The congressional GOP leadership always seems to be about a nanometer away from surrendering on “comprehensive immigration reform.” But if Byron York’s take on the state of play is accurate — and I can’t recall a time when he got anything wrong — then it’s time for both conservatives and tech immigration reform backers to be just a little bit patient.
It wouldn’t take much to break the [pro-comprehensive immigration reform] coalition apart. And if that happens, the effort to enact comprehensive immigration reform could blow up, not just for the moment, but for some time to come. And there are signs that is exactly what is occurring now.
Compete America is a group that calls itself the “leading advocate for reform of U.S. immigration policy for highly educated foreign professionals.” Its members are some of the biggest names in the tech world: Amazon, Facebook, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Microsoft and many others.
The companies, as well as other high-profile groups, like Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s FWD.us, have given millions to the cause of comprehensive immigration reform. The main reason is that they want an expansion of the H-1B visa program that allows high-skilled immigrants into the United States, thus expanding the labor pool for tech companies.
They understand economics. Broadening the labor pool makes more talent available, and reduces upward pressure on wages at the same time. The same is true for workers outside the tech fields, but Democrats and the media never acknowledge that. They never acknowledge that, in their political pursuit of legalizing millions of illegal workers, they are knowingly forcing wages down.
Of course, comprehensive immigration reform involves much more than H-1B visas. But the tech giants supported comprehensive reform, with its increases in unskilled immigration, its legalization of currently illegal immigrants, its path to citizenship, its byzantine agricultural provisions and much, much more because they wanted the H-1B boost.
Read the rest. For conservatives, the tactics should be straightforward. Democrats oppose breaking the tech visas off from the rest of “comprehensive” “reform.” The GOP is on track to capture the Senate this fall. H1-B visas aren’t controversial. Those who use them to attract talent, and to get to the US, are following the law and they’re contributing to the economy without draining it. Increasing H1-B visas does not turn on any magnets that attract more illegal immigration. The GOP could tell the tech community leaders that it will send an H1-B bill through both houses of Congress and to the president’s desk if it captures the Senate this year. The GOP needs their help to win the Senate. That should give the tech community reason enough to, if not support the GOP, then at least not pour money into efforts to help Democrats this year. Then the president would face pressure from the wealthy tech community to sign the bill.
The Democrats will cry about the rest of the “comprehensive” mess and charge racism, whatever they think they can get to stick to the wall. They always do. But they’re already showing desperation over Obamacare. That’s what’s driving the president to make ever more ridiculous statements on raising the minimum wage — which many in the business community don’t support anyway.
Overall, this could break some of the Silicon Valley set off from the increasingly anti-business Democrats, while bringing more needed tech talent into the US from around the world, and cracking the “comprehensive” coalition.