CATO Shows Joe Biden How to Flood the Labor Market for Wall Street

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden meets workers as he tours the Fiat Chrysler plant in Detroit, Michigan on March 10, 2020. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden’s deputies can bypass Congress and use their bureaucratic powers to open the U.S. economy to millions of foreign graduates, blue-collar workers, and chain-migration families, says a legal guidebook posted by the Cato Institute.

“The new administration should go far beyond simply rescinding [President Donald] Trump’s changes and adopt reforms that make legal immigration easier … this compilation fills a gap in the administration’s regulatory agenda,” said an op-ed in TheHill.com by David Bier, a Cato employee.

The guidebook reflects the political shift of big business from the increasingly populist GOP towards the increasingly progressive Democratic Party. The new alliance promises to spike Wall Street with a wave of government-delivered consumers and workers, albeit with minimum wages set by the Democrats.

Bier helped write the December 18 guidebook, titled “Deregulating Legal Immigration: A Blueprint for Agency Action.”

The nation’s immigration law was loosened in 1965 by President Lyndon Johnson, and the annual inflow doubled in 1990 to roughly one million by President George W. Bush. The one million is a huge number in comparison to the four million Americans who turn 18 each year. In fact, wages and salaries have grown very slowly since 1970, even as the stock market has exploded the wealth of Americans with money to invest.

But Cato’s advisers are disappointed by the annual inflow of one million immigrants and the resident population of roughly two million temporary foreign workers. So they are offering Biden’s agency officials numerous options for getting many more millions of taxpayer-aided migrants into U.S. jobs, shopping malls, and apartment rentals.

For example, the one million annual limit means that many would-be immigrants — including most chain-migration family members — are forced to wait years in line to migrate into the United States’ labor market, communities, and schools.

Cato responds by suggesting the federal agencies let them in as not-quite-immigrants:

What about the 3.5 million immigrants who are waiting abroad? [immigration lawyer Cyrus] Mehta [says] the administration should “parole” — the legal term for waiving restrictions on entry — the backlog of family and employment applicants waiting in other countries. This would allow them to reunite with family and start working for U.S. companies immediately under a well-known legal authority.

The resulting inflow of migrants would boost consumer sales, raise real estate prices, cut wages, and spike profits — all of which would be good news for investors, but not Americans.

That good for Cato’s donors and board members, who include current and former principals and partners at MQS ManagementCenterview Capital HoldingsE*Trade FinancialJP Weigand & Sons, Inc., and Susquehanna International Group, LLP.

Cato’s 99o form for 2019 lists several individual donations, including three $1 million donations, one $3.6 million donations, one $1.99 million donations, as well as donations of $700,000 and $900,000.

But a wide range of politicians, business leaders, and academics admit any infusion of new labor suppresses salaries for American white-collars and blue-collars. In 2019, median family household income jumped by 7.3 percent from March 2018 to March 2019 in President Donald Trump’s popular l0wer-immigration economy, even as salaries for college graduates fell by two percent from 2016 to 2019.

But amid the current large inflow of foreign college-graduate workers, the median or midpoint income of American college graduates fell by two percent from 2016 to 2019, according to a survey released in September by the Federal Reserve banking system.

Several of the Cato proposals sketch ways employers could import hundreds of thousands of compliant foreign graduates instead of hiring outspoken American professionals.

Greg Siskind, an immigration lawyer for healthcare employers, says that the agencies “should add nurses, physicians, and other health science professionals to the list of occupations eligible for a 24‐​month employment authorization extension under Optional Practical Training (OPT).”

The OPT program is now used by roughly 400,000 foreign graduates of U.S. colleges to get work permits lasting up to three years. There are no caps or barriers for foreigners to get OPT work permits, so Siskind’s plan would cut young American doctors, nurses, and therapists from starter jobs.

In fact, said Bier, the Department of Homeland Security “should issue OPT [work permit] extensions to every international student sponsored for a green card.” Again, there would are no limits to this workaround because companies already nominate many supposedly temporary foreign contract workers so they can stay and work until they get green cards, years or decades later. This green card workforce now consists of at least one million foreign graduates, including roughly 600,000 temporary workers working for many years while waiting for green cards.

Congress did not create the OPT program. It was invented by officials working for President George W. Bush. The entire program rests on a claim that Section 1324a of federal law allows the president’s Attorney General to award work permits to whomever he or she wishes and exempt the employers of those foreigners from Social Security taxes.

Many visa workers bring their wives or husbands to the United States, and they should get work permits too, says Cato. The United States Citizens and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency “has denied jobs to all other spouses and children of temporary workers not specifically authorized by Congress. It makes little sense to have foreigners residing in the United States under programs designed to enhance economic growth but who are banned from working. For that reason, USCIS should authorize all spouses and children of foreign workers to work.”

That practice would be great for companies because they could import two or more workers with one visa.

Migrants should be allowed to import millions of their own relatives if they are relabelled as refugees, says Cato:

The president should classify all beneficiaries of approved family‐​sponsored immigrant visa petitions as those of “special humanitarian concern” and allot refugee numbers equal to the number of qualifying applicants. The State Department should establish a fee to accept refugee applications directly at consulates from beneficiaries of approved family‐​sponsored immigrant visa petitions …

If they are approved, the refugees would be “resettled” by their relative, not through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, without government funds just as they would have been had they received immigrant visas.

Companies should also be allowed to import their own workers — as refugees — if Americans demand excessive wages, according to Cato:

U.S. sponsors—organizations as well as individuals—should be allowed to submit sponsorship applications directly to the State Department. They would be required to present evidence of the refugee’s status, provide a resettlement plan showing where the refugees will live for the first year after arrival, and pay a fee to cover the costs of resettlement for the first year.

Overall, open-ended legal migration is praised by business and progressives partly because migrants’ arrivals help transfer wealth from wage-earners to stockholders.

Migration moves money from employees to employers, from families to investors, from young to old, from children to their parents, from homebuyers to real estate investors, and from the central states to the coastal states.

Migration also allows investors and CEOs to skimp on labor-saving technology, sideline U.S. minorities, ignore disabled peopleexploit stoop labor in the fields, short-change labor in the cities, impose tight control and pay cuts on American professionals, corral technological innovation by minimizing the employment of American grads, undermine labor rights, and even get many progressive journalists to cheerlead for Wall Street’s priorities.

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