We get ads from NFIB claiming Thom Tillis is “fighting to save North Carolina jobs” and then we hear THIS:
A few months before mass joblessness hit the United States, spurred by the Chinese coronavirus crisis, a number of House and Senate Republicans lobbied the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to import more foreign workers to take blue-collar jobs.
The Intercept’s Lee Fang obtained letters from Republican lawmakers sent to the Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf in January and February asking that businesses be allowed to import thousands more foreign H-2B visa workers — months before joblessness jumped nearly fivefold to 33 million unemployed and nearly 11 million underemployed in April.
Republican Senators David Perdue (R-GA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), [Richard] Burr (R-NC), as well as 26 others previously noted by Breitbart News, sent letters to DHS claiming businesses needed additional foreign workers to hire because no Americans were available.
Republican House Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY), Dan Bishop (R-NC), Greg Murphy (R-NC), David Rouzer (R-NC), Ted Budd (R-NC), Patrick McHenry (R-NC), Kenny Marchant (R-TX), and Rob Wittman (R-VA) also wrote letters asking for more foreign workers in January and February.
At the time, about 7.2 million Americans were unemployed and about 4.3 million Americans were underemployed, that is, working part-time jobs but wanting full-time employment.
Perdue, in his own letter asking for more foreign workers, wrote that “we are now seeing a situation where many American businesses need and are unable to find workers.”
“As our economy continues this historic recovery, it is becoming more difficult for American businesses to recruit and hire American workers for temporary and seasonal jobs,” Perdue wrote on February 6. “Many of these American businesses are at risk of irreparable harm if they do not receive the workers for whom they have petitioned.”
In a similar letter dated February 21, signed by Tillis, Burr, Bishop, Murphy, Rouzer, Budd, and McHenry, the North Carolina lawmakers suggested importing more foreign workers was “critically needed” for businesses to survive:
‘…With the unemployment rate at a 50-year low, and in the midst of the longest economic expansion in U.S. history, these employers are struggling to find seasonal workers in this booming economy….’
The checks from The Farm Bureau and The Chamber must have been fatter and cleared the bank faster than in previous years.
[…]As previously reported, on January 27, 26 Senate Republicans and 97 House Republicans signed a letter asking DHS to import more foreign workers. In May, even as 36 million Americans were out of work and underemployed, the lobbying by 47 Republicans for more foreign workers continued.
The lobbying helped pressure the State Department in March to begin fast-tracking foreign H-2B visa workers into U.S. jobs by deeming the pipeline as “essential to the economy and food security.”
Every year, U.S. companies are allowed to import 66,000 foreign H-2B visa workers to take blue-collar, non-agricultural jobs. For some time, the H-2B visa program has been used by businesses to bring in cheaper, foreign workers and has contributed to blue-collar Americans having their wages undercut.
Despite business claims, curbs to the H-2B visa program resulted in American teens and entry-level U.S. workers filling seasonal job spots. The most recent case shows that American college students are applying in droves for jobs at Colorado ski resorts that previously imported foreign workers.
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 got 23 percent less pay than Americans.
Every year, 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.