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West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin said Thursday he would support a 2021 amnesty.

The statement was made at a migrant shelter in Laredo, Texas, and his comments closely matched the talking points provided by wealth investor groups. For example, Manchin played up the concerns of foreign children while ignoring the economic concerns of West Virginians.

Manchin announced his support as he warned more migrants are on their way to the border:

I’ll go back to Washington, I’ll be able to speak to the President … [I] will be able to speak to our colleagues and explain that ‘it is beyond time, past time to do immigration reform.

Immigration reform should be a pathway to citizenship. People have been here — they might have come here the wrong way but they came here for the right reason. They’ve been here, they’ve been productive. We have children that came here, that have no other home but America.

“I certainly believe Joe Biden is the one person who can put the compassion to doing this and doing it right. I truly believe that,” he added.

Manchin said the amnesty is needed to help the migrant children, it will not lead to an increase in crime, and the border can be protected by technology.

Manchin’s lurch towards amnesty is important, partly because it could give Democrats a 50th vote for amnesty — and an excuse to weaken the Senate’s filibuster rules that preserve the political power of small states in the Congress.

Manchin offered no economic and pragmatic reason for endorsing an amnesty, which suggests that he is facing massive lobbying pressure from his fellow Democrats and from the pro-migration business groups. Many amnesty advocates are seeking to reduce the labor-market power of Americans under an imported flood of many extra hard-working but low-wage workers, who also spur the economy as taxpayer-aided consumers, and high-occupancy renters.

Any amnesty would have a huge economic impact, in part, because it would be packaged with a further immigration expansion that would reduce wage levels and minimize the incentives for coastal investors to create jobs in lower-status West Virginia communities.

“Everybody loses — except for the stakeholders, which are the different leaders and money people and companies that are lined up behind this thing,” said Bill Gheen, founder of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC. “American citizens — white-collar, blue-collar, white, black, and Hispanic — all will suffer terrible consequences,” he told Breitbart News.

The impact of cheap-labor migration on investors’ job-creation plans is highlighted by a report at an economic research site, SSTI.org. The report shows late-stage venture capital investments clustered in the states where investors and their new workers — legal and illegal migrants — prefer to live. For example, in the last three months of 2020, investors made investment deals worth roughly $2,028 per person in California, $936 per person in New York, $167 per person in Pennsylvania, $128 per person in Ohio, $52 per person in Kentucky — and 55 cents per person in West Virginia, which is ranked among the poorest states in the union.

Instead of talking about voters’ primary worries about jobs and wages, Manchin’s talking points echoed the poll-tested advice of pro-migration investors, such as those pushed by Mark Zuckerberg’s FWD.us lobby group, which urged politicians to avoid any mention of money, jobs, or wages while promoting amnesty bills.

For example, a March 9 FWD.us-funded polling memo advised worried legislators that:

It is better to focus on all of the aforementioned sympathetic details of those affected [by an amnesty] than to make economic arguments, including arguments about wages or demand for labor. As we have seen in the past, talking about immigrants doing jobs Americans won’t do is not a helpful frame, and other economic arguments are less effective than what is recommended above.

“Adapting family separation messaging to the debate over citizenship is our most resonant message,” the FWD.us-funded memo said.

Manchin’s statement was quickly endorsed by Todd Schulte, the president of Zuckerberg’s FWD.us group:

Many Democratic and GOP politicians recognize that any amnesty may be very unpopular with swing voters. Numerous polls show that Americans say they want to welcome migrants — but overwhelmingly oppose labor migration that threatens Americans’ jobs and wages. In 2014, for example, after the Democrats pushed the Gang of Eight amnesty through the Senate, they lost five seats — and helped trigger Donald Trump’s run for the presidency.

In Laredo, Manchin argued that an amnesty will reduce suffering for foreign migrants, although he said nothing about how more cheap labor might impact his already-poor West Virginian constituents.

Foreign criminal gangs are “preying on human suffering, which is intolerable — should be — to all of us. How can we prevent that from happening?” he said, adding:

A lot of of our [GOP] colleagues come to the border but they don’t come as much to Laredo as they might go over to where the children shelters. That’s the one that tugs at your heart. I understand that. But think of all the criminal elements of preyed on those kids to get here. Think of all the sacrifices their families made. We should not put them in harm’s way, that should not happen. So we need to look at some of the pieces of legislation we’ve had and some of the rules we’ve had before, that have worked, some that haven’t worked.

“This is basically for the children,” Manchin said, after citing a theme of “Five Promise” that he says he often describes.

Just before he endorsed an amnesty, Manchin described the amnesty as a way to reduce crime against migrants:

Well, we’re going to have to be, what some people might interpret as being very difficult, very strong, very tough. And by being tough, we’re going to be tough on crime. We’re not going to allow crime to prosper on the backs of people or human suffering, and trying to get to this country under any condition, That’s not going to continue. We can’t let it.

Manchin suggested his constituents are unfairly afraid of migrant crime, but did not offer any border-related legal reforms to curb the growing problem that Americans do face from Mexican drug gangs:

I come from West Virginia, one of the least diverse states in the nation. There’s not a lot of mix, if you will. We have very little migrant immigration. And so the only thing that people — my constituents — will know is what they see on television … [I came here] To see see the human element and see it up close, in person, to be able to talk to [migrant] people, just a month ago who came here …..  to see how that kind of changes their lives, and they say they feel so much safer.

The scale of the Mexican drug problem was noted by a January 4 statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of West Virginia:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – United States Attorney Mike Stuart announced today that Joel Gonzalez-Gomez, 31, of Chiapas, Mexico, was sentenced to 135 months in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine and illegal reentry of a removed alien.

“Five prior removals [from the United States]. More than a kilo of meth. 12 grams of fentanyl. 28 grams of cocaine. 3 guns,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart.  “Gonzalez-Gomez had come into our country illegally and continued to break our laws by peddling poison.  He will now have more than 11 years in federal prison to think about the error of his ways.”

The border can be secured by technology, Manchin argued, without mentioning the prior promises about high-tech walls, or the many legal loopholes, side-doors and gaps that are used by President Joe Biden’s deputies to let many migrants walk through President Donald Trump’s useful concrete-and-steel border wall. Manchin said:

There should be basically the security of our border using all the technology that we have available. We have the most technological advances ever made before. I’ve just seen your towers and your radars and all that scanning, so much different what we had 10 years ago.

While endorsing an amnesty, Manchin suggested federal officials impose a 90-pause in migration across the border:

We’ve got a human crisis that I’m seeing here … So if that means shutting everything down for 90 days of how we have people coming to our country, sending that message that we’re not going to be taking people into this country until we get our ability to make sure we’re able to do it and do it right. Is that going to put the pressure [on Congress]? Or do we put a 90-day moratorium on ourselves to make sure we come up with a safe haven in the country so they can go there? Something has to be done and it has to be expedited.

“This problem is not going away, this problem will not cure itself,. I can assure you, and they’re coming in droves,” he added.

In 2013,  Manchin endorsed the “Gang of Eight” amnesty. “In 2013, we did an immigration bill and the Senate passed it. I was part of that,:” he said. “The Republican party didn’t take the piece of legislation, it was a good piece of legislation. It really was.”

Shortly before Manchin voted for the 2013 amnesty, a last-minute report by the Congressional Budget Office revealed that the amnesty bill would reduce wage-earners’ share of new national income and would increase the share that went to investors.

“The bill would increase the rate of growth of the labor force, [so] average wages would be held down in the first decade after enactment,” the CBO report said. “The rate of return on capital would be higher [than on labor] under the legislation than under current law throughout the next two decades,” according to the report titled “The Economic Impact of S. 744.”

FWD.us was formed in 2013 to help pass the 2013 amnesty. It is now pushing for the passage of a 2021 amnesty.

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