A lobbying campaign by the Koch network, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other open-borders groups to keep up the flow of immigrant workers is running into opposition from voters in several swing states.
In a letter to White House advisers Jared Kushner and Larry Kudlow, the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity and Hispanic LIBRE Initiative lobbied to continue visa and permit programs that bring in more than a million foreign workers each year.
Under separate cover, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President CEO Tom Donahue asserted that it is “crucial” that businesses be allowed to continue hiring foreign visa workers even as 46 million Americans filed unemployment claims due to coronavirus-related shutdowns.
Voters across America have a very different perspective. A poll conducted in 10 states likely to determine the outcome of the November elections found:
- By 2-to-1 margins, voters support “reductions in immigration and guest worker admissions” during the COVID crisis.
- Strong majorities in all 10 states believe that “limiting admission of new immigrants and guest workers will improve the chances of laid-off American workers being rehired.”
The Zogby Analytics poll, conducted June 10-11 on behalf of FAIR, sampled likely voters in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
“Jobs and economic security are critical issues in any election,” noted FAIR President Dan Stein. “This poll demonstrates clearly that the American public understands and supports the need to reduce the flow of people entering the country who will compete for jobs during this crisis and once the economy fully reopens.”
An earlier Harvard-Harris poll, surveying voters nationally, showed 79 percent of respondents favored an immigration halt during the coronavirus pandemic.
New research from the liberal Migration Policy Institute (MPI) raises still more doubts about the viability of maintaining a large visa labor force at a time of high unemployment.
MPI reported that joblessness among immigrant workers is even higher than for U.S.-born workers, and that they are returning to work at a slower rate. These metrics make it all the more reasonable to throttle back on foreign labor.
The Koch-Chamber pleas notwithstanding, President Trump’s actions thus far still allow the processing of hundreds of thousands of work visas.
“However well intentioned, Trump’s executive order provides little relief to Americans. The pause applies to only a few immigrants who represent a tiny fraction (about 5 percent) of total annual admissions, and will actually restart admissions that have been paused, well before this health crisis is over, and well before the employment crisis is over,” concluded Jessica Vaughn, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies.
To truly address the problem, FAIR has called for a new Executive Order to cover substantially all forms of immigration – especially guest worker programs. This would help jobless Americans get back into the labor force, both now and when the economy finally begins to recover.