Mulvaney Wants More Immigration

Mulvaney Wants More Immigration

By Joe Guzzardi  

One Capitol Hill lead pipe certainty: every year Congress will try to pass legislation to import more overseas workers, and an equally strong push to grant an amnesty for the millions of unlawfully present aliens that will include lifetime valid work permits. Annual congressional attempts to pass immigration legislation that will expand the workforce, and greatly increase the nation’s population, are as certain as rain. The strategy, so far unsuccessful, is for a prominent Republican to endorse the proposed bill. With Republicans on board, the media can then label the legislation bipartisan, a helpful tool in selling the bill to unsuspecting, under-informed readers.

Mulvaney Wants More Immigration


See the roll call of prominent Republicans who have been all-in on the worst of bad immigration bills over the last 15 years: the 2005 McCain-Kennedy bill; the 2013 Gang of Eight bill that included Marco Rubio, Jeff Flake, Lindsey Graham and John McCain; the former Senate Judiciary Chair Orrin Hatch-championed I-Squared Act that would have increased by 110,000 the H-1B visa cap, and the 2019 Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Actthat would eliminate the per-country numerical cap for employment-based immigrants which Utah’s Mike Lee heartily backs. The Senate is indifferent to the cruel reality that endless numbers of H-1B visa holders have displaced, and continue to displace, U.S. tech workers since the enactment of the Immigration Act of 1990.

Invariably, the Republicans joined with the most pro-immigration Democrats to support the expansive immigration bills. The Democrats were in 2005, Ted Kennedy; in 2013, Richard Durbin, Chuck Schumer, Robert Menendez and Michael Bennet, and in 2019, Kamala Harris.

This year, the most prominent and loudest cheerleader for more immigration is former South Carolina U.S. representative and current Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. Before a private UK audience, Mulvaney said: “We are desperate – desperate – for more people. We are running out of people to fuel the economic growth that we’ve had in our nation over the last four years. We need more immigrants.”

Today’s specific amnesty agenda calls for the Senate, in a push that current Senate Judiciary Chair Graham is spearheading, to adopt an upper chamber version of Zoe Lofgren’s (D-Calif.) agriculture amnesty, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, a cheap labor, indentured servitude bill that would allow an estimated 1.5 million aliens access to Green Cards in exchange for their labor for a fixed period, between four to ten years.

The federal government has not given the slightest indication that it can properly manage any immigration bills, let alone a farm worker amnesty. In 1986, President Ronald Reagan’s Immigration Reform and Control Act included the Special Agricultural Workers (SAW) provision. SAW was a disaster, so bad that The New York Times wrote that it was “one of the most extensive immigration frauds ever perpetrated against the United States government.”

Mulvaney’s comment that the country is in dire need of more people is a complete lie. Ask commuters driving to work if the nation needs more people. More to the point on employment, despite the rosy reporting on jobs, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that millions of prime working-age people including minorities continue to be unemployed or under-employed. Nevertheless, every year more than 1 million legal immigrants get work permits, and about 750,000 guest workers receive employment-based visas. Then, there are the tens of thousands of workers who come unlawfully.

The unasked and therefore unanswered question in the Mulvaney mystery is whether President Trump encouraged his chief of staff to promote immigration. President Trump has made several references to his expansive immigration vision including his State of the Union bombshell that he wants the “highest [immigration] numbers ever.” For months, the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has been touting an immigration bill that would, among its other anti-American worker features, increase high-skilled labor or so-called “merit-based” immigration – a terrible outcome for U.S. tech workers that would flood the market with cheap labor.

If President Trump wins re-election, in his second term he’d be unencumbered by his campaign pledge to “hire American” that helped put him in the White House. Depending on whether President Trump decides to defend American workers or cave to demands from big business for low-cost labor, the next four years could signal an immigration apocalypse.


Joe Guzzardi is a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at jguzzardi@pfirdc.org

Mulvaney Wants More Immigration Mulvaney Wants More Immigration

Feds Finally Tackle Birth Tourism Criminals

Feds Finally Tackle Birth Tourism Criminals

By Joe Guzzardi

As the old saying goes, half a loaf is better than none. Today’s subject isn’t bread baking but rather the recent and long overdue Homeland Security Investigations’ action against 19 California-based Chinese nationals for birth tourism operations. HSI’s action followed up on its 2015 sweep that uncovered several illicit goings-on that included criminal offenses at maternity hotels that centered on women who paid as much as $80,000 for the privilege of giving birth to a U.S. citizen child.

Feds Finally Tackle Birth Tourism Criminals


 By violating immigration laws and committing other crimes involving conspiracy, visa fraud, income tax fraud and money laundering, the unscrupulous birth tourism proprietors raked in tens of millions of dollars over the years. One of the operators, Dongyuan Li, faced the seizure of her $2.1 million Irving, Calif., home, six luxury vehicles and more than $1 million from bank accounts, as well as many gold bars and coins. According to the ICE press release, Li “received $3 million in international wire transfers from China in just two years.”
 
According to the indictments, birth hotel owners advised their clients to lie on their visa applications, a crime, and to hide their pregnancies from airport Customs and Border Protection officials. The end game for the foreign-born mothers is to secure U.S. citizenship for their children through the current misinterpretation of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment.
 
Although no court has ruled on the 14th Amendment as it applies to U.S.-born children whose mothers are not American citizens, those children born on U.S. soil are granted automatic citizenship, a practice known as jus soli.Constitutionalists argue that since the foreign-born mother isn’t “under the jurisdiction thereof…” (the U.S. government), citizenship should be conferred only on children whose parents are citizens, known as jus sanguinis.
 
Birth tourism hurts Americans in multiple ways. Later in their lives, the newly minted citizens will have unfettered access to jobs, Social Security and other affirmative benefits. The birth tourism industry is big business. Estimates for the annual births related to the tourist scam range between 40,000 and 60,000 annually. Birth tourism spawns population-busting chain migration since the anchor babies, once they turn 21, can sponsor their parents for permanent residency. Then, in turn, the parents will eventually sponsor their non-nuclear family members. In 2016, the U.S. admitted more than 300,000 people through chain migration.
 
As welcome as the HSI action is, the best hope is that it will send a warning shot over the operators’ heads, and possibly deter other global foreign nationals from signing up for birth tourism packages. It would be more effective, however, if the State Department announced that it will no longer issue travel visas to obviously pregnant women. Then, pregnant women who ignore the State Department’s warning should be turned away at their port of entry.
 
Since this is the first federal intervention into the sleazy, criminal birth tourism businesses that’s been thriving for more than a decade, the question is what took so long. The query is especially significant because the preferred destination for many wealthy pregnant Russians is Florida Trump properties. Although the Trump Organization doesn’t profit from the subleased condominiums that the Russians rent at up to $85,000, it’s inconceivable that President Trump, who railed against chain migration, is unaware of birth tourism on his Florida property.
 
Joseph Macias, Special Agent in Charge of HSI Los Angeles, said that “America’s way of life is not for sale,” and promised to aggressively target “those who would make a mockery of our laws and our values to benefit and enrich themselves.” HSI has a long row to hoe. Dozens of birth tourism scams are still thriving, although perhaps less brazenly.
 
 
Joe Guzzardi is a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at jguzzardi@pfirdc.org.

Feds Finally Tackle Birth Tourism Criminals
 

Trump Vs Sanctuary State California

Trump Vs Sanctuary State California

By Joe Guzzardi 

In his State of the Union address, President Trump made clear his disgust with sanctuary state California. During the Trump administration’s first three years, the Department of Justice was unable to convert its multiple threats to California and other blatant sanctuary havens to withhold funding. In March 2018, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions traveled to Sacramento to address several hundred California law enforcement officers. Sessions defended the White House’s lawsuit against California’s sanctuary practices, and correctly noted that federal law is the nation’s “supreme law.” Former Gov. Jerry Brown quickly demonized Sessions, and accused him of waging war against California.

Trump Vs Sanctuary State California

The first round went to California as the state blatantly ignored warnings, and the feds failed to use its full power to force Brown and his equally contemptuous AG Xavier Becerra to comply. Under California’s permissive laws, the state – home to an estimated 2.5 million illegal aliens – protects illegal immigrants by limiting state and municipal cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

For the ensuing two years, California’s illegal sanctuary status continued. ICE only apprehended a fraction of the number of illegals in California versus the number arrested in Texas. For example, the Los Angeles ICE field office averaged only about 35 criminally charged arrests monthly compared to 300 per month for Dallas in non-sanctuary state Texas.

According to Pew, Los Angeles metro has twice as many illegal aliens as the Dallas metro area which means that Los Angeles ICE doesn’t arrest thousands of criminal aliens. Nationwide in 2018, ICE issued detainers for criminal aliens collectively responsible for 2,500 murders, nearly 30 percent of the nation’s 9,049 homicide arrests. More than 3 million aliens with criminal records currently live in the U.S.

Regardless of the feckless, hallow sanctuary defenses that brazen sanctuary advocates put forward, the aggregate statistics are shocking and indefensible. Earlier this month, Orange County (CA) Sheriff Don Barnes announced that 1,500 illegal aliens with detainers were released in 2019. Of those, 238 were re-arrested for committing new preventable crimes, including assault and battery, rape and robbery. The Immigration Reform website found that the recidivism rate among criminal aliens is 25 percent. Nevertheless, during the last three years, the number of sanctuary cities has doubled.

Individual victims’ stories are heartbreaking. As part of his SOU address, President Trump referenced Junior “Gustavo” Garcia-Ruiz, a repeat illegal alien offender with previous arrests for assault, robbery and drug offenses, who was charged with murdering Tulare County resident Rocky Jones. On December 18, 2018, at a local gas station, Garcia-Ruiz shot Jones in the face several times. Garcia-Ruiz was incarcerated just days before he murdered Jones, and he also committed multiple other crimes within a 24-hour period. Yet despite Garcia-Ruiz’s numerous prior arrests and earlier deportations, the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office ignored the ICE detainer. Later during the same month that he murdered Jones, Garcia-Ruiz died during a police chase.

After telling Jones’ story, President Trump urged Congress to pass legislation that would allow sanctuary city victims to sue government officials who violate federal immigration laws. North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis promptly introduced S. 2059, the Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act, that would give local officials immunity for assisting federal immigration officers and would also allow Americans to pursue legal action against sanctuary cities.

S. 2059 is all well and good. But legislation that empowers the federal government to swiftly act against sanctuary cities and their irresponsible leaders is already on the books. 8 USC 1324 states that a person who knowingly “conceals, harbors, or shields from detection” illegal aliens is punishable by up to ten years in prison.

The time to end mollycoddling the more than 564 sanctuary cities and ten sanctuary states is over. Not a single tangible reason exists to tolerate American taxpayers and citizens funding the costly, craven sanctuary city fallout with money and lives.


Joe Guzzardi is a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at jguzzardi@pfirdc.org.

Trump Vs Sanctuary State California

Unraveling California’s Quick Demise

Unraveling California’s Quick Demise

By Joe Guzzardi

Through incredibly good fortune, I’ve been unable to watch the tedious impeachment trial. I’m traveling and my destinations don’t have television. I can’t report having the same luck, however, with the daily immigration news. Bulletins pour into my email inbox, and since immigration has been my journalism beat for more than 30 years, I’m professionally obligated to keep current. The news is relentlessly dreary, and reflects how far from the rule of law California has drifted.

Unraveling California’s Quick Demise

In its story “This Immigration Lawyer Understands Her Clients; She’s Undocumented,” the Los Angeles Times was almost giddy over illegal alien Lizbeth Mateo and her representation before the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) of a fellow illegal alien. Let that sink in: an illegal alien lawyer defending an illegal alien in a U.S. Court. According to a former legacy Immigration and Naturalization employee, no one can serve as an attorney or be a member of the state bar if they are criminals – Mateo entered and reentered the United States illegally. Nor are they eligible to represent an alien before the EOIR since their immigration status conflicts with the laws at issue.

Instead of focusing its story on the absurdity and legal questionability of an illegal immigrant subject to immigration laws, including arrest and deportation, representing another illegal immigrant, the Times instead referred to Mateo as “polished, savvy” which may be true but is also incomplete. Mateo is certainly savvy. Several years ago, she and eight other activists, known collectively as the The Dream 9, traveled to Mexico, then demanded and received reentry permission so they could protest what they perceived as President Obama’s harsh immigration policy.

That California would be the epicenter of such an outrageous immigration failure surprises no one. In 2013, as it began its slide into the depths of incomprehensible catering and entitlement-dole-out to unlawfully present migrants, then-Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 1024, legislation that allowed illegal aliens who passed the California bar to receive law licenses.

During the same week, Brown also approved state-issued drivers licenses for aliens. A boastful Brown said, “While Washington waffles on immigration, California’s forging ahead, I’m not waiting.” One year later, Brown signed more expansive legislation that ordered the 40 licensing boards which the California Department of Consumer Affairs recognizes to, by 2016, accept applications regardless of immigration status. To replace the previously required Social Security number on all professional license applications, aliens could substitute the easily acquired federal Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.

Brown was correct, but not in the way he imagined, when he called Washington an immigration waffler. In the nearly seven years that have passed since Brown signed AB 1024, Congress has done little to end the privileges like driving, sanctuary city protection, and access to lower in-state university education fees that states and counties have awarded to illegal immigrants. As a California native and long-time immigration analyst, the question I’m most often asked is: What happened to the Golden State? In recent memory California was a conservative bastion under U.S. Sen. Richard Nixon, and Governors Ronald Reagan and Pete Wilson.

But then, as president, Reagan went rogue and signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. During the ensuing years, tens of thousands of legal and illegal immigrants arrived. The legal immigrants and their children who came of age in the late 1990s and early 2000s favor higher immigration levels, self-define as Democrats and vote accordingly. Among the illegal alien contingent that came to California, many have remained, and some have received amnesty and therefore voting rights. They too support immigration expansion.

Today in California, as the EOIR example proves, federal immigration laws are meaningless. If they’re willing to objectively study California’s immigration history, other states could learn an important lesson. Too much identity politics accelerates great states’ declines and fall. In about a half-century, California went from being America’s most coveted destination to today’s societal mess from which residents with options can’t flee fast enough.


Joe Guzzardi is a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at jguzzardi@pfirdc.org.

Unraveling California’s Quick Demise

H-2B Visas Hurt American Wages

H-2B Visas Hurt American Wages

By Joe Guzzardi

In what has become an annual display of businesses’ addiction to cheap labor, commerce leaders are lobbying the acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Chad Wolf, to increase the H-2B visa cap. The H-2B is a seasonal, temporary, nonagricultural visa with a current 66,000 cap, and is frequently used in landscaping, hospitality and construction industries – blue-collar jobs where wages have been stagnant for years. Last year, the cap was increased by 30,000 visas.

H-2B Visas Hurt American Wages



Adding foreign-born workers to an economy that President Trump touts as the greatest in America’s history would be counter-productive and hurtful to middle-class U.S. workers who are just starting to benefit from a tight labor market. A record-high 158.8 million Americans are currently employed.

The H-2B visa has a long history of being used by employers to pass over qualified Americans and, under the false labor shortage narrative, hire instead cheap, pliant foreign-born labor. A U.S. Government Accountability Office report confirmed that multiple employers in numerous states violated wage, housing and documentation standards among H-2B workers. And a Buzz Feed News exposé based on Labor Department statistics and titled “All You Americans Are Fired” found that “many businesses go to extraordinary lengths to skirt the law, deliberately denying jobs to American workers so they can hire foreign workers….”

Last week, the Congressional Budget Office reported that mass immigration, which the U.S. has experienced for decades, adversely affects the wages of Americans who compete directly with new immigrants for employment. Expansionists argue that immigration grows the economy, a half-truth. More people mean a bigger economy, but per capita income suffers. From the CBO: “And there are many new immigrant workers to compete with. Immigrants account for about half of all newcomers to the workforce each year.” The CBO concluded that wages are negatively affected in whatever category in which American workers must compete in a labor market artificially inflated by mass immigration.

The degree to which Americans have suffered because of a surfeit of immigrant labor is eye-opening. Census Bureau data from the first quarter of 2019 show that 5 million adult immigrants without a bachelor’s degree have been allowed to settle in the country just since 2010. As a result, wages have stagnated or declined for the less educated. Since 2000, the bottom quarter of earners saw just a 4.3 percent real-wage increase – equivalent to an annual raise of just 0.2 percent. An immigrant labor overage most adversely affects teenagers, U.S.-born blacks and other minorities.

Despite pleas from big business that H-2B visa hikes are necessary to offset an acute labor shortage, and even avoid bankruptcy, numerous nonpartisan studies find no evidence of scarcity. Among other respected bipartisan organizations, the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal, pro-immigration, Washington, D.C.-based research firm found “no evidence at all of labor shortages in the labor market.”

The H-2B visa has been so flawed for so long, and has been so harmful to American workers, that even hard-core pro-immigration Democratic senators have written to Wolf and Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia urging them to reject corporate crocodile tears about worker shortages. Calif. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Conn. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Ill. Senator Richard Durbin, all of whom throughout their long congressional careers have consistently voted in favor of more employment-based visas, joined their Republican colleagues Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley and Ark. Sen. Tom Cotton to object to increases in the existing 66,000 cap. In their letter to Wolf and Scalia, the senators asserted that the H-2B visa incentivizes employers to hire foreign nationals and pass over qualified Americans.

President Trump is the wild card in the equation. From time to time, the president has demonstrated an understanding about how excessive immigration hurts American workers. But President Trump’s recent comments about the need for more skilled immigration, talking points taken straight from the Chamber of Commerce’s playbook, have the pro-American labor lobby on edge. As is often said around Capitol Hill, when it comes to President Trump’s thinking, no one ever knows.


Joe Guzzardi is a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at jguzzardi@pfirdc.org.

H-2B Visas Hurt American Wages

Uber Wants Foreign Labor But Not For Drivers

Uber Wants Foreign Labor But Not For Drivers

By Joe Guzzardi

Uber, the multinational ride-hailing company that burst onto the scene in 2009, and made Yellow Cab passé, has, at least superficially, enjoyed a phenomenal success record. Only a little more than a decade after its formation, Uber operates in more than 60 countries, 785 municipal centers and has an estimated 110 million worldwide users.

Uber Wants Foreign Labor But Not For Drivers


 
The San Francisco-based Uber also, like its Silicon Valley neighbors Facebook, Apple, eBay, Google and Yahoo, among others, has displaced its U.S. software engineers with H-1B visa holders. Like its corporate partners-in-crime, Uber denies the charges that it laid off Americans in favor of employing foreign nationals.
 
But in its investigative journalism storyThe Mercury News reported that Uber’s Sept. 10 filing with California’s employment regulator showed that in August it had laid off 88 workers from its San Francisco offices, and in October would lay off 320 more in its San Francisco and Palo Alto offices. Most were senior software engineers.
 
During 2019’s first three quarters, Uber filed about 1,800 preliminary applications with the Labor Department for H-1B visas for new software engineer jobs and about 1,500 for new senior software engineer jobs, proof that the company hopes to hire visa holders to replace the outgoing U.S. tech workers.
 
More evidence that money motivates the cheap labor-addicted Uber: its applications put nearly half the senior software engineer positions at the Labor Department’s Level 2 wages, the same level it listed for more than half of the non-senior jobs: a minimum of $109,242 for employment in Palo Alto and $121,077 in San Francisco.
 
But Ron Hira, a Howard University associate professor and H-1B expert, told The Mercury News that the Labor Department says that any software engineer’s job description that includes “senior” in its title should command a Level 3 wage, $132,184 in Palo Alto, and $147,597 in San Francisco.
 
Uber is just one more craven employer to terminate qualified Americans and replace them with pliant foreign workers. For example, in 2015, Toys “R” Usand Disney laid off their most experienced employees and, after forcing the outgoing Americans to train their less qualified replacements, filled the jobs with H-1Bs visa holders. Before and after 2015, the pattern of Americans out, visa holders in has been well established.
 
In its November 2019 report, Challenger Gray & Christmas, Inc., a global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm, stated that the tech sector announced 7,292 cuts in November. Furthermore, through November, tech companies estimated that they would reduce their payrolls by an additional 63,447 jobs. Tech’s annual job slashing total is 380 percent higher than the 13,222 cuts it announced during the same period in 2018 – 380 percent higher!
 
With H-1B visa abuse finally on Americans’ radar, President Trump is on the spot to deliver on the grandiose campaign promises he made to get tough. From candidate Trump’s March 2016 press release: “I will end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program, and institute an absolute requirement to hire American workers first for every visa and immigration program. No exceptions.”
 
Author, lawyer and long-time H-1B critic John Miano put together a list of seven steps that the president could take that include working with Congress to write legislation that would prevent foreign nationals from displacing Americans. But President Trump’s early promises have proven empty; he’s done little to alleviate the scandalous displacement of U.S. tech workers.
 
The H-1B visa benefits only the foreign nationals who come to the U.S. to take good jobs and the employers that hire them. The big losers are displaced Americans who will struggle to find new jobs. Also, on the stick’s short end are recent university STEM graduates who will be shut out because of employers’ cheap labor addictions. Congress and President Trump have, so far, refused to protect Americans.
 
 
Joe Guzzardi is a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at jguzzardi@pfirdc.org.

Uber Wants Foreign Labor But Not For Drivers

Most Want Immigration Slowed, Stopped

Most Want Immigration Slowed, Stopped

By Joe Guzzardi

A year-end Associated Press poll showed that the two top 2019 stories were, first, the House of Representatives’ vote to impeach President Trump and, second, the president’s immigration agenda. The media and the president’s critics refer to Trump’s immigration views as hardline when in fact they reflect his desire to enforce the laws as written and congressionally approved decades ago.

Incumbent Trump versus whichever pro-immigration Democrat survives the endless debate cycle sets up an interesting showdown. Another late December poll, this one taken by Rasmussen, found that Americans are becoming more aware of immigration’s effect on the qualify of life, and understandably so. The nation cannot add more than 1 million new immigrants year after year, as has been the long- standing practice, without societal consequences. Until the Immigration Act of 1965, immigration averaged 250,000 annually.

Included in Rasmussen’s findings: 47 percent of likely voters polled want to slow immigration-driven population growth, and 14 percent want no immigration-related growth. Further, 68 percent believe the federal government should limit legal immigration to no more than 1 million annually – a total it currently exceeds – and 36 percent want no more than 500,000 admitted each year. With regard to population-busting family reunification, also referred to as chain migration, 59 percent of voters think legal immigrants should only be allowed to bring their spouse and minor children with them, while 32 percent favor maintaining the current practice that allows them to eventually bring in other adult relatives, including extended family and their spouse’s families.

Americans have shown a growing concern about immigration-related quality-of-life issues. Once more or less limited to border states like California, Texas and Arizona, immigration has now added population to every state, with dire effects on housing and the environment. The impacts are visible in more and more sprawl, overcrowding and traffic congestion.

Consider Virginia, for example. Virginia’s three fast-growing counties – Fairfax, Arlington and Prince William, all located adjacent to Washington, D.C. – reflect immigration’s consequences on population growth. Since 1990, hundreds of thousands of Hispanics and Asians have moved into the area, and today account for 32 percent of the 1.8 million aggregate residents in the counties. This is triple their 1990 level. During Northern Virginia’s local elections in 2018, some candidates, in response to constituents’ concerns, considered imposing population limits in various affected regions.

The Census Bureau – the ultimate nonpartisan source – projects that if the immigration status quo remains unchanged, future net immigration, the difference between the number coming and number leaving, will total 46 million by 2060, and the total U.S. population will reach 404 million, up from today’s 330 million. Census Bureau data projects that immigration will account for 95 percent of population growth between 2017-2060. Readers can do their own informal poll by asking their friends and neighbors how they feel about adding 75 million more people in the coming decades. The likely result is that most would be overwhelmingly opposed.

Yet, the federal government continues on its current path, apparently unconcerned about the nation’s future or cowed by likely xenophobia charges or a combination of both. But ignorance and cowardice are not leadership qualities. Two years ago, senators Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) introduced the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy Act (the RAISE Act) that would, over a ten-year period, reduce immigration by 50 percent. The bill had only two cosponsors. Reintroduced in 2019, along with Sen. Josh Hawley’s (R-Mo.) endorsement, the proposed legislation has only the original three signatories, plus Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.). In short, Congress is making little if any effort to comply with American voters’ wishes for less immigration.

In U.S. politics, nowhere is the divide greater between voters and elitist Congress than on immigration.


Joe Guzzardi is a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at jguzzardi@pfirdc.org.

Most Want Immigration Slowed, Stopped
Most Want Immigration Slowed, Stopped

9 Million Overstay Visas

9 Million Overstay Visas

By Joe Guzzardi

9 Million Overstay Visas

The Migration Policy Institute, which describes itself as a nonpartisan think tank that seeks “to improve immigration” through its research and analysis, recently published a report stating that in FY 2018 the State Department issued 9 million temporary visas to nonimmigrants. Although the 2018 total represents a 7 percent decline from FY 2017, 9 million is still a staggering number, the rough equivalent of New Jersey’s population.
 
MPI blames the visa issuance’s decline on President Trump’s more restrictive immigration policies and his “harsh rhetoric” that conveys the impression that the U.S. has become a “less welcoming place.” Be that as it may, the huge 9 million number indicates that the U.S. is generous, not restrictive, in its approach to foreign workers and visitors. Moreover, MPI didn’t outline the benefits to American citizens of fewer temporary workers and students on visas.
 
Employment visas – which give foreign nationals the right to legally work in the U.S. – include the H-1B for skilled employees, the H-2A for seasonal agricultural workers, the H-2B and the H-2R  for seasonal nonagricultural workers, the O-1 and O-2 for workers with allegedly extraordinary ability or achievements, the P-1 for athletes and artists, the L-1 for intracompany transferrers, the E visa for investors and, finally, the TN visa for Canadian and Mexican professionals, as well as their spouses and minor children. Critics have long insisted that many of the visas are unnecessary, and hurt Americans.
 
For example, H-2B visas, limited to 66,000 annually, are granted to overseas workers who, among other positions, take landscaping, lifeguard and hospitality jobs – jobs Americans would eagerly do.
 
Temporary worker visa issuance has been on a dramatically upward trend since 2014. The number increased from 732,000 in FY 2014 to 911,000 in 2017 and to 925,000 in 2018. Basically, the presence of employment-based visa holders means that for Americans job competition is more intense, and citizens who hold jobs may find their employment status at risk from foreign, often cheaper workers.
 
For U.S. citizen students, especially those who hope to matriculate at their local state universities, the 27 percent decline from an estimated 1 million student visas in FY 2015 to 781,000 in FY 2018 means less international competition. Since overseas students pay higher tuition, college admissions offices prefer them to U.S. students who pay lower instate fees. The top international student sending nations are China, India, South Korea, Brazil and Germany which represent 39 percent of all student visas issued in FY 2018.
 
But the most troubling aspect of the huge inflow of foreign temporary visitors is that an estimated 40 percent of illegal aliens entered the U.S. legally on visas, but overstayed and thus became illegally present. Temporary eventually becomes permanent. Most overstays find white-collar jobs. In 2017, the Department of Homeland Security reported that during a recent 12-month period, nearly 740,000 foreign nationals didn’t return home in accordance with their visas’ terms. Their illegal presence is one of the major contributors to illegal immigration. Analysts have found that in each of the last seven years, visa overstays have exceeded illegal crossings.
 
The sad truth is that the federal government isn’t looking for overstays, and if it did look would have no idea where to start its search. But if Costco can immediately locate every brick of cheese in its 762 worldwide stores, then the federal government should be able to track down foreign visa overstays. A program exists that would help reach that goal – a biometric entry/exit system – but Congress has been indifferent to implementing it.
 
Fewer visas is good news for prospective U.S. college students and American workers. The fewer visas that are issued also means that the illegal alien population as well as the population in general will not continue to swell with overstayers.
 
Immigration advocates always push for more visas, so fewer is a refreshing change of pace that results in tangible advantages for many American workers and students.
 
 
Joe Guzzardi is a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at jguzzardi@pfirdc.org

9 Million Overstay Visas

Ag Amnesty Again Passes House

Ag Amnesty Again Passes House

By Joe Guzzardi

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2019 (HR 5038), a massive amnesty that the bill’s title tries to disguise. The final vote, mostly along party lines, was 260-165.

By giving the legislation a sympathetic but totally misleading name, its Open Borders signatories hope that the public will get behind it, and encourage the Senate to pass it. The House dares not identify HR 5038 as what it is: an amnesty that includes lifetime valid work permits, Green Cards and a path to citizenship for up to 1.5 million illegal aliens who have been employed – or claim they’ve been employed – in ag at least part-time during the last two years. Amnesty would also be granted to their family members.

Illegal alien ag workers who spent as little as weekends-only on the job would qualify. But a big caveat, the Green Cards won’t come until the workers have been subjected to a minimum of four years of slave-like labor. Growers know that once their laborers have Green Cards in hand, the workers will leave their indentured servitude positions to head off for better jobs in construction, manufacturing or retail. History confirms this pattern. The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act granted amnesty to about 1.1 million so-called Special Agricultural Workers, or SAWS, plus their spouses and minor children. But once the government issued the Green Cards, the ag workers quickly found more lucrative employment.

HR 5038 extends its damage beyond the ag industry. The bill’s sponsors kept the numerically unlimited H-2A category for seasonal work. But, HR 5038 expanded the H-2A guest worker program to include dairy, meat and fish processing, and canning employment, and would also set aside 20,000 H-2A visas each year that could be used for year-round agricultural jobs traditionally held by American workers.

The bill would also create 40,000 additional Green Cards each year for longtime H-2A workers and other low-skilled foreign workers. If HR 5038 becomes law, it would virtually ensure that Americans employed or seeking employment in several industries would be shut out or possibly lose the jobs they already hold. Passed without debate, the legislators didn’t acknowledge the inconvenient truth that legal immigrants or U.S. citizens hold about 50 percent of agriculture or agriculturally related positions.

HR 5038 offers not a modicum of modernization. The House bill, bowing to the powerful ag lobby made up of mostly former federal employees, spends more than $100 million annually to guarantee that growers will have continued access to unproductive, low-wage immigrant labor. True modernization means mechanization. Unlike humans, robots can operate 24/7 and have been successfully put to use worldwide. Machines manufactured in Australia, Holland and Japan harvest radishes, brussels sprouts, kale and other crops at, compared to manual picking, lightening-like speed.

Once employers become foreign worker-dependent, they stop looking for practical alternatives like mechanization. Employers count on immigrant workers’ continuous presence in their future plans instead of taking full advantage of the no-cap H-2A visa. At the same time, foreign workers come to depend on their meager earnings to support their families, thereby vastly increasing the likelihood that the “guests” will become permanent fixtures. As the old and often-repeated immigration bromide goes, nothing is more permanent than a guest worker.

Congress has introduced an ag amnesty bill every year for more than a decade. Anti-American worker Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), who during her 25-year congressional career has an unbroken record of endorsing more worker visas, is the original sponsor of HR 5038. But if Congress really wanted to help farm workers instead of their hooked-on-cheap-labor employers, it would slow, instead of promote, more guest programs that will eventually include amnesty.

Joe Guzzardi is a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at jguzzardi@pfirdc.org.

Ag Amnesty Again Passes House
Ag Amnesty Again Passes House

Fortune Magazine Ignored OPT Flaws

Fortune Magazine Ignored OPT Flaws

By Joe Guzzardi

Michael Goodwin, a New York Post columnist who began his journalism career at The New York Times, last month wrote a two-part commentary that chronicled the long, steady erosion of reporting integrity. Although Goodwin focused on the Times, his observations that bias has become common in the mainstream media easily applies to many publications. Editors who could once be counted on to, as Goodwin wrote, veer copy toward the middle, gradually became as much of a problem as the reporters whose work they review.

Nowhere is journalism bias more blatantly on display than in immigration stories. Even though polling shows that at least half of all Americans want less immigration, most stories tell only the expansion side, and in the process leave their readers under-informed.

Case in point: Fortune Magazine, the respected, 90-year-old business publication, recently did a story about one of most controversial programs that’s hurtful to U.S. tech workers, the Optional Practical Training program. In brief, OPT allows international students on F-1 visas to remain in the U.S. and work for at least a year, and longer if they have earned degrees in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM).

Although there are multiple reasonable arguments that can be made in opposition to OPT, none of them appeared in reporter Nicole Goodkind’s article. Among OPT’s flaws that Goodkind omitted are that OPT is not congressionally approved, yet it has ballooned into the nation’s largest guest worker program.

OPT is a voracious American job killer. Department of Homeland Securitydata shows that, since 2015 and through May 2017, nearly 500,000 students received OPT, and another 150,000 have STEM extensions. That’s 650,000 good jobs being held now by foreign nationals versus qualified American workers. There’s a powerful incentive for tech companies to hire OPT foreign workers. A 15 percent discount has allowed multinational corporations to evade at least $20 billion to $30 billion in FICA taxes over the years. The OPT worker doesn’t pay FICA either, and therefore doesn’t contribute to Social Security or Medicare.

In her 1,200-word article, Goodkind glowingly cited five pro-OPT sources, including major corporations, that profit from the program. Among them are Google and immigration advocacy groups like the Mark Zuckerberg-founded FWD.us. Goodkind wrote that an amicus brief FWD.us filed supporting OPT read like: “a who’s who of Silicon Valley. Tech giants like GoogleAppleAmazon, Facebook, Airbnb, Bloomberg, IntelMicrosoft, Tesla, Twitter, Uber, and Zillow….”

Yet Goodkind quoted only one critic, John Miano, a lawyer and expert on the effect of foreign labor on technology workers. Miano has worked on behalf of workers and pro-American worker organizations and for more than a decade has challenged OPT in federal court. Goodkind assassinated Miano’s character and that of his associates. Goodkind quoted Miano after she had inaccurately and wrongly marginalized him.

Miano told me, however, that if Goodkind had done the due diligence once considered honest journalism’s bedrock instead of lazily relying on FWD.usshe would have seen that the money trail explains everything. “The tech industry spends tens of millions of dollars each month lobbying for more foreign labor and to preserve their ability to replace working American with that foreign labor,” said Miano.

Fortune once was a highly respected magazine that would never have allowed slanted copy like Goodkind’s to get past the first editorial layer, let alone get published. By passing over OPT’s damaging effects on American workers, Goodkind abandoned the principals that journalists themselves established years ago. The 110-year-old Society for Professional Journalists’ ethics code warns reporters to “avoid advocacy,” advice which Goodkind ignored. As former Washington Post ombudsman E.R. Shipp wrote in her column “In Pursuit of Fairness,” no story is fair if it omits facts of major importance and significance. Goodkind disregarded that basic, most obvious rule.

Reporters like Goodkind need to remember that the full story – he said, she said – is always more compelling than a cheerleading story that quickly becomes tedious.

Joe Guzzardi is a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at jguzzardi@pfirdc.org.

Fortune Magazine Ignored OPT Flaws
Fortune Magazine Ignored OPT Flaws