President Biden is having trouble getting traction on his first-day-in-office, priority immigration legislation, the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 (USCA). Among its multiple goals, USCA’s main objective is to grant citizenship to an illegal alien community that totals between 12 and 20 million, perhaps more.
Biden shares much of the blame for USCA’s slow out-of-the-gate pace. Even before Biden’s inauguration, signs were mounting that the border surge had spun out of control. Today, four months into Biden’s first term, nary a clue can be seen that his administration cares. Getting congressional consensus on sweeping immigration legislation will be tough when border conditions, especially as they relate to unaccompanied minors, deteriorate daily.
But help for Biden may be on the way. Although using different approaches, two influential pro-immigration advocates are drumming up support for Biden’s immigration agenda. The nation’s 43rd President, George W. Bush, is soft-peddling his immigration expansion message through his new book, “Out of Many, One,” oil portraits and narratives of 43 immigrant success stories drawn from his personal experiences. Bush picks his examples carefully to assure that they represent the best among the millions of legal immigrants who have come to America since the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. And he’s equally careful to omit immigrant bad actors that have too often been in the headlines.
On his book tour, the 74-year-old Bush projects a folksy, elder statesman image. Of the many lessons that Bush should have learned about comprehensive immigration reform during his two White House terms is that, because of its unpopularity, he couldn’t sell it to Congress or voters even though he spent eight years trying. Bush, pontificating about immigration on his media tour, is still trying, and even pulling out well-worn, discredited cliches about bringing illegal immigrants “out of the shadows.”
Whether reading Bush’s book, seeing his paintings at the Bush Center or watching his carefully coordinated television interviews, what’s important to remember is that Bush 41, Bush 43 and Jeb! are committed immigration expansionists and elitists who are in lockstep with the Chamber of Commerce in their quest for cheap labor. Bush 41 signed one of the most harmful immigration bills from the American workers’ perspective, the Immigration Act of 1990, which expanded employment-based visas, and set the bar for future increases.
Aligning with Bush, but labeling its outline as the “America Works Agenda,” the aforementioned Chamber of Commerce prefers the sledgehammer technique to expand the labor market, and harm American workers. As always, the Chamber’s guise is America’s alleged worker shortage. Suzanne Clarke, the Chamber’s President and Chief Executive Officer, ticked off an expansionists’ Christmas Eve want-list that includes doubling annual employment-based Green Cards, H-1B and H-2B visas, both issued to foreign-born workers, expanding H-2A visas to include nonseasonal workers, and – the kicker that would in short order displace thousands of American workers – allowing local politicians to import foreign workers to take already-scarce American jobs in their local economy.
Not even the most hardcore immigration restrictionist would argue with Bush that some immigrants have contributed to America’s society and its economy. And many would agree that when the post-pandemic economy is fully recovered, a merit-based, high-skilled immigration bill should be considered. Today, however, is not that day. About 16.4 million Americans are officially unemployed, and another 6.6 million are underemployed. Both unemployed and underemployed want full-time jobs, the type that Bush and the Chamber of Commerce want to give to foreign nationals. By large margins, voters want less immigration and also prefer that U.S. jobs go to citizens or lawfully present residents.
For decades, the Chamber has sold out American workers. And tone-deaf Bush, now comfortably retired to his 1,500-acre Crawford, Texas, ranch, but still, an immigration activist ignored what voters wanted during his presidency. As his book proves, Bush still doesn’t care about mainstream America’s wishes.