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  by  Eric Ruark

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas raised a point of order as a move to block the expansion of visas for foreign workers until employment reaches pre-Covid-19 levels. This was an important vote and if Cruz' point of order had passed, it would have signified that the Senate was serious about protecting U.S. workers during an unprecedented economic shutdown.

Ten Republicans joined with all 50 Democratic Senators to reject Cruz' point of order.

This vote came on the eve of the release of January's "disappointing" employment numbers by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The economy added 49,000 jobs (far below expectations), with only 6,000 in the non-farm private sector, while 406,000 workers dropped out of the labor force entirely. The BLS also revised November and December job numbers and noted that the combined employment for these months was 159,000 lower than previously reported.

The Republicans who voted with all Democrats against a point of order to halt the expansion of work visas until employment reaches pre-Covid-19 levels were:

  • Sen. Dan Sullivan of Alaska
  • Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky
  • Sen. Susan Collins of Maine
  • Sen. Deb Fischer of Nebraska
  • Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska
  • Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina
  • Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina
  • Sen. John Thune of South Dakota

That list above contains some long-time supporters of immigration expansion. However, it was notable that Sen. Cruz's efforts were backed by Sen. Cornyn of Texas, Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.

An Encouraging Result

On a more optimistic note, the Senate approved an amendment to a resolution offered by Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) that would block stimulus checks from going to illegal aliens. The amendment received support from all 50 Senate Republicans and from eight Democrats, who were:

  • Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona
  • Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona
  • Sen. John Hickenlooper of Colorado
  • Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan
  • Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan
  • Sen. Jon Tester of Montana
  • Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire
  • Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia

[NOTE: This piece of good news was short-lived. On Friday morning, Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer offered an amendment to the same resolution previously amended by Sen. Young. Schumer’s amendment stripped out Young’s amendment prohibiting illegal aliens from receiving Covid relief checks. The vote was split 50-50 along party lines, with all the Senators above voting for Schumer’s amendment. Vice-President Harris broke the tie and the amendment passed.]

American Workers Deserve More Protection

There is no legitimate argument to be made in favor of increasing the number of work visas handed out to foreign workers while so many Americans remain out of work and there is still uncertainty about the future course of the Covid-19 virus.

Any recovery is going to take many, many months, and Congress should be discussing (and voting for) reducing the number of foreign workers entering the United States.

Despite Visa Scandal, Mayorkas Confirmed

On Tuesday, the Senate voted to confirm Alexandro Mayorkas as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Recall that while Mayorkas was Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) under Pres. Obama, he authored the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive amnesty. The DHS Inspector General also found that Mayorkas improperly intervened in application processes for the EB-5 foreign investor green card program to arrange approvals for allies of powerful Democratic Party members.

The confirmation of Mayorkas (56-43) was not wholly unexpected but disappointing in that no Democratic Senator found his previous conduct as disqualifying, and that six Republicans also voted to confirm him.

Those Republicans:

  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
  • Sen. Dan Sullivan of Alaska
  • Sen. Susan Collins of Maine
  • Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio
  • Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah
  • Sen. Shelley Capito of West Virginia

(Sen. Toomey of Pennsylvania did not vote)

The vote for Mayorkas was the closest so far for a Pres. Biden cabinet nominee.

ERIC RUARK is the Director of Research for NumbersUSA

Updated: Sun, Feb 21st 2021 @ 11:15am EST

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