Labor Day kicks off the final stretch toward the Election Day showdown between incumbent President Donald Trump and the Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden.
After months of COVID-19-related layoffs, furloughs, outright firings, permanent closing of many small businesses and bankruptcy filings by major corporations, restoring jobs will be among the top issues on the candidates’ agendas.
Many of Trump’s talking points are a mirror image of his successful 2016 platform: to prioritize American jobs, wages and security; to establish new immigration controls to boost wages, to ensure that available jobs are offered to Americans first and to curb foreign workers’ uncontrolled admission and thereby protect the economic well-being of already present lawful immigrants.
If re-elected, Trump promises to, among his other goals and under the banner of “fighting for you,” create ten million new jobs and, as he did in 2016, “prohibit American companies from replacing United States citizens with lower-cost foreign workers.” But during his four years in office, the president got mixed-to-poor grades on ending American corporations’ cheap labor addiction.
On the positive side, within the last two months, Trump intervened in the Tennessee Valley Authority’s plan to displace its American employees with H-1B visa workers. Hundreds of American jobs were saved. But, on the negative side, during his first term, Trump has been unable — or perhaps unwilling — to keep other globalist corporations like Amazon, Google and Deloitte Consulting from tapping into the vast cheap labor pool.
Another related and alarming development: last week, Trump moved to promote Chad Wolf, acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, to the position. From the perspective of U.S. tech workers, Wolf’s resume is troublesome. Before joining the White House, Wolf worked for the National Association of Software and Service Companies, a lobbying group that promotes outsourcing and offshoring of U.S. tech jobs to India.
In more disappointing news for unemployed and under-employed Americans, the State Department gutted Trump’s June executive order that paused several employment-based visa categories until December 31. President Trump’s base hailed his action as a positive intervention on struggling American workers’ behalf. But the State Department, in an advisory written in the vaguest imaginable language, will admit entry to foreign nationals that it deems — without having to provide a scintilla of evidence — essential to “the immediate and continued economic recovery of the U.S.” Deep State bureaucrats negated Trump’s order, and opened the door for foreign nationals to take jobs that Americans deserve.
Also contributing to Trump’s lukewarm immigration grade is his refusal to promote E-Verify, the federal program that confirms an individual’s legal privilege to work in the U.S. Analysts are in near unanimous agreement that E-Verify represents a more effective deterrent to illegal entry and hiring than a Southwest border wall. President Trump may have forgotten that winning an election only gave him possession of the ball; he still needed to score touchdowns.
Candidate Biden’s positions vis-a-vis immigration would, in the aggregate, provide work authorization to millions. Most obviously, Biden’s support for an amnesty that would be granted to more than 10 million illegal aliens would correspondingly expand the labor pool by that total. Biden also favors more visas for low- and high-skilled workers.
The economy has failed too many Americans. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a 10.2% unemployment rate in July. That doesn’t include the millions of workers who want but cannot find full-time jobs. African-Americans as well as other minorities, the less-educated and lower-skilled Americans can’t begin their climb toward the middle-class as long as they are unfairly and unnecessarily forced to compete with cheaper overseas labor.
Whether Trump or Biden wins in November, putting American workers first should be the first and foremost goal of either.
About the Author
Joe Guzzardi is a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist who writes about immigration and related social issues.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Joe Guzzardi wrote this piece prior to the latest employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which Friday, Sept. 4, reported an unemployment rate of 8.4%.