Billionaires buy whatever they want. And not just mansions and Teslas but elections and legislation. The recent Supreme Court decision lifting caps on campaign contributions gives them even more power. The libertarian Koch brothers have already pumped millions into this year’s elections. But Michael Bloomberg, Mark Zuckerberg, Rupert Murdoch and George Soros are no less guilty of buying our political system, and all of them, from libertarian Koch brothers to liberal Soros, are united in one cause: Bring in more foreign workers, increase job competition, and allow “market forces” to drive down wages.
Since 2007, political lobbies spent a whopping $1.5 billion to expand immigration, according to the watchdog Sunlight Foundation. A mind boggling array of Washington power brokers are behind that money: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, AFL-CIO, American Immigration Lawyers, National Association of Manufacturers, National Restaurant Association and others. A few years ago, former Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, sent me a 12-page list of Washington lobbies working for expanded immigration. Talk about David and Goliath.
But how do you convince Americans that it’s good for us to import millions of new foreign workers? Create a media blitz based on slogans, misinformation, political theater and guilt:
1. Whine about dire labor shortages.
It’s bogus. Thirteen percent of workers are unemployed or involuntarily working part-time. Each year, America produces twice as many science and engineering graduates as jobs, resulting in unemployment rates as high as 11 percent for information system workers. How will adding millions of new workers help them?
2. Feed the press false reports on deportations.
When “comprehensive immigration reform” was introduced last year, our press was filled with stories about tough enforcement and “record deportations.” We know it’s bunk. Deportations from internal enforcement dropped 40 percent under the present administration.
3. Play the race card.
Claim opponents are xenophobes, afraid of “them.” Ignore the fact that multiple government commissions recommended decreased immigration levels, and that after workplace raids, African-Americans often got the jobs previously held by illegal workers.
4. Pull out the violins.
More stories about “divided families.” Illegal immigrants chose to divide their own families when they came here. We don’t separate families.
5. Create multiple political front organizations, such as Bloomberg’s Partnership for the New American Economy, whose membership includes the CEOs of nearly every major corporation.
This well-funded megaphone parrots the mantra that immigration will “make the economy grow.” It’s technically accurate but disguises the real issue: Will immigration increase per-capita income? No. Lower wages transfer wealth from workers to employers and investors, the happy 1 percent.
6. Use the press.
They love political theater. And they’ve been a loyal mouthpiece for the Big Money immigration agenda. Nearly every immigration editorial in the last decade from The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe and the Bangor Daily News has championed expansion. Their jobs aren’t threatened.
7. Buy the cooperation of nonprofit organizations.
In the 1970s, environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club stressed the importance of population stabilization, a potential threat to open borders immigration. But environmentalists have been effectively muzzled. Hedge fund billionaire David Gelbaum’s more than $100 million donation to the Sierra Club bought their silence on immigration. He also funded one quarter of the ACLU’s total donations for years. Might Gelbaum’s open border views be the reason behind the ACLU’s barrage of lawsuits against any state, town or public official trying to enforce immigration laws? Maybe.
And yet, despite all these forces, “comprehensive immigration reform” has failed to pass for a decade. How come?
The tea party? Gridlock? No, something more basic. Democracy worked. The American people simply haven’t wanted immigration increased, and they still don’t. Ever since 1965, the Gallup poll has asked Americans: Should immigration be increased, decreased or kept the same? For over a half century, more than 70 percent of the American people have consistently answered that they wanted immigration decreased or kept the same. But instead, during this time, Congress tripled legal immigration and passed seven amnesties for millions. And they’re hoping for yet another amnesty and expansion. Who’s calling the shots?
Jonette Christian of Holden is a founder of Mainers for Sensible Immigration Policy. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.