Here's another entry in the contest to find out whether many politicians are just stupid or are cynically evil:
- THE CRISIS: The feds announced last week that our official unemployment rate has soared to 6.1%, the highest since September 2003.
- THE CARING RESPONSE IN WORDS: Anticipating and reacting to the economic uncertainty in so many households, both Presidential Nominating Conventions were full of promises to help the beleaguered American worker.
- THE ACTUAL STAB IN THE BACK: But this week, we get to see what ACTIONS the politicians plan for us. First out of the blocks, the Democratic Leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives is responding this week by trying to shove through a bill -- H.R. 5882 -- which would provide about 550,000 permanent green cards to foreign workers next year. And those would be ABOVE the 1 million permanent green cards already planned!
Folks, this is not just rhetoric. This is the House leadership trying to pass this bill to permanently give away hundreds of thousands more American jobs to foreign workers.
Unless you make a phone call before Wednesday, this legislation is almost guaranteed to pass because it is backed by the richest, most powerful corporate lobbying interests in town, by the House Democratic leadership and by a large number of corporate-lobby-inspired Republicans.
AMERICANS NEED JOBS -- NOT FOREIGN WORKERS
Let's take a quick look at the employment statistics that don't seem to matter to Members of Congress who are pushing H.R. 5882:
- The official unemployment rate soared 0.4 percentage point to 6.1%, the highest since September 2003. The unemployment rate was under 5% as recently as February. Remember that the unemployment rate only measures those who are looking for work and can't find it. Millions more have just stopped looking.
- 342,000 jobs were simply eliminated throughout the economy last month. And the number of people officially looking for work and unable to find it rose by 592,000.
- Manufacturing firms cut 61,000 jobs, the biggest drop since July 2003.
- Construction employment was down by 8,000.
- Service-sector employment fell 27,000.
- Business and professional services companies shed 53,000 jobs--the seventh drop in eight months.
- Retail trade cut 19,900 payrolls, the ninth-straight decline.
- Even temporary employment fell by 36,900.
With that kind of news, what kind of person would schedule a vote this week to offer an EXTRA 550,000 permanent green cards next year? Read on.
REP. ZOE LOFGREN IS THE ENEMY OF UNEMPLOYED WORKERSThere are so many Members of Congress who work primarily for the interests of the cheap-labor lobbyists, it is difficult to single out just one to be the face of all that is idiotic, cynical and callous about our immigration policies. But Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) gets to be that face this week. She is chair of the House immigration subcommittee. She long has served on that committee, doing the bidding of the corporations in her Silicon Valley District. But her decision to move H.R. 5882 through the Judiciary Committee is not just about getting more higher skilled foreign workers instead of hiring American tech workers. No, this time she's bringing in foreign workers to take nearly every kind of job in America. The only criteria really is that you have a couple of years experience in the type of job you would be taking from an American worker. These 550,000 extra greencards would be for engineers, health workers, construction workers, service workers, manufacturing workers -- well, they would go to foreign workers who do all the kinds of jobs that have been disappearing! If you -- or anybody you know -- works in any of these sectors, you had better act fast because Rep. Lofgren and her followers have every intention of giving away more of the declining number of jobs in your occupations. If there were any sanity or compassion for struggling American workers, Congress would not be considering increasing greencards but instead would be considering reducing the already high 1 million greencards a year to something more like the traditional average of just a quarter-million. Feel free to call Rep. Lofgren and express your opinion through the congressional switchboard at: 202-224-3121 You can also use that number to reach your own Representative and ask if he/she is aware of the insanity planned for the House Judiciary Committee this week. And be sure to check your Action Buffet corkboard for other actions you can take.
FALSE PRETENSES FOR PUSHING H.R. 5882
Rep. Lofgren and other pushers of H.R. 5882 think they have come up with a really clever way to get around the general public opposition to immigration increases.
Their gimmick is "Recapturing Unused Employer-Sponsored Visas."
You see, the law was changed in 1990 to triple the number of employer-sponsored permanent immigrants each year. The upper limit was set at 140,000. In fact, the feds have violated that limit several times since 1990 and given away more than 140,000 of these greencards. But in some years, they also have issued fewer than 140,000.
The cheap-labor lobbyists came up with the idea to "recapture" the greencards that weren't issued just in the years when the numbers fell below 140,000. First of all, the law is written so that "unused" visas in one category are figured into how greencards are given in another category the following year. By current law, there are NO "unused visas."
But there is an even more important matter here. The cap was set at the extremely high level of 140,000. But, still, there is a cap. There is not a floor. That is, the feds can decide in any given year that it would not be good for American workers to give out all 140,000 permanent work visas. And the cap is there to keep businesses from getting so many foreign workers in a single year that they traumatize a whole section of American workers. The cheap-labor lobbyists claim there are 550,000 greencards that weren't given out during certain of the last 18 years and that they should be given that many extra foreign workers next year.
Every Member of the House Judiciary Committee should be phoned and told that 592,000 additional Americans were thrown onto the official unemployment rolls last month (and that doesn't count the millions already unemployed), and that the 550,000 jobs that H.R. 5882 would give to foreign workers ought to go to the unemployed Americans.
And please don't let the congressional staff tell you that these foreign workers are needed because unemployed Americans are looking for different kinds of jobs.
These 550,000 greencards would go to virtually every kind of foreign worker. And virtually every kind American worker is losing jobs right now.
ROY BECK is the founder and CEO of NumbersUSA.
Updated: Wed, Oct 15th 2008 @ 1:02pm EDT