Chuck Schumer: Amnesty and Migrants Prevent Labor Shortages

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., listens during a markup of the "For the People Act of 2021" in the Senate Rules Committee, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, May 11, 2021. The bill, which would expand access to voting and other voting reforms, was already passed by Democrats in …
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said Monday amnesty and migrants are needed to prevent labor shortages.

Schumer made his claim as many employers say they must raise wages for Americans in a national labor shortage.

Since early 2020, many Americans quit their jobs in low-wage sectors, such as bars, restaurants, retail stores and for home-healthcare contractors. That resulting labor shortage has boosted wages for millions of blue-collar Americans.

Schumer spoke the morning after the Senate’s debate referee, the Parliamentarian, blocked the Democrats from putting an amnesty for illegal migrants in a special funding bill. The bill can pass with only 51 votes instead of the usual 60 votes in the Senate.

Schumer said:

The last year and a half … have shown how vital our [illegal] immigrants have been to keeping our economy going during the time of crisis … We’re short of workers from one end of America to the other — one of the reasons? The Trump administration dramatically cut back on immigrants in this country. We need them. We need them in our labor force. We need them to continue American vitality. We need them because they’re part of the American dream.

Schumer sought to shame Americans into supporting the mass migration policies which allow New York’s employers and landlords to become reliant on plentiful and cheap legal immigrants and illegal migrants:

It’s estimated in my city [New York] by some that one-third of the healthcare workers at the height of COVID who risked their lives for us were immigrants. Having a strong law that helps our immigrants is vital. The American people understand that fixing our broken immigration system is a moral imperative [emphasis added] and an economic imperative.

Immigration reform has been one of the most important causes of my time in the Senate, and I will not stop fighting to achieve it.

Schumer blamed President Donald Trump’s 2020 curbs on migration for the labor shortage. But that admission indirectly credits Trump’s 2020 policy with helping to raise 2021 wages for millions of Americans.

Schumer’s claim the economy needs migrants is in direct contradiction to President Joe Biden’s inconsistent support for wage raises amid labor scarcity, technically known as “a tight labor market.”

Biden, age 78, explained his support for the long-standing and very popular goal of a tight labor market in a May 28 speech:

Rising wages aren’t a bug; they’re a feature.  We want to get — we want to get something economists call “full employment.”  Instead of workers competing with each other for jobs that are scarce, we want employees to compete with each other to attract wrk.  We want the — the companies to compete to attract workers.


Well, wait until you see what happens when employers have to compete for workers.  Companies like McDonald’s, Home Depot, Bank of America, and others — what do they have to do?  They have to raise wages to attract workers.  That’s the way it’s supposed to be.

Many economists say labor shortages make the economy more efficient and productive per person.

“The labor scarcity we’re experiencing is real … [but] this is an opportunity, not a crisis,” David Autor, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said in a September 4 op-ed for Schumer’s home-town newspaper, the New York Times. He continued:

Couldn’t raising wages spur employers to automate many low-paid service jobs? Yes — but that’s not bad. There’s no future in working the fry station at White Castle. We should welcome the robot that’s now doing that job at some locations. Automating bad jobs has positive consequences for productivity. When employers pay more for human labor, they have an incentive to use it more productively … And one way to use people more productively is to train them. This may be one reason that employers provide more training opportunities in a tightening labor market — something happening now.

However, lobbyists have persuaded Biden to back the amnesties that would deliver roughly six million workers — at least — into many of the jobs needed by Americans.

To a large extent, Biden has been pushed to back amnesties — and to forget about tight labor markets — because of face-to-face pressure by lobbyists from Mark Zuckerberg’s advocacy group of West Coast investors.

On September 17, Biden’s economic advisors downplayed the wage damage to Americans as they issued a pro-amnesty memo. Notably, the memo did not endorse lobbyists’ claims that an amnesty would raise wages for Americans, and promised that wage losses would disappear “in the longer run.”

People attend a protest supporting DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, at Foley Square in New York, on August 17, 2021. (Photo by Kena Betancur / AFP) (Photo by KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)

People attend a protest supporting DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, at Foley Square in New York, on August 17, 2021. (KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)

The economic damage caused by migration to Americans was made clear September 1, when several Americans and illegal immigrant were drowned in the their cheap basement apartments in New York. The apartments were all they could afford in a city where migration has swelled real-estate values.

The New York Times posted an article on September 2, which was discreetly  silent about the federal government’s role in the drowning of migrants — and of poor Americans — in New York’s cheap basements:

In one of the most expensive housing markets in the world, they have offered low-income New Yorkers, including many working-class families who work in restaurants and hotels, affordable places to live. The basement apartments also provide some extra income for small landlords, many of whom are also immigrants.


Deborah Torres, who lives on the first floor of a building in Woodside, Queens, said she heard desperate pleas from the basement apartment of three members of a family, including a toddler, as floodwaters rushed in. A powerful cascade of water prevented anyone from getting into the apartment to help — or anyone from getting out. The family did not survive.

Many polls show that labor migration is deeply unpopular because it damages ordinary Americans’ career opportunities, cuts their wages, and raises their rents. Migration also curbs their productivity, shrinks their political clout, widens regional wealth gaps, and wrecks their democratic, compromise-promoting civic culture.

For many years, a wide variety of pollsters have shown deep and broad opposition to labor migration and the inflow of temporary contract workers into jobs sought by young U.S. graduates. This pocketbook opposition is multiracialcross-sexnon-racistclass-basedbipartisan,  rationalpersistent, and recognizes the solidarity Americans owe to each other.

However, donor-funded GOP leaders have downplayed the pocketbook impact of migration on Americans’ communities. Instead, they try to steer voters’ concerns towards subsidiary non-economic issues, such as migrant crime, the border wall, border chaos, and drug smuggling.




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