Fortune 500 lobbyists are terrified that President Donald Trump’s decision to put a moratorium on incoming foreign contract workers will force them to hire Americans for a brief time in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Knowing that the inability to exploit cheap foreign labor will mean a certain blow to the bottom line, the lobbyists joined together this week to warn Trump that by imposing limits on how many visa workers can come to the U.S., he could cause discrimination against “our personnel based on country of birth.”
“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,” the companies wrote.
Google and Microsoft were among the many tech companies urging Trump to continue allowing them to take advantage of inexpensive visa workers.
In response to the public letter, immigration reform activists said it was laughable to think that these companies will be truly damaged by being forced to hire domestic workers.
“Every piece of data the government collects show there are massive numbers of native-born Americans and legal immigrants already here not working,” said Steven Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies. “Those out of work are of every type, from high school dropouts to the most educated. President Trump has an obligation to do everything he can to help out of work Americans get jobs, including significantly reducing the flow of foreign workers into the country.”
These companies and their buddies in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce can cite study after study that shows all these wonderful economic effects that flow from the incoming waterfall of foreign labor. Problem is, those studies don’t take into account Americans who are trying to get a foothold into those same companies…and unfortunately find themselves passed over for their cheaper overseas counterparts. They also fail to account for the recession caused by the coronavirus, which has put the immediate futures of recent graduates in stark peril.
President Trump’s motto is “America First,” and there’s no better way to live up to that motto than to make sure that American companies are hiring American workers before looking to India and China for cheap imports. Silicon Valley won’t like it, but that may just be too damn bad.