Former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says President Trump’s delivery of wage hikes through stricter immigration enforcement in the interior of the United States has been a “massive accomplishment” for America’s blue-collar and working-class communities.
During a debate for IntelligenceSquared, Kobach touted Trump’s “Hire American” economy, which has delivered increased blue-collar and working-class wages by between 3.4 percent and four percent in the last 12 months.
“By reducing illegal immigration, you drive up wages, especially in unskilled labor categories,” Kobach said. “Therefore, [blue-collar workers] have seen those wage gains, and [Trump] has delivered.”
In terms of wages, in the last 12 months, we’ve seen a 3.4 percent increase in nominal wages. That’s extraordinary, the largest wage gains in the last 12 years. It is a massive achievement for the working, blue-collar voter, and that’s why blue-collar voters in exit polls voted 66 percent for Donald Trump in the last election. He’s the only one that can pull it off again. [Emphasis added]
[The wage gains are] a direct result of his positions and his policies on his signature campaign issue, which of course is immigration. President Trump has done what no other presidential candidate has done in recent years, made that a centerpiece issue and has governed with that as a centerpiece issue. He has recognized that illegal immigration really does affect all of us. Every state is a border state now. [Emphasis added]
Those wage hikes for America’s working and lower middle class and a populist-nationalist agenda are what must continue for Trump to capture states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan — as he did in 2016 — in the upcoming 2020 presidential election.
“I don’t know if any Republican can do what Trump did in those blue-collar states [of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin] and break through the Rust Belt,” Kobach said. “The party, after Trump, we may be toast if we don’t find somebody who has his special sauce who can connect with voters in those three states.”
Wage hikes for blue-collar and working-class Americans, though, are increasingly threatened by the record levels of illegal immigration coming across the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) mass release of border crossers and illegal aliens into the interior of the country in recent months.
In just two weeks, 24,000 border crossers and illegal aliens have been released into interior of the U.S. https://t.co/u6gIClDF2t
— John Binder 👽 (@JxhnBinder) March 26, 2019
Unfettered illegal immigration — along with the country’s mass legal immigration policy, where more than 1.2 million mostly unskilled foreign nationals are added to the population every year to compete against Americans for jobs — has kept Americans’ wages stagnant and low for decades.
Every one percent increase in the immigrant composition of American workers’ occupations reduces their weekly wages by about 0.5 percent, researcher Steven Camarotta has found. This means the average native-born American worker today has his weekly wages reduced by perhaps 8.5 percent because of current legal immigration levels — not factoring in the wage depression caused by illegal immigration.
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.
In 2017, foreign-born residents made up more than 17 percent of the total U.S. workforce, comprising about 27.4 million foreign workers who compete against American workers for jobs. In occupations that have been relieved by stricter immigration enforcement, like dairy farming, U.S. wages have risen and so have working conditions as employers seek to attract talent in a tight labor market.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.