WHO'S THE WORST?...

WHO'S THE WORST? I don't think Atrios is right on this interpretation of the immigration bill. "The real thing to take away," he writes, "is that much of the "bad" is bad that Michelle, Lou, and I can all agree on. It isn't in there because it appeals to Republican/conservative voters, it's there because it appeals to elite business interests."

The lefties I talk to on this are pretty universal in blaming the worst elements on the restrictionists, not business. The end of family unification, for instance, is largely because restrictionists feel that one immigrant comes here and then empties out a whole Mexican town of his cousins and nephews. Business wants a system where they can more directly identify talent and sponsor their visas. The temporary nature of the guest worker program is fully about restrictionists. Business would prefer to be able to keep talented workers and sponsor their citizenship -- it's restrictionists who want to send them all home. And the weird provisions where immigrants have to keep popping back into their home countries at regular intervals are entirely a restrictionist thing.

Business has priorities I don't agree with, of course, including weaker employer verification systems than I'd like and a guest worker program in the first place. But the really bad parts of the bill that make it possibly unsupportable, rather than just a mixed bag, are mainly appeasements for restrictionists.

--Ezra Klein

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