President Donald Trump suggested that he is ready to ditch his Inauguration Day promise of a “Hire American” economic policy — even though thousands of auto workers are being laid off, millions of Americans do not have jobs, and many millions of Americans cannot get better-paying jobs.
The huge policy shift in favor of employers and investors is emerging after Congress blocked his border wall and his border security reforms, and after the GOP-led Congress passed Trump’s tax cut.
“It is fair to say that the President is abandoning his Hire American policy,” said Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies.
Trump’s statement also gives a green light to the panel of GOP and Democratic appropriators in Congress who are trying to overcome the partisan gridlock over the border wall and border security, Krikorian added. The legislators are expected to draft a compromise by February 15 that can expand several migration-related programs which allow employers to import cheap, temporary “visa workers” instead of hiring Americans at market rates, he said.
Trump “is not only making it easier for appropriators to approve this guest-worker increase, it seems to be that he’s telegraphing to them that’s what they should do,” Krikorian said.
One of the draft visa-worker expansions is dubbed “country caps.” It would remove diversity provisions in immigration law to allow employers to offer citizenship to roughly 100,000 Indian outsourcing workers each year if they agree to cheaply replace the American graduates who are now working in well-paid software, accounting, design, engineering, medicine, and education careers. The panel is expected to draft their plan by February 15.
The “country caps” bill may be approved this month without any hearings to gauge the impact on the American middle-class.
On Tuesday, Trump declared during his State of the Union speech that “I want people to come into our country, in the largest numbers ever, but they have to come in legally.”
On Wednesday, Trump reaffirmed the pro-migration statement when he was asked by a reporter “So, you’re changing your policy officially, then? You want more legal immigration?”
Trump answered “I need people coming in because we need people to run the factories and plants and companies that are moving back in. We need people.”
“Our unemployment numbers are so low,” Trump said.
On February 1, the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed the unemployment rate was at 4 percent. But it also showed that 12.5 million Americans are either unemployed or want to get jobs. In the 1960s, roughly 97 percent of men aged 25 to 54 worked — but that percentage dropped to 80 percent in 2009 and was still only at 86.2 percent in December 2018.
Trump’s pro-migration announcement prompted protests from a group of pro-Trump graduates who have organized to stop the outsourcing of middle-class jobs in the United States. Protect U.S. Workers wrote:
As a group of Americans workers who have been displaced from their jobs and campaigned for President Trump and his Hire American Buy American policy, we are very disappointed with the approach he is taking by rewarding the H-1B visa abuse. We will not support the President if he continues to side with the H-1B foreign workers and the big corporations.
— Roger Ross (@logicalgong) January 12, 2019
In November, the Protect U.S Workers group helped defeat GOP Rep. Kevin Yoder who lost his suburban seat after pushing the “country caps” outsourcing bill.
https://t.co/iOTGYfCaAC says GOP is pulling promised campaign funds from Rep. Yoder amid bad poll numbers. His defeat could sink his HR392 'country caps' giveaway which will allow US/Indian companies to expand college-grad outsourcing via H-1B & L-1 visas https://t.co/EqxLRVS80d
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) October 1, 2018
The group is aided by federal data showing the number of jobs given to H-1B visa workers in each congressional district. The data also shows the employers and the pay promised to the visa workers. But the data does not show the number and location of jobs given to L-1, OPT, CPT, H4EAD, TN or E-3 visa workers.
The ALIPAC grassroots group also opposes the more migrants policy.
— William Gheen (@ALIPAC) February 7, 2019
Trump’s shift on Hire American is also being denounced by U.S. Tech Workers, a left-of-center group.
Trump has sold out the hard working citizens of this country. Since he doesn't have an issue with seeing citizens displaced, he needs to be displaced in 2020. https://t.co/iiJZnh7Wks
— US Tech Workers (@USTechWorkers) February 6, 2019
The various visa worker programs, such as the H-1B, OPT, and L-1, have allowed investors to import a population of roughly 1.5 million college-graduate temporary workers. Roughly two-thirds of these workers are Indian, many of whom are under contract to the Indian-owned outsourcing companies that work for a myriad U.S. companies. This resident army of contingent workers are used to displace Americans — even when American job seekers are qualified, and even when Americans are working in the jobs.
There is no legislative cap on the total number of outsourcing workers who can be imported to take middle-class jobs, nor any rules to prevent companies from paying visa workers much lower salaries than sought by American graduates.
There are no effective rules to prevent the visa workers from taking the starter jobs needed by new U.S. graduates and no effective rules to prevent the displacement of middle-aged Americans who are trying to raise children and pay their children’s’ college fees. There are no rules to prevent non-profit hospitals and universities from hiring an unlimited number of visa workers, and no rules to prevent companies from hiring visa workers to guard Americans’ financial and healthcare data. There are no rules to protect arts, media, and design graduates, and no rules to prevent displaced American technology graduates from taking jobs sought by American arts graduates.
Many U.S. journalists are losing their jobs while the fed gov't gives companies H-1B visas to import hundreds of temp workers for media jobs. This outsourcing has been imposed on IT, medical & biz grads for many years, but is now reaching media/arts grads. https://t.co/SrLNiNRDKj
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) January 24, 2019
The cheap visa workers are extremely valuable to investors because every $1 saved in salaries creates roughly $15 in extra stock market value.
Trump’s invite for more workers also contradicts is own boasts about rising wages for blue-collar Americans, said Krikorian.
In his State of the Union speech, Trump said: “wages are rising at the fastest pace in decades and growing for blue-collar workers, who I promised to fight for, faster than anyone else.”
But blue-collar wages are rising because Trump’s Hire American policy is forcing employers to recruit sidelined Americans and to compete for the limited pool of workers by offering higher wages, said Krikorian. In 2018, for example, wages rose nationwide by 3 percent as employers scrambled to hire disabled people, former convicts, and former drug addicts.
In fact, salaries for white-collar Americans are rising slower than blue-collar Americans, partly because of the many visa workers.
Trump likely does not see any connection between his Hire American policy, the rising wages gained by his blue-collar supporters, or even the impact of illegal immigration, Krikorian said.
Pres. Trump cites Love as he makes moral case for curbing illegal migration. Says Democrats' passivity is "cruel." Warns of snobbery: 'Working class Americans are left to pay the price." It may help counter Dems & donors who shriek 'racism' to deter voters https://t.co/Ju9aRVmf9M
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) February 6, 2019
“To give him his due, he probably thinks that this [policy change] is not a betrayal for all the Americans who are yet to be hired,” Krikorian said. He continued:
I don’t think he’s being forced to give up his Hire American policy — it seems he does not think it necessary because we have a low unemployment rate.
He’s a billionaire businessman, all the [business advocate] people he talks to want more workers to choose from. They don’t want to have raise wages, to change the way work is done, to expand or change their recruitment methods, so that’s all he hears … I think, he, like a lot of businessmen, thinks the market has to be short-circuited through increased immigration because they’re not comfortable with having to hustle for workers.
But when the economy slows down, workers have to hustle for jobs — and [business executives] are OK with that.
“Big business guys are looking at labor as a commodity, whereas ordinary schmoes are trying to get a higher wage,” said Krikorian. “The question is whose life should government policy make easier? And it seems to me that the working stiff is the one whose life we should make easier.”
Multiple polls indicate that most Americans want to show they like immigrants — and also that most Americans strongly oppose programs which allow employers to hire cheap foreigners in place of Americans. For example, an August 2017 poll by the Trump-affiliated group, American First Policies, showed only 31 percent of respondents agreed with the business-first view that “we need to increase the amount of foreign workers in the country in order to provide labor and reduce costs for American farms and businesses.” Forty-five percent disagreed and 23 percent declined to give their opinion
Trump’s apparent endorsement of more migration suggests that his deputies are also planning a major rewrite of immigration law to deliver more wage-reducing workers to business groups, Krikorian said. News reports say the pending policy may be announced after Congress passes the 2019 funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security.
However, Trump’s shift may have a quick impact on the appropriators who are negotiating the 2018 homeland defense budget, which is due by February 15.
On Wednesday, legislators told reporters that they are finding ways around the Democrats’ opposition to a border wall.
Shelby on if the border security conferees can get deal: "The dialogue is good. The tone is good. We have a much better chance to get something than Monday."
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) February 6, 2019
Shelby says he had a good talk with Pelosi about the border security conference cmte. Shelby says Pelosi said "she would like to see a legislative solution, the sooner the better."
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) February 6, 2019
In July, Democratic and Republican appropriators quietly added the country caps legislation to the 2019 homeland security budget. Some of those appropriators are part of the DHS budget panel. The legislators also agreed to expand the H-2A program for agricultural employers and the H-2B program for golf clubs, landscapers, forestry firms and resort companies.
Trump’s deputies in Congress, including liaison chief Shahira Knight, did not object to the cheap-labor measure in June 2018, sources told Breitbart News.
In December 2018, the outgoing chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, urged Trump’s deputies to swap the “country caps” measure for reforms that would block the wave of asylum-seeking migrants. “It really comes down the President’s focus on money for the wall and I think the President should really be saying, ‘I want some money for the wall, but I also want some enforcement reforms related to asylum, I want some reforms related to catch-and-release policies,’” he said.
The Republicans on the DHS panel include Alabama Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven, Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, Texas Rep. Kay Granger, Tennesee Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, Georgia Rep. Tom Graves, and Mississippi Rep. Steven Palazzo.
The Democrats are Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, Illinois Sen. Richard Durbin, Montana Sen. Jon Tester, New York Rep. Nita Lowey, California Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, North Carolina Rep. David Price, California Rep. Barbara Lee, Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar, and California Rep. Pete Aguilar.
GOP Reps. are still pushing Rep. Yoder's middle-class outsourcing bill to put 600K Indian visa-workers & families on fast-track to US jobs/voting. It would help CEOs import more Indians for US college-grad jobs – w/o any benefit for US workers or even GOP. https://t.co/LD8q3SjYRg
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) December 3, 2018
The establishment’s economic policy of using legal and illegal migration to boost economic growth shifts enormous wealth from young employees towards older investors by flooding the market with cheap white collar and blue collar foreign labor.
That annual flood of roughly one million legal immigrants — as well as visa workers and illegal immigrants — spikes profits and Wall Street values by shrinking salaries for 150 million blue-collar and white-collar employees and especially wages for the four million young Americans who join the labor force each year.
The cheap labor policy widens wealth gaps, reduces high tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, hurts kids’ schools and college education, pushes Americans away from high tech careers, and sidelines millions of marginalized Americans, including many who are now struggling with fentanyl addictions.
Immigration also steers investment and wealth away from towns in Heartland states because coastal investors can more easily hire and supervise the large immigrant populations who prefer to live in coastal cities. In turn, that coastal investment flow drives up coastal real estate prices and pushes poor U.S. Americans, including Latinos and blacks, out of prosperous cities such as Berkeley and Oakland, California.