Three out-of-the-ordinary — and totally unrelated — developments have shown up in the foreign worker field in the last few days, with the three main players (admirably) acting out of character.
- A Republican legislator, who might be expected to be pro-business, attacking his state's corporations for hiring foreign workers;
- A left-of-center Democratic senator taking an anti-migration stance; and
- A corporation accusing a rival one of hiring illegal aliens.
The legislator is the majority (GOP) leader of the North Carolina State Senate, Phil Berger. According to the Charlotte Observer, Berger proposes that companies getting state funds for creating new jobs should not be able to count jobs filled by foreign workers in the benefit formula. The Observer observes — and I would agree — that the proposal is the first of its kind in any state.
That it arises in that state's legislature is particularly odd considering that a recent speaker of the state's lower house, now U.S. Sen.Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), is currently one of the most avid pro-foreign worker members of the Senate and, unfortunately, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The senator is Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), a member of the same committee, whose immigration-reduction grade from NumbersUSA is an F- for recent years, and an F for his career. Despite this history, he joined Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) this week in signing a letter to the secretaries of DHS and Labor objecting to the recent DHS decision to expand the number of H-2B workers by 15,000 this year.
Sens. Grassley and Cotton are among the migration skeptics in the Senate, so their protests on this point are not unexpected; Sen. Durbin, while generally favorable to immigration, has been known to complain about the H-1B program in the past. Connecticut is among the few remaining states where unions are powerful, and they dislike temporary worker programs.
The corporation is American Elite Molding Company LCC, based in Crestview, Fla. It went into Okaloosa County Circuit Court (not a federal court) to sue Advanced Cable Ties, Inc., which has a factory in Gardner, Mass., for damages, contending that ACT had hired illegal aliens; AEM said it had lost contracts and had to lower its prices because of these practices. I first saw the report by Tennessee lawyer Bruce Buchanan in Immigration Daily. Both companies seem to manufacture those omnipresent little plastic ties.
This is, I think an unusual court case and one hopes — without too much optimism — that AEM wins over ACT, and that it will set a useful precedent.
AEM's filing is not without a back story. As Immigration Daily did not report, the Massachusetts firm sued AEM a year and a half ago claiming that AEM had been selling products as "made in the USA" when they had, in fact, been made in China. According to PACER, the federal courts' electronic filing system, case 4:2016cv40126, filed in the federal courts in Massachusetts, is still being argued.
It would be helpful if a my-rival-hires-illegals case were brought in a situation where there were no "made in China" complications.