Should Immigration Reform Be Tearing Apart the Democratic Party?

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Jonah Goldberg says he’s puzzled: immigration reform is tearing apart the Republican Party, but for some reason it’s not doing the same to the Democratic Party. But is he puzzled, or “puzzled”? After noting that Sen. Bernie Sanders registered some discomfort with the bill but was eventually assuaged by a $1.5-billion youth jobs program, Goldberg says this:

Last week, when the Congressional Budget Office issued a report that the immigration bill would increase GNP per capita by 0.2% and slightly reduce the deficit in 20 years, Democrats hailed it as a vindication.

It fell to Republicans to note that the same CBO report assumed the legislation would reduce immigration by a mere 25% and would very modestly reduce average wages in the first decade….Liberal wonks raced to defend the bill on the wage issue by noting that average wages wouldn’t necessarily go down for existing workers (if 10 people make $100 a day, and you add an 11th who makes $50 a day, the average goes down even if everyone’s wages don’t). But arguing about how much wages will or won’t go down is a far cry from claiming wages will go up.

Goldberg says that conservatives are suspicious of the bill because it makes big promises about things like border security and tough citizenship requirements, but “the right is just not in a trusting mood.” A big 10-4 to that, good buddy. But why does that leave him puzzled about liberals? The left is in about as trusting a mood as ever; the economic effects of the bill on native Americans are either tiny or zero (as Goldberg himself points out); and big chunks of the Democratic base are strongly in favor of passage. So why should immigration be tearing Dems apart?

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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