Recently, we have all heard that the mighty American economy is rebounding as the COVID-19 pandemic begins to wind down. We have seen job growth steadily increase over the past few months with more and more businesses seeking employees to fill roles that were vacated during the pandemic. All over the news it is reported that there is a labor shortage affecting many sectors of the economy that must immediately be filled. These jobs include work across all industries – from hospitality to construction – that have seen an unprecedented demand for employee labor. Businesses are catching on and are offering competitive pay, benefits, flexible work hours, and time off to get employees in the door. This kind of opportunity for the American worker is why we do not want endless cheap labor driving down wages, especially in a time of recovery.
For wages to rise, foreign cheap labor should fall. The decades-long stagnation in American wages, as FAIR notes, is caused by uncontrolled mass immigration. Many businesses continue to tout their “need” for imported labor, while at the same time many college graduates can’t find jobs and some areas of the country struggle with high unemployment rates. In addition to low-skilled labor jobs being taken by migrants, white collar American workers are feeling the pressure, too, especially in the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematical (STEM) fields. Many of these companies prioritize the use of work visas for one thing only – cheap labor. What’s wrong with this picture? Can business hiring practices fundamentally change in the post-Covid era? It will only change if we re-evaluate our immigration policies that put American workers first.
Now that the economy is picking up and employers subsequently need more labor than ever, American workers should be placed in the driver’s seat. Labor demand is higher than labor supply, which is increasing wages and competition around the country. According to a CNN article, for example, one owner of a construction business says he has more positions to fill than applicants, while another owner of a solar power business says that he decided to increase his pay from $18-22 an hour to $25 an hour to attract workers.
If we continue to reduce unlimited cheap foreign labor as the job market continues to expand, American workers will reap the benefits. This is especially true as workers seek new job opportunities in the post-pandemic world. “The laws of supply and demand should dictate that restricted immigration and guestworker admissions should help lead to improved wages and working conditions for Americans as employers are forced to big up salaries and sweeten benefits as they try to attract a more limited number of workers”, states Dave Ray with FAIR.
Also, requiring employers to also pay foreign workers higher wages would establish more realistic wage scales aimed at discouraging U.S. employers from bypassing American workers in favor of cheap foreign labor, according to research by FAIR’s Government Relations team. These policies, if enacted, would not only protect American workers’ interests and discourage employers from exploiting their foreign counterparts, but it would tremendously benefit the economy.
Right now, the end of the pandemic is teaching us a lesson. While job opportunities continue to grow and Americans re-evaluate their careers, businesses should use this opportunity to review their hiring practices, offer incentives, and provide these opportunities to Americans rather than lobby Congress for additional visas for the sole purpose of importing cheap foreign labor. Americans are excited to get back to work, and implementing these changes now is the right thing to do for the country.