Kushner: Americans’ Wages Are Donald Trump’s Top Immigration Priority

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 23: Senior advisor to the President of the United States, Jared Kushner, stands on stage at the TIME 100 Summit on April 23, 2019 in New York City. The day-long TIME 100 Summit showcases the annual TIME 100 list of the most influential people …
Spencer Platt/Getty

President Donald Trump’s first priority in immigration policy is protecting Americans’ wages, Jared Kushner told an audience at the #Time100 summit today.

“We have a lot of objectives … Number one, he wants to protect American wages,” Kushner said as he briefly described an immigration reform plan which he will present to the president in the next two weeks.

Kushner’s tied Trump top-level support for Americans’ wages to Trump’s other policies that help American investors and CEOs also reach their objectives:

We freed up companies to be able to invest capital, which is creating jobs — we’ve lowered the corporate tax rate and we’ve given a tax cut to individuals, which means there is more consumption. We’re working on trade deals … We’ve figured how to make our country energy independent. We’ve increased the amount of energy we are creating which geopolitically is very important. We’re investing in the industries of the future — Artificial Intelligence, 5G, quantum computing– a lot of things that allow us to be long-term competitive. And then also appointing a lot of conservative judges has allowed us and a lot of businesses to have certainty on what the law is, and so those things, if you couple them with maybe infrastructure [spending] and then immigration reform, I think that will keep out country competitive for the long run.

Kushner’s strategic combination of wages and competitiveness could be the political bargain which preserves the GOP coalition amid chaotic diversity, alienated young voters, and global competition for jobs.

That GOP coalition was broken by the high-immigration/low-wages policies which were pushed by the two prior establishment presidents. For example, those policies impoverished millions of Americans while boosting the GOP’s establishment, so causing the 2016 defeat of the GOP’s establishment candidates by voters who backed New York populist Donald Trump.

In 2018, Americans’ wages rose by roughly four percent, even as companies earned a rising sale, profits, and stock market values.

Kushner outlined the emerging GOP strategy:

The President asked me to work on this topic. This is not one of the topics that I came to Washington really to work on, but it is a very important issue for our country. It is an important issue for the president, and I think we are at a time where people are understanding this issue, maybe more than they ever had before.

I do believe that the President’s position on immigration has been maybe defined by his opponents, by what he is against, as opposed to what he is for. And what I have done is that I have tried to put together a very detailed proposal for him that really goes through the following criteria.

The first one is border security. You know, I’ve spent a lot of time with the border patrol professionals, not the politicians, saying, ‘What do we fully need to secure our border?’ You know whether it is a physical barrier, whether it is technology at the ports of entry, with the goal being to keep, you know, illegal goods and to keep out people who are coming in illegally while also facilitating trade and the flow of legal people as quickly and as efficiently as possible. Make sure you have 100 percent scanning capability at all of our ports of entry.

The second one is a merit-based system. If you look at the proportion of people that come through our legal immigration system based on family connections versus based on economy, and then you compare that to Canada, New Zealand, Australia, we’re basically the inverse of them.

And I do think that, you know, we have a lot of objectives that the president has.

Number one, he wants to protect American wages.

Number two, he wants to make sure that our border is fully secure.

Number three, we want to make sure that our country is welcoming and a place where we are able to attract the best and brightest from all over the world.

Number [4], we want to maintain our country’s humanitarian values, we want to make sure that we are reunifying families, and we want to make sure that we are doing this in a way that allows our country to be competitive long-term.

So we are putting together a very detailed proposal. We are also working on a guest worker piece which is important for agricultural and a lot of seasonal work. My hope is that we can really do something that unifies people around what we are for in immigration.

I will present it – the president has been involved, very much so — the team has been working probably the end of this week, next week, we will present it, again, and then he will make some changes likely, and then he will decide what he wants to do with it when he wants to do with it.

… I think it is very, very good, it makes sense, and we have a lot of data to back it up, and it is very, very complicated, but it is a very interesting issue, and if we can solve it, I do think it is a critical component for America’s long-term competitive advantage.

Each year, roughly four million young Americans join the workforce after graduating from high school or university.

But the federal government then imports about 1.1 million legal immigrants, refreshes a resident population of roughly 1.5 million white-collar guest workers, in addition to approximately 500,000 blue-collar visa workers, and also tolerates about eight million illegal workers and the inflow of hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants.

This federal policy of flooding the market with cheap white-collar graduates and blue-collar foreign labor is intended to boost economic growth for investors.

This policy works by shifting enormous wealth from young employees towards older investors, even as it also widens wealth gaps, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, hurts children’s schools and college education, pushes Americans away from high-tech careers, and sidelines millions of marginalized Americans, including many who are now struggling with fentanyl addictions.

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