Saturday, April 18, 2020

When you’re in a hole, stop digging: Bringing in more immigrant ag workers is not in our national interests

Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis/Getty Images
Daniel Horowitz has written of the mixed messages that the Trump administration has sent on immigration. The president has done much to prove the legitimacy of his intent to see the immigration laws enforced, most especially at the border — but the picture becomes considerably more complex where foreign guest workers are concerned.
Ever since Congress dropped the hot potato into the executive branch’s lap by “authorizing” the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to exceed statutory caps in various guest worker programs when deemed in the public interest — thus cravenly ensuring that the blame institutionally accrues to somebody other than Congress — the DHS has routinely done exactly that, year after year, despite the fact that there is precious little empirical evidence that any significant interest has been served, beyond the demands of corporate employers and “Big Ag,” whose bottom lines are immeasurably improved by a workforce of pliable, cheap foreign labor.
Perhaps the desire to increase the flow stems from the president’s own background as a businessman and a user of foreign guest workers, but it’s an instinct shared by his current DHS secretary, Chad Wolf, who was a swamp lobbyist on behalf of such programs before migrating into government as a protege of former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. But whatever the impetus, it’s a significant blind spot.
Some of my colleagues at the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) have also been raising the alarm about the apparent single-mindedness of the DHS in going forward with guest worker admissions in a number of categories, in some cases going so far as to eliminate required processes to facilitate entries, just as the Wuhan coronavirus descended in earnest upon our country. Even the usually reliably liberal Politico published an article commenting on this dissonance.
It was not until the nation was stunned by a collective 10 million new applications for unemployment in a two-week period that the White House seems to have belatedly recognized the peril this poses to the president’s re-election bid and that the DHS was shaken out of its somnolence enough to halt processing of at least some of the guest worker program admissions. Not so, though, with farm laborers.
Read the rest from Dan Cadman HERE.

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