Marco Rubio on Modernizing Our Legal Immigration System (Part 2)

In my examination of Sen. Rubio’s (and the Gang of Eight) immigration bill, particularly its claim of modernizing our legal immigration system, today I take a look at guest worker program components of the bill.

Modernizing Our Legal Immigration System: Guest Worker Program
Rubio Speak

The bill establishes a guest worker program for lower-skilled workers that ensures our future flow of workers is manageable, traceable, fair to American workers, and in line with our economy’s needs. The modernization of our visa programs will ensure people who want to come legally – and who our economy needs to come legally – can do so.

The Truth about the Rubio Amnesty

  • Sen. Rubio’s bill is perfectly designed to displace millions more American workers and to continue to depress wages across the labor market. Having taken care of the “jobs Americans can’t do” by pumping up the number of H-1Bs, those “jobs Americans won’t do” will be filled by 200,000 new permanent “guest” workers 200,000 new permanent “guest” workers.
  • A new W visa will be created for non-agricultural workers (with yet another separate visa category for Ag workers) in occupations that do not require a bachelor’s degree, excepting computer occupations. This includes 18 of the top 20 fastest growing occupations in the U.S., such as registered nurses, truck drivers, and landscaping workers.
  • In March 2013, there were 6.4 million unemployed persons in the U.S. who have less than a bachelor’s degree.
  • The construction industry has a special carve-out that allocates it at least 15,000 workers, and can go as high as 66,000. In March 2013, there were 1.2 million unemployed construction workers.
  • In the “Meat, Poultry, and Fish Cutters and Trimmers” occupational category, which has a median hourly wage of $10.98 an hour, the number of guest workers can go up to 20,000 and can never go down. That one’s for you, Sen. Graham.
  • Sen. Rubio’s “conservative” solution is to create another government bureaucracy, the “Bureau of Immigration and Labor Market Research,” under the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS). This commission would be staffed with “experts” who will determine just how acute a labor shortage there is in lesser-skilled occupations and recommend how many new guest workers should be admitted every year.
  • Employers can apply for guest workers unless the unemployment rate in a designated area is above 8.5 percent. There is no metric to account for the fact that unemployment rates have been going down across the country because Americans are dropping out of the workforce, not because they are returning work.
  • The new bureau can even declare a “shortage occupation” to allow employers to bring in workers even when unemployment is above 8.5%.
  • Sen. Rubio has made much of the requirement that employers in shortage occupations that bring in workers have to pay a slightly higher wage, but that wage would only be slightly higher than the already depressed prevailing wage. Wages for workers without college degrees have been stagnant the 1970s.

Marco Rubio on Modernizing Our Legal Immigration System

There are currently about 700,000 foreign students studying at U.S. universities. Some of them are among the world’s best and brightest; many of them are not. A high percentage of foreign students remain in the United States after graduation to compete for jobs, despite the fact that this technically violates the terms of their student visa. That is yet another example of immigration law that has been circumvented administratively, in this case by the creation of Optional Practical Training (OPT), which allows foreign graduates to work in the United States for up to 29 months while they apply for a guest worker program or a green card. Sen. Rubio’s bill will bring in hundreds of thousands more tech workers to add to an already overabundant supply of competing workers, at the same time it amnesties millions of low-skill illegal aliens and dramatically increases legal immigration. This is a solution only a D.C. politician could dream up; and one that can only be defended by misrepresentation.

Modernizing Our Legal Immigration System: High Skilled Workers
Rubio Speak

After educating the world’s brightest and most innovative minds, we will no longer send them home to benefit competing economies like China and India; we will instead staple green cards to their diplomas. We will also expand the highly skilled H1-B visa program from 65,000 to 110,000 to fill jobs Americans can’t do. To accomplish the move to a more merit-based immigration system, we eliminate certain categories of family preferences that have allowed for chain migration and completely eliminate the diversity visa lottery, among other reforms.

The Truth about the Rubio Amnesty

  • Sen. Rubio’s bill will bring in hundreds of thousands of tech workers to add to an already overabundant supply of competing workers, at the same time it amnesties millions of low-skill illegal aliens and dramatically increases legal immigration.
  • Sen. Rubio is bragging about wanting to immediately raise the annual admissions of tech workers by 70 percent, and by almost 180 percent in a few years’ time.
  • The endless refrain about foreign students being the “best and brightest” is simply not true, and it denigrates American students who truly are the most outstanding in the world. Native-born students consistently outperform their foreign counterparts at university and in the workplace.
  • The percentage of those students who stay in the U.S. after graduation is already at an all-time high. Even though foreign students have to promise to return home after graduation in order to be eligible for a student (F-1) visa, many take advantage of the ever-expanding Optional Practical Training (OPT) which allows foreign graduates to work in the U.S. for up to 29 months while they apply for a guest worker program or a green card.
  • There is absolutely no shortage of workers in tech fields. There are many more graduates who have degrees in tech fields every year than there are jobs created in the industry. In fact, American tech workers are being driven out of the field, replaced by foreign, often younger, and cheaper foreign workers.
  • FAIR’s own study on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) workers points out that there is an oversupply of STEM graduates every year. Two-thirds of STEM graduates are not working in fields directly related to their degree because there are too few jobs available to them, with many jobs being given to foreign STEM graduates or H-1B guest workers.
  • Sen. Rubio relies on talking points provided by Microsoft and other tech companies that have been thoroughly discredited by the Economic Policy Institute.
  • The bill also expands and creates new avenues for admission, for example, allowing an unlimited number of visas for spouses and children of green card holders, and permitting immigrants to sponsor their adult children. Unmarried children of green card holders can be sponsored regardless of age, and married sons or daughters can be sponsored up to the age of 31. Of course, these married adult children will bring their spouses and own children with them.

There He Goes Again: Marco Rubio Continues His Misinformation Campaign

One thing can be said about Marco Rubio: he is persistent.  But as he attempts to reboot his campaign to defend the indefensible Gang of Eight bill, he is still saying things that are untrue and, at times, downright absurd.   In responding to a critical assessment of the bill (has there been any other since its release?) on the conservative Power Line blog, Rubio (or more accurately Rubio’s office, the same staff that compared the push for amnesty to the emancipation of slaves) reiterated his stance that the bill isn’t a “comprehensive” bill because:


The word “comprehensive” isn’t in the title…our bill is really a couple of smaller bills combined; we dealt with each issue separately (enforcement; pathway to legalization; temporary worker, etc.), and did not negotiate one against the other since they are all unique issues.


Does Rubio really believe that the bill isn’t comprehensive because it’s one gigantic bill that has various components?  That’s like arguing War and Peace isn’t really a book because “book” is not in the title and it’s divided up into chapters.  The whole point of Rubio’s version of immigration reform is that it must be comprehensive.  In fact, his office explicitly says so in the very next sentence:


Marco would be fine with breaking up the bill and passing it as a series of smaller bills, but many fear that would result in Congress only fixing certain parts of our immigration system, while letting other — more controversial — aspects fester…


So Rubio would be fine with genuine reform of the immigration system, but because that would entail standing up to the special interests in D.C., the Senator is forced to go along with a “comprehensive” (just don’t call it that) reform bill that he admits is flawed.  This game has been going on for years on Capitol Hill.  Those who want mass amnesty (La Raza) are willing to agree to the demand for a massive increase in guest workers (U.S. Chamber) in order to get legislation passed.  Tripling annual immigrant admissions is where they meet in the middle.  That’s what Rubio signed off on with the Gang of Eight bill.

Here’s a suggestion for Rubio since he is “fine” with breaking up the bill.  Begin by passing legislation that will actually secure the border, and not one that requires only a plan to secure the border maybe perhaps ten years down the road.  The next bill should be mandatory E-Verify for all U.S. employers, including agricultural employers, that allows states to enforce penalties against employers who violate the law.  Then Congress can demand by law that the Obama Administration renew 287(g) agreements with local law enforcement agencies, reviving cooperative efforts to enforce immigration law on the interior.  If these three steps were taken, the other –more controversial – provisions might no longer be necessary.

Refuting Rubio Myth vs. Fact – The Bill Will Protect American Workers

In the last installment of my four-part series of some of the myths by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) about the Gang of Eight immigration bill, I take a look at how the Gang of Eight amnesty bill claims to protect American workers.

The Bill Will Protect American Workers

Rubio Speak

This bill protects American workers from unwarranted immigration for jobs that Americans are willing and able to do. For example, the proposal would not allow any work visas to be issued if the unemployment rate in a certain area is above 8.5 percent, which is the norm in many cities.

The Truth about Rubio Amnesty

  • There are no jobs that Americans won’t do because there are no jobs that Americans aren’t already doing. Americans are reluctant to take certain jobs because wages for these jobs have remained stagnant for the last forty years while conditions for workers have worsened. Even so, 30 percent of farm laborers are U.S. citizens. According to a Center for Immigration Studies analysis, out of 472 occupations listed by the Census Bureau, native-born workers are the majority of workers in 466 of these occupations.
  • 8.5 percent unemployment is extraordinarily high. Since January 1948, the unemployment rate in the U.S. has averaged 5.8 percent.
  • What Sen. Rubio means is that the quota for guest workers will increase unless unemployment goes higher than 8.5 percent. With the passage of his bill, hundreds of thousands more guest workers will immediately begin to flood the labor market.
  • The unemployment rate for construction workers in March 2013 was 14.7 percent. It has been above 8.5 percent for 61 out of the last 64 months. The unemployment rate for agricultural workers in March 2013 was 13.5 percent. How does Sen. Rubio explain the supposed worker shortage in these sectors? He simply relies on talking points supplied to him by industry and open borders lobbyists.

Refuting Rubio Myth vs. Fact – Modernizing our Legal Immigration System Will Grow our Economy and Create Jobs

In the third installment of my four-part series of some of the myths by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) about the Gang of Eight immigration bill, I take a deeper look at his claims that the bill modernizes our legal immigration system and grows our economy.

Modernizing our Legal Immigration System Will Grow our Economy and Create Jobs

Rubio Speak

The modernization of our legal immigration system will be a net benefit for America as we make historic reforms towards a more merit-based immigration system that will help us attract entrepreneurs, innovators, investors, skilled workers and people driven by the desire to build a better life for themselves and, in turn, create jobs for American workers.

The Truth about Rubio Amnesty

  • Their argument is immigrants make the population grow which makes the economy bigger which increases the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Any increase in the GDP is always good. Ipso facto, all immigration is good for the economy. While it is undeniably true that growing the U.S. population makes the economy larger and that usually results in an increase in the GDP, it does not necessarily result in a per capita increase in GDP, meaning the benefits that accrue to each individual.
  • The U.S. immigration system over the last 30 years has functioned in a way that the economic benefits of immigration accrue to immigrants and those who employ immigrants (both legal and illegal – including guest workers).
  • Furthermore, immigrants send part of their wages back to their home countries, taking that money out of the U.S. economy. In 2011, remittances to Latin America alone totaled $61 billion.
  • Foreign guest workers displace American workers and drive down wages in both low- and high-skill occupations.
  • Illegal immigration, and amnestying low-skilled illegal aliens, hurts the most vulnerable Americans, taking away job opportunities for the less-educated and disproportionally hurting minorities.
  • During the so-called recovery following the 2007 recession, foreign workers have been hired at a much higher rate than Americans. If Sen. Rubio’s bill is passed, displacement will accelerate.

Refuting Rubio Myth vs. Fact – The Toughest Border Security and Enforcement Measures in U.S. History

In day two of my four-day series of some of the myths by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) about the Gang of Eight bill that is being rammed through the Senate by the Senator and his seven other colleagues, I address his claims that the bill includes some of the toughest border security requirements the U.S. has ever seen.

The Toughest Border Security & Enforcement Measures In U.S. History
Rubio Speak

This legislation contains the toughest border immigration enforcement measures in U.S. history. It is based on six required security triggers that must be achieved before the newly legalized are allowed to apply for green cards.

The Truth about Rubio Amnesty

  • Sen. Rubio’s bill calls for border security only along narrow corridors, and will measure effective border security with a metric that does not yet exist and is to be developed by Secretary Janet Napolitano, who thinks she has done more than enough already to secure the border.
  • A guarantee of a secure border and tough interior enforcement is not required by Sen. Rubio’s bill. The only thing that is required is a plan to accomplish these things—there are no consequences for the Secretary’s failure to secure the border.
  • The E-Verify “trigger” should already be in place. Legislation to establish an electronic employment verification system was passed in 1996. Rubio’s bill would effectively neuter employment verification, exempting many employers and employees.
  • A biometric entry/exit system has been required by law since 1996. Rubio’s bill weakens its provisions and does not require its implementation at land ports.
  • Illegal aliens get amnesty even if the border is never secured. Once the DHS Secretary submits plans to secure the border and add fencing, illegal aliens get “registered provisional immigrant” status, which will not be taken away even if the security measures in the bill are never implemented.