President George W. Bush’s presidential center and other business groups are denouncing a pending regulation by President Donald Trump that would open tens of thousands of U.S. jobs to young American graduates.
Trump’s reform will hurt “employers that have benefited … for the last few years,” complained Laura Collins, the director of the economic growth program at the George W. Bush Presidential Center.
Trump’s pending regulation reportedly would end the policy of giving bonus work permits to wives of foreign workers who have H-1B visas, and would, therefore, shift jobs and salaries from foreign temporary workers to American graduates.
The H-1B program allows foreign visa-workers — but not spouses — to take middle-class jobs from Americans. But the H-1B salaries are very low, so the bonus program allows the spouses to supplement the family income. The extra income encourages the lower wage H-1B workers to stay in the United States instead of returning home after several years.
Roughly 100,000 bonus work permits have been issued via the program, which is dubbed the “H4EAD” program.
This bonus program was created by former President Barack Obama — without any approval by Congress — because many H-1B workers from India are leaving the United States. The Indians are leaving because they know they have to work and wait many years to get the real payoff for their low-wage H-1B work — a green card which would allow them and their extended families to move to the United States.
But each Indian H-1B who leaves opens up a middle-class job for an American graduate, marking another success for Trump’s Inauguration Day promise of “Hire American.”
Trump’s Hire American promise, however, is a financial problem for companies because Americans must be paid in dollars, not with government-supplied green cards.
Obama’s bonus program should be preserved because the extra labor helps companies and because it expands the economy, said Collins, director of the economic growth program at the Bush center.”If we remove their work authorization, we will only hurt them,” she said on February 22, adding: “We will also hurt the economy and the employers that have benefited from their work and skills for the last few years”:
— George W. Bush Presidential Center (@TheBushCenter) February 22, 2019
Collins’ statement emphasized growth in the economy, not growth in wages or living standards or even growth in Americans’ productivity.
Her emphasis on national “economic growth” echoes the pro-migration pitch investors made to legislators. In general, economic growth via immigration creates more jobs, more business sales, higher real estate values, more stock value for Wall Street, and some additional taxes to government coffers. But that process also ensures that many working-class and middle-class Americans lose jobs and wages to cheap imported workers.
“At the Bush Institute, we believe immigration is important to a growing economy,” Collins said, adding, “We really need to promote policies on immigration that help meet the needs of our vibrant, growing, 21st Century economy. … These [work permit recipients] are investing in their communities, helping their families and really helping grow our economy.”
In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed an immigration deal that roughly tripled the legal immigration rate, shifted wealth from wage earners to investors, and spiked stock market values. In 2006 and 2007, President George W. Bush pushed for a massive amnesty and expansion of immigration. In 2013 and 2014, George W. Bush also endorsed Obama’s “Gang of Eight” legislation, which also shifted future income from employees to investors, according to a 2013 report by the Congressional Budget Office. In 2016, Jeb Bush campaigned against Trump on a platform calling for more immigration to spur economic growth.
Unsurprisingly, Trump won the 2016 election with a promise to aid Americans by reforming the migration and visa-worker programs.
Trump’s pro-American reform is also being denounced by FWD.us, a pro-migration group created by West Coast technology investors, including Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates:
100,000 H-4 visa holders are at very serious risk as the Trump administration continues to do everything it can to strip away their work authorization. https://t.co/edtALIXJQO
— Todd Schulte (@TheToddSchulte) February 22, 2019
Most establishment media outlets ignore the Americans who lose jobs and salaries to the visa-worker programs, and, instead, champion the foreign visa workers, often by incorrectly touting them as “immigrants.” The articles often focus on the unemployed college graduate spouses of the visa workers, while ignoring the many lower-status spouses who do not have college degrees but are hired and trained by Indian-run firms in the United States for basic work in the United States:
They’re spouses of high-skilled immigrants already approved for green cards, but stuck in a yearslong wait.
The Trump administration just moved to revoke their ability to get work permits while they wait: https://t.co/wKfCD6lrBr
— Tal Kopan (@TalKopan) February 21, 2019
Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies, applauded Trump’s proposal reform. According to him, the bonus work permits are another subsidy for business because “the whole point is that it makes it more attractive to be an H-1B because your wife can work too.” He added:
It makes it more likely that people will accept the lower wage and indenture of the [H-1B] visa program because not only will they be allowed to apply for green cards, they can have their spouse with them working. It gives them a head start on being an immigrant and it completely puts the lie to the claim that [H-1B] is a temporary worker program.
The bonus work permit also helps Indian companies recruit more Indians to take the low-wage H-B jobs, he said. “It expands the pool of people who may be interested in applying for an H-1B visa. It would well be that a guy who is married would not be able to accept a job on an H-1B visa [because of low wages]. This way, the universe of people the companies can hire for it is bigger.”
Nationwide, many CEOs and investors are using government visa programs to keep a population of at least 1.5 million low-wage foreign workers in U.S. college graduate jobs.
The H-1B program is the largest of those programs and is displacing at least 650,000 Americans from college graduate jobs in software, banking, design, health care, accounting, fashion, media, pharmacies, and many other careers.
The H-1B population includes at least 500,000 Indian workers, including at least 300,000 who are in a line waiting for green cards. Most of the H4EAD bonus work permits are given to the Indian couples in the green card waiting line.
The cheap imported workers are a huge boon to investors, who gain roughly $15 million in stock value whenever U.S. payrolls are cut by $1 million.
In Trump’s go-go economy, investors and lobby groups are pressuring the president to drop his Hire American policy by raising the inflow of foreign workers:
Jared Kushner has invited biz groups & fronts to hash out a cheap-labor immigration plan for Trump to approve. But there is no evidence that Trump's 2016 MAGA voters will cheer & vote for a Jeb! 2020 plan which cuts their wages & raises their housing costs https://t.co/NAZgjDG0Y5
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) February 21, 2019
The federal policy of using legal and illegal migration to boost economic growth shifts enormous wealth from young employees towards older investors by flooding the market with cheap white-collar and blue-collar foreign labor.
That annual inflow of roughly one million legal immigrants — as well as the population of two million visa workers and eight million working illegal immigrants — spikes profits and Wall Street values by shrinking salaries for 150 million blue-collar and white-collar employees, especially the wages earned by the four million young Americans who join the labor force each year.
The federal government’s cheap labor policy widens wealth gaps, reduces high tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, hurts kids’ schools and college education, pushes Americans away from high-tech careers, and sidelines millions of marginalized Americans, including many who are now struggling with fentanyl addictions.
Immigration also steers investment and wealth away from towns in Heartland states because coastal investors can more easily hire and supervise the large immigrant populations who prefer to live in coastal cities. In turn, that coastal investment flow drives up coastal real estate prices and pushes poor Americans, including Latinos and blacks, out of prosperous cities such as Berkeley and Oakland.