The AFL-CIO endorsed the Gang of 8's massive expansion of legal immigration in 2013, but the union's President Richard Trumka was pleased with Pres. Trump's message on immigration during his speech before a joint session of Congress.
"This was the first time the president has talked about legal immigration being used to drive down [domestic workers'] wages. We've been saying that for a long time," Trumka said.
Pres. Trump made the following comment during his primetime speech:
"Protecting our workers also means reforming our system of legal immigration. The current, outdated system depresses wages for our poorest workers, and puts great pressure on taxpayers."
NumbersUSA President and Founder Roy Beck said it was the first time in decades that a President spoke about legal immigration's impact on the wages of American workers.
I'm not sure that sentiment has been expressed by a President in the Capitol at any time over the last 90 years -- if ever. Oh, some Presidents have given a little bit of lip service at times to the fact that illegal immigration can be unfair to American workers. But this was ground-breaking to say legal immigration is a threat to workers.
While the AFL-CIO did support the mass amnesty bill passed by the Senate in 2013, it did oppose Congressional efforts in 2015 and 2016 to expand the H-2B guest worker program. The program provides 66,000 guest worker visas for temporary or seasonal jobs. Congress exempted returning workers from the previous three years from the annual cap for FY2016 potentially quadrupling the number of H-2B visas that could be issued, but the provision was not renewed for FY2017.
Trumka called Trump's speech a "mixed bag", but said he was pleased with the pro-American worker messages.
For more on this story, see the Washington Examiner.
Updated: Wed, Mar 15th 2017 @ 4:30pm EDT