Ahead of the 2020 presidential election, President Trump is abandoning his prior “America First” legal immigration reforms to support increases of legal immigration levels in order to expand profits for businesses and corporations.
For the fourth time in about a month, Trump suggested increasing legal immigration levels. With Apple CEO Tim Cook sitting next to him at the White House on Wednesday, Trump said he not only wanted more legal immigration but that companies needed an expansion of new arrivals to grow their business.
“We’re going to have a lot of people coming into the country. We want a lot of people coming in. And we need it,” Trump said:
It’s not a question of do we want [more immigration], these folks are going to have to sort of not expand too much. And if we tell them … these are very ambitious people around this table. They don’t like the concept of not expanding. We want to have the companies grow and the only way they’re going to grow is if we give them the workers and the only way we’re going to have the workers is to do exactly what we’re doing. [Emphasis added]
The comments are a direct rebuttal of the president’s commitments in 2015, 2016, and 2017, where he vowed to reduce overall legal immigration levels to boost the wages of U.S. workers and reduce the displacement of America’s working and middle class.
In 2017, for instance, Trump touted Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Sen. David Perdue’s (R-GA) RAISE Act legislation, which would have cut legal immigration down to about 500,000 arrivals a year rather than the current admission of more than one million legal immigrants annually who compete against working-class Americans for jobs.
Trump, at the time, said legal immigration levels needed to be trimmed to “reduce poverty, increase wages, and save taxpayers billions and billions of dollars,” arguing that the current importation of more than a million legal immigrants every year “has placed substantial pressure on American workers, taxpayers, and community resources.”
“Among those hit the hardest in recent years have been immigrants, and very importantly, minority workers competing for jobs against brand new arrivals,” Trump said in 2017 of current legal immigration levels. “And it has not been fair to our people, to our citizens, to our workers.”
NumbersUSA’s Rosemary Jenks said Trump supporters must remind the White House of the commitment that the president made on the campaign trail when it comes to legal immigration reforms.
“We need to remember all of the promises that candidate Trump made on immigration. Which included, most importantly, putting Americans first,” Jenks told Breitbart News.
“I would certainly hope, that in order to keep his campaign promises that before even talking about expanding legal immigration, he would work with employers to recruit the 50 million working-age Americans who are outside the labor market,” Jenks said. “Or work with these companies to hire laid-off GM workers. They’re Americans, they should come first.”
Trump’s newfound support for increasing legal immigration levels has become part of his stump speech on the issue, repeating the same sentiment most recently at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
There, Trump said the country needs more foreign workers to help corporations.
“We need an immigration policy that’s going to be great for our corporations and our great companies … we need workers to come in but they’ve got to come in legally and they’ve got to come in through merit,” Trump said.
Trump’s shift in legal immigration views has coincided with the White House giving access to a myriad of globalist business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the George W. Bush Center, and a number of libertarian organizations funded by the pro-mass immigration billionaire Koch brothers.
Increasing legal immigration beyond their already historically high levels would crush the wage and job gains that Trump’s “Hire American” economy has made possible thus far. Nationwide, wages rose 3.0 percent in 2018. For Americans who switched jobs, wages rose by 4.6 percent and by 5.2 percent in Minnesota where few migrant workers choose to live.
Though unemployment has remained low, there continues to be at least 13 million working-age Americans who are either unemployed, not in the labor force but want a job, or who are working part-time jobs but want a good-paying full-time job.
“Increasing immigration is the one thing that can wipe out all the wage gains, all the employment gains for those blue collar workers who switched parties to vote for him,” Jenks said. “I hope someone in the White House has his interest in mind who is telling him this.”
Out of those 13 million Americans who are available for U.S. jobs, about 6.5 million are unemployed. Of those unemployed, close to 13 percent are American teenagers who are ready for entry-level U.S. jobs — the exact jobs that low-skilled foreign workers generally tend to take.
About 1.6 million Americans are not in the labor force at all, but they want a job, including about 426,000 discouraged American workers who are demoralized by their job prospects. Also, there are 5.1 million Americans who are working part-time jobs but who want full-time jobs. More than 1.4 million of these U.S. part-time workers said they had looked for full-time jobs but could not find any.
Mass immigration, whether legal or illegal, puts downward pressure on Americans’ wages, researchers have repeatedly noted.
Every one percent increase in the immigrant composition of an American workers’ occupation reduces their weekly wages by about 0.5 percent, researcher Steven Camarotta has found. This means the average native-born American worker today has their weekly wages reduced by perhaps 8.5 percent because of current legal immigration levels.
In a state like Florida, where immigrants make up about 25.4 percent of the labor force, American workers have their weekly wages reduced by perhaps more than 12.5 percent. In California, where immigrants make up 34 percent of the labor force, American workers’ weekly wages are reduced by potentially 17 percent.
Likewise, every one percent increase in the immigrant composition of low-skilled U.S. occupations reduces wages by about 0.8 percent. Should 15 percent of low-skilled jobs be held by foreign-born workers, it would reduce the wages of native-born American workers by perhaps 12 percent.
The mass importation of legal immigrants — mostly due to President George H.W. Bush’s Immigration Act of 1990, which expanded legal immigration levels — diminishes job opportunities for the roughly four million young American graduates who enter the workforce every year wanting good-paying jobs.
In the last decade alone, the U.S. admitted ten million legal immigrants, forcing American workers to compete against a growing population of low-wage foreign workers. Meanwhile, if legal immigration continues, there will be 69 million foreign-born residents living in the U.S. by 2060. This would represent an unprecedented electoral gain for the Left, as Democrats win about 90 percent of congressional districts where the foreign-born population exceeds the national average.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.