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Will GOP Presidential Candidates Debate Speaker Ryan’s Bill To Open The Legal Immigration Floodgates?

Tonight’s Republican presidential debate is supposed to be about the economy, but we wonder if the most important economic development of the past week – at least if you are an American without a college education or technical training – will be brought up, let alone “debated.” 

Remember the news reports about how Paul Ryan had promised the House Freedom Caucus and other skeptical conservatives that he wouldn’t move a “comprehensive immigration reform” (amnesty in real American Paul RyanEnglish) bill while Obama was in the White House? 

That promise was a key to collapsing conservative opposition to Ryan’s candidacy for Speaker, but like so many other things about Paul Ryan, the devil is in the details. 

Last week Reps. Steve Chabot (OH-1), Bob Goodlatte (VA-6), Andy Harris, (MD-1), and Charles W. Boustany, Jr. (LA-3) introduced the Strengthen Employment and Seasonal Opportunities Now (Season) Act or H.R. 3918

H.R. 3918 would bypass the annual 66,000 cap on H-2B work visas by allowing foreigners admitted in any of the three previous years to remain and not be subject to the cap. 

As our friend Leo Hohman of WND observed, the H-2B is considered a “seasonal” work permit for lower-skilled workers such as cooks, construction workers, hospitality, theme park employment, maintenance, forestry, seafood processing, cruise ship employees and truck driving among many other jobs. 

It differs from the H-1B, which is for skilled guest-workers and also is the subject of pending legislation sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who wants to triple the number of visas issued to skilled foreign workers each year. 

The H-2B visa program, notes Hohman, though referred to as a “seasonal” guest worker program it is not an agricultural guest worker program. 

These are explicitly non-farm jobs, often for lower-skilled work says Hohman; the kind of jobs that have traditionally been the stepping stone to the middle class for millions of Americans who do not have a college or technical education. 

Obama claims the economy is booming, so why not admit more foreign workers?  

After all, the government announced Friday that October's unemployment rate stood at 5 percent, lower than it has been for two-thirds of the time since 2000. Many economists view rates around this level as full employment said economist Edward Lazear in a recent guest column for The Washington Post

Lazear, who was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers from 2006-09 and is a professor at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, explained that there are two measures of the employment situation.  

The most widely reported is the unemployment rate, which is defined as the proportion of the labor force that is without a job. To be in the labor force, a person must have a job or be actively seeking work. 

The other measure, which is generally preferred by many who study labor markets, said Lazear, is the employment rate, which is defined as the proportion of the working-age population (that is, 16 and above) that has a job. 

If credible, said Lazear, October's unemployment rate of 5 percent would mean that we have essentially recovered from the recession. But Friday's reported employment rate of 59.3 percent signals an economy that is well below capacity. 

What’s more, as CNS News’ Susan Jones reported in September a record 94,031,000 Americans were not in the labor force and the labor force participation rate was stuck at a 38-year low for the third straight month. 

All of these numbers beg the question at a time when a record number of Americans don’t have jobs, why do we need more low-wage foreign workers? 

The answer is we don’t. 

Just looking at truck drivers, one of the most visible industries affected by H.R. 3918, the wages for general freight trucking and specialized freight trucking drivers have been stagnate for years. While the trucking industry complains that there is an alleged shortage of drivers, it isn't that there are no drivers available, the shortage is for drivers at the price the trucking companies want to pay. (See this New York Times article for an explanation of this phenomenon.)

Classical economic theory, and the American social contract, would dictate that as the economy recovers wages would rise, but that's not what is happening today.

Under Speaker Ryan and the Chamber of Commerce-controlled Congress what is happening is that cheaper foreign labor is allowed to enter the U.S. workforce, thereby increasing the labor supply and driving down wages for truck drivers.

As The New York Times article notes, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers were paid 6 percent less, on average, in 2013 than a decade earlier, adjusted for inflation. It takes a peculiar form of logic to cut pay steadily and then be shocked that fewer people want to do the job.

These over-the-road trucking jobs are exactly the kind of middle income jobs paying $20 per hour and up that have built middle class lives for millions of American families, but that are now threatened by unneeded foreign “seasonal” workers whose numbers would be tripled (or more) under the first immigration bill to move during Paul Ryan’s tenure as Speaker. 

On top of that, because we don’t have a visa-tracking system and the president is not enforcing over-stay rules, it increases the volume of one of the primary avenues by which legal immigrants become illegal aliens, thereby adding to the illegal population. 

AND, because the bill allows the foreigners Obama is not tracking that were admitted in any of the three previous years to remain, and not be subject to the cap, it gives backdoor amnesty to an unknown number of foreign workers who would have been subject to deportation at the end of their visa. 

Rep. Chabot is chairman of the House Small Business Committee and Rep. Goodlatte chairs the House Judiciary Committee so this is not some random bill that will go nowhere; it’s a real effort to move legislation to take the current caps off legal immigration and admit thousands of legal low wage immigrants at a time of record low native-born employment in these sectors of the economy. 

There is also a Senate companion bill to H.R. 3918 sponsored by Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA). 

We urge you to let the Republican presidential candidates know you oppose any move by Speaker Ryan to open the legal immigration floodgates.  

We also urge you to call your Representative and Senators, the Capitol Switchboard is 1-866-220-0044, tell them you oppose H.R. 3918, the Strengthen Employment and Seasonal Opportunities Now (Season) Act and its Senate companion. Tell them you want them to put American workers back to work before admitting even more foreign “guest workers” who will lower wages and continue the erosion of the quality of life for millions of native born Americans and their families.

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Speaker Ryan

So much for not introducing anything to do with immigration until the new president was elected. Or was that just immigration reform for illegal aliens? Now the new rino SPEAKER is showing his true intent. This would indicate a man working for someone other than his legal working middle class constituents. He is more concerned about someone else's well being than that of the legal citizen's whose jobs will be taken by citizen's of another country for less money. That will drive down wages for the legal citizens continuing to work in those industries and for what purpose? Obviously to benefit the employers with cheaper labor, give employment to foreign workers, and what additional welfare or entitlement perks will be associated with this labor deal?

What is not present in this action/bill is anything that will improve things for the legal working citizen's in those industries. Looks like Ryan is not interested in improving his constituents lives at all. And if there are entitlements associated with this labor deal, who pays for that? The H-1b perks are coming out of social security and some other cash buckets the DHS is raiding. That is paid for by the legal constituents. The very people these bills impact negatively are likely funding the perks that enhance the deal for the foreign workers and the employer who will pay much less for his new labor force.

Yup, Ryan is a rino. And this is an old game. Vote these jerks out of congress folks.