FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Chamber of Commerce and Obama agree cheap foreign labor is a great idea
If you have any doubts about the reason behind the push for “comprehensive immigration reform” just look at who is pushing it. Anytime the Chamber of Commerce and the Democrat party team up the American consumer and taxpayer had better hang onto their wallets.
US Chamber of Commerce president Thomas Donohue made immigration a focus last week when he issued what was essentially an ultimatum to the GOP,
The GOP shouldn’t even field a presidential candidate in 2016 unless Congress passes immigration reform this year, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue said Monday.
“If the Republicans don’t do it, they shouldn’t bother to run a candidate in 2016,” Donohue joked at an event on infrastructure investment in D.C. “Think about that. Think about who the voters are. I just did that to get everybody’s attention.”
Yesterday, the Deputy Secretary of Labor, Chris Lu, also made increasing the number of skilled immigrant workers a goal:
We also need to fix our broken immigration system to encourage more highly educated foreign-born workers to come to the United States. If we are to compete in a global economy, we must continue to attract and retain the world’s brightest minds. Too many foreign students – many from Asian countries – come to the United States to further their education but must return home when they cannot obtain a green card or immigrant visa. As part of President Obama’s immigration reforms, he has called for “stapling green cards” to the diplomas of foreign graduates students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.
This sounds laudable, but is it necessary?
Steven Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies (note– group is in favor of very restrictive immigration policies) writes in National Review What STEM Shortage?
The idea that we need to allow in more workers with science, technology, engineering, and math (“STEM”) background is an article of faith among American business and political elite.
But in a new report, my Center for Immigration Studies colleague Karen Zeigler and I analyze the latest government data and find what other researchers have found: The country has well more than twice as many workers with STEM degrees as there are STEM jobs. Also consistent with other research, we find only modest levels of wage growth for such workers for more than a decade. Both employment and wage data indicate that such workers are not in short supply.
Reports by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), the RAND Corporation, the Urban Institute, and the National Research Council have all found no evidence that STEM workers are in short supply. PBS even published an opinion piece based on the EPI study entitled, “The Bogus High-Tech Worker Shortage: How Guest Workers Lower U.S. Wages.” This is PBS, mind you, which is as likely to publish something skeptical of immigration as it is to publish something skeptical of taxpayer subsidies for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
Indeed, this call for increased immigration to high tech grads is motivated by two things. The Democrats know that new immigrants, coming from nations that are if not socialist then very paternal, tend to vote Democrat. The Chamber, naturally, wishes to depress wages.
There are a number of problems with allowing ever-more foreign STEM workers into the country. First, the argument for doing so is deceptive and dishonest. Second, these are still mostly middle-class jobs and an enormous number of American students getting STEM degrees are not finding STEM jobs. Over time this fact along with a lack of wage growth can only deter Americans kids from going into these fields. Third, STEM workers are vital to national defense and having a large share of our STEM workforce be foreign-born has important national-security implications. Fourth, allowing American industry to become dependent on foreign sources of skilled labor makes industry increasingly indifferent to any problems in our schools, making it less likely we will fix them.
If the administration really meant it was in favor of “stapling a green card” to diplomas, I might be able to get behind it. That would place these foreign graduates on a level playing field with American grads. These young men and women would have the option of becoming entrepreneurs. But what this is really about is expanding the number of H1B visas. These create employees with no mobility, because if they quit the can be deported, and who have been hired at wages below the prevailing level paid American citizens for the same work. This is not a good for America and it is not good for Americans.