Should Immigration Reform Be Tearing Apart the Democratic Party?


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?

One More Thing

And it's a big one. Mother Jones is launching a new Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on the corruption that is both the cause and result of the crisis in our democracy.

The more we thought about how Mother Jones can have the most impact right now, the more we realized that so many stories come down to corruption: People with wealth and power putting their interests first—and often getting away with it.

Our goal is to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We're aiming to create a reporting position dedicated to uncovering corruption, build a team, and let them investigate for a year—publishing our stories in a concerted window: a special issue of our magazine, video and podcast series, and a dedicated online portal so they don't get lost in the daily deluge of headlines and breaking news.

We want to go all in, and we've got seed funding to get started—but we're looking to raise $500,000 in donations this spring so we can go even bigger. You can read about why we think this project is what the moment demands and what we hope to accomplish—and if you like how it sounds, please help us go big with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate