Real Immigration Reform Requires Free Markets

Only in the United States Congress could a legislative provision entitled “Market-Based H-1B Visa Limits” actually mean that “the number of visas calculated under subparagraph (A) for any fiscal year shall not be less than 110,000 or more than 180,000.”

If you read even a few pages of the so-called Gang of Eight immigration bill trudging its way through Congress—a bill that contains many provisions as horrendous as that one—you can’t help but think of Otto von Bismarck’s famous sausage-making analogy and wonder “who the hell wrote this mess?” The answer, sadly but not surprisingly, is special interests, namely the Chamber of Commerce and big labor unions. Speaking on background for this article, an aide to a Senate Judiciary Committee member put it plainly: “Neither the Chamber nor the AFL-CIO is interested in a free market. The Chamber is interested in delivering for their big business cronies and labor is interested in protectionism. So they work out a secret deal together, and that’s how our legislation gets made.” It is a frightening shotgun marriage that embodies the old tale of two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner. And guess who’s the lamb, my fellow citizen.

Much of the debate about the bill centers on legitimate questions of cost and border security along with illegitimate concerns such as unions’ desire to allow increased immigration only to the extent that they can capture more dues-paying members.

Some opponents of the current legislation yell “secure the border first!” (a not inappropriate suggestion that bill drafters claim to be working into the text) while some supporters, through crocodile tears, bemoan cruel racism in the dark hearts of those who have the temerity to think that borders matter at all. In a time of trillion-dollar deficits, hearken back to Milton Friedman’s warning that “It’s just obvious that you can’t have free immigration and a welfare state.”

Please read the entirety of my article for the American Spectator here:

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