Immigration will take center stage tonight at the final Donald Trump–Hillary Clinton debate. Clinton dreams of “open borders.” Count on her to yank on your heart strings. But workers who are losing their jobs to newcomers from other countries should be skeptical.
Trump’s challenge will be to convince voters that looking out for American workers first is not racist or xenophobic. It’s simple economics. Hillary’s “dream” of open borders is a nightmare for wage earners.
In the last twelve months, jobs held by immigrants have increased five times as fast as jobs held by U.S.-born workers. The American labor force is being displaced at a rapid pace. To add insult to injury, some pink-slipped workers are being forced to train low-wage replacements after they’ve been fired. Last year, Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, fired 250 tech workers, and then demanded they spend their final weeks on the job teaching their replacements from India.
Clinton promises to protect American jobs. Don’t count on it. Do the math. Hillary’s “private position” on open borders — her secret dream of unlimited immigration — is one of the bombshell revelations in the recent WikiLeaks of her paid speeches.
Now it’s clear why she refused to disclose these speeches when Bernie Sanders demanded them.
Sanders smelled the rat during the primary season, when Hillary courted labor with assurances she’d preserve their jobs. He warned that her globalist views would allow wealthy corporations “to bring in all kinds of people [who] work” for low pay and “would make everybody in America poorer.” He did the math and saw that it’s already happening.
Since November 2007, jobs belonging to native-born workers have declined by 1.5 million, while jobs held by immigrants (legal and illegal) have grown by 2 million. In the last year alone, employment by native-born American workers inched up a meager 1%. Immigrant employment shot up 5%.
Some economists point to Adam Smith’s long-held theory that the invisible hand of the global market place should allow labor and raw materials to move wherever they will be used to maximum benefit. In short, open borders and free trade. That’s the theory.
But in the U.S., Smith’s invisible hand is smacking labor upside the head.
A steady stream of newly arriving workers keeps wages down in industries like buildings and grounds maintenance and food preparation and serving. That benefits business owners and consumers, but the data show it depresses the standard of living of wage earners in these industries — the people mowing lawns, packaging frozen foods, and serving burgers. As Harvard economist George Borjas shows, it also hurts immigrants already here who are struggling to make it.
Hillary has declared income inequality Public Enemy #1. She’s campaigning to raise the federal minimum wage. That’s two-faced, so long as she allows immigration to drive down wages of disadvantaged minorities, including high school dropouts and people with limited English skills.
Mid-level computer workers and skilled technicians are also getting slammed by an influx of foreign workers brought here expressly to undercut their salaries.
Current U.S. law allows companies to evade immigration limits and bring in foreign workers under H-1B visas to fill jobs as long as it doesn’t “adversely affect” conditions for U.S. workers. But as one laid off Disney worker said, “Was I negatively affected? Yeah, I was. I lost my job.”
During the Republican primaries, Donald Trump attacked these special visas and pledged that “If I am President, I will not issue any H-1B visas.” Trump’s hands are not entirely clean — he used similar immigration loopholes to staff his resorts — but he says what he did as a businessman and what he’ll do as president are different.
Meanwhile, tech firms like Facebook and Apple are pushing for more — not fewer — H-1B visas and looser immigration laws. Tech moguls are funneling millions to support Clinton’s presidency. Money talks, and it’s never been truer than with the Clintons.