NumbersUSA: Federal Government Sides Against Crawfish Workers in Battle for Fair Wages

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A recent report by NumbersUSA, a leading immigration reduction advocacy organization, highlights the Biden Administration’s battle against American workers. The federal government, by supporting the H-2B visa program actively assists employers in driving down the wages of workers in the United States by bringing in immigrants to compete with them.

The report reveals that employees in the crawfish industry in Louisiana have filed a lawsuit against the program, alleging it reduces their wages by enabling employers to select the evidence used for determining what the prevailing wage is.

Instead of supporting these American workers, the Biden Administration is trying to eliminate the lawsuit before it even reaches a hearing on the merits of the case. Commenting on the administration’s approach, the NumbersUSA article states sarcastically: “God forbid the workers have a day in court to defend their right to earn a living!”

NumbersUSA is a leading nonpartisan immigration-reduction group founded by Roy Beck in response to two national commissions on immigration issues. One was a bipartisan congressional commission chaired by former Rep. Barbara Jordan, and another was a commission created under presidential authority and chaired by former Sen. Tim Wirth. Both commissions found that reducing immigration numbers towards their historical average was in the best interest of the United States and its authorized residents. 

The lawsuit by the crawfish employees in Louisiana is aimed at a rule established by the Department of Labor (DOL) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) during the Obama Administration that enabled companies employing H-2B workers to send in private surveys showing the prevailing wage rate for jobs they sought to hire foreign workers to perform. 

Legally, the H-2B program is required to avoid negatively impacting American workers’ wages. However, the 2015 rule enables the employers to submit evidence about prevailing wages that often turns out to be a lower number than a broader analysis might determine, according to the NumbersUSA report. Unfortunately, in such cases the DOL defers to the employers themselves with the conflict of interest built in to such an arrangement.

In the report, NumbersUSA points out that Biden, supposedly the “most pro-Union” President, is not appearing to back up that moniker given that his Administration on September 6th filed a motion for summary judgement attempting to thwart any review by the judiciary of the prevailing wage certification utilized by the H-2B program. As the article puts it: “In other words, rather than showing any concern or curiosity about wage deflation, he’s fighting to protect the right of employers to hire the lowest bidder.”

An attorney working for the plaintiffs in this case, Elizabeth T. Leiserson of Southern Migrant Legal Services, stated the following after the government’s motion for summary judgment: “We are, however, saddened that the Biden administration continues to push against raising wages for vulnerable low-wage workers.” 

The NumbersUSA report further states: “While President Biden brags about the increase in wages for American workers, his Administration is fighting in court to bring wages down. They are having their cake and eating it too.”

Roy Beck, who worked as a journalist covering politics in DC before becoming a policy analyst specializing in immigration and U.S. population issues, founded NumbersUSA to encourage government policies that benefit society by enabling the government to choose the optimal number of authorized immigrants to enter the country. NumbersUSA has more than eight million participants including conservatives, liberals and moderates. Its members are encouraged to lobby public officials to reduce immigration numbers toward traditional levels in order to help current and future generations enjoy a standard of living that isn’t diminished by excessive immigration. 

In addition to the effect the prevailing wage rule of H-2B has in driving down wages, the numerical limit has been increased a number of times under President Biden. As the report points out, the cost to workers, both foreign and domestic, of the current legal immigration system is high due to these policies. Additionally, the article reveals that there has been documented discrimination against Americans in the H-1B visa program.

All this raises the question of whether the Biden Administration cares about American workers, and the NumbersUSA report prevents convincing evidence that it doesn’t, given that the federal government is playing the role of “bad cop” for employers in the lawsuit filed by the crawfish employees in Louisiana. Additionally, the Administration is keeping the border open even in the face of the risk of death and sexual assault that border crossers face. The report expresses this sentiment powerfully in the following quote: “The rhetoric may be of compassion and humane immigration policies, but the end result is indentured servitude and abuse.”

With a broken legal immigration system, not because it is excessively restrictive, but because policy leaders utilize it to subsidize industries, the situation, according to NumbersUSA, is “clearly unsustainable,” with the only options being whether “it is changed to reduce the numbers and increase labor protections for visas or whether the whole system collapses under its own weight.”