The Koch brothers’ network of donor class organizations is begging President Joe Biden to import more foreign workers whom United States businesses can hire instead of jobless Americans.
Last week, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced that businesses would be allowed to hire an additional 22,000 foreign H-2B visa workers to take non-agricultural U.S. jobs, 6,000 of which will go to nationals in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.
In a letter to Biden, the Koch network’s Americans for Prosperity and the Libre Initiative urge the White House to bring in tens of thousands more foreign workers to take U.S. jobs.
The letter states:
On behalf of Americans for Prosperity, The LIBRE Initiative, and our millions of activists across the country, we urge you to release all of the 64,000 additional H-2B visas, which allow employers facing hiring difficulties to recruit temporary non-agricultural workers, under the authority delegated to you by Congress for FY 2021.
After months of a steady recovery, U.S. employers added over 900,000 jobs in March alone, the fastest rate of monthly growth since last August. But even with this good news, thousands of businesses are at risk of being left behind as they struggle to find enough workers, and current plans to release just 22,000 of the additional visas are inadequate for meeting America’s labor needs. In the first half of this fiscal year, employers had submitted 96,000 H-2B applications — exceeding the number of visas available by over 250 percent. Reports also show that during the 9 month long ban on temporary work visas, 93 percent of openings for H-2B positions went unfilled by American workers for fiscal year 2020—the highest on record despite being in the peak of the recession. Some of the businesses most heavily affected include those located in small towns and rural areas, where hiring options are already extremely limited. [Emphasis added]
Americans for Prosperity and The LIBRE Initiative urge you to take swift action and release all the supplemental H-2B visas available for FY 2021. We stand ready to work with you and Congress to develop durable legal immigration channels to better reflect our nation’s economic and national security needs. [Emphasis added]
Despite the claims of labor shortages, about 16.6 million Americans remain jobless today. Of the roughly 9.7 million Americans classified as unemployed, 13 percent are teenagers looking for entry-level jobs, 9.6 percent are black Americans, 7.9 percent are Hispanic, six percent are Asian Americans, and 5.4 percent are white Americans.
Roughly 6.9 million Americans are out of the labor force entirely, but all want full-time employment. Another 5.8 million Americans are underemployed, working part-time jobs but wanting full-time employment.
In the fields in which working class Americans are forced to compete with foreign H-2B visa workers, unemployment rates remain high:
- Construction unemployment rate: 8.6 percent
- Hospitality industry unemployment rate: 19.9 percent
- Restaurant industry unemployment rate: 11.8 percent
- Food processing unemployment rate: 7.9 percent
Fox News’s Adam Shaw reported last week that Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) criticized the Biden administration for allowing businesses to bring in thousands more foriegn H-2B visa workers when unemployment rates remain high.
“Given that U.S. unemployment remains elevated in many H-2B-reliant industries, this is no time to release additional H-2B visas,” Grassley and Durbin’s joint statement reads. “We hope that the Biden administration will work with Congress to reform this program to ensure it better serves Americans and guest workers.”
Every year, businesses are allowed to import 66,000 foreign H-2B visa workers to take blue-collar, non-agricultural jobs in the U.S. The Trump administration routinely brought in additional foreign H-2B visa workers for whom business could hire.
The H-2B visa program has been widely used by businesses to drag down the wages of American workers in landscaping, conservation work, the meatpacking industry, the construction industry, and fishing jobs, a 2019 study from the Center for Immigration Studies finds.
When comparing the wages of H-2B foreign workers to the national wage average for each blue-collar industry, about 21 out of 25 of the industries offered lower wages to foreign workers than Americans.
In the construction industry, wage suppression is significant, with H-2B foreign workers being offered more than 20 percent less than their American counterparts. In the fishing industry, foreign workers were offered more than 30 percent less for their jobs than Americans in the field. In the meatpacking industry, foreign workers get 23 percent less pay than Americans.
Annually, the U.S. admits about 1.2 million legal immigrants on green cards to permanently resettle in the country. In addition, another 1.4 million foreign workers are admitted every year to take American jobs.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter here.