It’s thee word tea partiers use to strike fear in the hearts of fellow tea partiers… amnesty. It seems any change made to the immigration system is either backdoor amnesty or full-on amnesty, depending on which Democrat proposes the change.
President Obama’s plan to give two-year work permits to DREAM act eligible individuals is being called amnesty. Never mind that these individuals will not be granted and cannot apply for American citizenship, which is, by the way, the real definition of amnesty.
Never mind that two years from now these individuals will probably be in the same predicament they are in right now unless a do-nothing Congress decides to actually do something about it. Never mind that these individuals could lose their work permits even sooner if Mitt Romney, who has promised to veto the DREAM Act, becomes president and decides to overturn the executive order that made it possible.
Those facts seem inconsequential to Representatives Ben Quayle and David Schweikert who both introduced legislation this week to repeal Obama’s executive order. Schweikert and Quayle have sidestepped the facts and chosen to play on Americans’ fears instead.
And what is it that these Americans fear? A loss of jobs, of course.
Schweikert went right to the heart of that fear when he released a statement about his proposed bill saying, in part, “over 23 million Americans remain unemployed.”
Schweikert wants people to assume DREAMers will take American jobs, but what will happen if DREAMers do not receive work permits? Will Americans be better off? Will DREAMers self-deport?
No. Instead they will be forced to work underground, meaning they will perform lower-skilled jobs that pay cash instead of taking higher-skilled jobs that pay into the tax system. And it’s Americans that are hurt by this arrangement.
Many of these DREAMers are getting degrees in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields, which are jobs that American businesses are desperately trying to fill. But instead of hiring those individuals who are already in our country, were educated in our schools and universities and have assimilated to American life, Quayle and Schweikert are content with letting American businesses export more jobs overseas to countries with greater numbers of STEM workers. In return, we lose out on the taxes and wealth created by those businesses and their employees.
Considering Rep. Quayle is a member of the House’s Science, Space and Technology Committee, I would think he’d be sensitive to this issue. But this is the same man who called the President’s executive order, “stunning in both its arrogance and shortsightedness.” How ironic.
This isn’t the first time Quayle and Schweikert have played on Americans’ fears and joined forces to support doing nothing. Remember the debt ceiling debate in August 2011? Schweikert and Quayle voted against a compromise, and the stand-off led to a downgrade of America’s credit rating, major declines in the stock market, and huge loses in millions of Americans’ retirement accounts.
Are we to believe Schweikert and Quayle are interested in reforming our immigration system? If they were, wouldn’t they be working on long-term solutions to address the millions of individuals who are already here undocumented? Or what about working to reform our dysfunctional Visa system? Certainly, if they were truly interested in solutions, they would stop pretending that our immigration woes can be solved by fence building alone.
Quayle and Schweikert are not putting forth solutions. Instead, they cling to fear, which leads me to believe it is the only thing they have to offer.