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Congressman Tom McClintock

Representing the 4th District of California

Immigration Subcommittee: Ranking Member McClintock Opening Statement House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration - Damage Done to American Workers Through Abuses in Guestworker Programs

July 13, 2021
Speeches

"Today we will hear from Dr. Ronil Hira of the damage done to American workers – and to the foreign workers themselves -- through abuses in guestworker programs like H-1B, L-1 and the Optional Practical Training program, and how despite assurances of the left, pay far below the market rates for labor and displace skilled American workers."

Congressman McClintock serves as the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration.  The Congressman delivered the following opening statement at a hearing held on June 24, 2021:

Opening Statement
Congressman Tom McClintock
Ranking Member, House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration
June 24, 2021

Madam Chairman:

The crisis on our Southern Border, precipitated by President Biden’s executive orders, continues unabated and unaddressed.  The Border Patrol reports well over 1 million encounters with illegal migrants just since the beginning of this fiscal year.  The number of unaccompanied children in Border Patrol custody has grown ten-fold since last year.  The Mexican crime cartels are reportedly making more money in human trafficking than they are in drug trafficking.  FBI director Wray confirmed last month that this unprecedented influx includes criminal elements that enforce staggering debts owed by migrants to the cartels, including through indentured servitude – that is, slavery.

Meanwhile, the immigration sub-committee continues to ignore this crisis.  Committee Republicans have begged the majority to have hearings on this unfolding catastrophe and I make that request again today.  Meanwhile Americans pay the price both as taxpayers and as employees.   

The continuing theme we hear from the left is that despite these jaw-dropping numbers and despite the impact on American families as the labor market is flooded with low-wage illegal immigrant workers, we need to encourage still more mass immigration.  

At our first hearing, the Republican witness documented the tremendous negative impact that illegal immigration has had on African-American communities.  As Peter Kirsanow stated, “Not only do illegal immigrants compete for jobs with African-Americans, but that competition drives down wages for the jobs that are available.”       

At our second hearing, we learned how flooding the market with low-wage labor does enormous economic harm to working Americans. We also heard how many guestworker programs allow employers to fill positions at wages substantially less than the domestic labor market would otherwise command. As I noted then, this is at the expense of working Americans whose wages stagnated for decades as the immigrant share of the population tripled.  

Today we will hear from Dr. Ronil Hira of the damage done to American workers – and to the foreign workers themselves -- through abuses in guestworker programs like H-1B, L-1 and the Optional Practical Training program, and how despite assurances of the left, pay far below the market rates for labor and displace skilled American workers.

This has resulted in continuing scandals as skilled American workers have been ordered to train their foreign replacements as a condition of receiving severance pay, including major corporations like Southern California Edison, Siemens, Disney, AT&T and the University of California.   Under the OPT program, employers don’t have to pay payroll taxes if they hire foreign nationals here on student visas for 29 months after graduation.  If you know a college graduate who has a science, technical, engineering or mathematics degree who can’t find an entry level job, you need look no farther than this discriminatory program.

Let me make very clear what the Democrats are advocating.  It comes from Senate testimony of Leo Perrero, who lost his job at Disney because of these abuses.  Listen carefully, because his experience could well be yours if the Democrats prevail.  He said:

I walked into a small conference room with about two dozen highly respected fellow IT workers. The Disney Executive made a harsh announcement to us all. All of you in this room will be losing your jobs in the next 90 days. Your jobs have been given over to a foreign workforce. In the meantime, you will be training your replacements until your jobs are 100% transferred over to them and if you don’t cooperate you will not receive any severance pay.

American citizens trust this Congress to look out for them when they cast their votes every two years.  Yet this Congress has made very clear through both its actions and inactions that it places Americans last and foreign labor and the big corporations that shamelessly exploit it first.

The Trump Administration issued regulations aimed at reforming programs like H-1B to stop these abuses and protect jobs and wages for Americans.  It is no accident that these policies accompanied the strongest wage growth for American workers in 40 years, the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years and the lowest poverty rate in 60 years.  The Biden Administration and the Democrats in Congress are busy reversing these policies and not co-incidentally, reversing the gains that Americans had won.

I look forward to the testimony today and hope that my colleagues and I can come to an agreement to do what is best for American workers, by reforming the guestworker programs we have allowed to run amuck for years.  

I yield back.  

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