Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, is the first 2016 GOP presidential candidate to come out against tech companies’ abuse of the H1B guest worker program to replace American workers with cheap foreign labor.
Huckabee spoke up for American workers and against special interests and foreign workers on Breitbart News Sunday in an interview with guest host Breitbart News investigative journalist Matthew Boyle. It’s a significant move that could force the whole Republican field to address an issue it’s been silent on thus far.
“I’m not against immigration. Our country has been made strong by the people who came here. But we focus too much on how many people are coming—I think the focus needs to be on why people are coming,” Huckabee said when asked about the connections between immigration policy and wages for American workers. He specifically noted that some in the rest of the GOP 2016 field openly support massively increasing the numbers of foreign workers brought into the country. “Do they come here because they believe in what America stands for and opportunities? Do they want to be part of this great country and accept the responsibility for helping to make it great? Then goodness, let’s get as many people here as want to come.”
Huckabee then hammered away at the recent examples from Disney and Southern California Edison, among others, where American workers were forced to train their replacements—replacements who were brought into America on H1B visas and paid significantly less than the Americans they were replacing to do the exact same jobs. Huckabee adds:
When people come because they believe there’s going to be free education and free healthcare, and there’s not going to be that level of free responsibility, and when people come and take a job that an American has trained for—I mean, recently, we had numerous testimonials of people who in the high-tech sector were actually having and forced to train their replacements who were imported workers who were coming in and making less than half of what they were being paid. Now, in a world of supply and demand that’s one thing. But when companies are undercutting an American worker just so they can increase their profits without regard to the people who made them profitable in the first place, that’s not a money issue. That’s a moral issue.
The Southern California Edison case has received bipartisan attention, with Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) working together to try to expose what happened and hold the company accountable.
“Southern California Edison ought to be the tipping point that finally compels Washington to take needed actions to protect American workers. As Professor Ron Hira testified, the H-1B visa has become ‘a highly lucrative business model of bringing in cheaper H-1B workers to substitute for Americans,” Sessions said in a statement after he and Durbin pressed several elements of the Obama administration for an investigation into the case—something the administration has not yet done.
Most of the H-1B program is now being used to import cheaper foreign guestworkers, replacing American workers, and undercutting their wages.’ The U.S. is graduating twice as many STEM students each year as find jobs in those fields, yet the H-1B program continues to provide IT companies with a large annual supply of lower-wage guest workers to hire in place of more qualified Americans. There is no ‘shortage’ of talented Americans, only a shortage of officials willing to protect them.
In written congressional testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Jay Palmer—who served as a whistleblower in the Infosys visa fraud case that resulted in the largest settlement in history at $34 million—wrote that he is now an “out of work American” because his whistleblowing caused him to be “blackballed in the industry.”
“Over the past month I have spoken to many Edison workers,” Palmer wrote in his testimony after thanking Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Iowa’s Senior GOP senator, for investigating this matter. “Their stories are atrocious. They have been threatened, muzzled and asked to train less qualified individuals as their replacements. These people are the back bone of our economy. We are their voice. We are the only one they have left because they were FORCED to sign non-disparaging remark clauses in order to get their benefits. They have been muzzled.”
Palmer then provided several quotes from the Southern California Edison H-1B abuse victims, American workers displaced by foreigners because their company abused the nation’s immigration system to seek cheap labor, as saying things like, “I feel cheated and betrayed” and “how can this happen?” and “I will lose my home” and “this is all I know, I did nothing wrong” and “we are disposable , a piece of trash discarded into the streets” and “I have lost all confidence in our system” and “Americans need to wake up (expletive) this WILL happen to others.”
Palmer’s full congressional testimony—at least the written out pre-hearing statement—totals 17 pages in which he calls out the immigration system as nothing more than a tool used by these donor class-political class figures to replace Americans with cheaper foreigners, laying out the full facts of what’s really going on. Palmer detailed too how several other companies engaged in the same practice as Southern California Edison, including his own Infosys—which he said still does it—and it’s since been exposed that Disney did it too.
Huckabee’s decision to focus on an issue where no other candidate has yet been willing to go—the H1B fraud—could pay massive dividends for him on the campaign trail. Most Americans—in astonishingly high levels, across party lines—believe in what he’s talking about here: Protect American workers first.
Polling data, especially that from the National Republican Senatorial Committee commissioned Paragon Insights poll from before the 2014 midterm elections and from KellyAnne Conway’s the Polling Company polls from last summer, show widespread support across party lines — higher than 70 percent among Democrats, Republicans and independents — wanting to help American workers first.
Huckabee hammered the same issue in his announcement speech in early May in Hope, Arkansas, but also laid out in this interview why he thinks on both the issues of trade and immigration that Republicans have abandoned American workers.
“The leadership in both parties has essentially sold out to the donor class, and that’s what we have to just be honest about,” Huckabee said. “The donor class drives the political class and the people in the Washington to Wall Street axis of power have been very, very effective at creating at a collusion of power that really doesn’t change when the Democrats or Republicans are in power.”
Huckabee said that explains why people like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner are trying to push Obamatrade—the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) that would fast track the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal—through Congress to help President Obama.
“How else can you explain the Republican leadership fighting to give Barack Obama increased power over a secretive agreement?” Huckabee said.
This is like Obamacare on steroids and if people thought Obamacare was wonderful because after all it was a hurriedly passed bill that nobody had read—it was passed with the thought of just ‘trust me, I’ll make it all work’—then how’d that work out for us? So why would the Republicans push this bill? Because the donor class who funds their campaigns wants them to. There’s a lot of money to be made on free trade. While I believe in free trade, it isn’t free if it isn’t fair. What we have is not a free trade, true capitalistic environment.
What we have is a crony environment where a few people are going to get filthy rich but it’s going to be at the expense of a lot of American workers who are going to lose their jobs. I’m not a protectionist, but I will tell people I’m neither a corporatist. I don’t believe we just surrender to the corporations and the globalists and say ‘well if it’s good for someone halfway around the world, well it’s good for me.’ If we don’t enforce both sides of the trade deal and if we don’t call out and throw the flag when our trading partners manipulate their currency like has happened with Japan and China and other nations, we’re playing it for chumps and we’re hurting Americans and I can’t just stand by and let that happen.
Huckabee also called for the Republican Party to better represent blue collar workers, rather than just sticking up for big business. It’s a theme that others on the 2016 GOP campaign trail have also been pushing—something that voters have seen from former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who just announced his campaign last week outside Pittsburgh in a manufacturing plant, and from Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who’s expected to announce he’s running for president in July.
“I think a lot of Americans have realized that the Democratic Party and the Democratic platform has left them out twisting in the wind,” Huckabee said on Breitbart News Sunday.
We’ve lost 5 million manufacturing jobs since the year 2000—60,000 manufacturing plants have closed since the year 2000. And our trade imbalance since 1990 is right now about $11 trillion when you add in the energy. What it means is Americans right now today are working, they’re working harder but they have less to show for it. In fact, the economy for the bottom 90 percent of America has been stagnant for the last 40 years and it’s making it increasingly difficult for the American dream to be the American dream and I think our party—the Republican Party—we need to begin addressing not just this issue of let’s help the job creators.
Let’s make it possible for the job holders to do well in life. It doesn’t hurt the people creating the jobs, but if you ask the average American they think the Republicans care about the folks in the corporate boardroom but not the ones on the factory floor. Having grown up having more in common with the folks working in the kitchen than the ones sitting at the head table, I think it’s a great opportunity for us to show that working class people are going to be benefitted by the policies that we really are going to champion.
Huckabee also discussed how, during his time in Arkansas politics, he defeated the Bill and Hillary Clinton machine multiple times. Huckabee also plays well in the Midwest as a social conservative – where he won the Iowa caucus in the 2008 election.
According to a new Bloomberg Politics-Des Moines Register poll, Huckabee is in the top tier of GOP candidates in Iowa. Walker leads the field with 17 percent, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) comes in tied for second with Dr. Ben Carson at 10 percent apiece and Huckabee and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush tie for third with 9 percent when respondents were asked about their first choice for president. The poll surveyed 402 likely Republican caucus-goers in Iowa, and was conducted from May 25 to May 29 with a margin of error of 4.9 percent.