I Lift My Lamp Beside the Unemployment Office

By Mark Krikorian on December 5, 2008

So 533,000 jobs were eliminated by employers last month. Guess how many new workers the federal immigration program adds to the labor market over the same period? As many as 140,000. Per month. Now I'm not one of those who thinks you can game the business cycle by admitting more immigrants during an uptick and shedding them during a slowdown — if government were capable of that sort of thing, the Soviet Union wouldn't have collapsed. But how about stepping up enforcement efforts to get illegal workers to leave? The White House says no. Also, it sure wouldn't make sense, during what is likely to be the worst recession most of us will ever see, that we increase these artificial additions to the labor market further by, say, Sen. Menendez's demand to increase immigration by 50 percent. Or we legally anchor people here who might otherwise leave, as with the Dream Act, which would amnesty 2 million-plus illegal immigrants and create future immigration rights for hundreds of thousands more. Or that we give farmers an indentured labor force, as the AgJobs bill would do. And these are the "small" immigration bills coming up next year, not McCain's comprehensive extravaganza. Despite Harry Reid's confident assertion that "I don't expect much of a fight at all" on amnesty, I just don't think Democrats are going to want to hand the GOP a gift of such magnitude.