Nine Republican senators are lobbying President Trump to import more foreign workers, claiming there are not enough qualified Americans to take jobs, even with more than 36 million out of work.
While economists predict there may soon be 41 million unemployed Americans due to the Chinese coronavirus crisis, Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mike Crapo (R-ID), James Risch (R-ID), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Todd Young (R-IN), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), and James Lankford (R-OK) are asking Trump to continue an inflow of foreign workers to take agricultural and nonagricultural jobs.
Specifically, the GOP senators say Trump must continue fast-tracking H-2A foreign agricultural workers and H-2B foreign nonagricultural workers into the U.S. and should allow businesses to exempt themselves from foreign worker restrictions so long as they claim they cannot find Americans to hire.
The GOP senators write:
The marked impact that the coronavirus has had on the job market is undeniable. Nearly 33 million Americans are unemployed, and close to eight million American small businesses are at risk of shuttering forever. Some of these struggling small businesses rely on labor that many Americans may not be qualified or able to perform, even in the aftermath of the pandemic, and some of these businesses operate in industry sectors that are not experiencing high unemployment … or in particular geographical locations where qualified labor is scarce. American businesses that rely on help from these visa programs should not be forced to close without serious consideration. Guest workers are needed to boost American business, not take American jobs. [Emphasis added]
Due to the temporary and seasonal nature of the work, it is exeedingly difficult to find American workers, even now, who wish to work only on a temporary basis. Many of the jobs lost since March are not temporary or seasonal. Much of the furloughed or laid off workforce are likely looking to return to the jobs they were forced to leave … we are afraid the unemployment insurance compensation included in the CARES Act has created a disincentive for many American furloughed or laid off workers from finding new jobs, especially those seasonal or temporary in nature. [Emphasis added]
As the GOP senators lobby Trump to import more foreign workers during mass unemployment, grassroots organizations representing American workers and college students are asking the president to halt foreign worker visa programs to ensure scarce jobs go to unemployed Americans.
Between the H-2A visa program for foreign agricultural workers and the H-2B visa program for foreign nonagricultural workers, more than 350,000 additional blue-collar foreign workers are imported to the U.S. labor market annually. Despite this year’s record unemployment, hundreds of thousands of H-2A and H-2B foreign workers are expected to take American jobs.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.