Companies that hire summer and seasonal workers have been “forced” to hire American workers due to President Trump’s crackdown on visa schemes and illegal immigration. Businesses are having to pay more for American workers, which means to many that the idea of mass immigration driving down wages has been finally proven.
Critics are saying that despite being good for the president’s Make America Great Again agenda and his “America First” policy, it is causing a loss of profits for companies that now have to hire American citizens.
Laurie Flanagan, a co-chair of the H-2B Workforce Coalition, said: “There were a lot of businesses that lost a lot of revenue.”
The H-2B visa system has come under attack from the Trump Administration with criticisms of “undercutting” American workers and replacing them with personnel who will work for less. It allows companies to hire workers from abroad (or foreign nationals) to do jobs in America. Much like the highly contentious H-1B visa program has come under fire. Employers use it as a way to replace workers already in jobs with staff willing to work for a lot less.
Many critics say that the H-2B system doesn’t really allow American workers a “fair shot” at getting hired. Daniel Costa, director of immigration law and policy research at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, said:
“The requirements aren’t that onerous, and the DOL isn’t really checking all that much,” Costa said. H-2B employers are required to offer a so-called prevailing wage — defined as the average wage paid to people in a similar role in the same area — but Costa said the benchmark should be higher. A rider inserted in a 2016 spending bill and re-upped again this year, allowed employers to use their own private wage surveys rather than Labor Department data to calculate prevailing wages. “There’s always some sort of loophole,” Costa said.
The reality is, that if these positions were actually hard to fill (with local American workers), then the demand should have meant that wages for these jobs increased dramatically. However, they have been one of the slowest growing sectors (in fact, some areas also saw a shrinkage in wages). This is generally viewed as a sign that there is an oversupply of labor.
While the move to limit visas is being welcomed by many struggling families across the US, in Washington, it is receiving a lot of push back. Corporate lobbyists work to protect corporate profits over American jobs. Trying to balance capitalist issues with American labor and immigration issues with be no small feat for the President and Congress.
Mark is a political writer and journalist who has worked on campaigns for Brexit.