By Stone Washington
Georgia’s two runoff Senate elections will determine the future of U.S. immigration policy.
Joe Biden wants to amnesty 11 million illegal aliens and massively expand legal immigration and guestworker programs. If Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock win, a Democrat-controlled Senate would happily go along with that plan.
Georgians overwhelmingly oppose amnesty. And only a GOP-controlled Senate can thwart Biden’s radical plan. As long as Republican incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue campaign hard on immigration and ensure the issue remains front-of-mind for voters, they stand an excellent chance of winning reelection.
Immigration is one of the most important issues for Republicans. A Harvard/Harris poll reveals that 79 percent of GOP voters want to reduce legal immigration to 500,000 or less annually, down from the typical annual level of 1.1 million. And 93 percent say it’s important to have secure borders.
Georgia Republicans are no exception. For instance, 82 percent say that a candidate’s stance towards illegal immigration is either “important” or “very important” in determining their vote.
It’s easy to see why. Illegal immigrants comprise nearly 4 percent of Georgia’s population. Only six other states have a higher proportion of illegal immigrants.
High levels of immigration, both illegal and legal, make life difficult for Georgia’s workers by putting downward pressure on wages. That’s one reason why wage growth recently slowed in Georgia, even as the state’s pre-COVID unemployment rates dropped to record lows.
And now, as Georgians struggle to navigate the COVID-induced recession, reducing both legal and illegal immigration is more important than ever.
As the more experienced legislator, incumbent Perdue has a solid track record of prioritizing immigration reform. He cosponsored the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy Act in 2019.
The RAISE Act would reduce total legal immigration by about 50 percent by preventing recent immigrants from sponsoring extended family members for green cards, though they could still bring over their spouses and young children. Currently, legal immigrants can sponsor even distant relatives for green cards. This process, known as “chain migration,” has caused immigration levels to skyrocket over the past few decades.
The RAISE Act would also eliminate the diversity visa lottery, which currently distributes 50,000 green cards a year to foreigners at random, regardless of their skill level.
Loeffler is still at the start of her political career, but she has already proven her conservative bona fides by signing onto the RAISE Act and cosponsoring legislation to end sanctuary cities.
Perdue and Loeffler’s challengers offer a radically different agenda. Ossoff backed Nancy Pelosi’s efforts to give taxpayer-funded stimulus payments to illegal immigrants. Warnock, who has aligned himself with the far-left progressive wing of the Democratic party , would surely support suspending deportations during Biden’s first 100 days in office, giving amnesty to 11 million illegal immigrants, and increasing overall legal immigration limits.
Georgians already have two senators that put American workers first. As long as Loeffler and Perdue run on their strong records, they’ll likely triumph in January.
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Stone Washington is a member of the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Project 21 black leadership network and is currently studying in the Juris Master Program at the Emory University Law School in Atlanta. He previously served as a journalism fellow at The Daily Caller and is an alumnus of the Heritage Foundation Young Leaders Program.