A bicameral group of Republican lawmakers is asking the Trump Administration to reject its Buy American, Hire American - America First mantra and actively undermine the nearly 40 million Americans who are out of work due to the panic surrounding COVID-19. In two letters, the lawmakers demand that the President protect and ensure that millions of foreign visa workers will continue to flood the labor market this year, as unemployment soars past Great Depression levels.
GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C. @LindseyGrahamSC), John Cornyn (Texas. @JohnCornyn), Mike Crapo (Idaho. @MikeCrapo), Jim Risch (Idaho. @SenatorRisch), Mike Rounds (S.D. @SenatorRounds), Todd Young (Ind. @SenToddYoung), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska @lisamurkowski), Dan Sullivan (Alaska @SenDanSullivan) and James Lankford (Okla. @SenatorLankford) erroneously argue that issuing low-skilled temporary H-2A and H-2B visas to more foreign workers will help economic recovery.
However, the true intentions of the Senators, and their disregard for struggling blue-collar Americans closely follow in the letter, the Senators wrote:
“Some of these struggling small businesses rely on labor that many Americans may not be qualified or able to perform, even in the aftermath of the pandemic, and some of these businesses operate in industry sectors that are not experiencing high unemployment.
Earlier this year, the Department of Homeland Security announced plans to publish a new rule that would allow an additional 30,000 H-2B temporary, nonagricultural worker visas for the remainder of fiscal 2019. The plan was rightfully scrapped as employment numbers bottomed out at lows not seen since the Great Depression. At the time, Fox News host Tucker Carlson and Senator Tom Cotton (R. Ark.) tore into the idea and accurately called the move "bad news for hard-working Americans."
The Senators tried to cover the argument by using the mass immigration talking point that employers hiring workers using temporary visas must “establish the lack of American workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do the temporary work.” Needless to say, this is quite the stretch. There are requirements for these jobs to be posted to SeasonalJobs.dol.gov, and Americans may, but more likely may not, know these jobs are posted and available.
Nevertheless, this comes nowhere close to “establishing” a lack of American workers. Worst of all, it does not require an employer to even recruit from the pool of available domestic workers, nor does it hold an employer accountable who deliberately bypasses available domestic workers to hire a lower-wage foreign guest-worker.
A similar letter emerged from the House today as well, also selling out to corporations who support uncontrolled mass immigration and asking for the protection of the H-2B visa program this year, the same program that has proven to oppress wages, stagnate them, and create immense income inequality, something a nation currently struggling with near 23% U6 unemployment does not need. This letter was signed by:
- Andy Harris (R-MD, @RepAndyHarrisMD)
- Jack Bergman (R-MI, @RepJackBergman)
- Clay Higgins (R-LA, @RepClayHiggins)
- Bill Johnson (R-OH, @RepBillJohnson)
- David Joyce (R-OH, @RepDaveJoyce)
- Guy Rechenthaler (R-PA, @reschenthaler)
- Bill Huizenga (R-MI, @RepHuizenga)
- Ann Wagner (R-MO, @RepAnnWagner)
- Don Young (R-AK, @repdonyoung)
- Robert Latta (R-OH, @latta4congress)
- David Rouzer (R-NC, @RepDavidRouzer)
- Steve Stivers (R-OH, @RepSteveStivers)
- Dusty Johnson (R-SD, @RepDustyJohnson)
- Ralph Abraham (R-LA, @RepAbraham)
- Paul Mitchell (R-MI, @RepPaulMitchell)
- Peter King (R-NY, @RepPeteKing)
- Gregory Murphy (R-NC, @RepGregMurphy)
- Neal Dunn (R-Fl, @DrNealDunnFL2)
- Mark Mullin (R-OK, @RepMullin)
- Elise Stefanik (R-NY, @EliseStefanik)
- Dan Newhouse (R-WA, @RepNewhouse)
- Tim Walberg (R-MI, @RepWalberg)
- K. Michael Conway (R-TX, @ConawayTX11)
- Doug LaMalfa (R-CA, @RepLaMalfa)
- Roger Marshall (R-MD, @RogerMarshallMD)
- Rob Woodall (R-GA, @RepRobWoodall)
- Lloyd Smucker (R-PA, @RepSmucker)
- Robert Wittman (R-VA, @RobWittman)
- Bob Gibbs (R-OH, @RepBobGibbs)
- Chris Stewart (R-UT, @RepChrisStewart)
- Frank Lucas (R-OK, @FrankDLucas)
- Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH, @anthonygonzalez)
- John Moolenaar (R-MI, @RepMoolenaar)
- Lee Zeldin (R-NY, @RepLeeZeldin)
- Fred Upton (R-MI, @RepFredUpton)
- Mike Gallagher (R-MI, @RepGallagher)
- John Rutherford (R-FL, @RepRutherfordFL)
- Jaime Beutler (R-WA, @HerreraBeutler)
But this letter, also makes clear the true intentions of the Representatives listed, and sadly once again their total disreaged for American Workers. Rep. Andy Harris stated in the letter of Maryland, "H-2B workers do jobs that American workers simply don't do. The businesses certainly advertise for the jobs and pay more than minimum wage, but they simply can't attract the workers. To be honest, these are seasonal jobs, and the goal for American workers is to get full-time jobs." I don't think you need to be told how factually inaccurate this is, but hey, how lovely of Rep. Andy Harris to tell hurting and jobless Americans what "above minimum wage" paying jobs they are too good for.
The House letter states, "It is important that the H-2B program continue to be available to our seasonal employers as a fail-safe in the event that we see a rapid drop in unemployment and a return to the extremely tight labor markets of just a few months ago." Once again, this is simply untrue and purposefully misleading given the U6 unemployment rate of nearly 7% at the beginning of the year.
Eric Ruark, Director of Research for NumbersUSA, pointed out in his recent blog "Immigration Levels Were Hurting U.S. Workers Before COVID-19, Now What?" that there are currently 60.2 million 16-to-64-year-olds not in the labor force, a number much larger than the number of jobs lost due to the lockdown panic.
In addition, recent research from the Centers for Immigration Studies showed that “while workers of every education level have experienced significant job losses, the situation for workers without a college education is especially bleak.” To give a sense of where American workers are hardest hit, CIS listed some industries where less-educated Americans typically find work. 42.0% food preparers and servers, 21.5% janitors, 19.1% landscapers, 24.0% construction laborers, 8.7% medical technologists, technicians, and licensed practical nurses, 7.0% health care aides and nursing assistants, 8.9% butchers, and food processing workers.
Note that these are the same occupations that employers routinely fill with H-2B guest workers, and these employers are STILL lobbying to have the Trump Administration increase visa numbers while claiming there are no available domestic workers. Sadly, it appears these 47 Republican lawmakers have joined suit and turned their back on the American Worker in exchange for these corporate interests, again.
Finally, in an election year, one might find it wise to gauge the American public's feelings on the issue. Turns out "moderate swing voters" are just as disheartened by these new "business first" rather than "America First" initiatives coming out of the White House as some of the most staunch Republicans.
Fifty-nine percent of swing-voting “moderate” voters and 56 percent of non-GOP, non-Democrat “other” voters agree that it would be “Better for businesses to raise the pay and try harder to recruit non-working Americans even if it causes prices to rise,” the poll says. In contrast, just 27 percent of moderates and 20 percent of “others” told Rasmussen that it would be “Better for the government to bring in new foreign workers to help keep business costs and prices down.”
Simply put, President Trump must follow through on his promises to protect and extoll the American Worker, and in doing so, he must protect their fruitful employment from the disastrous consequences of uncontrolled mass immigration, at ALL levels of the economic spectrum. Following the lead of these lawmakers would be doing the opposite, the President must #ExpandTheBan!
Updated: Thu, Jun 11th 2020 @ 12:20pm EDT