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More Cheap Foreign Labor is the Focus of the U.S. Chamber’s New Advocacy Campaign

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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce – one of many nation’s largest and oldest enterprise lobbying teams – has begun an all-out push to extend authorized immigration and amnesty unlawful aliens. The Chamber has already spent $17.6 million on lobbying alone in 2021, after spending $81.9 million in 2020.

Billed as a complete define to handle the “labor shortage” triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chamber just lately unveiled its “America Works” plan on Capitol Hill. A key element of the Chamber’s plan is to double the variety of immigrant visas allotted in a given yr. The United States at the moment provides out about 1 million or extra immigrant visas yearly.

The plan’s 4 primary
elements embody (1) serving to Americans get the abilities they should fill
in the present day’s open jobs, (2) enhancing instructional and job coaching possibilities for
the roles of tomorrow, (3) eradicating limitations to getting into the workforce, and
lastly, increasing the workforce via immigration reform.  

The reality is that this: the Chamber
has been on the mistaken aspect of the immigration challenge for many years. Instead of
preventing for working-class Americans, they frequently push for increasingly
immigration – each unlawful and authorized – as a technique to drive down wages and preserve
the earnings of member corporations excessive. The Chamber is similar group that
lobbies for insurance policies which have utterly hollowed out the center class all for
the sake of elevating the nation’s gross home product (GDP), utterly
oblivious and detached to the consequences of their favourite coverage prescriptions,
equivalent to “free” commerce, immigration, and offshoring.

The immigration part of
the “America Works” initiative is solely extra of the identical: growing
immigration with a view to stall wage will increase for American employees. Below is a
listing of their coverage points, with FAIR’s evaluation and criticism.

Double the cap on employment-based
immigrant visas from 140,000/yr to 280,000/yr.

FAIR has lengthy supported transitioning to a merit-based system that prioritizes proficient immigrants with English proficiency, higher level levels, and distinctive skills. Unfortunately, the Chamber’s proposal is shortsighted. Rather than adjusting the proportion of employment-based immigration, they merely require growing the overall variety of visas total. In 2019, the final yr for which full information is accessible, the United States issued inexperienced playing cards to 1,031,765 individuals. Of these, solely 13.5 p.c have been employment based mostly. A full 68.eight p.c of all inexperienced playing cards went to people who merely had a relative dwelling within the United States – chain migration at work. Any will increase in employment-based visas should accompany vital reductions in visas distributed via chain migration.

Eliminate the observe
of counting spouses and minor youngsters under the annual inexperienced card quota,
which, if executed alone, would virtually double the quantity of employment-based
immigrant employees our nation admits yearly. 

This proposal is nonsensical and – due to critical conflicts with congressional intent – legally questionable. Fudging the maths to extend admissions for the aim of accelerating the variety of inexperienced card holders is a subversive technique to push via a coverage place that could be very unpopular with the American public and which Congress has not authorized. In a 2019 AP poll, solely 23 p.c of Americans suppose Congress ought to enhance the variety of annual inexperienced playing cards, whereas 34 p.c need immigration lowered and 41 p.c need it to stay at its present degree.

Eliminate the
Per-Country Caps that punish people from sure international locations with
arbitrarily longer wait occasions, and when executed together with increasing the
annual quota, will keep away from the creation of multiple new backlogs inside the
system. 

FAIR has lengthy opposed
eliminating per-country caps, which stop one or two international locations from
dominating immigrant visa allocation. In reality, even with the Chamber’s proposed
enhance, the backlog is so massive that nationals from India and China would
proceed dominating visa allocation if Congress eradicated the caps. Further,
chain migration legal guidelines at the moment in place, these beneficiaries would have the ability to
sponsor their relations from again house to immigrate to the United States, lowering
range by making certain that almost all future immigrants come from only one or
two international locations.

Provide global
college students who graduate from U.S. universities with extra possibilities to acquire
employment-based inexperienced playing cards upon commencement. 

Foreign college students attend
schools and universities within the United States on short-term, nonimmigrant F-1
visas. In 2019, the U.S. distributed over 1.eight million of those visas. No different
nation provides citizenship to overseas nationals just because they spent just a few
years attending college there.

Worse, the United States runs a weird program known as Optional Practical Training (OPT). The OPT program will not be licensed by Congress in any capability – it’s fully a creation of the manager department. OPT permits graduating school college students on F-1 visas to work for as much as two years within the United States with out acquiring a brand new visa. Employers that rent OPT employees do not pay any payroll taxes on them, that means that OPT graduates are sometimes significantly cheaper to rent than American graduates. When the OPT employees “age out” of this system, the employer merely hires a brand new OPT employee. This straight impacts American graduates who compete in opposition to these cheaper guestworkers for prized roles within the enterprise and STEM fields. College college students previously wrote to President Trump demanding that he finish the OPT and reform the H-1B packages, respectively.

Besides, there isn’t a must create new packages to “provide international students who graduate from U.S. universities with opportunities to obtain employment-based green cards upon graduation.” U.S. immigration legal guidelines and insurance policies already present these possibilities. Employers who’re inclined to sponsor latest overseas graduates are usually in a position to take action. However, resulting from packages such because the H-1B and OPT, there isn’t a incentive for an employer to do such a factor once they can rent guestworkers who price considerably lower than full-time Americans performing the identical jobs.

An Economic Policy Institute (EPI) study discovered that “over 60 percent of H-1B positions certified by the U.S. Department of Labor are assigned wage levels well below the local median wage for the occupation.” The report additionally discovered that companies equivalent to Amazon, Microsoft, Walmart, Google, Apple, and Facebook “take advantage of program rules in order to legally pay many of their H-1B workers below the local median wage for the jobs they fill.”

Enhance and develop the
possibilities for entrepreneurs to acquire everlasting residency to allow them to construct
their companies right here within the United States.

Once once more, a program already
exists for to perform this. Worse, the outcomes have been disastrous, riddled
with fraud, and defile the that means of American citizenship.

The EB-5 program supplies inexperienced playing cards to buyers who finance a enterprise that creates a minimum of 10 jobs. On paper this program sounds considerably affordable, however in observe it has been ripe for fraud and abuse. The program – meant initially to lure immigrant entrepreneurs to rural areas of the U.S. to spur financial progress – has as a substitute funneled cash and rich buyers to expansive metropolitan areas equivalent to New York City and San Francisco, what place many have began fraudulent enterprises that failed to rent anybody. Numerous lawsuits contend that this system is ripe with fraud, and buyers can pool their cash into “targeted employment areas” which officers gerrymandered in order that rich Chinese buyers can reside in New York City whereas supposedly investing in an “economically distressed” a part of the nation.

From a
political-philosophical angle, the prospect of merely receiving a inexperienced card
as a result of you possibly can afford to make a big business funding is an affront to
the American supreme of citizenship. U.S. citizenship is priceless, and must be
guarded, not commodified and bought.

Double the annual quota
on the issuance of H-1B visas for high-tech employees.

The H-1B program is probably
essentially the most abused guestworker program in our immigration system. Its supporters
will let you know that with out mass availability of this guestworker visa, the
United States would face STEM employee shortages and all types of different horrible
financial penalties. In actuality, the H-1B program permits companies to
substitute American employees with short-term overseas employees who’re inclined to work
for vital reductions.

Research from the Economic Policy Institute reveals that many H-1B employees earn considerably lower than American employees within the equal positions and related instructional backgrounds and experience ranges. Major American corporations – equivalent to Disney – are infamous for firing their American employees and demanding that they prepare their overseas replacements as a situation of their severance packages. The program can be hardly for STEM and the “best of the best.” In West Chester, PA, a pizza parlor employed kitchen employees under the H-1B visa. In Florida, the federal government licensed the appliance for a “Director of eSports” with a $21,260 annual ongoing wage.

The H-1B program wants
vital overhaul to guard American employees from unfair job competitors
and overseas employees from exploitation not an growth.

Double the annual quota
and instituting a everlasting returning employee exemption for H-2B seasonal
employment visas.

The H-2B program permits
employers to rent low-skilled short-term overseas employees in non-agricultural,
seasonal roles. There are some area of interest industries through which this program is
useful. Large fishing operations in Alaska, forestry corporations, and crab
homes in Maryland, for instance, depend on this program to match demand for his or her
merchandise regardless of their worksites being in low-populated areas.

But H-2B visa holders hardly ever
go to the businesses that want them. Instead, many H-2B visa holders find yourself
working for landscapers in Texas and Florida – jobs which can be hardly seasonal.
Landscaping, development, and custodial providers gobble up nearly all of the
capped H-2B visas, forcing out the small variety of corporations which will truly
want them.

Instead of increasing the H-2B
cap of 66,000, Congress ought to limit the industries that may entry this
guestworker program and cap the proportion of visas allotted to anyone
trade. Simply elevating the cap will end in the identical state of affairs we have now now.
True reform on this program – apart from ending it fully – means setting
proportion ceilings on high-use industries.

Worse, lots of the jobs
destroyed in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic got here from the restaurant and
enjoyment trade, which make use of many H-2B employees. Any job progress on this
sector should go to Americans first earlier than we even think about giving overseas
guestworkers the chance.

Create a brand new,
geographically focused visa program, alongside the traces of the Heartland Visa
proposal, that can drive financial and number living progress into American
communities scuffling with the intense financial and social issues attributable to
vital number living loss

This is one other proposal that
appears good on paper however will end in disastrous penalties. These proposals
work solely when immigrants who use them make the choice to remain within the locality, an
inconceivable requirement that just about by no means occurs. Most immigrants – each authorized
and unlawful –come to the United States for financial causes. This actuality
explains why most immigrant populations reside in only a handful of states, concentrated
in main metropolitan areas – it’s what place the roles are. How, for example, may
a Heartland Visa program stop recipients from leaving the economically
destitute space? Are they tied to the geographic area like serfs? Is this
actually what a 21st century immigration plan appears like?

Flooding a struggling
group with overseas labor won’t revitalize it by itself. Unless there
are current jobs and improved infrastructure, it could simply overwhelm restricted
group sources and public advantages, pressure American employees to compete with
new arrivals, and, consequently, sew social pressure between newcomers and
natives. Of course, the Chamber of Commerce seemingly doesn’t hassle with these
concerns on condition that their championed insurance policies – outsourcing,
union-busting, immigration growth, and “free” commerce – destroyed the financial
engine that drove many of those communities within the first place.

Protect Vulnerable Populations of
Critical Workers

This is nothing greater than a
fancy technique to say “enact a mass amnesty bill.” The Chamber’s request mirrors a
invoice handed by the House in March that will grant a pathway to citizenship to
roughly Three million unlawful aliens, typically referred to by mass-immigration
activists as “Dreamers,” who’re already within the nation. The invoice additionally supplies
a pathway to citizenship to a whole bunch of 1000’s of migrants under a deeply
flawed short-term aid program often known as Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Even
worse, it doesn’t comprise of any
immigration enforcement provisions to handle the present disaster on the border,
however reasonably, serves as one other pull-factor to encourage unlawful immigration into
the United States. But that’s what the Chamber desires – unlawful immigration to
by no means cease.

Eliminate Harmful Regulatory Policies

The Chamber
argues that some guidelines on the books “delay or hinder the power of corporations
to rent/proceed using overseas nationwide professionals” and that it is a “risk
to enterprise.” In actuality, these insurance policies exist to guard American employees from
changing into casualties within the enterprise foyer’s wrestle to drive down wages and
enhance earnings by hiring low-cost, overseas guestworkers. Without wage necessities
and different regulatory protections, unscrupulous employers would use H-1B, L-1,
and OPT guestworkers to interchange white-collar staff and use H-2B and J-1
guestworkers to interchange blue-collar staff. Rules that handle wage
necessities, dwelling circumstances, and certification procedures do their finest to
be sure that employers can not substitute an American workforce with low-cost overseas
labor. If something, extra guidelines have to be issued, not rescinded.

Conclusion

The U.S. Chamber of
Commerce’s “America Works” initiative is nothing greater than an try to
normalize mass immigration insurance policies under the guise of driving financial progress.
Even these claims require higher scrutiny. More immigration actually raises
the nation’s GDP, however that’s hardly the one measure of a wholesome and
profitable economic system. Immigration impacts native-born wages, employment,
education, and a complete host of different points.

The COVID-19 pandemic devastated
the U.S. economic system, and we’ll seemingly really feel the consequences of the recession for a
very long time. Although numbers are enhancing, tens of millions of Americans stay both
out of labor or considerably under-employed. As jobs start coming again now that
the nation opens up, it must be a purpose of the present administration and of
Congress to make sure that these jobs go to American residents. How can they do
that?

First, ignore the Chamber. The Chamber doesn’t have the pursuits of U.S. residents in thoughts, they solely care about ever-increasing earnings for his or her member corporations, irrespective of the social price. Second, reform our immigration system in order that American residents should not compelled to compete in opposition to low-cost overseas labor. And lastly, scale back total immigration and guestworker ranges with a view to spurn a tight labor market that raises the wages of American employees and encourages individuals to get again into the workforce.

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