Strange Immigration Advocates
by DCDave

The most comprehensive web site I have found on the increasingly hot topic of immigration to the United State is that of the Center for Immigration Studies. Among the wealth of materials they have is a listing, with links and a brief description, of all other sites that they know of on the subject of immigration. These are divided into categories, and one of the categories is entitled "Advocacy Groups."

The one I found most interesting is the National Immigration Forum. The CIS describes them as "the nation's leading high-immigration advocacy group."

Upon arrival at the Forum's home page one can certainly see that they celebrate the country's "diversity" and its origins as "a nation of immigrants," but it is not immediately evident that they are a "high-immigration advocacy group." One's suspicions that the CIS might have unfairly labeled them are increased when one checks out the Forum's list of supporting organizations. Figuring prominently in the list are the AFL-CIO and the UAW. Surely, major American labor unions would not be in the business of promoting competition for their members' jobs, would they? One might expect this of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce or the National Association of Manufacturers, but not the American Federation of Labor.

So let's take a look at where the forum stands on issues. The following press release on the Forum's site makes it abundantly clear that the CIS had it right:

Press Release
October 20, 1997 Contact: Judy Mark (202) 544-0004, ext. 14

New Requirement Will Cut Legal
Immigration Through the Back Door

A little-known provision of the 1996 immigration law is set to go into effect resulting in a significant reduction in legal immigration. The new law requires that any American or legal permanent resident wishing to sponsor a family member from abroad must prove that he or she earns at least 125% of the federal poverty level.

According to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, approximately 29% of current immigrant sponsors earn less than 125% of the federal poverty level. And approximately 27% of all American families fall below 125% of the poverty level.

"Last year, Congress overwhelmingly rejected cuts in legal immigration. With this provision, those who want to dramatically reduce legal immigration are trying to achieve through the back door what they could not accomplish through the front door," said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum.

The new requirement will have a disproportionate effect on certain nationalities: 57.1% of Mexicans or Central Americans may be unable to reunite with their close family members.

"This law implies that Americans who work hard, but earn low wages, are incapable of supporting their loved ones," said Mr. Sharry. "As tax-paying, law-abiding Americans find they are unable to sponsor spouses, children, and parents merely because they aren't wealthy enough, Congress will eventually be forced to reconsider this ill-advised policy."

The Immigration and Naturalization Service today published regulations which said that the effective date of the new requirements will be December 19. While there are some concerns with the regulations, the major concern is with the law itself which is ill-considered, and punishes hard-working Americans who earn low wages.

One must wonder if the workers who belong to the AFL-CIO and the UAW know that their union dues are being used for such a purpose, and one must wonder further if these unions are really who they say they are.

David Martin
January 18, 1999

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