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McClatchy: Jared Kushner Asks Business for Immigration Plan

Jared Kushner on the Phone
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images
NEIL MUNRO

Jared Kushner is working with business groups to develop a pro-business immigration policy for approval by President Donald Trump in coming months, according to the McClatchy news service.

The news service reports:

President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law is operating on at least two tracks — the first is working with a small group studying specific ways to redistribute employment visas and the second is helping lead a series of “listening sessions” with about three dozen interest groups important to Trump to see if there is a position that Republicans can rally around before the 2020 elections.

The invited groups are mostly pro-migration, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Association of Builders and Contractors, and the George W. Bush Center, the report said, adding:

One participant described Kushner as listening a lot and encouraging others to speak. He is less interested in the finer details of immigration policy and focused on reaching a consensus, that participant said. Two people involved said Kushner asks people to talk about what they want instead of what they oppose.

Such language is concerning to conservative immigration groups. Indeed, between Kushner’s business background and the large number of guests with corporate interests, conservatives are worried that the changes Kushner is pursuing run counter to Trump’s “Hire American” priorities.

Trump’s inauguration day promise of a “Hire American” policy is capping the inflow of legal migrants and forcing companies to recruit sidelined Americans and to compete for American workers by raising wages. That low-immigration policy helped deliver wage raises of 3 percent nationally in 2018 and may deliver raises of 4 percent in 2019.

In 2018, wages rose higher in states with lower levels of legal immigration, such as swing-state Minnesota where wages rose 5.2 percent. Employees who switched jobs gained a 4.6 percent gain.

Trump’s policies are also helping to boost productivity.

Democrats, including presidential candidate and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, are complaining that Trump’s unemployment rate is too low and are calling for a greater inflow of foreign workers.

One focus of Kushner’s group are guest worker visas, the news service said.

Those visas are critical to business because they allow CEOs and investors to reduce wages paid to middle class, college educated Americans.

Currently, there are at least 1.5 million visa workers holding white-collar jobs which are sought by new American graduates and seasoned professionals. The visa workers arrive via the H-1B, L1, OPT, CPT, O-1, TN, H4EAD, and other visa programs, and they have created a mobile, contingent workforce which reduces the marketplace pressure on companies to raise salaries paid to college educated Americans or to hire new American graduates.

But these programs also impose political costs on GOP candidates. An April 2018 study argued that white-collar immigration pushes American college graduates away from the GOP. “Our strongest and most significant finding is that an increase in high-skilled immigrants as a share of the local population is associated with a strong and significant decrease in the vote share for the Republican Party,” said the report, authored by pro-migration economist Giovanni Peri, Anna Maria Mayda, a Georgetown University professor, and Walter Steingress, an economist at the Bank of Canada.

In 2018, many suburban college graduate voters switched from GOP to back Democrats. The losing candidates included Kansas Rep. Kevin Yoder who was pushing a plan to award many more green cards to Indian visa workers.

Business groups and Democrats tout skewed polls that prod Americans to declare support for migrants and for the claim that the United States is an economy-expanding “Nation of Immigrants,” not a nation of Americans.

The alternative “priority or fairness” polls — as well as the 2016 election — show that voters put a much higher priority on helping their families, neighbors, and fellow nationals get decent jobs in a globalized, high-immigration economy.

Read the McClatchy report here.

 

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