The Abuse of H-2B Visa Program Continues
By Frank Spotorno with Dan Murphy
How would you like it if one day, when you go to work, your boss says, this person will be sitting next to you for two weeks, and after that, he or she will be taking your job? That has happened at Disney World and many other corporate headquarters, call centers and IT centers across this country. It is an outrage and should be met with boycotts and protests.
But we allow it all to happen, as we watch our fellow Americans lose their jobs to workers brought in under the H-2B visa program, which allows American businesses to bring in and hire low-skilled foreign workers. The argument for this is to have immigrant workers come in and perform the work that Americans no longer want to do.
They like to refer to seasonal jobs, landscaping jobs, and jobs in the seafood industry, for these H-2B workers. But H-2B workers are taking other jobs that Americans do want. And now we hear that Congress is moving forward with a plan to expand the H-2B visa plan to allow more than the current limit of 66,000 foreign workers to come here and work here. Under a new plan, American corporations would be able to bring in 132,000 foreign workers per year, and in some parts of the country, as many as they require.
This is an argument that I have had with my republican friends for many years. I do not agree with Paul Ryan and the Corporate business lobby on this issue. H-2B visas are good for corporate America but not good for the middle class, blue collar American worker. Right now, there are roughly 1.5 million foreign workers in U.S. college-graduate jobs, plus another 300,000 blue-collar or manual labor jobs. And while unemployment is at an all time low, there are still five million Americans that aren’t working that want a job and another 500,000 that are discouraged at the prospects of getting a good job. ‘
The other reason why I oppose massive H-2B Visa’s is that it keeps wages down for blue collar Americans because they are forced to compete with foreign workers coming in legally with H-2B Visas.
A new report by the blue chip Conference Board found, “We expect labor markets to continue to tighten in the coming years, which will only apply more wage and price pressures across the economy. Industries that employ large shares of blue-collar workers, such as agriculture, mining, utilities, construction, manufacturing, transportation, accommodation and food services, repair, maintenance, and personal care services, are strongly affected. As baby boomers continue to retire, the number of people without a bachelor’s degree in the working-age population is projected to rapidly shrink through 2030.”
The report also found that President Trump’s “Hire American” immigration policy, is helping raise wages for middle and lower income Americans. “While hiring undocumented workers has always been illegal, recent changes in enforcement may have reduced the number of available undocumented immigrant workers.”
To me, its very simple: Higher demand for workers, and lower supply of workers, leads to higher wages. Don’t believe the argument that cheap-labor immigration somehow drives up Americans’ wages.
This is the problem that I have with my own party, and Speaker Paul Ryan, who can’t leave Washington soon enough in my opinion. If you want the American middle class, and working class union voters, to vote republican, then help them hang onto the jobs we still have in this country. That is why middle America voted for Trump in 2016.