Monday, 20 June 2011

Bloomberg: U.S. Must Admit More Immigrants

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Leftist New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (pictured) says U.S. immigration policy is “national suicide.”

But Bloomberg did not mean the de facto policy of open borders that permits anyone, legally or no, to enter the country. Instead, he believes — against all evidence — that the United States must admit more immigrants.

This is no surprise from Bloomberg, a hard-bitten leftist who travels inside the Republican Party. He also believes, for instance, that Virginia is responsible for New York’s gun crime because the Old Dominion permits citizens to defend themselves with firearms.

More Immigrants Needed

Speaking at an immigration symposium in Washington sponsored by the internationalist Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Bloomberg gave this message: The United States must admit more immigrants or else. “You know, it really is ironic that the immigration issue that divides this city — is this — dividing this particular city, because so much of Washington was built by immigrants,” Bloomberg observed. He continued,

The street design was drawn up by Pierre Charles L'Enfant, a French immigrant; the White House was designed by an Irish immigrant named James Hoban; and the U.S. Capitol designed by William Thornton, a British immigrant.

And those buildings are not only monuments to our democracy, they are monuments to the contributions that millions of immigrants have made to America throughout its history.

But our country's greatest national monument perhaps and the American landmark that is really most recognized around the world is not the dome of the Capitol here in Washington or the pillars of the White House or the memorials on the National Mall. It is the Statue of Liberty.

Since 1886 — what, a 125 years ago this October — Lady Liberty's torch has brought light to the darkest corners of the earth, beckoning here to America's shores all those, as they say, yearning to breathe free. Yet it's not Lady Liberty's torch or her crown or her broken chains that has inspired so much awe. It is really her location.

The power of her symbol lies in the reality of New York City as a gateway, a golden door to the land of opportunity that is the United States of America and still is the United States of America. We should not forget that. That reality is not just our history, however. It is also our future, and we have to make sure that we can maintain that for our children.

We would not have become a global superpower without the contributions of immigrants who built the railroads and the canals and opened up the West or invented groundbreaking products that have revolutionized global commerce or who pioneered scientific engineering and medical advances that made America the most innovative country in the world.

But make no mistake about it. We will not remain a global superpower if we continue to close our doors to the people who want to come here, to work hard, start businesses and pursue the American dream.

That American dream cannot survive if we keep telling the dreamers to go elsewhere. It's what I call national suicide, and that's not hyperbole — that every day what we fail — that we fail to fix our broken immigration laws is a day that we inflict a wound on our economy.

Whatever the accuracy of Bloomberg’s history, as well as his apparent conflation of (legal) immigration then and (illegal) immigration now, the leftist mayor also averred that American business needs more immigrants to fill jobs, notwithstanding the nation’s nine-percent unemployment rate. Bloomberg also wants the government to issue more H1-B visas, which allow foreigners to work in “specialty” occupations such as medicine and engineering.

Claiming that foreigners founded “one-quarter of all high-tech companies over the last 10 years,” Bloomberg also complained that the country isn’t importing enough Third World immigrants. “But right now, the cap on H1-B visas and green cards is much too low. And caps on green cards are set by countries, so Iceland actually gets the same number of visas as India.” He added,

That may be fair to those two countries, but it's certainly not fair to American business and to Americans. We should give — end these arbitrary limits and end the cap on the high-skilled H1-B visas. Let the marketplace decide. It's basic free-market economics, and both parties ought to be able to get behind it. ...

[W]e must ensure that major industries, such as agriculture and tourism, that rely on those workers just starting up the economic ladder, have access to foreign workers when they cannot fill the jobs with American workers. These employers want a legal workforce, but our current system just makes that extremely difficult. Firms have to go through multiple levels of approvals to do basic hiring, and in Georgia, where they crack down on illegal farm workers, farm owners are experiencing severe labor shortages that's driving up their cost and leaving crops unharvested. At a time when food prices are rising, this is the last thing American consumers and farmers need.

Also speaking at the symposium, titled “The Future of U.S. Immigration Policy: Next Steps,” was the immigration writer for the New York Times.

More Immigrants Not Needed

Billionaire Bloomberg did not tell the audience that immigration lowers wages for Americans. Nor did he divulge the data that American employers use the H1-B visas to rid their workforce of more costly American workers.

As The New American reported last year, the data show that immigrants decrease American wages by increasing the labor pool and permitting American employers to pay lower wages:

Four years ago, economist George Borjas of Harvard University conducted a study for Maricopa County, Arizona. He found that illegal aliens alone depressed wages in Arizona by $1.4 billion in 2006, and knocked 4.2 percent off the wages of low-skilled workers. According the Phoenix Business Journal, Borjas calculated “that illegals make up 10 percent of all state workers and decrease all wages by 1.5 percent.”

Bojras also found that immigrants depressed American wages by 4 percent, $1,700 per worker, between 1980 and 2000. As well, he found “among natives without a high school education, who roughly correspond to the poorest tenth of the workforce, the estimated impact was even larger, reducing their wages by 7.4 percent.”

For its part, the H1-B visa program permits high-tech companies to hire foreign workers such as engineers for must less money than they would have to pay Americans. The goal of American high-tech firms? Hire as much cheap labor as possible.

Unsurprisingly, two of the loudest voices in favor of hiring more foreign employees are leftist Microsoft tycoon Bill Gates and the software industry. Gates has been a tenacious lobbyist for more H1-B visas. As Norman Matloff of the University of California at Davis argues, the H1-B visa program has little to do with maintaining a skilled work force. Instead, he writes, it “is fundamentally about cheap labor.”

Matloff quotes a software executive who flatly stated he wants H1-B workers because they are cheap. “I know from my experience as a tech CEO that H-1Bs are cheaper than domestic hires,” he said. “Technically, these workers are supposed to be paid a ‘prevailing wage,’ but this mechanism is riddled with loopholes.”

As well, the executive said, “I was one of the first [CEOs] to use H-1B visas to bring workers to the U.S.A. Why did I do that? Because it was cheaper.”

Matloff also points to data from Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat from Silicon Valley in California.

Lofgren said that the average wage for computer systems analysts in her district is $92,000, but the U.S. government prevailing wage rate for H-1B workers in the same job currently stands at $52,000, or $40,000 less.

“Small wonder there's a problem here,” said Lofgren. “We can't have people coming in and undercutting the American educated workforce.”

Worth about $18.1 billion, Bloomberg is the 13th richest man in the United States. He is the owner of Bloomberg L.P., the financial news company. Bloomberg did not divulge in his speech how many H1-B workers his company employs.

Nor did he explain where unemployed Americans are supposed to work if more immigrants are imported to take jobs.

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