Mark Zuckerberg’s FWD.us lobbying group is rallying billionaires and millionaires to protest the federal government’s rising enforcement of the workplace laws which help ordinary Americans earn good wages.
The CEOs’ digital strike against laws barring the employment of cheap illegal-migrants is being marketed as a campaign “about new developments in immigration policy that threaten the future of young undocumented immigrants brought to America as children,” according to the August 31 statement from FWD.us.
The “new development” opposed by the CEOs is the growing likelihood that state Attorneys General or President Donald Trump will scrap the “DACA” amnesty created by former President Barack Obama. The 2012 amnesty now provides work permits to roughly 800,000 illegal immigrants who mostly compete for jobs against blue-collar Americans.
More importantly, if the DACA amnesty is scrapped, the CEOs’ demands for more immigrant white-collar workers is more likely to be sidelined by Democrats during the expected 2018 negotiations over amnesty in exchange for Trump’s wage-boosting merit immigration reform, dubbed the RAISE Act.
The growing list of FWD.us signers includes several of the world’s wealthiest people, such as Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, who owns both Amazon and the Washington Post, investor Warren Buffet, and the widow of Apple founder Steve Jobs. The collective wealth of those four signers is roughly $250 billion.
The employers’ pro-DACA pitch emphasizes the illegals’ value to them as both taxpayer-aided consumers and as cheap workers, and it also reminds legislators that illegals generate some taxes for use in government programs:
Our economy would lose $460.3 billion from the national GDP and $24.6 billion in Social Security and Medicare tax contributions. Dreamers are vital to the future of our companies and our economy. With them, we grow and create jobs. They are part of why we will continue to have a global competitive advantage.
Dreamers are vital to the future of our companies and our economy. With them, we grow and create jobs. They are part of why we will continue to have a global competitive advantage.
The petition does not mention the 4 million young Americans who turn 18 each year and begin searching for good jobs.
The petition includes various claims about the young migrants based on a skewed sample that severely over-represented the minority of DACA illegals who have college degrees. The study was prepared by immigration advocates and backed by the Center for American Progress, which is also pushing for greater immigration. The study shows the average age of DACA recipients who took part in its survey at 25, contradicting business efforts to paint the illegals as “children.”
The FWD.us billionaires’ petition also refers to the 800,000 DACA illegals as “Dreamers,” which is a term commonly echoed by allied reporters at established outlets, such as the Washington Post.
According to its website, Zuckerberg’s “FWD.us is mobilizing the tech community to promote policies that keep the U.S. competitive in a global economy, starting with fixing our broken immigration system and criminal justice reform.” The group was formed to push through the 2013 “Gang of Eight” immigration and amnesty bill because Democrats refused to help increase the flow of foreign tech-workers to CEO’s companies unless the CEOS backed their push to win citizenship for Democratic-leaning Latino and Asian illegal immigrants.
That bill would have shifted more of the nation’s economic annual income from employees over to employers and investors, according to a 2013 report by the Congressional Budget Office. The bill proved so unpopular that it was rejected by the House GOP leadership, helped Democrats lose 10 Senate seats in 2014, and it helped the establishment political candidates lose their 2016 primary race to New York real-estate developer Donald Trump.
Multiple studies by business groups admit that loss of the illegal-immigrant labor will pressure employers to compete for American workers by offering better wages and working conditions. Those gains would flow to most hires, including new immigrants, Latinos, and disadvantaged African-Americans.
However, that wage-pressure is not an immediate problem for Silicon Valley, partly because few of the DACA illegals work in professions hired by high-tech firms, according to a recent study backed by the CAP.
However, illegal and legal immigrants are also a huge revenue source for wealthy CEOs, because the migrants buy food, transport services, entertainment commodities, education services and living spaces, often with taxpayer aid or grants. That consumption ensures that any reduction in legal or illegal immigration is bad for the CEOs’ stock options — and Trump’s promised RAISE Act would trim an extra $1 trillion each decade from government’s long-term spending because it almost halves the annual inflow of poorly educated migrants.
DACA’s demise would also mean that the Valley CEOs will also lose political clout in likely 2018 and 2019 talks about Trump’s merit immigration reform. For example, their allies in the Democratic party would put a lower priority on getting more high-tech workers sought by Silicon Valley donors if they have to bargain with Trump to get citizenship for some illegal immigrants, such as the former DACA beneficiaries.
The high-tech CEOs fight hard for easy access to cheap foreign white-collar workers, partly because those workers allow them to shift salaries into profits and bonuses. That corporate support for foreign workers helps explain why politicians have helped import a huge population of resident foreign white-collar workers – perhaps 1.5 million strong, including 100,000 employed at universities. Many of the signers’ companies — and also their sub-contractors — employ cheap visa-workers via the large H-1B, L and OPT visa programs. Moreover, many companies gain when many Americans’ white-collar wages are nudged down by the greater supply of foreign white-collar workers.
The wealthy founders and funders of FWD.us have prompted critics to describe it as the “billionaires’ liberation front.”
The list of CEOs who have signed the petition includes numerous wealthy leaders in information-technology sector, such as Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft Corporation, Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer at Facebook, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Apple CEO Tim Cook, and Marc Benioff, who is the chairman and CEO of Salesforce.
The list also includes many executives who rely on a large supply of cheap employees. They include Bezos, John Zimmer, the co-Founder of Lyft, Arne Sorenson, the president and CEO Marriott International, Kevin Johnson, the president and CEO of Starbucks Coffee Company, and Stacy Bown-Philpot, the CEO of TaskRabbit, which helps customers hire tradesmen and servants at hourly rates.
Large-scale immigration also raises property prices, so real-estate billionaire Penny Pritzker has a good business reason to have joined the list.
Many of the signers run ethnic businesses or advocacy groups, such as the National Hispanic Media Coalition, the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, or the North American Institute for Mexican Advancement.
The list includes numerous famous investors who make their living via stock-market prices. They include Warren Buffett, Jeremy Levine at Partner Bessemer Ventures, Brook Beyers at Kleiner Perkins and John Doerr at Kleiner Perkins. If Trump’s RAISE Act becomes law, investors and employers will see profits decline as Americans wages’ rise. Currently, high immigration levels transfer roughly $500 billion — or 5.2 percent of wages — from employers to owners and investors each year, according to a formula endorsed by the prestigious National Academies of Sciences in September 2016.
The list also includes immigration lawyers who earn their living by helping companies hire foreign workers, and by helping foreigners gain the advantage of becoming U.S. citizens. The lawyers include Greg Siskind and Lynn Susser, partners at the Siskind Susser law firm.
The list contains a few GOP-affiliated business executives, including John Rowe, the chairman emeritus of Exelon Corporation. Rowe has long pushed for easier hiring of foreign workers, and in 2013 he declared;
We need a more open and faster way of allowing people to get permits to come here …Different businesses want different kinds of people. A restaurant may want waiters and cooks, a hospital wants nurses and doctors, a university wants physicists, a business like Exelon needs more engineers …. Most of these jobs [for immigrants] are in places where the existing unemployed either are unable to compete for them, or don’t want to compete for them.
Many polls show that Americans are very generous, they do welcome individual immigrants, and they do want to like the idea of immigration. But the polls also show that most Americans are increasingly worried that large-scale legal immigration will change their country and disadvantage themselves and their children in the workplace.
The current annual flood of foreign labor spikes profits and Wall Street values by cutting salaries for manual and skilled labor offered by blue-collar and white-collar employees. It also drives up real estate prices, widens wealth-gaps, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, hurts kids’ schools and college education, and sidelines at least 5 million marginalized Americans and their families.
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