Search for:

Governor Mike DeWine Wants Cheap Labor to Take Ohio Jobs

author Published by Chris Chmielenski

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is tweeting openly about how important it is to hire foreign workers to take Ohio jobs. He’s doing so while hailing a think tank’s report pitching state-based visa programs. This report, from The Buckeye Institute, is 42 pages long, but in reading it you won’t find any mentions of labor exploitation like wage theft, forced labor, child labor, indentured servitude, wage suppression, or discrimination against American workers. Rather, the report spends time telling Ohioans and Americans in general how inferior they are to foreign workers.

This is a key theme in much of the mass immigration rhetoric we see these days. Americans are more likely to commit crimes than foreign residents, we are told. Americans do not want to work, we are told. The Buckeye Institute wants you to know immigrants are more entrepreneurial and more educated than you as well, Ohio:

“Immigrants in Ohio are highly educated and entrepreneurial. Thirty-seven percent of foreign-born Ohioans have a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree, while only 21.4 percent of American citizens at birth living in Ohio can say the same. Foreign-born Ohioans are more than three times as likely as native-born Ohioans to hold doctorate degrees. Just as significantly, immigrants across the United States are twice as likely as native-born Americans to start new businesses and hold patents.”

They are just flat out better than you, Ohioans. In fact, they are so much better than you, that they deserve the good jobs and you can fill whatever’s left:

“Earlier research showed that a divergence in skill level between immigrants and native-born workers made the work of both groups complementary. By working in different economic sectors and holding different skills, immigrants are net job creators and often complement rather than compete with native Ohio workers.”

You see? Those high skill and high wage jobs are just out of your reach regardless. There are some oddities, however, in the report’s discussion. For one thing, the report says that there are more job openings in Ohio than there are unemployed people in the state. That means, the report argues, that bringing migrant workers will not cost jobs for Ohioans. However, they also argue that the high-skilled immigrants will create more jobs. That is, create more jobs on top of the jobs the report says the state cannot fill. In other words, the job creating migrants would exacerbate the labor shortage?

The report’s plan for exacerbating Ohio’s labor shortage is for Congress to subcontract control over immigration levels to state governments. Interestingly, the report only wants the states to pick the numbers and types of immigrants they choose to import. The Federal Government would still have to vet the workers, regulate the workers, and ensure they follow the visa guidelines. Which, I guess would include making sure the immigrants the states pick do not leave the state for work elsewhere. That means the plan does nothing to ease the backlogs or burdens of the overwhelmed Federal government or reduce the size and scope of the agencies. It is pitched as an idea supporting federalism, but shifts little power to the states, while creating an entire population of indentured foreign workers.

Granting individual states immigration admission authority is not a new idea. One of the more naive notions upon which this idea rests is that of enforcement. The Federal government cannot secure our national borders with agencies created and staffed for that sole purpose. Yet somehow, these states believe the wide open borders of interstate commerce will contain aliens they choose? Who will stop them from leaving for another state upon entry? Is it because there is a rule on paper that says they cannot leave? One would have to assume that state borders are impenetrable while the national border is a sieve.

Inevitably, providing states authority over immigration comes with the idea of vastly expanding the number of foreign workers the United States admits annually. This leads to the next enforcement problem: The Federal government cannot protect foreign workers right now. Reports of forced labor, wage theft, indentured servitude, child labor, and discrimination are rising. Much of it already is going unpunished. Arguing for decreasing regulation and increasing numbers in such an environment is a recipe for disaster. Governor Mike DeWine does not appear to be thinking that through. Our agencies are overwhelmed with massive backlogs across the immigration policy landscape and more and more foreign workers are arriving each day. Yet, somehow, the elites keep calling for more.

While the Buckeye Institute report doesn’t cover worker exploitation in Ohio, I thought I might add some perspective. Ohio has employers violating child labor laws. Policy Matters Ohio released a report in 2022 that found employers in Ohio were stealing wages from 213,000 Ohioans through minimum wage violations alone. Wage theft, beyond undercutting minimum wage, has included failure to pay overtime in health care. There has been so much wage theft in Ohio that Senator Sherrod Brown introduced national legislation to combat wage theft and had a Top 10 List of top wage theft stories in the state.

As for the notion of low unemployment requiring that Ohio import ever more foreign labor to the United States, here’s a list of at least 19 companies laying off employees in Ohio as we speak. You can find a more updated list of employers with over 100 employees that are laying off Ohioans. Those are the layoffs for this year. Last year, OhioHealth eliminated 637 jobs, in their biggest layoff ever. Ohio tech company Olive laid off 450 employees in 2022. The layoffs hit multiple other companies including Carvana, GE Lighting, Tenneco, and Credit Adjustments. Talking about labor shortages in this context is an insult to workers and a crime against logic. If you have so much trouble finding employees then why are you firing so many employees? The audacity of crying about struggling to find employees after firing several hundred is striking.

Yet here we are. With a state full of layoffs and wage theft, the Governor is more concerned with labor shortages than labor rights. You would think he might focus on identifying policies to help the citizens of his state who were laid off. Instead, he spends his time seeking to twist immigration law to import as many foreign workers for the corporate overlords as possible. Who needs enemies when workers have leaders like these?

JARED CULVER is a Legal Analyst for NumbersUSA

Take Action

Your voice counts! Let your Member of Congress know where you stand on immigration issues through the Action Board. Not a NumbersUSA member? Sign up here to get started.

Action Board

Donate Today!

NumbersUSA is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that relies on your donations to works toward sensible immigration policies. NumbersUSA Education & Research Foundation is recognized by America's Best Charities as one of the top 3% of well-run charities.


Immigration Grade Cards

NumbersUSA provides the only comprehensive immigration grade cards. See how your member of Congress’ rates and find grades going back to the 104th Congress (1995-97).

Read More