Report: After WH Meets with Big Biz, Obama May Use Exec Actions to Increase Guest-Worker Visas
After White House officials reportedly met with big-business groups, President Barack Obama is considering executive actions that will give them more guest-worker visas in the high-tech and low-skilled sectors.
This may come on top of Obama's potential grants of amnesty and work permits to millions of illegal immigrants in the country. While outside groups are urging Obama to "go big," Senate Democrats have expressed some concerns of late, as poll numbers have shown that executive amnesty may cost them control of the Senate. The White House is reportedly reaching out to big-business groups on guest-worker visas so they can give Obama air cover on his potential executive amnesty.
According to a Politico report, senior White House aides earlier this month met with "more than a dozen business groups and company officials to discuss potential immigration policy changes they could make." According to the outlet, "Oracle, Cisco, Fwd.US, Microsoft, Accenture, Compete America, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce" were represented at the meeting.
Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg's FWD.us has poured in millions of dollars to Democrats and Republicans to push for amnesty legislation, specifically an increase in the number of their coveted high-tech guest-worker visas. Cisco recently slashed another 6,000 jobs after pushing for amnesty legislation. Microsoft announced it would lay off 18,000 American workers a week after its former CEO Bill Gates called for an unlimited number of certain guest-worker visas in a New York Times op-ed. And the Chamber of Commerce has vowed to spend $50 million for amnesty legislation and more guest-worker visas.
In its analysis of the Senate's amnesty bill, the Congressional Budget office determined that an increase in the number of such visas would lower the wages of American workers, and a recent Census report found that "74% of those with a bachelor's degree in these subjects don't work in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) jobs." Numerous scholars and studies have determined that America does not have a shortage of high-tech workers. And after the Census report, even mainstream media outlets like CBS News concluded that the notion of such a shortage "is largely a myth."
But according to Politico, "the ideas under discussion for executive action include allowing spouses of workers with high-tech visas to work, recapturing green cards that go unused, and making technical changes for dual-purpose visa applications." In addition, "agriculture industry representatives" have also pushed the Obama administration for an expansion of the "existing agriculture worker program." The Obama administration, according to Politico, "is also considering provisions for low-skilled workers for industries, like construction, that would allow individuals with temporary work authorization to gain work permits."
U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner Peter Kirsanow has urged Obama and the Congressional Black Caucus to oppose illegal immigration and more low-skilled work permits because it would disproportionately impact black workers at the bottom rungs of the economic ladder. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) has been the leading advocate for American workers in Congress, opposing Obama's executive amnesty and pointing out during every speech that massively increasing the number of guest-worker visas would only deal a "hammer blow" to the middle class and American workers who are already struggling in Obama's economy. The Obama administration has already increased the number of guest-worker permits by possibly 100,000 when it allowed the spouses of high-tech guest-workers who are applying for permanent residency to obtain permits.
A White House spokesman told Politico that Obama "has not made a decision regarding next steps," and executive actions were not specifically mentioned in the meeting that he said was one of 20 "listening sessions" Obama has been having with outside groups before reportedly enacting executive amnesty "by the end of summer." Beto Cardenas, who represents big-business interests, told the outlet that he "was encouraged to hear that nothing was off the table."