The Hill newspaper included a July 29 commentary on immigration policy by Al Cardenas – a former Florida GOP chair – representing a self-described bipartisan group calling itself “No Labels.” Cardenas claimed the organization had arrived at a consensus that could break the congressional deadlock on immigration reform.
Cardenas’s thumbnail description read much like the Gang of 8’s 2013 proposal that included amnesty for the illegal alien population and increases in immigrant and nonimmigrant visas. Cardenas cited in support of increasing visas, “…a recent Manpower survey found 32% of employers had difficulty filling job vacancies particularly in science, technology, engineering and math-focused (STEM) occupations.”
Should we trust employers’ views on whether there are enough workers applying for their job openings? We should keep in mind that there is a special advantage to employers who hire foreign workers on temporary visas. The employer gets a worker who hopes to eventually be sponsored for an immigrant visa. Studies have shown financial advantage to the employer in being able to hire a foreign worker because of their lower wage expectations..
But, it is not just the questionable motives of the employers that are suspect. Mr. Cardenas and his group should look at the objective criteria, i.e., the trend in wages offered for STEM workers. If there truly were a shortage of STEM workers, wages should be rising to attract more applicants. Instead wages – although attractive – have been flat for years, except in the petroleum sector. The law of supply and demand does not lie.
Because the source of their information is biased, their suggested consensus solution can’t be taken seriously. Even if No Labels dropped their advocacy of increased visas, their support for amnesty would still represent a destructive long-term policy for the nation regardless of how attractive it may appear to be in the short-term to politicians focused on attracting the Latino immigrant vote.