Jeremy Beck's picture


  by  Jeremy Beck

[W]hat is the point of a left party that cannot command the loyalty of the working class and therefore plausibly claim to represent its interests?"- Ruy Teixeira

DHS Secretary Mayorkas will expand the H-2B visa program by 35,000.

"This preemptive move by Mayorkas lets seasonal employers off the hook from recruiting Americans by offering better wages and working conditions," writes Robert Law, "Instead, the federal government will subsidize bad business models or simply further enrich employers by giving them access to more cheap foreign workers than otherwise would be allowed."

The Senate is considering a massive green card giveaway in the House-passed COMPETES Act.

And the House is working on a bill (H.R. 3648, the EAGLE Act) that will turn guest worker visas into permanent work permits, regardless of numerical limits on employer-based green cards.

All this effort to expand the labor pool when...

There is no labor shortage

Many business analysts contend that if labor remains scarce, wages will grow too rapidly and employers will continually pass on that increased expense to consumers. At least for now, evidence of such a spiral is sparse: Federal Reserve data shows that median annual pay increases are well within the range — 3 to 7 percent — that prevailed from the 1980s until the 2007-9 recession." - The New York Times, April 2022
Here are the facts, straight from the U.S. government: 'Among the 50 million employed college graduates ages 25 to 64 in 2019, 37% reported a bachelor's degree in science or engineering but only 14% worked in a STEM occupation,' according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2019 American Community Survey one-year estimates. 'This translates into less than a third (28%) of STEM-educated workers actually working in a STEM job.'

"I repeat again and again and again in the face of the America Last lies: There is no American tech worker shortage." - Michelle Malkin, March 2022
It is absolutely mind boggling that at this point, given what we know about the mood of the American people, two Republicans from red states would wave the flag of surrender to the open borders lobby." - Ryan Girdusky, writing about Senators Todd Young and John Cornyn entertaining the expansion provisions in the COMPETES Act.

Too many elites

Joel Kotkin takes a page out of Peter Turchin's book and worries about the "growing number of underemployed, overeducated people" competing with less-educated Americans in the gig economy. He calls them the "most dangerous class" because, having been denied the American dream of self-sufficient wealth building, many have lost faith in work itself, and will instead "seek their fortunes in the public coffers."

The immigration provisions in the COMPETES and EAGLE Acts are like laser-guided missiles aimed directly at the job prospects of college-educated STEM grads.

These changes would be immensely popular with Big Tech, but not with workers.

The Realignment

When Biden says "everyone" is on board with immigration expansion, he's leaving out a pretty significant group of Americans. Biden doesn't come close to getting the support for his chain migration expansion from any subgroup of African American voters.

Could that partly explain the Democratic Party's slide in support among working-class Black voters?

How about the reversal of support among working-class Hispanic voters?

"[T]his performance among working class voters should be unacceptable for a party of the left," writes Ruy Texiera, noting an 18-point drop in Democratic support among nonwhite working class voters. "After all, what is the point of a left party that cannot command the loyalty of the working class and therefore plausibly claim to represent its interests?"

Texiera, whose book The Emerging Democratic Majority has often been (mis)interpreted as proof that mass immigration will always benefit Democrats, urges the party to rebrand on immigration.

Conn Carroll offers a similar prescription from the Right:

Democrats have also become beholden to wealthy globalist elites who benefit from free trade and high immigration that hurts working-class wages. Until Democrats can get in touch with their own populist roots on trade and immigration, Republicans will only keep adding more working-class voters."

Overall, only 33 percent of Americans approve of President Biden's handling of immigration - his second lowest rating in any category. The Washington Post gives a specific example of failure (emphasis, mine):

Biden halted construction of the border wall, ended the "Remain in Mexico" policy and sharply scaled back deportations and arrests by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, among other measures. But he also said his administration would keep "guardrails" in place to avoid having "2 million people on our border."

"...The agency reported 1.73 million arrests during the 2021 fiscal year, the highest figure ever recorded. The current fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, is on pace to eclipse that with the exact scenario Biden said he wanted to avoid, bringing "2 million people" into CBP custody."

Matt Bennett, of Third Way, tells Thomas Edsall of The New York Times, "Members of Congress on the far left have taken a series of positions - like defunding the police, abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement, closing federal prisons, decriminalizing border crossings, etc. - that are politically toxic in swing districts."

Edsall concludes that "Democrats can't go on forever with this much of a gulf between what the majority of progressive party activists think the party should stand for and what the majority of Americans think it should."

Change may not come soon enough for the party. Outgoing Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Florida has earned an "F" from NumbersUSA during her time in Congress, but she tells Politico that she was considered too much of an immigration restrictionist within her own party. Rachel Bade reports:

For Murphy, it started like this: Some on the left accused her of being 'anti-immigrant' for backing the GOP-authored 'Kate's Law,' a proposal to increase penalties on people who are convicted of crimes, are deported and reenter the U.S. illegally. 'I believe in immigration and comprehensive immigration reform and the ability for people to immigrate to the United States in a legal way,' said Murphy. 'But I also believe in law and order, and ensuring that we hold people who commit crimes accountable.'"

In his column honoring Cesar Chavez and National Borders Day, Mark Krikorian laments the lack of any Democrat in Congress willing to hold the line on limits.

"The last holdout was Bernie Sanders," Krikorian writes, "who famously told Ezra Klein in 2015 that he was opposed to unlimited immigration: 'Open borders? No, that's a Koch brothers proposal.' But in order to run for president in 2020, he too had to switch sides."

There are 50 million Americans out of the labor force entirely, a gigantic pool of potential workers.

Cast down your buckets...

[Y]ou can't just just import people to paper over underlying social and economic challenges..." - Todd Knotts, The Herald-Dispatch, March 2022
If you take immigration restriction as an example, you know the idea that we probably shouldn't be essentially operating an open border and allowing unlimited low skilled, low wage labor into the country is, in part an argument about concern for worker power and the leverage that less skilled American workers are going to have in the labor market." - Oren Cass, Breaking Points, February 2022

So on immigration, Cotton said, that means replacing a system that prioritizes extended family ties with one that promotes immigration from the highly skilled, as well as instituting mandatory use of the E-Verify program, which forces employers to hire only those legally able to work in this country. Republican business interests have long resisted E-Verify; Cotton challenged them to instead 'invest more in American workers, pay them more and treat them better.'" - Henry Olsen, on Sen. Tom Cotton's address to the Reagan Library, The Washington Post, March 2022
Since 1990 Congress, placating the tech lobby, has given away millions of high-paying tech jobs through guest worker programs. The demand for foreign workers is unending. This February, the House passed — along party lines — the America Competes Act, expanding yet again foreign worker visas.

"With the surge in foreign workers, some employers tended to prefer immigrants who were willing to accept long hours and lower wages. Blacks were gypped in one industry after another where previously employed. They also missed out on entry level jobs in technology, losing the opportunity to develop those skills, networks and work experience that lead to upward mobility and generational wealth." - Jonette Christian, Sun Journal, March 2022

The leaders in Washington, D.C. approve of these policies. Their message to the American workforce is...

"Back of the Hiring Line"

T. Willard Fair praises Back of the Hiring Line in the Philadelphia Tribune, The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Newspaper Reflecting The African-American Experience.

"As my friend Roy Beck told me, economic history demonstrates that every time immigration levels have risen significantly, inequality has grown as well," Fair writes.

The reverse is also true....It simply means that if we want to create a fairer economy, we can no longer ignore immigration's unique contribution to racial inequality."

Fair offers this encouragement to those of us fighting for economically just immigration laws:

Don't listen to those who say we supporters of immigration reduction want to put an end to it or that we're "anti-immigrant." They're only trying to shut down the debate."

Joe Guzzardi says the book demonstrates how predictably harmful the last 40 years of mass immigration, including the current border surge, has been.

Jonette Christian says the book also offers examples of hope and success:

A new book, "Back of the Hiring Line" by Roy Beck, offers a meticulously documented perspective on this national puzzle. Along with employment data and immigration and labor historians, Beck tells the story through the writings and speeches of prominent Black leaders such as Booker T. Washington, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois, A. Phillip Randolph, and Black-owned newspapers, all of whom doggedly advocated for tight labor policies following the Civil War."

That's a roadmap for change.

JEREMY BECK is the V.P., Deputy Director for NumbersUSA

Updated: Fri, Jul 1st 2022 @ 9:31am EDT

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