Beto O’Rourke’s immigration plan, which the presidential hopeful released Wednesday, would open the nation’s borders to apparently unlimited waves of unskilled needy migrants and would open the nation’s workplaces to cheap workers when companies fear Americans’ wages might rise.
“I think we go a lot further than anyone,” O’Rourke told CNN.
O’Rourke’s plan downplays the interests of American wage-earners and parents as it promises to aid migrants and investors by “reunit[ing migrant] families … and ensur[ing] they have a chance to contribute more to our economy and our communities — and pursue the American Dream.”
The plan would spur migration by giving taxpayer-funded lawyers to migrants who request asylum, by granting asylum to migrants who say they have suffered from spousal abuse or fear of criminal gangs, and by creating a fast-track process for migrants to get through the border and into U.S. jobs.
His plan would revive the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) job program and amnesty for younger illegals, would establish catch-and-release as a national policy, would stop construction of a border wall, and would launch an amnesty for the population of 11 million illegals.
The plan does not mention safeguards to prevent tens or hundreds of millions of ambitious migrants from using his pro-migration policy to walk into the United States.
Instead, it suggests that the U.S. spend $5 billion in Central America to persuade Central Americans from traveling northwards into the U.S. labor market.
O’Rourke would prioritize family chain migration over the ability of would-be skilled migrants to raise productivity and wealth for all Americans.
The Texas Democrat’s plan would also create a new inflow of legal immigrants by allowing “communities” to import their own populations of foreign migrants. The plan does not mention safeguards to prevent migrant communities from importing their own servants, service workers, and teachers, even when Americans want the jobs. The plan:
Establishes a new, first-of-its-kind community-based visa category. Beto’s proposal will create a brand new category whereby communities and congregations can welcome refugees through community sponsorship of visas. This program will supplement the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, which will be rebuilt and restored to align with America’s tradition of welcoming vulnerable refugees from around the world.
O’Rourke’s plan argues that immigrants grow the economy — but it does not include any evidence that migration or his plan would help grow Americans’ wages and salaries or help Americans buy homes to raise their own families. It says:
This [plan] is not just right but also essential to our shared prosperity. Immigrants from every corner of the world — those who came here on student visas and those seeking refuge from persecution — have been a key driver of our economic growth.
The plan does not use the words “wages” or “salaries,” but it offers business the right to import more temporary workers for blue-collar jobs. The plan would “ensure that industries that depend on immigrant labor have access to a program that allows workers to legally come here and legally return to their home country with appropriate labor and mobility protections.”
The plan would also allow companies and universities to import more college-trained foreign workers for jobs sought by U.S. graduates. The plan says O’Rourke would:
Promote STEM education by granting foreign-born students more flexibility to stay in the U.S. and gain employment after graduating; and Allow foreign-born entrepreneurs and U.S. patent holders the chance to stay in the United States to grow their business, create jobs and raise families that will go on to enrich our country.
Over the last 20 years, U.S. immigration laws have allowed companies to bring in many H-1B contract workers and also to provide green cards to favored workers. That policy has flooded the white-collar labor market with foreign workers, so slowing the growth of salaries for American graduates.
Currently, companies employ roughly 1.5 million foreign contract workers in U.S. white-collar jobs. The programs include the H-1B, L-1, H4EAD, OPT, and O-1 temporary worker programs.
O’Rourke’s Twitter account touted support from Todd Schulte, a D.C.-based advocate who runs a pro-migration group founded by West Coast investors. Schulte is trying to preserve and expand the various white-collar and blue-collar visa programs which provide cheap labor to the investors, who include Mark Zuckerberg, whose Facebook company already uses many H-1B workers in place of American graduates.
Reading through this now, but what sticks out in this very strong plan is that it places immigration reform including a broad legislative overhaul centered on a pathway to citizenship as a day 1 priority. This is critical and necessary. https://t.co/WR7ed1jbcG
— Todd Schulte (@TheToddSchulte) May 29, 2019
O’Rourke claims his plan “fully reflects our country’s values,” but it puts the priorities of foreigners above Americans’ normal desire that they and their children get well-paid jobs.
We just announced a plan that would implement the most sweeping rewrite of U.S. immigration law in a generation and overcome years of inaction to finally advance a new vision of immigration that fully reflects our country’s values.
Read it here:https://t.co/f2fcNGWZF4
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) May 29, 2019
This claim of “our country’s values” echoes the “Nation of Immigrants” claims from 1965, which Democrats have almost uniformly adopted in the last few years.
O’Rourke’s plan also echoes the progressive claim that racism is the root cause of the United State’s economic and racial disparities and is the primary motivator in the nation’s immigration policies. This moral fervor began around 2012 and is dubbed “The Great Awokening.” Politically, the claim allows wealthy progressives and post-graduate professionals to elevate their perceived social status by smearing many Americans as deplorable racists.
In contrast, President Donald Trump’s “Hire American” policy has raised wages for blue-collar and white-collar Americans and has also helped deliver jobs, wages, and self-sufficiency to many Americans who were sidelined by disability, the 2008 recession, drugs, criminal record, or lack of investment in their heartland states.
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 and refreshes a resident population of roughly 1.5 million white-collar visa workers — including roughly one million H-1B workers — and approximately 500,000 blue-collar visa workers.
The government also prints out more than one million work permits for foreigners, tolerates about eight million illegal workers, and does not punish companies for employing the hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants who sneak across the border or overstay their legal visas each year.
This policy of inflating the labor supply boosts economic growth for investors because it ensures that employers do not have to compete for American workers by offering higher wages and better working conditions.
This policy of flooding the market with cheap, foreign, white-collar graduates and blue-collar labor also shifts 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, and hurts children’s schools and college educations. It also pushes Americans away from high-tech careers and sidelines millions of marginalized Americans, including many who are now struggling with fentanyl addictions. The labor policy also moves business investment and wealth from the heartland to the coastal cities, explodes rents and housing costs, shrivels real estate values in the Midwest, and rewards investors for creating low-tech, labor-intensive workplaces.