NumbersUSA has announced to the media that we have downgraded Donald Trump on our Worker-Protection Immigration Grade Cards based on his statements in the last two debates that suggest the country has a labor shortage in a couple of categories that he indicates need foreign workers.
Since we began issuing the grades last spring, we have encouraged all of you to use them to push your favorite candidate(s) to improve their immigration positions.
For those of you who are Trump supporters, I urge you to use the information provided in this newsletter to push Trump to improve and to stop slipping on the issue that above all others catapulted him into the nomination lead.
ADMITS HE IS GOING "SOFT"
Trump acknowledged in Thursday night's Fox News debate that he has changed his position and now sides with Silicon Valley titans who claim America isn't producing enough high-tech workers.
Yet, there is no new evidence that anything has changed from previous reports that America has a glut of trained high-tech workers.
Fox's Megyn Kelly noted that his concern for Silicon Valley sounded at odds with his previous positions against businesses preferring foreign workers for high-skilled jobs.
"(KELLY) So you're abandoning the position on your website . . . "
"(TRUMP) I'm changing it, and I'm softening the position because we have to have talented people in this country. . . . People go to the best colleges. They'll go to Harvard, they'll go to Stanford. They'll go to Wharton. As soon as they're finished, they'll get shoved out. They want to stay in this country. They want to stay here desperately. They're not able to stay here. For that purpose, we absolutely have to be able to keep the brain power in this country."
After Thursday night's debate, the Trump campaign issued a statement to clarify that the candidate has not changed his position against H-1B temporary visas for high-tech workers.. Neither he nor the Fox moderator had referred specifically to the H-1B visas in their exchange in the debate.
But his comments about helping Silicon Valley were even worse than if they had been about temporary visas because he was referring to lifetime work permits to be given to foreign students as they graduate from U.S. universities.
Trump's debate comments were still unsettling Michelle Malkin and John Miano when Chris and I sat down with them Friday afternoon. They have written a powerful book, "Sold Out," that refutes almost everything that the Silicon Valley titans have claimed about their need for more foreign tech workers. Next week, we'll begin providing you video clips from our conversation.
APPEASING JOBLESSNESS AMONG YOUNGER LESS-EDUCATED AMERICANS
Trump also repeated his claim of last week's debate that there aren't enough Americans willing to do entry-level seasonal jobs in hotels and resorts, justifying visa programs that import low-skilled foreign workers even though less-educated younger Americans who would be most likely to fill such jobs have horrendous unemployment rates.
These seasonal jobs are exactly the kind of jobs needed by younger Americans who haven't been able to find a first-rung of the labor force ladder. Without the Band-Aid of foreign-worker programs, businesses would be forced to create effective recruitment channels into communities of extremely high non-workforce participation.
I'm not so much bothered that Trump's businesses legally use the foreign visa programs for hospitality workers as I am that he isn't pledging to curtail everybody's use of the programs for the good of the country.
THE LATEST CHANGES FROM OUR GRADING COMMITTEE
Our Grading Committee met Friday morning, as we have nearly every week since last May, and weighed all recent candidate statements.
After steadily rising from a "C" grade last spring to an "A-minus" grade, Trump has taken a step backwards to a "B+" with his statements about worker visas at the high and low end.
Ted Cruz has recently provided solid reinforcement of his positions that earned him a straight "A" grade as the candidate who favors immigration policies that would be the most helpful to struggling American workers and their families.
Our Committee raised Marco Rubio's grade from a "D" to a "D+".
We retained the worker-protection grades for John Kasich (D), Hillary Clinton (D-minus) and Bernie Sanders (F-minus).
TRUMP REMAINS 'GOOD' TO 'EXCELLENT' IN MOST CATEGORIES
Although Mr. Trump's latest immigration comments have been disconcerting, especially in last night's debate, we determined that they only affected one category ("protect against unfair work visa competition") of the ten immigration issues we rate.
Mr. Trump's overall positions still indicate a presidency that would be a huge improvement for American workers in terms of immigration policy. He continues to earn a VERY GOOD or EXCELLENT rating in six categories, a GOOD rating in one, a 1st STEPS in one, and he has no position on two categories (Chain Migration and the Visa Lottery).
Any waffling and flexibility on deportations and the wall by Mr. Trump had already been factored into our ratings long ago based on earlier ambiguous or conflicting statements. His overall positions on the "border" remain Very Good and on "interior enforcement" remain Excellent.
All ratings and grades for all remaining candidates can be found at: https://www.numbersusa.com/content/elections/races/presidential/2016-presidential-hopefuls.html
ROY BECK is the Founder & President of NumbersUSA
Updated: Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 8:10am EDT