Should nine GOP senators lose their jobs because of their stance on visas for foreign workers?
Fox News’ Tucker Carlson says yes — and he wants every single one of them primaried.
The kerfuffle involves a letter sent to the president by the nine senators urging him to keep the H-2A and H-2B seasonal visas which allow companies to bring in workers for agricultural and non-agricultural work, respectively, the Daily Caller News Foundation reported.
Immigration hawks have been urging the president to scrap the visa programs, given the mass unemployment caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
However, the GOP nine — Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, John Cornyn of Texas, Mike Crapo and James Risch of Idaho, Michael Rounds of South Dakota, Todd Young of Indiana, Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan of Alaska, and James Lankford of Oklahoma — are urging the president to keep the programs.
“We write today to urge you to consider the important role non-immigrant temporary visa programs will play in aiding post-pandemic economic recovery in America,” read the letter, sent Wednesday and first publicized by Michelle Hackman of The Wall Street Journal.
“Any changes to these programs should be very narrowly tailored to prevent additional damage to the already struggling American small businesses who rely on the assistance made possible through these visas.”
The letter argues that the jobs provided by H-2A or H-2B visas wouldn’t be able to be filled by American workers.
“Due to the temporary and seasonal nature of the work, it is exceedingly difficult to find American workers, even now, who wish to work only on a temporary basis,” the letter said. “Many of the jobs lost since March are not temporary or seasonal.”
On his Wednesday show, Carlson argued the letter reeked of corporate protectionism at the expense of American workers.
“A huge number of American jobs are now occupied by foreign nationals, and not just the seasonal lettuce picking we hear so much about, those fabled jobs Americans just won’t do,” Carlson said. “But also many jobs that Americans would be thrilled to do and have, white-collar jobs, the kind your kids studied for in college but can’t get because some big company would rather pay foreigners a cheaper wage.
“That is happening all over this country and has been for years. It’s legal because Congress made it legal through H-1B visas and other guest worker programs — there are a lot of them.”
However, you have those nine GOP senators who want the programs to stay.
Should the H-2A and H-2B visas be canceled?
“The senators would like to see foreign doctors, physicians, dentists, cybersecurity experts and many other categories of white-collar workers come, too,” he said.
“There’s certainly no shortage of Americans desperate to do these jobs. So many of our doctors and dentists for example aren’t working right now but ‘don’t worry,’ say the senators. All the Americans are getting generous unemployment benefits.”
Even though Carlson professed to like many of the senators, he said “we are fervently rooting for their defeat anyway.
“We are hoping that the next Republican primary, all nine of the people you are looking at right now will be defeated and replaced by people who care about unemployed Americans. That is the very least we can expect and in fact we should demand it again and again.”
Good idea? On one hand, primarying is a fraught thing.
Even well-organized efforts to replace establishment types generally end badly; the Justice Democrats’ attempts to replace liberals with hardcore progressives has given them one high-profile victory in the person of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but a lot of failures beyond that. Less-organized attempts have yielded even worse results.
It sounds better in a segment on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” than it does in the real political world.
And, well, some of these senators aren’t going to be defeated at the primary level, at least not this time. Sens. Cornyn, Graham, Risch, Rounds and Sullivan are up for re-election this year; good luck replacing them on the ballot in short notice based on a single issue.
However, beyond the feasibility issues of primarying many of these people, Carlson’s argument is otherwise sound.
Again, this isn’t just seasonal picking jobs in the California fields.
These are jobs that could be filled by American workers that American workers want and that corporations are filling with lower-paid foreign workers.
You could make an argument — a weak one — when the unemployment rate was at record lows. It’s now at record highs because of the damage wrought by the coronavirus.
These Republican senators put corporations ahead of unemployed Americans. There’s nothing wrong with a healthy corporate America, mind you, but not when it comes during a period of dire national emergency.
Trying to protect the H-2A and H-2B visas at a time like this isn’t defensible, not when real unemployment is close to 20 percent. Perhaps they can’t be primaried, but these senators should be shamed for their decision.
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