So Republicans do need to heed the results of the past few elections and improve their approach to Hispanics. But the bill now emerging from the Senate is a dead end.
The bill does include some sensible reforms, such as increasing the slots for high-skilled immigrants, eliminating the "diversity visa lottery" for green cards and offering visas to entrepreneurs who wish to start businesses in the U.S. The bill would tighten up some aspects of chain migration (siblings of citizens would no longer be eligible for entry visas), but would loosen others (more spouses and children of legal permanent residents would be eligible than under current law).
It should be axiomatic that if a bill is 1,190 pages long, it is full of mischief, and this one is. Just as Obamacare hands lots of discretion about everything from medical school admissions to antibiotic ointments to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the immigration law hands many crucial decisions to the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Labor. Labor would be empowered to question the personnel decisions of any firm that hired even one high skilled immigrant. The law further requires that immigrants be paid significantly more than native-born hires -- supposedly to prevent companies from replacing Americans with foreigners. But as Shikha Dalmia notes in Reason magazine, the more likely result will be that firms choose to locate abroad.
Byron York reports that the bill sets pay scales for "Animal Breeders; Graders and Sorters; Farmworkers and Laborers, Crop, Nursery, and Greenhouse; and Farmworkers, Farm, Ranch and Aquacultural Animals." There are probably more wage controls in this bill than we've seen since the Nixon administration.
Finally, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the Gang of Eight bill will reduce illegal immigration during the coming decade by only 25 percent.
Immigration needs reform, but contra Graham, there is no rush. This bill is a tangle of controls, mandates, bureaucratic empowerment and internal contradictions. It's no wonder Democrats are fans -- reason enough for Republicans to take a hard second look.