Chuck Grassley Slams Democrats’ China Immigration Bill

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, speaks during a committee hearing for Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Jim Bourg/ AP

Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley dropped the hammer on the Democrats’ latest plan to create a vast gateway for white-collar immigration in the draft anti-China bill.

“I’m glad to be here to discuss this important legislative effort to counter China’s threat to our economy and also to our national security,” Grassley told a joint House and Senate meeting on Thursday, saying:

First, I’d like to emphasize that this is a China-centered bill. It’s not an immigration or climate bill. Almost a year ago. USICA [the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act] got 68 votes in the Senate because we recognize that simple fact of China’s competition and threat has to stay that way. The final bill must be laser-focused on countering the Chinese Communist Party … As a result, I will oppose the inclusion of any of the House immigration provisions in the final bill produced by this Congress. In order to pass, we need a bill focussed squarely on China and not on unrelated provisions. I yield.

Grassley spoke during the public first session of the joint conference where House and Senate negotiations are expected to hammer out a compromise between the rival anti-China bills drafted by the House and Senate. Both bills provide funding to help U.S. companies bring chip-manufacturing centers back into the United States, but they also include many related proposals over taxes, the environment, and immigration.

The Senate bill does not include immigration measures, largely because GOP leaders in the evenly split Senate know that their GOP voters are increasingly skeptical about migration, both illegal and legal migration.

But Democratic leaders in the House added their open-ended immigration section to their draft bill after it passed the House committee.

Section 80303 of the House bill creates a massive gateway for many foreign graduates of foreign universities.

It would allow a wide range of foreign graduates to pick up the green cards and to work in a very wide variety of white-collar jobs throughout the United States.

The gateway would open U.S. jobs for anyone with a master’s degree, says the House bill, “in a program of study involving science, technology, engineering, or mathematics … from a foreign institution if such degree is the equivalent to a degree issued by a qualified United States research institution.”

The acceptable “program of study” includes:

…agricultural sciences, natural resources and conservation, computer and information sciences and support services, engineering, biological and biomedical sciences, mathematics and statistics, military technologies, physical sciences, health professions and related programs, or medical residency and fellowship programs, or the summary group subsets of accounting and related services and taxation.

The huge inflow would allow executives at Fortune 500 companies and smaller companies to easily hire grateful, lower-wage foreign graduates — just as farm companies now can easily hire illegal immigrants at street corners for stoop labor in the fields.

The bill also creates a new visa program to help bring in more foreign tech workers who can claim to have founded companies with investment from U.S. investors.

Since the 1990s, many U.S. companies and investors have discarded their foundation of U.S. workers in favor of a population of at least 1.5 million indentured, compliant, and lower-wage foreign visa workers.

The corporate policy ensures that many U.S. technology experts are kept out of technology jobs by foreign-born managers and that foreign workers from China and India — fill up college training slots, science laboratories, intern opportunities, starter jobs, and careers. The inflow of visa workers steers investment away from the Midwest. It also subordinates outspoken U.S. professionals to Fortune 500 executives and undermines corporate focus on security, quality, and reliability in favor of stock growth.

The House migration plan is being pushed by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), a former immigration lawyer who represents the interest of CEOs in her Silicon Valley district. Lofgren told the conference panel:

This ambitious agenda is incomplete without adequate numbers of scientists and engineers to preserve our global leadership for generations to come. Our human capital gap is one of the most vulnerable parts of our supply chain, but provisions in the [House] Competes Act would address this. While increasing STEM scholarships for U.S. students, the bill simultaneously draws the world’s best and brightest STEM doctoral recipients and company founders to the United States.

Lofgren was partially backed up by Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL), who worked as a physicist for more than two decades at a government lab:

As perhaps Congress only chip designer and someone who specifically managed teams of chip designers — some of the most brilliant of which were born abroad — the House’s proposals for expanding and expediting immigration for individuals with high-tech STEM skills will be near the top of my list.

Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-CO) backed the outsourcing bill, saying, “This is a rare opportunity to reinvigorate our economy and cut the red tape there’s been holding back American innovation, helping STEM PhDs get visas so [they] can stay right here in America after school.”

But far more legislators spoke up for the interests of U.S. employees and their communities.

“America invented the semiconductor — [but] 75 percent of them are made in East Asia,’ said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH):

It’s why our work is so important on this committee. We need bipartisan legislation that puts American workers and American innovation first. We know competitors like China spend billions propping up state owned enterprises, investing in [research and development] and has gotten pretty good at taking our ideas, monetizing them and using them to compete against American workers.

“When we talk about STEM education, we have to talk about a K-12 pipeline that creates opportunities for all children,” said Rep. Jamaal Bown (D-NY).

“This legislation will create about one million new registered apprenticeships, a powerful tool to improve career pathways and transform the lives of working Americans, strengthening our nation’s workforce is paramount to competing on the global stage,” said Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR).

“We are facing a generational threat from the Chinese Communist Party,” said Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK). “That means [we should be] targeting basic research and critical technologies, building out America’s STEM workforce, and protecting our investments from threats theft by China.”

“I will measure each provision in the trade title by two metrics,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR): “Is it tough on China? And does it support American workers? … At its core, this conference committee must contain a trade [section] that meets workers’ needs and bolsters America’s ability to compete with China and the rest of the world.”

“We need to make workers a value,” said Rep. Donald Norcross (D-NJ): “Don’t treat them like cogs in a machine. That’s what China does … America is competitive because of our people.”

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) said she wants “better opportunities for students and workers who are interested in careers in STEM, manufacturing and other fields of the future.”

“I strongly believe that our workers can out-compete anybody anywhere as long as we have a level playing field,” said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR).

Some speakers talked about the need for a “bipartisan” agreement, which hints at opposition to the migration section added by Democratic leaders.

“What didn’t work in this Congress was the partisan battles we had over reconciliation and a number of other issues,” said Sen.Mike Crapo (R-ID).  “So as we begin to work in this conference, let’s return to that bipartisanship,” he added.

“This legislation is another moment where we come together in a bipartisan fashion for the future of our country,” said Sen. Todd Young (R-IN). “This legislation will help us lay the foundation for the private sector to harness the innovation occurring around our country … we need to get this bill across the finish line with a strong bipartisan vote.”

“I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues to find some common ground here and get this thing done,” said Rep. Sharice Davids (D-KS).

Most legislators in the committee meeting, however, dodged the migration issue. For example, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), said, “There is a sense of urgency if we don’t do this and don’t do it quickly — the companies from Micron to Intel to Samsung and others will be making these investments somewhere, but it won’t be here in the United States.”

But Grassley directly attacked the Democrats’ migration plan:

The final bill must be laser-focused on countering the Chinese Communist Party. That doesn’t mean adopting heavy-handed industrial policies to rival those industrial policies of China. We need very rigorous analysis to ensure objectives are met and taxpayer funds aren’t wasted. In particular, the bill includes a whole host of immigration provisions, many of which are partisan and or completely unrelated to countering China. A number of the immigration provisions were amendments put forward by Democrat House members. These were then added to the House bill as part of a large amendment package. Then the bill passed on an almost-entirely party line vote.

“I share the concerns of many of my colleagues about the House’s bills immigration provisions that were not in the Senate bill,” he added.

Amid the backpressure, the lobbyists backing the China-migration push recently suggested Congress pass a smaller-scale immigration inflow.

Extraction Migration

Since at least 1990, the D.C. establishment has extracted tens of millions of migrants and visa workers from poor countries to serve as legal or illegal workers, temporary workers, consumers, and renters for various U.S. investors and CEOs.

This economic strategy of Extraction Migration has no stopping point. It is brutal to ordinary Americans because it cuts their career opportunities, shrinks their salaries and wagesraises their housing costs, and has shoved at least ten million American men out of the labor force.

Extraction migration also distorts the economy and curbs Americans’ productivity, partly because it allows employers to use stoop labor instead of machines. Migration also reduces voters’ political clout, undermines employees’ workplace rights, and widens the regional wealth gaps between the Democrats’ coastal states and the Republicans’ Heartland and southern states.

An economy built on extraction migration also alienates young people and radicalizes Americans’ democratic, compromise-promoting civic culture because it allows wealthy elites to ignore despairing Americans at the bottom of society.

The policy is hidden behind a wide variety of excuses and explanations, such as the claim that the U.S. is a “Nation of Immigrants” or that Americans have a duty to accept foreign refugees. But the colonialism-like economic strategy also kills many migrants, exploits poor people, splits foreign families, and extracts wealth from the poor home countries.

The economic policy is backed by progressives who wish to transform the U.S. from a society governed by European-origin civic culture into a progressive-led empire of competing identity groups. “We’re trying to become the first multiracial, multi-ethnic superpower in the world,” Rep. Rohit Khanna (D-CA) told the New York Times on March 21. “It will be an extraordinary achievement … we will ultimately triumph,” he insisted.

Not surprisingly, the wealth-shifting extraction migration policy is very unpopular, according to a wide variety of polls. The polls show deep and broad public opposition to labor migration and the inflow of foreign contract workers into jobs sought by young U.S. graduates.

The opposition is growinganti-establishmentmultiracialcross-sexnon-racistclass-based, bipartisan, rational, persistent, and recognizes the solidarity that Americans owe to one another.

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