Rep. McCaul Reaches for Homeland Security Job, Ignores Trump’s Promised Reform of Legal Immigration

Texas Rep. Mike McCaul is campaigning to persuade President-elect Donald Trump to nominate him as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security — but his record shows little evidence that he supports Trump’s promise to protect Americans from imported cheap labor.

On Wednesday, Dec. 7, McCaul will tout his record at an annual State of Homeland Security Address at the Heritage Foundation. The speech has not been released, but may match a new opinion piece in which he offers to implement some of Trump’s new pro-American immigration policies. 

The op-ed marks an apparent policy shift towards Trump by McCaul, who has focused on anti-terror policies since he won the chairman’s gavel at the House Committee on Homeland Security in early 2013.

For example, McCaul’s 2015 State of Homeland Security Address was overwhelmingly focused on the threat of “terror,” which was mentioned 54 times in the 2015 speech. In that 2015 speech, McCaul’s text did not include any mention of the words that won the election for Trump — “wall,” “fence,” “worker,” “employee,” “job,” “wage,” or “salary.” The speech was so focused on terrorism that it did not even use the words “immigration,” “illegal,” or “alien.”

Rosemary Jenks, the director of government relations for NumbersUSA, an immigration reform group, said:

That’s our whole problem. Mike McCaul is completely focused on terrorism, which is a tiny but important slice of the immigration problem, and a tiny slice of what Trump campaigned on. But the idea that you could just drop someone into the most important immigration slot in our government and expect them to push Trump’s agenda is just fantasy. 

McCaul “just doesn’t understand the breath of the [immigration] problem, he doesn’t know how to deal with it … I’ve been working on immigration issues for 27 years, and there’s still a lot I don’t know,” Jenks said.

The new op-ed “shows [McCaul still] doesn’t understand the main reasons we have immigration laws in the first place,” said Jessica Vaughan, the policy director at the Center for Immigration Studies. Immigration laws exist “to preserve the quality of life in American communities and job opportunities for Americans,” she said, adding, “It is not just about terrorism.”

Another concern about McCaul, said Vaughan, is that McCaul cannot overcome Democratic opposition even on his own committee. “He got outmaneuvered in a lot of incidents by the minority Democrats because they knew the rules better than he and his staff did,” she said. “If he could not even manage the procedure of getting votes on his committee, how is he going to manage a huge agency?” she asked.

McCaul’s office did not respond to questions from Breitbart. 

McCaul’s prior focus is far distant from the broad and ambitious reform promised by Trump on August 31: “The time has come for a new immigration commission to develop a new set of reforms to our legal immigration system … to keep immigration levels, measured by population share, within historical norms … to establish new immigration controls to boost wages and to ensure that open jobs are offered to American workers first.”

In a September 2016 economics speech, Trump declared that “every policy decision we make must pass a simple test: does it create more jobs and better wages for Americans?”

Under President Barack Obama, the federal government annually imports at least one million legal immigrants, plus almost one million temporary white-collar guest workers and blue-collar guest workers for jobs sought by Americans. Those two million new foreign workers — plus the roughly eight million illegal immigrants in jobs — compete against the four million young Americans who begin looking for jobs each year. That wage-cutting competition shifts roughly $500 billion per year from wages and salaries into company profits, boosting investors and Wall Street.

The DHS is a critical agency in the management of the nation’s huge annual inflow of visitors, immigrants, and guest workers, alongside the departments of Labor, Justice, and State. 

McCaul’s new op-ed somewhat shifted his 2015 focus from terrorism towards illegal immigration, but still ignores Trump’s promise to protect Americans’ jobs and wages from legal immigration — not just from illegal migrants.  

“Donald Trump campaigned on a big promise: he would secure our border and confront the illegal immigration crisis head-on,” McCaul says at the start of his Dec. 2 op-ed.

After about 500 words about illegal immigration, McCaul briefly turns his attention to American workers. “In the meantime, we can’t forget about American workers,” he wrote.

But he immediately shifted his op-ed back to illegal immigration, not legal immigration. “We’ve got to protect our economy by mandating the use of E-Verify to ensure illegal aliens are not taking away American jobs,” McCaul said in the remaining part of the paragraph. The initial E-Verify system was created in 1997, and now it is used voluntarily by a huge number of companies. But the GOP-run congress has not passed a bill to make its use mandatory whenever an employer checks the work-eligibility of a new hire.  

McCaul does mention the impact of “visa overstays,” — people who arrive legally but overstay their visas and often seek jobs sought by Americans. “I will also see to it that we catch people who violate their visas by putting in place a rigorous entry-exit system to track foreigners who overstay their welcome,” he said. 

But McCaul did not acknowledge that congressional GOP leaders — including himself — have quietly refused to fund the deployment of an entry-exit system to track when visitors overstay, even though Congress has authorized the deployment multiple times since 1996. In 2014, roughly 480,000 foreigners visited the United States and overstayed their visas for some period of time

McCaul did briefly mention the much-criticized guest-workers programs that Trump has promised to revamp so they cannot be used to replace Americans. “We’ve got to protect our economy … by re-examining foreign guest worker programs,” said McCaul. But McCaul’s brief reference to the guest worker programs was focused in the programs’ impact on the U.S. economy, not on their impact on Americans’ wages and salaries, Vaughan noted.

In March 2016, Trump promised to protect Americans from the guest worker programs, such as the H-1B program, which outsources at least 650,000 white-collar jobs to foreign guest workers living in the United States: “I will end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program, and institute an absolute requirement to hire American workers first for every visa and immigration program,” he said “No exceptions.”

In August 2016, Trump laid out his pro-American immigration policy in an Arizona speech:

The truth is, our immigration system is worse than anyone realizes. But the facts aren’t known because the media won’t report on them, the politicians won’t talk about them, and the special interests spend a lot of money trying to cover them up.

Today you will get the truth.

The fundamental problem with the immigration system in our country is that it serves the needs of wealthy donors, political activists and powerful politicians. Let me tell you who it doesn’t serve: it doesn’t serve you, the American people.

When politicians talk about immigration reform, they usually mean the following: amnesty, open borders, and lower wages.

Immigration reform should mean something else entirely: it should mean improvements to our laws and policies to make life better for American citizens.

  most illegal immigrants are lower-skilled workers with less education who compete directly against vulnerable American workers, and that these illegal workers draw much more out from the system than they will ever pay in…

We will turn off the jobs and benefits magnet.

We will ensure that E-Verify is used to the fullest extent possible under existing law, and will work with Congress to strengthen and expand its use across the country.

Immigration law doesn’t exist just for the purpose of keeping out criminals. It exists to protect all aspects of American life – the worksite, the welfare office, the education system and much else. That is why immigration limits are established in the first place. If we only enforce the laws against crime, then we have an open border to the entire world.

… The time has come for a new immigration commission to develop a new set of reforms to our legal immigration system in order to achieve the following goals … [including] to establish new immigration controls to boost wages and to ensure that open jobs are offered to American workers first.

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