Fact Check: Dan Crenshaw Echoes Big Business Talking Points on Green Card Giveaway Amid Backlash

Incoming Representative Dan Crenshaw attends a House of Representatives member-elect welcome briefing on Capitol Hill November 15, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) is echoing talking points from the big business lobby after voting for a green card giveaway plan to 300,000 Indian workers who were imported by Big Tech’s outsourcing business model.

The giveaway plan will allow Indian nationals to effectively monopolize the U.S. green card system for at least the next ten years, providing a constant, quicker stream of mostly Indian male nationals that American professionals will be forced to compete against for white-collar U.S. jobs in the labor market.

This week, 140 House Republicans, 224 House Democrats, and Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) — led by Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) voted for the plan.

Crenshaw posted on Instagram a defense of his support for the legislation, known as HR. 1044, writing that he was simply posting “just the facts.” His defense won praise from the architect behind 2013’s “Gang of Eight” mass amnesty plan, Leon Fresco.

“Legal immigration is good and this is actually a good bill,” Crenshaw said, with no reference to the impact of the nation’s record high levels of legal immigration on American communities and U.S. workers.

American workers have been displaced and suffer from wage depression due to the annual importation of more than 1.2 million mostly low-skilled foreign nationals to the U.S. — across white-collar industries like Information Technology (IT) fields and in working class, blue-collar industries like construction.

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#heresthetruth on HR 1044. And in response to many comments below, let me clarify some things: 1. This bill does NOT create new visas of ANY kind. It does NOT legally favor H1B visas for green card holders (this is a point of confusion because some would argue that a POTENTIAL outcome of this bill is that only current temporary visa holders will apply for green cards) 2. This bill does NOT create NEW green cards. It simply changes the line order, making it more fair for immigrants who applied first. Right now, an immigrant’s wait time depends on what country they’re from (smaller countries therefore benefit the most). With this new bill, its a “first-in-line” basis, meaning your wait time depends on WHEN you applied, not from WHERE you applied. 3. When someone says it doubles visas because it “increases the visas from 7% to 15%”, this is WRONG. It is NOT increasing the number of visas or green cards. That percentage change is referring to a change in the maximum allowed PROPORTION of family-based immigrant visas from any specific country. It has nothing to do with the total number of visas. The total number stays the same 4. It is pure speculation to say that this would cost American jobs or depress wages. There is no evidence for that. We should also recognize that we have more than 7 million job openings in America right now, and not enough workers to fill them. Wages are rising, 3.2% year over year, but especially for low-income jobs, at 4.4% wage growth. Just the facts.

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Crenshaw’s Claim: “This bill does NOT create new visas of ANY kind. It does NOT legally favor H1B visas for green card holders (this is a point of confusion because some would argue that a POTENTIAL outcome of this bill is that only current temporary visa holders will apply for green cards).”

Fact Check: The evidence strongly supports the concerns that HR. 1044 will legally favor H-1B foreign visa workers because other workers — such as nurses and athletes — will lose their fast-track routes to green cards and will have to wait behind masses of Indian H-1B workers hired by the information technology (IT) industries.

Tech corporations like Amazon, and Indian outsourcing firms such as Infosys and Cognizant, have packed a decade’s worth of tech workers and families into the waiting lines. So if a company wants to hire a nurse from the Philippines after this bill passes, the employers will have to wait seven to eight years before their sponsored foreign workers can obtain their green card and begin work.

Because employers are unlikely to wait seven to eight years to get their foreign worker, experts say employment-based green cards will be almost solely sought for temporary foreign visa workers already in the U.S., like those on H-1B visas that routinely displace American workers from their jobs.

The outsourcing lobby and Big Tech corporations — that have effectively monopolized the H-1B visa program — also have an advantage. They can nominate a temporary visa worker in the United States for an employment-based green card system, ensuring the workers do not have to leave the U.S. when their temporary visas expire.

Crenshaw’s Claim: “This bill does NOT create NEW green cards. It simply changes the line order, making it more fair for immigrants who applied first. Right now, an immigrant’s wait time depends on what country they’re from (smaller countries therefore benefit the most). With this new bill, its a ‘first-in-line’ basis, meaning your wait time depends on WHEN you applied, not from WHERE you applied.”

Fact Check: Under HR. 1044, any foreign national attempting to come to the U.S. from a country other than India on an employment-based green card will have to wait at least ten years to do so, analysis from the Center for Immigration Studies finds based on records from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Currently, Indian nationals are obtaining roughly 25 percent of all white-collar employment-based green cards annually. Should HR. 1044 become law, Indian nationals will sweep away with about 90 percent of the white-collar employment-based green cards every year for at least the next decade. This means that green cards for nationals from countries other than India will have to wait a decade before they are able to enter obtain an employment-based green card.

The purpose of the current per-country caps, which puts an annual seven percent cap for employment-based green cards for nationals in every country, is to ensure that a handful of countries — in this case, India — do not soak up all the employment-based green cards every year.

The non-partisan Congressional Research Service admits that HR. 1044 will allow “a handful of countries” to “dominate employment-based immigration, possibly benefitting certain industries that employ foreign workers from those countries, at the expense of foreign workers from other countries and other industries that might employ them.”

Moreover, Crenshaw’s “first-in-line” claim suggests that the Indian visa workers have a right to be placed ahead of other visa workers and migrants because they signed their contract first.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s pro-outsourcing lobby FWD.us and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, like Crenshaw, have claimed that the current green card system is unfair to Indian nationals who have been promised green cards by their employers and should not have to wait for those green cards “simply because of their country of origin.”

“In short, the quota for Iceland, which has a population of approximately 338,000 people, is the same as India, with a population of roughly 1.338 billion people,” the Chamber of Commerce’s Niel Bradley has said. “These quotas cause a significant amount of uncertainty for employers that hire highly-skilled, highly-educated immigrant workers that were born in India and China.”

But this claim to fairness hides the unfairness of a federal system which is designed to favor the mass importation of foreign visa workers for the hugely wealthy IT industry and Silicon Valley billionaires.

Is the “first-to-file” system fair to smaller companies which must wait eight years to import a unique specialist from abroad? Is the system fair to American graduates in the software business who are inundated by cheap Indian visa workers?

Is the “first-to-file” system fair to American communities who see corporations importing mostly Indian male nationals — with the promise of green cards — instead of hiring U.S. graduates?

Is the “first-to-file” plan fair for the workers and companies in midsized towns and cities throughout Crenshaw’s Texas district? The law he voted for allows big city investors and companies to import cheap foreign workers into their big city jobs — while ignoring the underemployed Americans and small subcontractors in the nearby towns.

Crenshaw’s Claim: “When someone says it doubles visas because it ‘increases the visas from 7% to 15%,’ this is WRONG. It is NOT increasing the number of visas or green cards. That percentage change is referring to a change in the maximum allowed PROPORTION of family-based immigrant visas from any specific country. It has nothing to do with the total number of visas. The total number stays the same.”

Fact Check: Last year, Crenshaw said he supported ending the process known as “chain migration,” wherein newly naturalized citizens can bring an unlimited number of foreign relatives to the U.S. HR. 1044, though, increases the chain migration visa caps from seven percent to 15 percent, a provision put into the legislation following a major lobbying effort by Filipino nurses who complained that their siblings have been unable to quickly obtain green cards.

Set to gain most from the provision are Filipino Americans and Mexican Americans who will be able to more quickly get green cards for their foreign relatives. HR. 1044 reinforces the chain migration visa categories that Crenshaw previously said he supported eliminating.

President Trump has routinely advocated for eliminating chain migration — five years of which adds more people to the U.S. population than one year of American births.

Crenshaw’s Claim: “It is pure speculation to say that this would cost American jobs or depress wages. There is no evidence for that. We should also recognize that we have more than 7 million job openings in America right now, and not enough workers to fill them. Wages are rising, 3.2% year over year, but especially for low-income jobs, at 4.4% wage growth.”

Fact Check: The H-1B visa program and Big Tech’s outsourcing business model, underscored by HR. 1044, has definitively led to the displacement of American workers and the depression of U.S. wages, research, analysis, and stories from the American workers, themselves.

Steven Camarota, director of research for the Center for Immigration Studies, has found that every one-percent increase in the immigrant composition of American workers’ occupations reduces their weekly wages by about 0.5 percent. 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.

Likewise, research by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine finds that legal immigration to the U.S. redistributes about $500 billion in wealth from working and middle class Americans every year to major employers and newly arrived immigrants.

Common sense also works against Crenshaw. HR. 1044 enormously expands the supply of Indian computer workers, yet somehow this increased supply has no impact on salaries? Crenshaw also seems to believe that Indian nationals are passive actors who are unable or unwilling to take advantage of the green card change.

The bill effectively quadruples the size of the green card magnet for Indians, who can expect to get 100,000 green cards by 2023, up from 23,000 in 2017.

Already, many thousands of Indian nationals use the “Optional Practical Training” loophole to get low wage U.S. jobs by simply enrolling in low grade U.S. universities. Indian nationals accept these OPT jobs at very low wages because they are trying to get jobs in the largely Indian run H-1B visa industry which is the gateway to green cards. There is no limit to the number of OPT work permits that can be snagged by Indian nationals, Chinese nationals or other foreign workers.

In January, Breitbart News reported:

The OPT program is defended by universities, technology companies, and investors who benefit from the inflow of fee-paying students or cheap workers. In 2017, 291,635 foreigners were given one-year OPT work permits, and another 60,410 were given three-year OPT work permits. In the two prior years, 67,000 people were given three-year OPT permits. OPT workers are hired by brand name companies, including Amazon, Intel, and Microsoft. Many also transfer into the H-1B program and some are approved for green cards.

Overall, the OPT program keeps roughly 400,000 foreign graduates in U.S. jobs that do not need to be advertised to U.S. graduates. Overall, the various visa programs, including the OPT, CPT, H-1B, TN, O-1, E-3, and J-1 programs, allow U.S. employers to keep a cheap workforce of roughly 1.5 million, non-immigrant, cheap guest workers in white-collar jobs.

With four times as many Indian green cards on offer, it is reasonable to expect that at least twice as many Indian nationals will get into the green card line by seeking twice as many OPT jobs — and the extra supply of Indian nationals in the OPT program is likely to cost American jobs or depress wages.

There is no limit to the number of H-1B visas that can be granted to Indian nationals each year because the H-1B visas used by nonprofit companies are exempt from the apparent 85,000 annual inflow. If there are more green cards, companies will be able to recruit more foreign H-1B visa workers to replace Americans in nonprofit jobs at universities, hospitals, and research centers.

Crenshaw makes the same case as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in his statement that there are “not enough workers” to fill jobs in the country. In actuality, there are 12.3 million Americans who are either unemployed, forced to work part-time jobs, out of the workforce but wanted jobs, or who were unemployed because they were discouraged by their job prospects.

Wage growth for blue-collar, working class Americans has risen significantly and can be attributed to the Trump administration’s high-wage, low-immigration economic model that seeks to reduce foreign job competition in the labor market through increased immigration enforcement.

If there was a real shortage of American workers, wages would be rising faster as companies begin to poach workers from each other. So far, there is minimal evidence that Silicon Valley companies are trying to offer higher wages to pull American workers from other companies.

Crenshaw’s office did not respond to comment request in time for publication.

Neil Munro contributed to this report. 

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.

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