents of sensible limits, have called for a moratorium.

CAPS wishes a heartfelt Happy New Year to its donors, the Action Alert team and our social media followers. All the hard work everyone has put in during 2015 should, we’re confident, pay off in 2016.

CAPS blog posts may be republished or reposted only in their entirety. Please credit CAPS as www.capsweb.org. CAPS assumes no responsibility for where blog posts might be republished or reposted. Views expressed in CAPS blog posts do not necessarily reflect the official position of CAPS.

Top