White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump said the United States’ legal immigration system must be a balance between attracting the “greatest talent in the world” while not displacing Americans who are transitioning jobs or entering the workforce after years on the sidelines.
During a panel discussion Tuesday at the CES 2020 conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, Mrs. Trump acknowledged that any overhaul of the legal immigration system must not be at the detriment of American workers.
“Immigration, I think it actually would have bipartisan agreement … that it needs to be overhauled and become relevant to both the jobs and the skills we need to attract to continue to grow and thrive, but it can’t displace the investment that needs to be made and the core skills of marginalized Americans,” Mrs. Trump said.
“So that’s where we have to be careful. We need to do both,” Mrs. Trump continued.
That balancing act, Mrs. Trump described, would ideally transform the legal immigration system into one where the U.S. competes with other nations for the world’s “greatest talent” while putting American workers’ interests first in the workforce.
“We need to recruit and retain the greatest talent in the world to help us grow and innovate, but we need to invest in American workers and reach over to the sidelines, draw them into our workforce, and equip them with the skills that they need to thrive, and we can’t just seek to import that,” Mrs. Trump said.
Many of those marginalized Americans include white-collar U.S. workers who have been pushed out of their jobs by H-1B foreign visa workers that they were forced to train as part of their severance agreements. In allegations, such as a 2019 Labor Department claim, American workers have detailed how multinational corporations fired them, forced them to train their H-1B foreign replacements, and left them looking for work outside of their skill set.
The outsourcing practice, permitted by current H-1B visa rules, has been at the expense of mostly older American women and men, U.S. minorities, and college graduates.
Likewise, though business executives continue to claim that they need more foreign workers to fill U.S. jobs, there remain about 11.3 million Americans sitting on the sidelines of the workforce — all of whom want good-paying, full-time jobs. This includes the roughly 4.3 million Americans who have taken part-time jobs today but who want full-time employment.
While blue-collar wages have soured in President Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” economy, white-collar wages have barely risen indicating that there is room for tightening the middle-class job market and not a lack of workers.
Four million young Americans enter the workforce every year, but their job opportunities are further diminished as roughly two new foreign workers enter the workforce for every four American workers — driving up foreign competition and keeping wages flat. American STEM graduates, particularly, are put at a disadvantage as corporations bring hundreds of thousands of foreign workers to the U.S. to compete against them in the labor market.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.