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GOP Leaders Meet With Trump Today on Immigration, Wages

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MANDEL NGAN/AFP

President Donald Trump will meet with GOP leaders this afternoon to talk about immigration, amid growing pressure from business leaders to approve a big amnesty that will block wage increases for his own 2018 voters.

But Trump can win in November by touting his record of growing voters’ wages, not by signing a bad amnesty bill, said Virginia GOP Rep. Dave Brat:

It is better to have wages going up… the last thing you want to do is damage that [before the election] by adding a massive inflow of illegal immigration and adding to the chaos at the border.

“We just had an election on that … the American people rejected that,” said Brat, who also told Breitbart News that Trump should press GO leaders to pass the immigraiton bill rafted by Rep. Bob Goodlatte. 

Trump is meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy at the White House to talk about immigration policy before the 2018 election.

Ryan has repeatedly called for a pre-November amnesty for the DACA population, which ranges from 700,000 people up to 3 million people. His priority is on delivering workers to CEOs, not on delivering higher wages to voters. Getting more workers into the labor force “is what the economy needs, it is what we need,” Ryan said May 11:

Right now, job openings are at all-time high. There are as many jobs open today as there are people looking for jobs, which is why the next phase of our agenda, part of our Better Way agenda, is so important. We need to connect people to jobs and we need to connect people to the skills they need to get good jobs. it is about workforce development.

For two years, Ryan has also ignored Trump’s push for a border wall, ending chain-migration and ending the visa lottery, in favor of a CEO-boosting amnesty. “We want to fix this DACA problem, we want certainty, and we have a border security problem that needs to be addressed,” he said May 11. “These should not be mutually exclusive goals.”

Ryan also said May 11 that the GOP’s tax cuts — not Trump’s economic and immigration policies — deserve the credit for growing wages, saying:

The average family of four is getting a $2,000 tax cut. You’ve seen bonuses occur with millions of workers. You’re seeing hundreds of millions of dollars being repatriated from overseas into this country and capital expenditures — meaning plants, equipment, economic activity — occurring. Wages going up, unemployment going down. All of these things, they’re coming because of tax reform.

Business leaders are also pressuring Trump to deliver more cheap labor, either via the guest-workers programs — such as the H-2B and H-2A programs — or by approving an amnesty for up to 3 million younger DACA illegals before the election.

Without more imported labor, companies will be pressured to poach workers from each other by offering higher wages. That wage competition has already started in some cities and some sectors — trucking and construction, for example — and it threatens to provide a significant wage increase to Trump’s voters before the November election. Already, companies are growing so short of labor they are recruiting the disabled, teenagers, the homeless and even ex-convicts.

Business groups also want a quick deal because it will prevent Trump from use the lower-immigration/high-wages pitch to win the 2018 election. That win would showcase the political power of Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” message.

Much of the pro-amnesty push is being funded by the investors and CEOs in the Koch brother’ss network, including this pitch for ‘dreamer’ illegals:

But polls show that Trump’s high-wage/low-immigration policies are far more popular than Ryan’s tax cuts or the various amnesty programs pushed by the business groups and the Democrats.

However, many Americans have not yet seen gains in their pocketbook from the good economy, say polls. A May 9 poll from Monmouth University, for example, shows that 65 percent of Republicans, but only 44 percent of independents, say their family has benefitted greatly or somewhat from the economic gains.

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“President Trump has a choice in how he approaches immigration,” said Rosemary Jenks, policy director at NumbersUSA. “He can either keep his [2016] promise to the forgotten Americans and let them see rising wages, better jobs opportunities, and economic growth in their lives or he can cater to the business communities that are the swamp.”

The CEO and investor pressure on Trump are exposed by his speeches at rallies, where he talks up the growing number of jobs and even tries to excuse the inflow of extra H-2B workers and of Chinese workers for the pending Foxconn factory in Wisconsin.

On May 5, at a roundtable event in Cleveland, Ohio, Trump pushed the idea of importing workers, and downplayed the promise of growing wages:

Since the election, the stock market is up almost 35 percent.  Think of that.  Almost 35 percent.  (Applause.)  Honestly, and companies are doing even better than that.  Companies are doing better.  They are ready to just do numbers that you’ve never seen before. 

And we do need people coming into our country.  You know, at 3.9 percent unemployment, we need people coming in.  But I will tell you this, we want people to come into our country on the basis of merit.  Not picked out of a — (applause).  So we’re working on merit systems because we need people to help. 

You know, we have — up in Wisconsin, we have Foxconn coming in.  That’s a friend of mine.  They make many of the Apple iPhones and Apple equipment.  And I said to Tim Cook, who is now investing $350 billion — Apple — and they’re bringing much of it in from foreign lands, from overseas.  They’re bringing it in because of our new tax plan because it gave them the incentive to bring money.  So these big companies are bringing the money back and they’re investing it in the United States.  Tim Cook is bringing $230 billion back from overseas.  Money you would have never seen.  And Apple is spending $350 billion on new plants and a campus.  (Applause.)  That was great.  That’s great.

Trump’s call for more foreign workers also went flat he made the same argument at an April 28 event in Michigan:

For the farmers, okay, it’s going to get good. And we’re going to let your [H-2A] guest workers come in because we’re going to have strong borders, but we have to have your [H-2A] workers come in. You know, the unemployment picture is so good, it’s so strong that we have to let people come in. They’re going to be guest workers, they’re going to come in. They’re going to work on your farms, we’re going to have the H-2Bs come in, we’re going to have a lot of things happening but then they have to go out. Then they have to go out. But, we’re going to let them in, ‘cause you need them. You need them. [Emphasis added]

We need people to be able to come into our country, do your jobs, help you on the farms, and then they go out, they’re going to leave. Guest workers, we’re going to take care of that. Guest workers. Don’t we agree? We have to have them. We have to have them.

The crowd did not agree and declined to applaud trump’s support for foreign workers. 

Trump has not explained his defensiveness on Foxconn. Almost every company which sets up a factory overseas also sends a corps of trusted, home-country workers to oversee the difficult task of building the production line and training local workers.

CEOs and investors know their Wall Street stock values are being converted by the tight labor market into higher wages for Trump’s voters and they are pressuring Ryan to raise the labor supply via an amnesty.

“President Trump said himself he likes to think himself as the first politician who keeps his promise,” said Jenks, adding: 

By keeping his promise … by telling employers to increase wages, to bring forgotten Americans back into the labor force, by letting Americans have their American dream — that is all about making America great again.

 

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