A picture of Representative Mo Brooks
Mo B.
Republican AL 5

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  • Visas and Work Permits

    by Representative Mo Brooks

    Posted on 2016-01-07

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    BROOKS of Alabama. Mr. Speaker, Washington has, once again, undermined and betrayed struggling American workers who seek jobs that pay enough to support their families.

    In December, on less than 72 hours' notice, Congress and President Obama shoved down the throats of Americans a 2,000-page, financially irresponsible, $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill that not only risks America's solvency, it also threatens American jobs for American workers.

    Under old law, 66,000 H-2B foreign worker visas could be issued each year. Buried deep inside the 2,000-page omnibus spending bill, on page 701, is an obscure provision without even a heading that, according to labor expert John Miano, increases available H-2B visas up to 264,000 per year, effectively quadrupling visas for low-skilled, temporary nonagricultural foreign workers.

    Making matters worse, on New Year's Eve, while America focused on football games and celebrations, President Obama issued a 200-page proposed rule to illegally bust statutory green card immigration caps by approving unlimited numbers of work permits for foreigners who don't have green cards. This White House action is yet another brazen display of contempt for immigration statutes, the rule of law, and American workers.

    The White House argues importing foreign labor is necessary because of a claimed shortage of American labor. Similarly, House Speaker Paul Ryan claims increasing foreign worker visas ``helps small businesses who cannot find labor when there's a surge in demand for their labor, like seafood processing or tourism.'' This claimed labor shortage is unsupported by jobs or wage data and is political bunk. Per Federal labor statistics, 57 percent--57 percent--of Americans without a high school diploma had no job in 2015's second quarter. That bears repeating. Fifty-seven percent of Americans without a high school diploma had no job in 2015's second quarter. That is a lot of Americans who would love to have those jobs President Obama and Congress denied Americans and gave to foreigners.

    Economics 101 explains that wages rise if there is a labor shortage and fall if there is a labor surplus. According to Census Bureau data from 2007 to 2014; wages for security guards went down 6.1 percent, for cooks down 4.4 percent; for janitors down 1.2 percent; for ushers, lobby attendants, and ticket takers, down 7.1 percent; for hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks, down 7 percent. The list of falling wages for low-income American workers goes on and on. This falling wage data is compelling evidence that there is no shortage of American labor and, to the contrary, that there is an oversupply of American labor that demands cutting foreign labor, not expanding it.

    Mr. Speaker, while these surges in foreign worker visas and foreign labor work permits is a huge victory for special interests that profit from suppressed wages, it is a debilitating loss for struggling American families.

    Unemployed and underpaid Americans desperate for a good-paying job have every right to be angry at a Federal Government that takes American jobs from American citizens and gives [[Page H106]] them to foreigners. Americans have every right to be angry at Washington elected officials who care more about special interest campaign contributions than American voters who elected us. I hope those Americans will remember their anger during 2016's primary and general elections. That is the way to force Washington to represent us.

    Mr. Speaker, I can't speak for anybody else, but, as for me, Mo Brooks from Alabama's Fifth Congressional District, I fight for the economic interests of American citizens and against policies that undermine the struggling American voters who sent us here. That is part of the reason why I voted against December's financially irresponsible omnibus spending bill--and am proud of it.


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