Democratic candidates for the White House are promising to give business donors an endless supply of cheap immigrant labor that would forever cut off Americans’ reach for higher wages.
Their mass migration promises would strip ordinary Americans of the routine labor protections now ensured by living in the 50 state union of the United States. Those protections include the vital ability to win raises in a free market for labor where supply and demand create a rough balance of power between employees and employers.
The latest giveaway to business comes from bottom-ranked Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee, whose radical immigration proposal vows to provide companies with an endless supply of extra workers whenever employers feel a shortage of workers who are willing to work at offered wages.
The proposal, says Inslee, would “reform the [work] visa system so that it is: sustainable and predictable; puts into place flexible caps based on labor market conditions, reduces or eliminates backlogs.”
The “flexible caps” are the giveaway, because they would likely overwhelm any workplace protections for American employees as the flood of labor forces down wages and working conditions throughout the labor market, year by year.
Typically, the visa with “flexible caps” allows companies to import cheaper foreign workers whenever they persuade regulators or legislators that there is a shortage of Americans willing to work for low wages. The process is made clear by the existing visa-worker programs, such as the H-2B seasonal worker program.
In 2019, the federal government boosted the program by almost 50 percent — from 66,000 to 96,000 — because influential executives complained they would lose contracts if they had to pay the normal cost of labor in a free market. CEOs know that companies that get H-2B workers can offer cheaper contracts to more clients, so they are forced to compete in Washington for yet more H-2Bs workers, So this “flexible cap” process spurs company lobbying, political pressure, and declining wages, so denying a decent living to lower-skilled Americans while also offering cheaper services to wealthier Americans.
The same process exists in the white-collar market, where supposed annual caps are gutted by exceptions and alternatives. For example, the H-1B visa program is seemingly capped at 85,000 per year, yet there are roughly one million H-1B workers in the United States, plus at least 500,000 peer white-collar workers in the parallel OPT, L-1, H4EAD, O-1, TN, and J-1 visa programs.
Inslee’s rival, Beto O’Rourke, is also promising to import more foreign university graduates instead of pressuring companies to help train and pay American graduates: “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.”
“I think we go a lot further than anyone,” O’Rourke told CNN.
In February, Minnesota’s Amy Klobuchar also promised a bigger supply of workers whenever there is marketplace pressure for wage increases:
Speaking of jobs, we have to have more people coming into our country because our real [unemployment] number is about 3.6 [percent], 3.7 [percent] … We need people. So we want to have people come into our country, but we want to have them come in through a merit system, and we want to have them come in legally. And that’s going to be happening.
In April, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg promised more legal immigrants, saying:
We need a pathway to citizenship, we need Temporary Protected Status and protections for Dreamers [young illegals]. We need to improve our lawful immigration processes that are bureaucratic and that are backlogged and we need to do whatever is appropriate and necessary on border security. I think we can all agree on that.
The privileged writers and editors in the establishment media, including the Hill.com and the Washington Post, are refusing to cover the Democrats’ giveaway offer of cheap labor to big business, despite progressives’ much-touted support for unions and employees.
For example, Michael Scherer, a Washington Post reporter, does not mention the “flexible cap” offers in his updated summary of the Democrats’ immigration promises. Instead, he focuses readers’ attention on border-control issues that would be side issues if the federal government allows companies to import their own workforces and customers:
Would you seek the repeal of criminal penalties for people apprehended while crossing the border? … Should the federal government currently require the use of E-Verify to check the legal status of all hires by private employers? … Should the U.S. return to accepting at least 110,000 refugees a year, as the Obama administration planned for fiscal 2017?
But there many other giveaways to business in Inslee’s radical immigration agenda.
Inslee’s plan includes many measures that would help Central Americans migrate legally and illegally into the United States. It says:
The United States must assist the governments of the Northern Triangle nations in addressing the root causes of large-scale family migration to the United States, especially climate change … It is imperative the U.S. government work with governments of countries where migrants from which migrants are traveling, as well as those of countries through which they travel and in which they settle, on a joint approach to responsibly integrate the processing of these asylum seekers into our overall immigration system.
Raise the ceiling for annual refugee admissions to the United States to allow for the acceptance of historic numbers of refugees, meeting and eventually exceeding the target of 110,000 refugees that was set during the final year of the Obama Administration.
Identify alternative pathways to bring qualifying [Central American] refugees to the United States, diminishing the need to transit through U.S.-Mexico border ports of entry.
Overall, Inslee’s immigration plan discounts Americans’ interests, as it formally puts the self-interests of immigrants first, while quietly handing the store to business and progressive political leaders, saying:
America needs an immigration system that functions well, not just for immigrants and families coming to America, but also for businesses, border communities and communities throughout the country touched by immigration.
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 approximately 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.