Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Great Immigration Debate

David Frum, in an AEI column, says:
Harriet Miers was strike one. Dubai was strike two. Will immigration prove strike three for the Bush administration? For five years, George W. Bush kept a stronger hold on the support of his party than any president since perhaps Franklin Roosevelt. Not even Ronald Reagan had to worry less about internal dissent than President Bush.

But over the past year, the President has provoked two ferocious party mutinies. Now he is goading Republicans into a third, and this looks likely to explode into the angriest of them all--one that could split the party and cost Republicans control of Congress.

The Republican rank-and-file are seething over immigration. The Republican party is the party of America's white working class: In 2004, Bush defeated John Kerry among white women who had not graduated from high school. And the influx of newcomers is squeezing the livelihoods of these Republican voters.

The Center for Immigration Studies--an immigration-restrictionist group known for the meticulous quality of its economic work--last week released a new study demonstrating that native-born workers gained only 9% of the net new jobs created since the year 2000. The rest, 90-plus-percent, went to foreign-born workers.

Some eight million immigrants have arrived in the United States since Bush was elected president, half of them illegally. This huge increase in the supply of low-skilled labour may explain why wages for the bottom half of the labour market--some 75 million Americans--have declined since 2003, despite strong overall economic growth. Read it all

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