The List: 47 Republicans Lobby for More Foreign Workers While 36M Are Jobless

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Thirty-eight House Republicans have joined nine Republican Senators in lobbying the White House to continue importing foreign workers to the United States even as more than 36 million Americans are jobless.

In a letter to Trump, Republican lawmakers including Rep. Roger Marshall (R-KS) — running against Kris Kobach for Kansas’s open Senate seat — and New York Representitives Elise Stefanik and Peter King ask that businesses continue to be allowed to import blue-collar foreign workers through the H-2B visa program amid mass unemployment.

Every year, U.S. companies are allowed to import 66,000 low-skilled H-2B foreign workers to take blue-collar, non-agricultural jobs. For some time, the H-2B visa program has been used by businesses to bring in cheaper, foreign workers and has contributed to blue-collar Americans having their wages undercut.

The Republican lawmakers claim that even though a record number of Americans in many states are jobless, businesses are still suffering from labor shortages — a claim that is made year-round by the cheap labor lobby.

The Republican lawmakers who signed the letter include:

  • Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD)
  • Rep. Jack Bergman (R-MI)
  • Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA)
  • Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH)
  • Rep. David Joyce (R-OH)
  • Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH)
  • Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA)
  • Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI)
  • Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO)
  • Rep. Don Young (R-AK)
  • Rep. Robert Latta (R-OH)
  • Rep. David Rouzer (R-NC)
  • Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH)
  • Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-SD)
  • Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-LA)
  • Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-MI)
  • Rep. Peter King (R-NY)
  • Rep. Greg Murphy (R-NC)
  • Rep. Neal Dunn (R-FL)
  • Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK)
  • Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY)
  • Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA)
  • Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI)
  • Rep. Mike Conaway (R-MD)
  • Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA)
  • Rep. Roger Marshall (R-KS)
  • Rep. Rob Woodall (R-GA)
  • Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA)
  • Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA)
  • Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH)
  • Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT)
  • Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK)
  • Rep. John Moolenaar (R-MI)
  • Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY)
  • Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI)
  • Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI)
  • Rep. John Rutherford (R-FL)
  • Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA)

The Republicans write:

On behalf of the thousands of small and seasonal businesses in our Districts that are struggling in this unprecedented and uncertain economic climate, we respectfully urge you to refrain from imposing any further restriction on the H-2B nonimmigrant seasonal guest worker program as part of any forthcoming executive action relating to immigration and/or economic recovery.

The letter continues:

This is evident as, despite active recruitment by seasonal employers, very few US workers are seeking and accepting seasonal temporary jobs. Therefore, it is important that the H-2B program continue to be available to our seasonal employers as a failsafe in the event that we see a rapid drop in unemployment and a return to the extremely tight labor markets of just a few months ago. Such flexibility to meet business needs is critical to rapid, solid and fulsome economic recovery. [Emphasis added]

As such, we urge you to maintain the continued, uninterrupted operation of the H-2B program with the continued requirement that all employers only have access to it based upon their proven and certified need within the statutory cap. [Emphasis added]

The full letter can be read here:

GOPs Ask for H-2B Visa Prog… by John Binder on Scribd

Likewise, this week, nine Republican Senators sent a letter to Trump asking the administration to allow businesses to import more foreign workers.

Specifically, the Senators said businesses must be able to exempt themselves from some existing labor regulations so long as they claim they cannot find qualified Americans to do the work. The Republican Senators who signed the letter include:

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
  • Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)
  • Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID)
  • Sen. James Risch (R-ID)
  • Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD)
  • Sen. Todd Young (R-IN)
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
  • Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK)
  • Sen. James Lankford (R-OK)

Today, federal employment data reveal that there is no labor shortage of working- and middle-class Americans who want a job. There are currently more than 36 million Americans out of work, spurred by the Chinese coronavirus crisis.

The H-2B visa program has been widely used by businesses to drag down the wages of American workers in landscaping, conservation work, the meatpacking industry, the construction industry, and fishing jobs, a 2019 study from the Center for Immigration Studies finds.

When comparing the wages of H-2B foreign workers to the national wage average for each blue-collar industry, about 21 out of 25 of the industries offered lower wages to foreign workers than Americans.

In the construction industry, wage suppression is significant, with H-2B foreign workers being offered more than 20 percent less than their American counterparts. In the fishing industry, foreign workers were offered more than 30 percent less for their jobs than Americans in the field. In the meatpacking industry, foreign workers got 23 percent less pay than Americans.

Every year, the U.S. admits about 1.2 million legal immigrants on green cards to permanently resettle in the country. In addition, another 1.4 million foreign workers are admitted every year to take American jobs

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

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