“With 10 million unemployment claims just in the past two weeks and a jobless rate that could reach 32 percent, the Trump Administration is continuing the trend of increasing importation of foreign workers, whose numbers have doubled over the past decade.”
Image: Getty/American Greatness
Visas for Pottersville
April 2, 2020
In the Christmas classic “It’s a Wonderful Life,” George Bailey is shown an alternate, dystopian version of Bedford Falls. In Pottersville, renamed for the greedy local mogul, the neighborhood bar is instead a raucous saloon, George’s flirty childhood friend has become a prostitute, and his real-world wife, Mary, is instead a spinster librarian.
At one point in Bedford Falls, George and Mary confess their love while on a phone call with a wealthy school friend. In the course of the call, Sam Wainwright announces plans to build a plastics factory in Rochester. George answers:
Why not right here? You remember that old tool and machinery works? You tell your father he can get that for a song. And all the labor he wants, too. Half the town was thrown out of work when they closed down.
If there had been a Pottersville version of that call, Sam, instead of hiring those jobless locals, would have responded, “Hire Americans? Nah, I’ll just import foreign workers on visas. Hee haw!”
Welcome to Pottersville.
Bad Policy Meets Harsh Reality
With 10 million unemployment claims just in the past two weeks and a jobless rate that could reach 32 percent, the Trump Administration is continuing the trend of increasing importation of foreign workers, whose numbers have doubled over the past decade.
The State Department has waived the interview requirement
for H-2A visa farmworkers to speed their arrival, while the Department of Homeland Security is going ahead with alottery for H-1B cheap-labor visas
for tech firms and possibly increasing the number of H-2B nonfarm seasonal workers (for landscaping, hotels, carnivals, etc.)
This last is perhaps the most unreal. Following its recent practice, Congress responded to pressure from industry lobbyists to increase the number of H-2B visas by passing the buck to DHS, authorizing—but not requiring—it to increase the number. The administration decided on the largest-ever increase—35,000 additional visas—in the long-ago days of 3 percent unemployment (i.e., March 5).
Rather than retract that increase under today’s radically changed circumstances, DHS last week formally submitted the order for the increase to the White House and was expected to start doling out the visas this week.
But a blistering monologue by Tucker Carlson
on Wednesday seems to have given the administration pause. DHS tweeted Thursday
that “DHS’s rule on the H-2B cap is on hold pending review due to present economic circumstances. No additional H-2B visas will be released until further notice.” The increase should never have been submitted and should simply be canceled—the only “review” that’s needed is a review of the news headlines—but this is better than nothing.