October 31, 2018

Republicans should support work visas. They’d help business and ease the caravan problem.

Jordan Bruneau, a senior policy analyst for Becoming American Initiative, wrote the following op-ed for USA Today.

Expanded work visas used to be the Republican solution to immigration. “Rather than talking about putting up a fence,” said then-presidential candidate Ronald Reagan in 1980, “why don’t we … make it possible for them to come here legally with a work permit?” In 2004, President George W. Bush proposed a new temporary worker program that would issue extended nonsector specific work visas, with availability fluctuating based on the number of available jobs in the country.

The pushback from Republicans has been that more low-skilled workers take jobs and lower wages for American residents. The growing influence of immigration restrictionists, including Tucker Carlson, Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, Jeff Sessions and, of course, Trump, has made this view ascendant in the Republican Party. This is evidenced by the Cotton-Perdue immigration bill introduced this year that proposed halving immigration levels.

It takes a pretty big set of intellectual blinders to argue that immigrants are taking jobs when the unemployment rate, including the blackHispanic and youth rates, is hovering near half-century lows and there are are a record 7.1 million unfilled jobs in the country. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that more than a million new home health care aides will be needed by 2026 alone.

Read the full op-ed at USA Today.