Biden unveils immigration plan

But it will need GOP votes to pass in the Senate, and it’s ambitious — too ambitious — so Pelosi suggests breaking it into pieces. The idea there is that Republicans who would otherwise oppose it might support some parts of it, such as the Dreamer provisions.

Broadly speaking, Biden’s proposal would provide a path to citizenship for Dreamers, expedite green cardes for farmworkers and persons with “Temporary Protected Status” (i.e., asylum seekers), allow other undocumented immigrants to apply for green cards after five years, and let those groups apply for citizenship three years after getting green cards. He would also make it easier for foreigners to apply for entry to the U.S., The Hill reported.

Read story here and here. For more details, read the Vox article here.

Republicans say they don’t want to reward illegal immigration. But the U.S. needs immigrant labor, and legal immigration is hindered by outdated and overly restrictive immigration laws that are very difficult to change. The U.S. birth rate has fallen below replacement level, and without immigration, our economy will face a shrinking workforce in coming decades.

In addition, we rely on migrant farm labor for a good deal of our food production, and that labor is responsible for low food prices. (Our grocery bills, as a percentage of income, are a bargain compared to most countries.) An Alabama law banning illegals all but destroyed that state’s farm economy (read about that here). In addition, these workers help keep Social Security solvent by paying taxes while receiving no benefits in return. Illegals, it turns out, are a good deal for U.S. consumers and retirees.

Trump portrayed illegals as criminals, but like so many other things he says, the truth is otherwise. The reality is that illegals have lower crime rates than U.S. citizens (see, e.g., this ABC News fact check). That makes sense; they don’t want to call attention to themselves, came here to work, and can’t do that in jail or if deported. If you want less crime, keep the illegals and deport citizens.

All things considered, Biden’s scheme is the right path for our country. But that doesn’t mean Republicans will support it. A rational labor policy matters less to them than playing to their voters’ nativist sentiments.

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