Congress Launches New Assault on U.S. Workers
Nothing stops the push by Congress for more immigration — not 9/11, not the mortgage meltdown and Wall Street crisis, not dismal Bureau of Labor Statistics job reports and not COVID-19. Despite the fact that about 1 million new lawful permanent residents get work authorization each year, that about 750,000 guest workers arrive annually in a typical year and that dozens of types of nonimmigrant visas include employment permission, Congress is never satisfied.
Congress insists, predictably and tediously, that without more foreign-born labor, the economy will collapse and small businesses will vanish. These baseless claims, consistently proven false, are repeated year after year after year.
Example: In 2017, mostly at the horse racing industry’s behest, the Senate introduced the Save our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act, and the House introduced companion legislation, Strengthen Employment and Seasonal Opportunities Now Act. The bills, with bipartisan support, predicted that without more H-2B nonagricultural visas, horse racing, as fans know the “Sport of Kings,” might become extinct. But, four years later, the Kentucky Derby and smaller races at other nationwide tracks continue to draw large, revenue-generating crowds.
Example: Last year, U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Chair of the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship and immigration lawyer, introduced the Let Immigrants Kick Start Employment Act that would create a new temporary visa for founders of start-up ventures. In her press release, Lofgren said that more immigration leads to more American jobs, an often-made, but misleading claim. Although Lofgren’s bill went nowhere, Silicon Valley recorded record profits in 2021, and The New York Times predicted that titans Google, Apple, Microsoft and other tech giants will be rolling in dough for years to come. From its July 2021 story: “The combined stock market valuation of Apple, Alphabet, Nvidia, Tesla, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook increased by about 70 percent to more than $10 trillion. That is roughly the size of the entire U.S. stock market in 2002. Apple alone has enough cash in its coffers to give $600 to every person in the United States.”
The latest assault on American workers is an immigration train wreck coyly called the America COMPETES Act of 2022. Boiled down to the bill’s most harmful elements, the America COMPETES Act would:
1. Create a W nonimmigrant visa program for foreign investors of start-ups and entrepreneurs, their families and so-called but undefined essential foreign workers who work for them, also allowing their family members to receive work permits.
2. Create a one-year path to an unlimited number of Green Cards for any W visa holder who meets certain investment and ownership stake requirements.
3. Create an unlimited number of Green Cards for foreign citizens who hold a doctoral degree from a U.S. institution of higher learning or an equivalent degree from a foreign university.
4. Create a five-year program that creates 5,000 Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) yearly for Hong Kong residents, amounting to an additional 25,000 Green Cards over the five-year period.
5. Authorize an unlimited refugee/asylee program for certain Hong Kong residents.
6. Change existing law to treat Hong Kong as a separate state from China in determining per-country limits for existing Green Card categories.
7. Grant Temporary Protected Status with work permission for Hong Kong residents currently in the U.S., regardless of their existing immigration status which may include unlawfully present status.
Under the guise of promoting American innovation, the act’s hodgepodge of vague language makes almost anything possible. One thing is certain — the America COMPETES Act will massively increase legal immigration, flood the labor market, make job searches for Americans in all sectors more difficult, and have an adverse effect on recent U.S. college graduates hoping to begin their careers.
The America COMPETES Act intentionally harms U.S. citizens, but will be a bonanza for arriving foreign nationals, employers addicted to cheap labor and Silicon Valley multimillionaires. No greater gap exists between voters and Congress than on immigration policy. The thoroughly awful, destructive America COMPETES Act is one of the most powerful examples of why the immigration chasm is so wide.
A PFIR analyst, Joe Guzzardi writes about immigration issues and impacts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.