Joe Biden Restarts Filling U.S. Jobs with Foreign Workers as 17M Americans Are Jobless
President Joe Biden has restarted allowing companies to fill scarce U.S. jobs with foreign workers after a major lobbying effort by big business interests, even as more than 17 million Americans remain jobless.
In April 2020, former President Donald Trump signed an executive order halting a number of employment-based and extended family-based green card categories. The order sought to reduce foreign labor market competition against millions of Americans facing joblessness and underemployment as a result of the Chinese coronavirus crisis.
Two months ago, Trump renewed the order prioritizing unemployed Americans for U.S. jobs while nearly 18 million were unemployed at the time. Corporate interests fiercely opposed the order because the nation’s current legal immigration levels help them increase profit margins while cutting overall wage costs.
On Wednesday, Biden revoked the order after lobbying from tech corporations and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who have sought to continue importing foreign workers rather than recruiting unemployed Americans for jobs.
Biden claims the order “does not advance the interests” of Americans because it does not continue the process known as “chain migration” — whereby newly naturalized citizens can bring an unlimited number of foreign relatives to the country — and prevented foreign nationals from arriving in the U.S. through the Diversity Visa Lottery in which new arrivals are randomly chosen.
In his revocation, Biden also went to bat for corporate interests who hire foreign workers over qualified Americans, claiming the order “harms industries in the U.S. that utilize talent from around the world.”
The proclamation was going to expire at the end of the next month anyways.
This isn’t going to help the labor market. In fact, it’s going to exacerbate it. In order to cut costs due to the economic recession, companies will be using work visas to import cheaper workers. https://t.co/FdajPMZMff
— U.S. Tech Workers (@USTechWorkers) February 24, 2021
While Biden allows companies to begin filling scarce U.S. jobs with foreign workers again, about 17.1 million Americans are jobless and another six million are underemployed but all want full-time jobs with competitive wages and generous benefits.
Of those considered unemployed, 1.5 million are teenagers, 930,00 are black Americans, 870,000 are Hispanics, 666,600 are Asian Americans, and 576,000 are white Americans. About 3.5 million of those unemployed are permanent job losers.
A second order signed by Trump, set to expire next month, has halted the admission of H-1B, H-4, H-2B, L, and J-1 foreign visa workers since June 2020. White House officials have suggested that they will not renew the order.
Biden’s actions come even as the majority of U.S. likely voters support labor market protections. The latest survey from Rasmussen Reports, for instance, finds that 73 percent of voters want less legal immigration, more than six-in-ten oppose chain migration, about 64 percent oppose businesses importing foreign workers rather than recruiting Americans, and 63 percent support slowing down or fully cutting U.S. population growth driven by immigration.
Research by the Center for Immigration Studies’ Steven Camarota reveals that for every one percent increase in the immigrant portion of an American workers’ occupation, Americans’ weekly wages are cut by perhaps 0.5 percent. This means the average native-born American worker today has his weekly wages reduced by potentially 8.75 percent as more than 17 percent of the workforce is foreign-born.
Current immigration levels put downward pressure on U.S. wages while redistributing about $500 billion in wealth away from America’s working and middle class and towards employers and new arrivals, research by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine has found.
Similarly, peer-reviewed research by economist Christoph Albert acknowledges that “as immigrants accept lower wages, they are preferably chosen by firms and therefore have higher job finding rates than natives, consistent with evidence found in U.S. data.” Albert’s research also finds that immigration “raises competition” for native-born Americans in the labor market.
Every year, about 1.2 million legal immigrants are rewarded with green cards to permanently resettle in the U.S., and another 1.4 million foreign nationals are given temporary visas. In addition, hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens are added to the U.S. population annually.