Amidst all of the political science theories analyzing the secret sauce for Trump’s victory, there is one factor we can say for certainly did not play a role in his victory. Nobody voted for him because they wanted him to be more like Bush on immigration. In fact, the exact opposite is true. Yet, that is exactly the sentiment expressed by Trump’s choice to head the Department of Labor, Andrew Puzder.
Puzder, the big restaurant mogul, is one of the most outspoken advocates for open borders in the business community and embodies everything the grassroots rejected in the elite mindset about immigration. Throughout his career, Puzder has parroted every straw-man, non-sequitur, and downright offensive talking point on immigration that we have heard from the elites all over Washington for years.
Here is a quick sample of Puzder’s ignorant open border talking points, each built upon a multitude of false premises:
Make the Gang of Eight great again
In 2013, Puzder praised the Gang of Eight bill, which was probably the worst piece of legislation introduced this decade after Obamacare. “A bill like the one before Congress could really be a benefit to the U.S. economy and it would be nice to participate in an economy that was constantly growing,” said Puzder at an open borders event in Washington.
Rather than learning the lessons of the rejected amnesty bill, Puzder wrote a patronizing column in the Wall Street Journaltwo years later, calling on Republicans to “end the drama” on immigration. Yes, as if we are the ones divorced from our history and tradition on immigration, not the Democrats. As the 2016 presidential primary began to heat up, Puzder advised that “every candidate should support a path to legal status — short of citizenship — for illegal immigrants willing to accept responsibility for their actions and take the consequences.”
Of course, it’s all about what to do for foreign nationals, not about putting American security, sovereignty, and fiscal interests first.
Make Bloomberg billionaires great again
That same year, Puzder signed a letter for a Bloomberg billionaire front group pushing Republicans to pass another amnesty bill. He joined a group of business moguls pushing the other candidates to follow in Jeb Bush’s footsteps: “People vote with their hearts… Our values indicate we should be the party of immigration reform,” Puzder said. “[Many undocumented immigrants] live in fear of being deported, losing what they’ve built and being separated from their families.”
Puzder also promoted endless low-skilled and high-skilled visas in the same op-ed: “The American Enterprise Institute found in 2011 that “temporary foreign workers — both skilled and less skilled — boost U.S. employment,” and that immigrants with advanced degrees working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields “boost employment for U.S. citizens.”
Trump’s immigration plan could spell doom for the GOP – George Will gets it. An important read. https://t.co/LkPii15ryQ
— Andy Puzder (@AndyPuzder) August 24, 2015
Then, in July of this year, after it was clear Trump would not follow in Jeb’s footsteps, Puzder wrote an op-ed together with Stephen Moore, in part, beseeching Trump to change his mind on immigration. They offered the classic false choice argument: “We believe that deporting 11 million people is unworkable, and we hope in the end Mr. Trump comes to this same conclusion. Deportation should be pursued only when an illegal immigrant has committed a felony or become a “public charge.”
Yes, in other words, send the message that anyone who comes here will never be deported. And history has shown that anyone who subscribes to this view will never deport those who are criminals and certainly not those who constitute a public charge either.
What happened to putting Americans first?
Every word of Puzder’s long record of advocacy for open borders stands in contrast to Trump’s intellectually clear immigration speech he delivered in Arizona in late August:
When politicians talk about immigration reform, they usually mean the following, amnesty, open borders, lower wages. Immigration reform should mean something else entirely. It should mean improvements to our laws and policies to make life better for American citizens.…
The truth is, the central issue is not the needs of the 11 million illegal immigrants… Anyone who tells you that the core issue is the needs of those living here illegally has simply spent too much time in Washington… There is only one core issue in the immigration debate, and that issue is the well-being of the American people.
I’m hearing some conservatives dismiss these concerns by noting that Puzder is rock-solid on labor regulations and is the right fit for the job of labor secretary. After all, he is not being chosen to head the Justice Department or Homeland Security. The problem with this assessment is that Puzder has been such a high-profile supporter of all of the people and issues driving the open borders lobby. Historically, the labor secretary has wielded an enormous influence on immigration policy because they oversee all of the guest worker programs.
But it’s not just about guest worker visas. Anyone who has followed the immigration issue understands that the entire cabal of open borders lobbyists — which is essentially everyone in power in business, law, politics, lobbying, academia, etc. (“masters of the universe,” as Sen. Sessions, R-Ala. (C, 78%) calls them) — has formed an ideological logrolling gravy train. Every facet of the immigration expansionist community will vouch for each sphere of open borders policy, even if it doesn’t directly affect them. In other words, the agriculture lobby doesn’t care about H1-b visas, but they will support them because they view any restriction as an eventual threat to their turf. Likewise, Silicon Valley doesn’t need a flood of refugees from Somalia, but will fight any efforts to shut down the program.
With this understanding in mind, picture how the entire gravy train will have one of their own in a strategic position relevant to immigration (although not the most important position). Puzder will serve as a countervailing force against any effort to clamp down on refugees, mass migration from the Third World, and the endless scams with visa programs that place big business instead of the people as a whole in charge of our sovereignty and future destiny.
Make no mistake, we don’t need more countervailing forces on immigration. The inertia and political gravity on this issue is one-directional in Washington. Aside from Jeff Sessions, especially after passing over Kris Kobach as DHS secretary, there will be no strong force keeping Trump in line to begin with. He has already gone off message on the issue and has always been wobbly on visas. We certainly don’t need Michael Bloomberg in charge of the Labor Department. Conservatives in the Senate should get some answers from Puzder with regards to immigration before they vote to confirm him.
Immigration (along with Obamacare, of course) is the hill to die on in the Trump presidency. It’s no secret that a lot of free market conservatism will be sidelined during this administration and that conservatives will have to swallow a number of bitter pills. Many conservative Trump supporters have suggested all along that such concessions would be worth it as the price for finally getting immigration right. In that case, we better make sure of it, not simply hope for change. Otherwise, conservatives will be left with an empty bag of promises.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.