Democrats Push Three Amnesty Plans

President Joe Biden’s wish list amnesty bill is comatose on arrival, but Democrats are pushing ahead with three alternative amnesty strategies.

Those alternatives are making progress because a handful of GOP Senators may approve Biden’s nominees, and some are talking up partial amnesties, according to a January 23 report in the Wall Street Journal:

“There’s common ground,” said Sen. James Lankford (R., Okla.). “The toxic area is when we get into an immigration conversation and suddenly it’s, ’We’re going to begin with every person that’s entered the country…suddenly becomes a legal citizen here, no matter how they came.’ … That’s a bad starting point to say the least.”

In 2017, Lankford told reporters “continual competition in our economy [from illegal immigrants] doesn’t hurt us, that continues to help us. It actually hurts us to put those [illegal immigrant] individuals out of the economy.”

The Associated Press reported January 23 that Sen. Lindsey Graham was talking up an amnesty for some or all of the roughly three million illegals brought to the United States by their parents:

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who’s worked with Democrats on past immigration efforts, said “comprehensive immigration is going to be a tough sale” this year.

“I think the space in a 50-50 Senate will be some kind of DACA deal,” he said.

Some GOP Senators are buckling under pressure from local businesses who want to import more temporary workers instead of hiring Americans. The AP reported:

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a moderate who’s sought earlier immigration compromises, praised parts of Biden’s plan but said she wants changes including more visas for the foreign workers her state’s tourism industry uses heavily.

But GOP leader Mitch McConnell and GOP Senators are pushing back by linking Biden’s amnesty plans to the public’s poll-proven popular demand that Americans’ jobs and wages be given a higher priority than the inflow of more workers and consumers for investors. “Before we deal with immigration, we need to … make sure everyone has the chance to find a good job,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said on January 19. In 2013, Senate Democrats lost five seats after unanimously backing the “Gang of Eight” amnesty.

The Democrats’ first alternative strategy is Senate confirmation of pro-migration Alejandro Mayorakas to run the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The second strategy is an establishment-wide push for passage of several smaller bills that will the same impact as Biden’s wish list amnesty. The third strategy is the removal of the Senate filibuster.

Mayorkas, Biden’s pro-migration nominee, may get a Senate vote this week.

He is likely to get unanimous support from Democrats, despite his long record of corruption, including pressuring agency officials to provide green cards — and citizenship — to Chinese buyers of EB-5 green cards and citizenship. If he gets the DHS job, he is expected to open many regulatory doors in the border — and then defend his open-borders policies from the public by citing his family identity as a refugee from Nazis and Fidel Castro.

Several GOP Senators showed their disapproval of Mayorkas at his January 19 hearing.

But the GOP Senators played up his multiple professional scandals — not his ability to implement Biden’s amnesty via regulations and agency directives.  One partial exception was Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), who asked Mayorkas if he would allow migrants seeking jobs to get asylum. Mayorkas evaded the question, suggesting to listeners he would allow many job seekers into the United States under the label of asylum seeker:

Johnson: Do you believe coming into this country illegally for economic improvement, is that a valid asylum claim?

Mayorkas: Senator, the asylum laws are well established, and they provide that an individual who’s fleeing persecution by reason of his or her membership in a particular social group is deserving of protection.”

Johnson: Okay, but coming here for economic gain is not a valid asylum claim: Would you agree with that?”

Mayorkas: I believe I articulated the legal theory in it.

“You should never sign off on someone who is corrupt … according to the Inspector General, pretty darn corrupt,” said Rosemary Jenks, the director of government relations at NumbersUSA.

Biden’s deputies have already stopped enforcing deportation laws, she said, adding, “the fact is that these are the people whose constitutional duty is to implement the law as passed by Congress: How is it legal, how is it constitutional for them to come in and say, “Yeah, no, we’re not going to do that, just stop right there.”

The second strategy seeks to pass a series of bills by persuading a different handful of Republicans not to oppose the procedural progress of amnesty or cheap labor bills as they move through the Senate.

The Wall Street Journal reported:

Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.), who as the incoming Senate Judiciary Committee chairman is taking the lead on Mr. Biden’s immigration legislation, said that he aims to pass a comprehensive measure but may have to settle for narrow legislation aimed at providing a pathway to citizenship for young immigrants previously in the U.S. without legal authorization.

Business groups are pushing for an amnesty of roughly 5 million migrants who took jobs from Americans in the farm sector, food delivery, transportation, and hospitals. The sectors are deemed “essential” by the federal government’s disaster planners — allowing the business groups and their progressive allies to declare the individual migrants as essential and deserving of citizenship for taking the jobs from Americans.

The Washington Post reported January 23:

A policy like legalizing the dreamers — and possibly people with TPS as well — could conceivably win Republicans. After all, some GOP senators who just won reelection, such as John Cornyn of Texas and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, did so while advocating for this, and others, such as Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and James Lankford of Oklahoma, have also backed the idea.


“If the Senate moved very quickly on a bill fully legalizing dreamers and TPS holders, that would not only defang the nativists, it would make space for progress on thornier issues both through executive action and subsequent legislation,” [Chris] Newman [the legal director at the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, said.]

The third strategy emphasizes Senate confrontation and escalation until all Democrats agree to end the filibuster rule that requires 60 votes are needed to advance bills through the multi-stage process.

If all Democrats agree to kill the filibuster, Democrats could ram many bills through Congres with tie-breaking votes from Vice President Kamala Harris. To build internal Democratic support for killing the filibuster, Democrats could push popular tax and spending bills that are deeply opposed by the GOP’s big donors — who also want more immigrant consumers, renters, and workers.

The Washington Post reported January 23:

Bipartisanship is great when it works, so it’s constructive that Brian Deese, the head of the White House’s National Economic Council, is meeting with moderates and moderate conservatives, including Collins and [Sen. Mitt] Romney [R-UT], to try to find common ground.


Reconciliation rules are largely limited to bills involving money. Eventually, Democrats will have to take on the filibuster itself. They might do this piece by piece if obstruction prevails on particular bills, notably democracy reform efforts.

For many years, a wide variety of pollsters have shown deep and broad opposition to labor migration — or the inflow of temporary contract workers into jobs sought by young U.S. graduates.

The multiracialcross-sexnonracistclass-based, and solidarity-themed opposition to labor migration coexists with generally favorable personal feelings toward legal immigrants and toward immigration in theory — despite the media magnification of many skewed polls and articles that still push the 1950’s “Nation of Immigrants” claim.

Democrats “are not living on the same planet as the rest of us,” said Jenks. “There’s this whole struggle over COVID relief, and they’re going to give amnesty to millions and millions of people, and they’re going to allow more people to come in, and they’re going to increase legal immigration. And these jobs are coming from where?”

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