The redoubtable Republican renaissance that we saw in the midterm election is largely due to the public’s utter dissatisfaction with the current economy. Therefore, the Republicans now have a mandate to reform the economy — i.e., create conditions where job-seeking Americans can find jobs.
At a time when liberals are incorrigibly set in their hackneyed belief that only government programs create jobs, we conservatives should continue to point out that exactly the opposite is true. In fact, there is one government program whose cancellation will immediately make available at least several hundred thousand jobs to Americans who seek work. This government program is visas for foreign workers.
Now, lest anyone think I am a nattering nativist, I must point out that I am a naturalized American myself. You cannot be anti-immigrant when you yourself are an immigrant.
Pointing out the mindless excesses of our immigration system is not an anti-immigrant action; it is in fact a pro-American action, for the moral obligation of any American (native or naturalized) is to protect his fellow Americans before he protects foreigners.
You would think that with nearly 10 percent unemployment — 15 million Americans out of work — the government would rethink the issuance of visas to foreign workers. But no, not our government. This practice should be Exhibit A in the case on the government’s incompetence in handling even legal immigration (its incompetence on illegal immigration is axiomatic, after all).
So, let us look at recent statistics. But before that, keep in mind that the current relentless recession began in December 2007. During all of 2008, the economy was continually worsening. And in 2009, there were so many Americans out of work that the grim economy was a fact of daily life in America.
The most commonly used temporary work visas are called H and L visas. But these are government programs, so “temporary” really does not mean temporary. Someone on an H visa, for instance, can stay here for six years.
In 2009 (the latest year for which statistics are available), the State Department, which operates our embassies overseas, issued visas to 218,000 workers in the H category, 110,000 of whom were in the H1B subcategory, the subcategory most used by engineers, programmers, etc. (All numbers are rounded to the nearest thousand.) Are we to believe that when so many American engineers and programmers are out of work, America needed to import thousands of foreign engineers and programmers?
Next is the L category, the visa most often used by companies to bring in workers from corporate branches overseas. Ostensibly, these are current employees who are merely being “transferred” to a U.S. office, but the reality is that these workers displace Americans. In 2009, the L visa workers numbered 65,000.
Needless to say, there are additional visa types, such as the P visa for athletes, entertainers, etc. Thus, 33,000 such workers were issued visas. It appears that the government thinks that even entertaining is not a job Americans can do and that in these tough times Americans need to be entertained — by foreign comedians and singers.
So, in just those three visa categories alone, the government issued visas to 316,000 foreign workers in 2009. But that does not include the spouses and children of those visa-holders. When you include them, the number is 436,000. Why is this important? Because in many cases the spouses and working-age children, both of whom are generally forbidden to be employed here, resort to working here illegally anyway. Let’s face it, they know that if Mexican illegal aliens without any papers can work here, then why not them?
Even those numbers are only part of the story. For they do not include visas for permanent residence, i.e., green cards. In 2009, the government issued green cards to — hold on to your seat because this is jarring — 1,131,000 foreigners. Of these, 843,000 were adults aged 21 years or older. Since green-card holders have permanent permission to work, this means that in 2009 alone, the government enabled 843,000 adult foreigners to permanently compete with Americans looking for jobs.
So, you see, between temporary visas and permanent residence visas, the government admitted well morer than a million foreign workers in 2009 alone. This is while 15 million Americans were out of work. It clearly indicates how utterly oblivious the government is to the realities of daily life in America. (And this is the same government that liberals think can run our health care?)
The newly elected Republican majority in the House, if it is as committed to addressing the national unemployment crisis as the Members they are, cannot ignore the asininity of giving employment visas to foreigners. This is not the time to yield to greedy corporate interests that want cheap workers from abroad, as some Republicans in the past have yielded.
At the very least, a moratorium on temporary worker visas as long as unemployment remains at or above 8% would be a reasonable measure. Most Americans would doubtless support such a measure — especially if they knew the numbers discussed here.
If the Democrats in the Senate and President Obama oppose such a measure, the Republicans should put them on the spot and ask them to explain to Americans why foreign workers should be admitted when 15 million Americans are out of work.