Progressives may want something approaching open borders, but other Democratic voters don’t.
You might think President Biden would be eager to dispel the notion that he’s some doddering figurehead taking orders from progressive puppeteers who are really in control. Yet his immigration priorities thus far have reinforced that caricature.
While the Department of Homeland Security is dealing with an unprecedented crush of migrants on the southern border that is straining shelter capacity and raising Covid concerns, Mr. Biden is urging his fellow Democrats in Congress to move forward with two amnesty proposals that would affect millions of people who reside in the U.S. illegally. One would provide a path to citizenship for people brought here illegally as children, the so-called Dreamers. The other would legalize the status of undocumented farmhands.
The problem with both measures has less to do with their substance than with their timing and the message to other would-be migrants considering a trek north. Immigration restrictionists with a zero-sum view of labor markets accuse foreign workers of stealing jobs and depressing wages. But the people who would benefit from these bills were already part of a thriving U.S. labor force that, before the pandemic, saw record-low unemployment rates, wages rising fastest for the less-skilled, and a pronounced worker shortage in several industries.
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