Donald Trump the candidate campaigned on protecting the wages of American workers. In announcing his agenda for the first 100 days, he said he would task his Department of Labor to “investigate all abuses of visa programs that undercut the American worker.”
But his transition team doesn’t reflect that perspective. Veronica Birkenstock, who runs a recruitment firm that secures visas for cheap temporary foreign workers, was named to Trump’s Department of Labor landing team — before being mysteriously disappeared after The Intercept reported on it.
Next, the Trump team chose fast food executive Andy Puzder — an outspoken proponent of legalizing undocumented workers so they can provide cheap, low-skilled labor — to be the administration’s Labor Secretary.
Now, Trump has brought yet another promoter of cheap foreign labor onto his Labor landing team, announcing on Monday that it has picked Diana Furchtgott-Roth, who is a fellow at the right-wing Manhattan Institute.
Furchtgott-Roth has long advocated in favor of America’s temporary worker visa programs, arguing that they fill in gaps in employment. Writing in the New York Sun in 2008, she argued that arrests of undocumented workers by immigration officials proved that “Congress authorizes too few visas for foreign workers, far fewer than the number employers want and need to hire to keep their businesses running.”
She argued that Congress was not permitting enough H-2B visas: special visas primarily for low-wage, low-skilled seasonal workers. “People who want to enter this country to work in jobs Americans are unwilling to take ought to have an easy, legal way to do so,” she concluded.
Furchtgott-Roth made similar arguments in a February 2013 Manhattan Institute issue brief, concluding the economic benefits of immigrants outweigh the negatives. “Although immigrants no doubt will displace some low-skilled workers, primarily other immigrants, the negative effect on such workers is much smaller than the positive effect for everyone else. The economy as a whole gains, with substantially more winners than losers,” she wrote. In terms of policy recommendations, she recommended boosting the number of visas offered: “One simple way to reform immigration policy is for Congress to keep the same system we have now, but issue more employment-based visas, both to skilled and unskilled workers. Congress could also endorse the sale of visas or auctioning them off to raise revenue at the outset of the process.”