The New York fashion establishment’s close ties to the open borders lobby will be on full display during an upcoming joint press conference calling for the continued flow of low-skilled legal immigration.
The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), represented by Chairwoman Diane Von Furstenberg and President Steven Kolb, will join Mark Zuckerberg’s open borders lobbying group FWD.us’ President Todd Schulte to “share findings from a new white paper about the impact of immigration policy on the United States’ fashion industry, and its ability to create jobs for American workers,” according to a news release on the coming event.
“Immigration challenges are increasingly slowing the innovation that fuels the fashion industry, particularly as fashion houses compete for designers, scientists, researchers and textile specialists to develop wearables and smart textiles,” the CFDA news release claims. “The fashion industry thrives on the talents of individuals from around the world, including designers, models, seamstresses, tailors and garment workers. Roughly 20% of workers in clothing manufacturing are undocumented immigrants.”
Though the press conference will tout jobs for American workers in the fashion industry, the event will be a clear depiction of the New York fashion establishment’s growing friendship with the open borders lobby and top immigration law firms.
Most notably, CFDA Vice Chairman Michael Kors, primarily known for his all-American style cashmere knits and luxury handbags, is one of the largest American luxury brands that uses the H-1B foreign guest worker visa to outsource American jobs to foreign workers.
Since 2013, Michael Kors USA Inc. has steadily increased its requests for H-1B workers. The company applied for at least 56 foreign workers between Fiscal Years 2014 and 2016, according to data from the U.S. Labor Department.
Like other H-1B employers in the fashion industry, Michael Kors uses the foreign worker visa to fill jobs dealing with human resources, e-commerce, writing and fashion merchandise.
When Breitbart Texas reviewed the salaries for these positions with immigration expert John Miano, a multitude of the jobs requested the foreign worker fill the role for less pay than what the mean wage for that position would be paid if the worker were American.
For instance, in 2016 Michael Kors requested an H-1B visa for a foreign worker to fill an ‘Associated E-Commerce Front End Developer’ job. The so-called “prevailing wage” for that job was listed at $61,797.
Nonetheless, the prevailing wage touted by H-1B employers is generally the lowest possible salary for any job, Miano told Breitbart Texas.
The mean wage for the e-commerce job is $104,936, which adds up to a more than $19,500 in savings for Michael Kors by hiring a foreign worker rather than an American.
Likewise, Michael Kors requested an H-1B visa for a junior digital designer and a junior copywriter in 2016, each paying less than the mean wage paid to an American worker doing the same job. The junior digital designer job was offered to an H-1B foreign worker at $45,000, despite the mean wage for the job being over $66,000 a year.
In the case of the junior copywriter job, employers paid the H-1B foreign worker a $55,000 per year salary. But, the job’s mean wage is well over $80,000 a year — saving the fashion brand about $30,000 by outsourcing the job to a foreign worker instead of hiring an American.
To request H-1B foreign workers, Michael Kors hired Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy LLP, the leading open borders law firm that regularly lobbies for increased legal immigration levels and higher numbers of foreign guest workers entering the U.S. who take jobs from American workers.
Other American designers like Ralph Lauren, who famously dressed First Lady Melania Trump for her husband’s Presidential Inauguration, and designer Alexander Wang requested H-1B foreign guest workers over Americans since at least 2013.
Phillip Lim, known for his luxury clothes and accessories in the 3.1 Phillip Lim brand, hired Fragomen to help him apply for at least 23 H-1B foreign guest worker visas between Fiscal Year 2014-2016. Lim is a member of the CFDA, winning awards for his accessory designs and womenswear.
Fragomen’s work for the open borders lobby has long been reported on by Breitbart News, noting how Fragomen helped the Carnival Corporation and Viacom replace hundreds of American workers with cheaper, foreign replacements through the H-1B visa.
Miano, who worked closely with conservative columnist Michelle Malkin on research exposing the H-1B foreign guest worker visa, told Breitbart Texas how Fragomen was partially responsible for Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-Fl) ‘Gang of Eight’ amnesty legislation in 2013.
In 2015, Malkin chronicled Rubio’s relationship to Fragomen, writing “Rubio hired Enrique Gonzalez, a Democratic donor and partner with the global-immigration-law firm, Fragomen Del Rey, to be his chief adviser on the [Gang of Eight] bill.”
Like Zuckerberg, Fragomen has successfully crafted and structured a network of open borders organizations including the Council for Global Immigration, according to Miano.
Coincidentally, Fragomen regularly promotes Zuckerberg’s FWD.us, featuring the open borders group in a panel discussion about the impact of President Donald Trump’s executive orders on immigration.
Since its creation, FWD.us and Zuckerberg have been called out specifically by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, with the longtime immigration critic saying in 2014 “Well, the masters of the universe are very fond of open borders as long as these open borders don’t extend to their aggregated compounds and fenced-off estates,” as Breitbart News reported.
Multinational trade agreements and globalization devastated fashion manufacturing production in the U.S.
Over the past two decades, fashion manufacturing jobs in the U.S. have declined by more than 80 percent, dropping from about 900,000 jobs in 1990 to just 150,000 jobs in 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.
Just two years after the federal government enacted the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), companies laid off a total of 706 American workers from fashion manufacturing jobs in the U.S., with 67,511 workers initially filing for unemployment. Between 1996 and 2011, companies laid off an average of 323 American workers every year in the fashion manufacturing industry.
In that same period, American workers in textile mills suffered an average of 200 layoffs per year. In 1996, some 1,040 American workers in the clothing, textile, and leather manufacturing industry were fired from their jobs
Trump has not only criticized the importation of foreign workers to replace American workers; he has particularly blasted NAFTA, saying it has led to ruinous times for America’s once-thriving blue collar workers. The new President signed an executive order officially terminating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which he argued would further strip jobs from U.S. workers and outsource them to foreign nations.
Despite this, Trump has yet to make any reforms to the H-1B visa or other foreign guest worker visas, as Breitbart Texas reported.
John Binder is a contributor for Breitbart Texas. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.
John Miano, a Fellow with the Center for Immigration Studies and a leading expert on immigration and foreign guest worker visas, contributed to this report.