The Dismal Record of All the Candidates on Temporary Foreign Workers

By David North on February 29, 2016

None of the major candidates for president has a commendable record on reducing the use of temporary (indentured) foreign workers.

In my view the worst of this sorry lot are the candidates who personally profited from the foreign worker program. Next are the candidates with flip-flop positions on the issue; these candidates have a proven bad record on the issue with a dab of hypocritical frosting on top. And then there is a candidate who has not made money out of the aliens, and not flip-flopped, but is wrong anyway.

This is how they stack up, as I see it:

Worst: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The Donald's extensive use of nonimmigrant workers — when plenty of American workers were available — at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach was front-page news in the New York Times.

One element that the Times probably noticed, but did not mention, is that an employer hiring a large number of Romanian workers, as Trump did, gets a large number of white workers; most of the resident workers in the Palm Beach area that Trump did not hire presumably were not white. An employer using the foreign worker system can discriminate in favor or a skin color without running afoul of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Considerably less well known is the fact that Hillary Clinton was paid $260,000 for a short speech to, of all audiences, the annual convention of the American Camp Association. The fee, according to Daily Kos, represented 10 percent of the organization’s annual budget. Why did they want to hear her? These camps routinely hire some 25,000 J-1 workers as camp counselors.

For some reason I am more appalled at Hillary's acceptance of this $260,000 fee than her acceptance of considerably more from Goldman Sachs. She must have known that she was charging (or at least receiving) a huge hunk of the little organization’s annual income, and must have known exactly why they wanted to hear her.

Less Worse: Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. Senator Rubio was one of the original Gang of Eight that sought to tear apart our immigration system, from sea to shining sea. More recently, he has sponsored the I-Squared bill, another attempt to expand the pool of temporary alien workers. He has changed his tune a bit recently, as he faced the voters, but not in any substantive way.

Ted Cruz, during committee consideration of the Gang of Eight bill, sought to quintuple the size of the H-1B ceiling to 325,000, a position so extreme that Sen. Chuck Schumer led the opposition to his amendment. More recently he has changed his posture both in his published immigration platform and also, more substantively, by his co-sponsorship of a potentially useful bill reining in the H-1B program — the American Jobs First Act, S.2394 — that was written by Sen. Jeff Sessions.

To their collective credit, neither senator made any money out of the temporary worker programs.

Least Worst: Bernie Sanders. Bernie Sanders, as a member of the Senate, voted for the Gang of Eight's bill (despite his skepticism of guestworker programs) and has not changed his stance much, if at all, since then.

So he did not see any cash, nor change his posture to please the voters, unlike the others.

Calling someone the least worst is not high praise, but as a Democrat living in Virginia, I will be casting my vote for Sanders on Tuesday. (Our leader, Mark Krikorian, also a Virginia resident, has written that he will vote for Ted Cruz in the Republican primary).