Chamber CEO to Congress: Import Workers for Us, Pay Them with Citizenship
The U.S. government should import foreign workers for home construction jobs and also pay them with shares of American citizenship, an industry executive demanded Wednesday at an advocacy event held by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
“We, right now, this year, need 430,000 workers [and] over the next couple years by 2023, we’re going to need probably another million,” said Michael Bellaman, the president and CEO of the Associated Builders and Contractors trade group. He continued:
We need a merit-based, market-based, rule-of-law worker visa system that provides the necessary opportunities for [foreign] people that want to work in the United States, as well as for our employers to take those trained [foreign] individuals that have spent three years [working] in their companies, with the opportunity to sponsor them to a pathway to citizenship, a legal form of status, something more permanent, that will be a value to our industry.
The demand is a deep betrayal of fellow Americans by the business interests, responded Roy Beck, the former journalist who founded NumbersUSA to oppose the outsourcing of jobs to migration.
“There’s an ethical bond that connects” Americans, he said, “but what people from George Bush, especially George W. Bush, on through President Biden have done — with some exception for President Trump — is to disconnect and basically free the elites of this country from any sense of ethical obligation to their fellow citizens.”
The betrayal is sharper because “construction jobs have become the great prize for Americans who don’t have a college education,” he said, adding:
A large percentage of the manufacturing jobs that created middle-class life have disappeared, but construction work remains. It can’t be shipped overseas. It’s the prize for our American workers who don’t have college degrees which by the way, two-thirds of Americans don’t have college degrees. So this idea is one that basically says, “The middle class belongs only to those who get a college degree,” and we’ve seen just one occupation after another [that] the robber barons of our age have decided they’re not going to let Americans have.
American workers have been hard hit by the eagerness of construction CEOs to hire low-wage crews of economic migrants. In March 2018, Breitbart News reported:
Blaine Taylor, the whistleblower, said the construction industry in California once offered a starting wage of about $45 an hour in the late 1980s. Fast-forward to 2018 — nearly two decades into when illegal aliens began flooding the industry — he now says that wages have fallen by more than half, standing at just $11 an hour.
Construction CEOs are now complaining they face a shortage of Americans who are willing to train for construction jobs. But that shortage is partly caused by Americans’ recognition that many construction CEOs will replace them as soon as they can find a cheaper migrant.
The current shortage of construction workers was created by President Donald Trump’s repeated rejections of business demands for more workers. That low-migration policy was a big shift from prior GOP presidents, including President George W. Bush, who pushed his “Any Willing Worker” plan to let companies hire foreigners whenever Americans rejected wages for being too low.
Bush is now campaigning to include his “Any Willing Worker” plan in any comprehensive amnesty bill passed by President Joe Biden and Congress.
So far, GOP legislators — quietly backed by some Democratic legislators — are blocking another giveaway to employers, investors, and migrants. For example, the farm sector is pushing for a bill that would supply them with an unlimited number of H-2A visa workers, and also allow them to pay the workers with Americans’ citizenship. If passed, the bill would reduce the marketplace pressure on farm companies to invest in labor-saving, wealth-producing, American-built, robot technology.
Because of the populist opposition to an amnesty, construction companies are being forced to compete for American workers with offers of higher wages and free training.
“Since COVID happened a lot of workers that we would use went back to Mexico or where they were from, and they’ve stayed over there, so that’s been a big shortage too,” Tiffany Albarez told KVUE in Austin, Texas.
“I want to get a job working outside, because I’m tired of working inside,” said Fredrick Williams, who went to Talley Construction’s hiring event in Rossville, Ga., on Wednesday afternoon.
Talley Construction is increasing wages to at least $14 per hour for every worker, and also improving benefits. At a hiring event hosted Wednesday, the company also says it’s not requiring prior experience to fill open positions.
“You don’t even have to know what you’re doing [at first]. We’ll teach you,” Kasha Williams said.
On May 28, Buden praised the tight labor market, saying:
Rising wages aren’t a bug; they’re a feature. We want to get — we want to get something economists call “full employment.” Instead of workers competing with each other for jobs that are scarce, we want employees to compete with each other to attract workers. We want the — the companies to compete to attract workers.
Commerce secretary Gina Raimondo spoke at the U.S. Chamber meeting.
While lobbying for an amnesty, CEOs are also finding innovative ways to replace Americans in better-paid skilled jobs, including many white-collar jobs favored by women.
For example, the wealthy Democratic governor of Colorado, Jared Polis signed a bill on May 31 that allows illegal immigrants to get professional licenses for skilled blue-collar careers, such as electricians, plumbers, welders, ironworkers. New Jersey’s Democratic governor Phil Murphy signed a similar bill in August 2020, with minimal visible opposition from the progressive-dominated trade union movement.
The law would help foreign contractors to fly workers into the U.S. on tourist visas for skilled construction jobs, just as Donald Trump reportedly used Polish workers in 1980 for union construction jobs in New York.
The laws allow companies to discard Americans in a wide range of white-collar and blue-collar jobs, including teaching, therapy, and counseling.
The licensing laws are backed by FWD.us, which was created by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in 2013 to lobby for more migration.
Also, FWD.us is fighting to preserve the migration of new workers, consumers, and renters into the U.S. economy. In April, roughly 70,000 new migrant workers were allowed through the border by Biden’s deputies or sneaked past the distracted border guards.
For their own self-interest, white-collar Americans should stop ignoring the economic damage done to blue-collar Americans, said Beck. He added:
Some people thought for many years that maybe we should just step aside and let [business groups] just flood these professional jobs markets. Then you would have the people in those professions crying out, and you’d have all of these middle class and upper-middle-class parents whose kids either in college or are headed to college, start to cry foul.
Just after the construction industry executive asked for more than one million foreign workers, an executive in the tech industry asked for the government to supply her sector with an unlimited inflow of foreign graduates for technology jobs.
“We need workers from the high-tech arena, we need workers in customer service, we need workers in-house technical expertise,” said Susan Bitter Smith, the executive director of the Southwest cable communications Association. She continued:
There are many things that could be done to help us fill those needed positions, starting with expanding the annual quota of H-1B visas for high-tech workers… In addition, allowing international students who graduate from the U.S. — we have great engineering and tech programs here — allowing them to stay here [with Optional Practical training work permits] to fill those positions in my industry.
DHS chief Mayorkas leaks his max-migration plan to the NYTimes just a few days after his boss – President Joe Biden – promises a high-wage “tight labor market” to Americans. https://t.co/ld0qP9HKKo
The voter opposition to elite-backed economic migration coexists with support for legal immigrants and some sympathy for illegal migrants. But only a minority of Americans — mostly leftists — embrace the many skewed polls and articles pushing the 1950’s corporate “Nation of Immigrants” claim.
The deep public opposition to labor migration is built on the widespread recognition that legal and illegal migration moves money away from most Americans’ pocketbooks and families.