The news Thursday was predictably grim for American workers. Another 4 million people filed first-time unemployment claims, bringing the total number of unemployed to 43 million.
Meanwhile, in an alternative universe that exists on Wall Street and in corporate boardrooms (virtual ones these days, we expect) across the country, the cry went out for more foreign workers. Under an umbrella group known as Compete America, 324 of the nation’s largest corporations signed a letter to President Trump and three cabinet secretaries extolling the virtues of unfettered access to foreign workers.
“We urge you to avoid outcomes, even for temporary periods, that restrict employment-authorization terms, conditions, or processing of L-1, H-1B, F-1, or H-4 nonimmigrants. Constraints on our human capital are likely to result in unintended consequences and may cause substantial economic uncertainty if we have to recalibrate our personnel based on country of birth,” states the letter.
Much like Garrison Keilor’s fictional town of Lake Woebegone, where all the children are above average, the millions of guest workers they employ under the various visa categories all possess exceptional skills and are indispensable. “What is at stake is the ability of U.S. employers to access uniquely skilled professional workers from outside the United States, job creation from the know-how and innovation they bring, and the economic impact their entrepreneurship can provide to reinvigorate the American economy,” argues Forbes magazine in support of the corporate demands.
Or, in the words of the millionaires and billionaires who signed the letter, “The stability of America’s workforce – including L-1, H-1B, and F-1 nonimmigrants – cannot be more important than at this very moment when the Trump administration and the entire nation look to our companies to reinforce the backbone of the national economy.”
And you probably thought American workers were the backbone of our national economy. Silly you.