Immigration Drives Economy, Elections

by Joseph G. Lariosa


CHICAGO (jGLi) – Maybe former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was right when he suggested that President Obama should have taken care of passing the divisive Comprehensive Immigration Reform as his first major, major administration program in his first two years of office. But if Mr. Obama did what Romney said, Obama might not be helping himself. But someone else, maybe a rival from another party.

During their second debate last Oct. 16 at the town hall meeting at Hosfstra University in Hempstead, New York, Mr. Romney said, “when the President ran for office, he said that he’d put in place, in his first year, a piece of legislation — he’d file a bill in his first year that would reform our — our immigration system, protect legal immigration, stop illegal immigration. He didn’t do it.

“He had a Democrat House, a Democrat Senate, super majority in both Houses. Why did he fail to even promote legislation that would have provided an answer for those that want to come legally and for those that are here illegally today? That’s a question I think the — the president will have a chance to answer right now.”

For his part, President Obama, instead of admitting that he had indeed a strong suit — the super majority in both Houses – said, “So what I’ve said is we need(ed) to fix a broken immigration system and I’ve done everything that I can on my own and sought cooperation from Congress to make sure that we fix the system…

“But it’s very hard for Republicans in Congress to support comprehensive immigration reform, if their standard bearer has said that this is not something I’m interested in supporting.”

Maybe, President Obama had in mind the second President Bush as the standard bearer, who was already out of office but was very supportive of the comprehensive immigration reform. But with a supermajority in both houses, Obama missed an opportunity to tackle immigration program that would have passed under the first term of Bush Administration were it not for 9/11.

Obama as the nino bonito, the new kid on the block, could have easily passed the controversial immigration bill during the honeymoon period when every congressman and senator, both the Democrat and Republican, would have given him a break to support the program.


But alas, even those first two years of the Obama administration, the Democratic majority took more than 865 days before they could pass the budget as they failed to unify as a block when there is a legislation opposed by Republicans.

If the 12-million illegal immigrants were legalized, it would have allowed their children left behind in their countries to come to the United States and let their children study and later work here. That could have stimulated and significantly improved the economy.

Instead, the parents were remitting money to their loved ones to pay for their shelter, education and other expenses in their respective countries, contributing to the flight of dollars from the United States.

With the comprehensive immigration program out of the way, other big-ticket programs, like the $787-Billion Stimulus Bill (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009), the Affordable Care Act, the Wall Street Reform (Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act 2010), etc. would have followed suit.

But when other countries, like China, India and South Korea, started putting up their own manufacturing companies with very cheap labor and many U.S. companies started outsourcing jobs overseas, prompting many manufacturing jobs in the U.S. to close shop, it left millions in the U.S. out of jobs. It simply made things really complicated for the Obama Administration.


Riding on his popularity in his first year in office that started with the ending of the Iran hostage crises, Ronald Reagan, the first US president after Dwight D. Eisenhower to get re-elected and finish two complete terms in office, was able to reduce inflation, increase employment and cut taxes to nearly 25 percent.

How Reagan cut 25 percent tax should be closely studied by both President Obama and Governor Romney. Both Obama and Romney want to extend tax cuts for middle-class families but Obama is opposed to extending cuts for individuals earning more than $200,000 a year and couples who earn more than $250,000.

Obama said the tax that the government will get from the top two percent would create “23 million new jobs. That’s part of what took us from deficits to surplus. It will be good for our economy and it will be good for job creation.”

For Romney, he said, “the top five percent will continue to pay 60 percent, as they do today. I’m not looking to cut taxes for wealthy people. I am looking to cut taxes for middle-income people. … If you bring rates down, it makes easier for small business to keep more of their capital and hire people.”

If they can get the formula how Reagan encouraged entrepreneurship, limited social spending and reduced regulations that enabled him to grow the economy that got him re-elected to a landslide victory, it should be the key to President Obama’s re-election or Governor Romney’s effort to make Obama a one-term president.


No wonder when Reagan took over in his second term, he coasted along in passing the Immigration Reform and Control Act in 1986 that legalized three millions of undocumented aliens.

A study by a Migration Policy Institute showed that it was the first term of the administration of Democratic President Bill Clinton in 1992 after six years who felt the benefits of the Republican Reagan’s immigration reform.

According to the Institute, “most of the unauthorized immigrants who obtained legal status in the US under the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) found better jobs by 1992 than the ones they secured when they arrived, according to recent research that may have implications for current US immigration reform proposals.”

No wonder when President Clinton took over in his first year in office, almost six million new jobs were created in the first two years, an average of 250,000 new jobs every month.

In 1994, the economy had the lowest combination of unemployment and inflation in 25 years.

As part of the 1993 Economic Plan, President Clinton cut taxes on 15 million low-income families and made tax cuts available to 90 percent of small businesses, while raising taxes on just 1.2 percent of the wealthiest taxpayers.

President Clinton signed into law the largest deficit reduction plan in history, resulting in over $600 billion in deficit reduction. The deficit is going down for three years in a row for the first time since Harry Truman was president.

This is one thing for sure: if President Obama wins a second term and manages to pass the Comprehensive Immigration Reform or if Governor Romney wins the election and passes the Comprehensive Immigration Reform in his first year, the next president, who will benefit from this law will be the winner of the 2020 presidential election.

In that election, all the 12 million undocumented aliens will be voting and will be having “better jobs” that will drive the U.S. economy. (

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