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Americans’ Opposition to Amnesty is Boosting Wages, Business Leader Admits

Broad public opposition to amnesty and cheap-labor immigration is forcing employers to pay higher wages to Americans, an amnesty advocate admitted Wednesday morning.

“We’re probably experiencing the most critical labor shortage” since 2002, complained Tom Nassif, president and CEO of the Western Growers Association, a trade association of agricultural companies who want an amnesty for illegal-immigrant farm workers. “Wages are going up dramatically, but it is not adding even one person to the workforce,” Nassif complained.

“All it does is encourage people who are farmworkers to play musical chairs by going from farmer to farmer, seeking higher wages, and the farmers are competing with each other [for American and illegal workers] by raising those wages,” he said during a call-in press conference by billionaire-backed lobbyists for a 2017 amnesty.

That type of labor-shortage wage-increase hasn’t existed in the United States since the late 1990s, and it is an indirect validation of Donald Trump’s low-immigration, high-wage economic policy, as described in his speeches and labor-force policy paper. Support from blue-collar and white-collar Americans for that high-wage labor reform has fueled his unorthodox campaign, despite furious race-baiting opposition from business groups and urban professionals who profit from cheap labor policies.

In contrast, Hillary Clinton is proposing to extend President Barack Obama’s loose-labor, open-borders, low-wage policy, which encourages legal and illegal immigration. Obama’s calculated refusal to enforce immigration law has even allowed many illegal workers to migrate from the agriculture industry to urban sectors in search of Americans’ jobs in retail and food industries. That internal migration of illegals is forcing agriculture employers to raise wages for their remaining workers. 

Nassif made his wage-boosting admission during a press conference intended to announce a new push for a new immigration law in 2017. The campaign, dubbed “Reason for Reform,” is funded by the Partnership for a New American Economy lobbying group. 

Nassif also admitted that the labor shortage is forcing his member companies to invest in better machinery instead of relying on the workplace labor practices that were first developed in prehistoric agricultural communities. “We’re attempting to mechanize,” he said, but then complained that the technology is not advancing fast enough in twenty-first century America to offset his members’ growing wage costs.

Higher productivity is good for Americans because it allow every American to get richer. Crop-picking by machines instead of by migrant workers reduces purchase costs for buyers and also cuts various costs paid by taxpayers’ in farming communities, because the taxpayers don’t have to pay the hidden costs of illegal immigration — such as extra costs for police, social services and education.

But many politicians are backing business groups’ demand for more cheap workers and more welfare-funded consumers. For example, Rep. Paul Ryan told National Journal in 2013 that dairy farmers should be allowed to hire unskilled migrant workers from Central America instead of investing in American-manufactured robotic cow-milking machinery.

The goal of the new push by Nassif and other business leaders is to amnesty at least 11 million foreign migrants living in the United States, to bring in more wage-cutting temporary workers and to raise the annual inflow of legal immigrants.

Currently, the federal government invites 1 million new legal blue-collar and white-collar immigrants each year, and admits almost 1 million temporary workers. That high inflow — two new foreign workers for every four new Americans workers — is a “diversity tax” that sharply lowers lifetime wages for the 4 million young Americans who enter the workforce each year.

High immigration is a three-fer for companies and investors; It reduces payroll costs for companies, and also provides them with a huge inflow of customers, many of whom rely on taxpayer-funded welfare to maintain a decent living standard. In turn, those economic benefits spike the shareholder value of companies on Wall Street. 

The new profit-boosting push is being led by business groups that are eager to trade favors with the Democratic Party. They include former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who cuts his white-collar salary costs by importing white-collar temporary workers and who was invited to speak at the Democrats’ convention in Philadelphia.

The companies in the new push include Intel, Google, Microsoft, the immigration lawyers’ trade association, any many companies in several trade associations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The push is being led by John Feinblatt, Bloomberg’s chief advisor for policy and strategic planning.

Feinblatt declined to take questions from Breitbart News.

So far, Bloomberg’s new campaign echoes prior campaigns since 2006. Under that strategy, Democratic politicians ally with business groups to lobby and pressure GOP legislators to back an amnesty, to increase immigration and to admit greater annual flow of guest workers.

The strategy failed in 2006, 2007, 2013 and 2014 because of strong opposition from voters — despite intense efforts by business and media groups to hide intense public opposition to the open-door population policy. The business groups spent at least $1.5 billion pushing for the nation-changing policy.

Some GOP politicians have opposed the proposed amnesties, while many others wavered between pressure from voters and tough pressure from local business interests in the agriculture, university, retail and industrial sectors. For example, in 2013, House Speaker John Boehner quietly stalled action on the Senate-approved amnesty, allowing time for GOP primary voters to block the bill by defeating the GOP’s Majority Leader, Rep. Eric Cantor in his June, 2014 primary

However, many GOP politicians , staff aides and lobbyists oppose curbs on immigration. For example, the current House Speaker, Rep. Paul Ryan, supports a radical measure that would have allowed business groups to freely hire Americans who ask for higher wages, and he changed a law in 2015 to allow many additional blue-collar workers to be be imported each year. 

Nassif’s confession matches the lessons learned from change to labor and immigration law made by Arizona, as described in a 2015 study by Moody’s Analytics, a Wall Street investment firm.

Arizona’s labor and immigration reforms began in 2004, and the state’s population of roughly 450,000 illegals gradually dropped by roughly 180,000 people from 2007 to 2012, the WSJ reported in February.

Because of the 40 percent drop in illegal labor, the wages earned by Americans rose significantly, said the analysis by Moody’s Analytics. According to the Wall Street Journal:

The median income of low-skilled whites who did manage to get jobs rose about 6% during that period, the economists estimate … wages rose about 15% for Arizona farmworkers and about 10% for construction between 2010 and 2014 … Some employers say their need for workers has increased since then, leading them to boost wages more rapidly and crimping their ability to expand … graduates [at a federal job-training center] now often mull two or three jobs offers from construction firms and occasionally start at $14.65 an hour instead of $10 …  At DTR Landscape Development LLC, the firm’s president, Dick Roberts, says he has increased his starting wage by 60% to $14.50 an hour because he is having trouble finding reliable workers.

The departure of foreign migrants also cut the state government’s welfare costs by roughly $430 million per year, the WSJ reported.

The number of students enrolled in intensive English courses in Arizona public schools fell from 150,000 in 2008 to 70,000 in 2012 and has remained constant since. Schooling 80,000 fewer students would save the state roughly $350 million a year, by one measure … annual emergency-room spending on noncitizens fell 37% to $106 million, from $167 million. And between 2010 and 2014, the annual cost to state prisons of incarcerating noncitizens convicted of felonies fell 11% to $180 million, from $202 million.

Housing costs also dropped, making it much easier for better-paid young Americans to marry, have children and launch themselves into a middle-class life. That’s likely a long-term boon for the local GOP, because family homeowners are much more likely to vote GOP.

“It was like, ‘Where did everybody go?’ ” says Teresa Acuna, a Phoenix real-estate agent who works in Latino neighborhoods. Real-estate agent Patti Gorski says her sales records show that prices of homes owned by Spanish-speaking customers fell by 63% between 2007 and 2010, compared with a 44% drop for English-speaking customers, a difference she attributes partly to financial pressure on owners who had been renting homes to immigrants who departed.

The rising wages and loss of cheap labor also forced local companies to invent or buy new machinery that will boost productivity and allow farms to beat their low-wage, labor-intensive, foreign competition.

After Arizona passed a series of tough anti-immigration laws, Rob Knorr couldn’t find enough Mexican field hands to pick his jalapeño peppers. He sharply reduced his acreage and invested $2 million developing a machine to remove pepper stems. His goal was to cut the number of laborers he needed by 90% and to hire higher-paid U.S. machinists instead …

He says mechanization is his future. He continues to pour time and money into a laser-guided device to remove stems from peppers, which pickers now do by hand in the field. Another farmer in the area developed a mechanical carrot harvester.

Mr. Knorr says he is willing to pay $20 an hour to operators of harvesters and other machines, compared with about $13 an hour for field hands. He says he can hire skilled machinists at community colleges, so he can rely less on migrant labor.

However, Trump’s innovative labor-force reforms are being fought tooth-and-nail by establishment business groups that profit from the inflow of additional workers and consumers. 

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