Mitch McConnell zigzags over GOP immigration policy

Illegal migration weakens the United States, but legal immigration “helps us grow strong” and the pain of inflation is “another matter,” said GOP leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY ), in a revealing speech to the Senate. .

The address shines a light on GOP leaders’ tactical zigzags between corporate profits donors and the pocketbooks of GOP voters as he bids to win a Senate majority in November.

“There was a time when the immigration discussion was very simple,” said Jon Feere, a former Department of Homeland Security executive who now works with the Center for Immigration Studies.

The focus was entirely on border security. But those times are long gone. Americans now understand the greater impact that immigration has on wages, on social services. Many of these issues have been at the center of political conversations over the past five, six years.

McConnell’s floor speech shows the party’s zigzagging scenario for 2022.

“Orderly legal immigration is part of what makes America strong: lawlessness and open borders make us weak,” McConnell said in his September 20 speech, adding:

[The southern inflow] breaks records. Two million arrests count only the subset of people who were actually captured. Experts estimate that hundreds of thousands more people on top of that number simply fled…

There is nothing compassionate or humane about the border crisis that Democrats’ mixed signals and failed policies have sparked. It’s not fair to American citizens. It’s not fair to law enforcement. And it’s not fair to people who have been encouraged to embark on desperate and dangerous journeys by years of Democrats signaling to the world that there are no real consequences for breaking our laws and standing in line.

McConnell declined to detail why he thinks “orderly legal immigration…makes America strong.”

But many business groups and donors support the federal government’s pull migration policies. These policies provide them with an imported stimulus of cheap workers, government-assisted consumers, and high-occupancy renters.

Curiously, McConnell also refused to shame Democrats for Biden’s huge and rising migration death toll — even as Democrats tried to stigmatize Republicans in 2018 and 2020 with the poll-tested theme of “separations from ‘children”.

But he added a rare populist twist.

He described the Democratic outcry over Governor Ron DeSantis’ transfer of about 50 migrants to the Democrats’ summer shelter at Martha’s Vinyard in Massachusetts, saying:

According to a report from early 2021, the Biden administration was already filling Greyhound buses with people showing up at our border and dropping them off at various destinations from the South to the Midwest to the Northeast. Ah, but it was never at Martha’s Vinyard.

So these affluent blue enclaves are finally witnessing the smallest fraction of the challenges that the opening of borders has imposed on working-class communities across the country.

McConnell’s spin admits the economic conflicts caused by migration with his description of a conflict between “affluent blue enclaves” and “working class communities”.

But he tactfully avoided likely complaints from his donors by not explaining what he meant by “the challenges that the opening of borders has imposed on working-class communities.”

Then McConnell literally turned the page on this divisive topic.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, speaks during a press conference following the weekly Republican Caucus Luncheon at the United States Capitol in Washington, DC on Tuesday, September 20, 2022. (Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty)

In his next breath, and reading a new page, he says:

Now on another topic. The Washington Democrats’ runaway inflation has caused a national crisis. It has put working families and small businesses in a bind from coast to coast. Since President Biden took office, inflation has climbed 13.2%. For the average American household, that translates to hundreds and hundreds of extra dollars every month by barely working overtime—barely—on the water.

McConnell had been silent on the economics of immigration, but he was happy to explain the pocket costs of inflation that both voters and donors object to.

The manager of the Jessamine County Food Pantry in Nicholasville says, “Our numbers here are growing like crazy…We’re having trouble getting food right now. In fact, we don’t give as much as a few months ago because I can’t find it, and I can’t afford it sometimes when I can find it.

And of course, these challenges are not limited to our Commonwealth. [of Kentucky].

“In Clifton, Colorado, the manager of a local food bank reports that she served 1,000 more families in the first half of this year than in the first half of last year. “They can’t shorten their rent bill, but they can shorten their grocery bill. And so they come here so I can fill the void.

Yet food banks for Americans and buses for migrants are two sides of the same coin of open borders.

Biden’s migration is unfairly lowering Americans’ salaries. It also pushes up rents and house prices, and pushes up inflation for a wide variety of goods, such as used cars and food. For example, economists say that housing costs account for a third of inflation – and these higher housing costs are augmented by around 5 million legal and illegal migrants since 2021.

The federal immigration economy also impoverishes McConnell’s state of Kentucky. New York and California coastal investors who might be tempted to hire employees in Kentucky, Nebraska, Ohio and other heartland states, now the federal government’s extractive migration strategy provides a new cohort of grateful, reliable and cheap workers at downtown bus stations. daytime.

The economic pressure caused by migration also threatens to split the political coalition of GOP donors and voters, just as Donald Trump split it in 2015 and 2016 to win the GOP nomination.

“Everyone is aware that mass immigration has an economic impact,” Feere said, adding:

It’s just that the Republicans who currently lead the party don’t want to side with working-class Americans and would rather see the debate revert to a debate largely focused on national security, border security – and [avoid] a serious conversation about what is in America’s best interests a [national] economic and [pocketbook] salary point of view.

“It is easy to talk about border security — [and] they want to go back to Bush-era thinking on immigration,” Feere said.


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