Kansas GOP Rep. Kevin Yoder is doubling down on his plan to help business groups import hundreds of thousands of cheap foreign workers to take many jobs which would otherwise be worked by Americans at middle-class wages.
Yoder is campaigning for reelection, and is justifying his outsourcing plan by portraying himself as a moderate between two extremes:
There is this sense in this country that you are against all legal immigration, on the right, or you are for open borders and abolishing ICE, like my [Democratic] opponent. My point is that that is not where most of the country is. The country wants sensible immigration laws. So I’m working with people in both parties to actually get that done, and we lead by example.
Yoder worked with most Democrats and all GOP legislators on July 25 to insert his four-part cheap-labor plan in the 2019 homeland defense spending plan. GOP leaders in the House have the power to cut Yoder’s plan when it is reviewed by the House committee on rules, which is chaired by Texas Rep. Pete Sessions.
The plan has prompted widespread protests by Americans who have lost information-technology jobs and salaries to the roughly 200,000 Indians visa-workers who stand to gain from his plan to fast-track visa-workers towards green cards.
Yoder’s plan is being applauded by the business groups which will be able to import a huge extra stream of cheap replacement workers. That inflow would help their investors offset the wage-raising impact of President Donald Trump’s lower-immigration/higher-wages policy.
Large streams of immigrants and visa-workers have allowed companies to cap Americans’ wages, in the coastal cities and the heartland cities, such as Kansas City. For example, in Yoder’s district, companies employ roughly 1,400 visa workers to in white-collar jobs sought by young Kansas graduates, according to H1BFacts.com, which organizes federal data to show the number of H-1B visa-workers in each legislator’s district.
The H1BFacts site shows that employers in Yoder’s district asked the federal government in 2017 for approval to import 830 foreign white-collar workers. They included laboratory assistants and interior designers who would be paid just merely $30,000 per year, accountants who would be paid $42,000, programmers who would get $56,000 and hospital doctors who would get just $65,000.
The list also includes requests for foreign workers to fill a variety of boutique jobs — a sports manager at $110,000, a vice-president for lending at $75 per hour, ophthalmologists at $107,000 a year, a finance manager at $105,000 per year, and a business analyst for $97,000 a year.
The H-1B visa program has had a huge impact on white-collar workers in technology, and increasingly, in healthcare.
There is much official evidence that corruption and anti-American discrimination is endemic in the H-1B program, which allows U.S. companies to easily outsource middle-class jobs via foreign-based companies. For example, an Indian CEO was recently arrested on several charges, including charges that his imported H-1B workers were required to pay him under the table for the cost of getting the visa. The payments would allow the employer to undercut American workers and to win low-cost subcontracts from brand-name companies.
Yoder’s four-part plan allows a vast expansion of this white-collar outsourcing by putting at least 200,000 Indian H-1B visa-workers and roughly 50,000 Chinese — plus roughly 250,000 of their family members — on a fast-track to green cards. Even if Yoder drops his bill, the immigration system is expected to provide employer-sponsored green-cards to another 120,000 Indians during the next five years.
Yoder’s supporters say his HR 392 plan would end rules which unfairly cap the annual inflow of immigrants from individual countries, and would not allow companies to import more than 140,000 visas to workers and families each year.
But critics say Yoder’s removal of the “country caps” would flood the white-collar marketplace with an extra 250,000 Indian and Chinese white-collar workers who are now working for U.S. companies on short-term visas. Yoder’s HR392 would also allow outsourcing firms to offer almost-free and fast citizenship to their next cohort of visa-worker recruits and would give Indian managers a dominant share of the U.S. software and computer workforce. Already, the CEOs of Google and Microsoft are former Indian H-1B workers.
The plan would also mean that U.S. employers would face a delay of several years if they try to win green cards for people from outside India and China.
In his August 29 radio appearance, Yoder’s portrayed his HR392 fast-track plan as a noble blow against discrimination:
We end the per-country cap that has created an almost million-person, hundreds and hundreds of thousands, of particularly Indian and some Chinese immigrants that might take decades to get a green card because of a discriminatory policy that puts them at the back of the line on a country cap. We fixed that in our bill.
Nationwide, the U.S. government helps companies keep a population of roughly 1.5 million white-collar visa-workers in American jobs. The various visa programs — H-1B, L-1, J-1, H4 EAD, OPT, TN — allow employers to hire cheap foreign doctors, therapists, programmers, engineers, accountants, designers, architects, managers, recruitment specialists, P.R. experts and many other professionals. These huge labor programs help to lower salaries for many American college graduates and to push many skilled American workers into new, low-tech, lower-wage careers, such as journalism.
Yoder’s four-part labor importation plan also raises the number of imported blue-collar visa-workers by tripling the H-2B program for seasonal workers up to almost 200,000 workers per year, and by expanding the H-2A farm labor program. Yoder said:
We fixed the H-2B visa program which is the seasonal workers, our ag workers, H-2A. So to me that is showing leadership on the issues, saying look, we need better border security, we have to stop human trafficking and drug trafficking from illegally coming into our country while at the same time focusing on how we can acknowledge that immigration, legal immigration, is a critical part of our economy and part of our cultural diversity.
Yoder also expands the inflow of migrants by barring border officials from detaining migrants who bring children unless the children are kept in the same detention centers, and by barring the deportation of migrants who say they came to the United States as children. He said:
We put a prohibition against family separations — that’s in our bill. Part of the Dream Act, in our bill, saying you can’t deport Dreamers, that’s in my bill.
This border policy also has an impact on Americans’ wages because the lax border-rules have allowed at least 400,000 migrants into the United States to plead for asylum. The asylum system has gotten so backlogged that officials are forced to release migrants who bring their children up to the border and also provide them with work permits. In 2017, 400,000 work permits were provided to people who are claiming asylum, so aiding cheap-labor employers.
President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions are rolling out various legal and regulatory fixes to stop this inflow of cheap labor, but Yoder’s policy against “family separations” would effectively allow a limitless inflow of cheap-labor migrants into the U.S. workplaces.
I think diversity makes our community a better place to live in, and so we’ve gotten polarized in this country where you have people like my opponent on the extreme left on immigration, and others in my party on the extreme right who are either anti-legal immigration and illegal [immigration], and they have attacked me.
Government-imposed civic variety is good for progressives because it weakens the local and regional solidarity which helps Americans solves civic problems without the federal involvement. Diversity is also good for CEOs and investors because the inevitable civic disputes distract public attention from widening economic divides.
A poll commissioned by Democrat Sharice Davids shows a close race between Davids and GOP Rep. Kevin Yoder in Kansas’ 3rd District.
Davids led Yoder by 3 points in an initial head to head matchup, garnering 46 percent to Yoder’s 43 percent. The libertarian candidate Chris Clemmons was at 4 percent with 7 percent undecided, according to the polling memo.
Yoder is a top Democratic target, representing the Kansas City suburbs in a district Hillary Clinton won by 3 points in 2016. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Tilts Republican.
In his campaign ads, Yoder repeatedly slams Davis as an open-borders zealot, while Davis is trying to back away from her promise to abolish the ICE immigration-enforcement agency:
Yoder portrays himself as a strong opponent of illegal immigration, alongside his support for large-scale legal immigration.
However, Yoder’s pro-business cheap-labor policy is deeply unpopular. Many public polls show the public likes immigrants and wants to like immigration — but mostly opposes cheap-labor migration which aids investors but hurts Americans.
Business groups and Democrats tout polls which prod Americans to declare support for migrants or the claim that the United States is a “Nation of Immigrants.” The alternative “priority or fairness” polls — plus the 2016 election — show that voters in the polling booth put a much higher priority on helping their families, neighbors, and fellow nationals get decent jobs in a high-tech, high-immigration, low-wage economy.
Yoder’s four-part push is being opposed by several groups of U.S. professionals who have lost jobs and salaries to the visa-workers.
Each year, four million young Americans enter the workforce — and the government imports 1 million legal immigrants, replenishes the population of roughly 1.5 million white-collar guest workers, and does little to repatriate the resident population of roughly 8 million illegal immigrants.
That process spikes profits and Wall Street values by cutting salaries for manual and skilled labor offered by blue-collar and white-collar employees. The policy 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, pushes Americans away from high-tech careers, and sidelines at least 5 million marginalized Americans and their families, including many who are now struggling with opioid addictions. Immigration also pulls investment and wealth away from heartland states because investment flows towards the large immigrant populations living in the coastal states.
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