A senior official in the White House says President Joe Biden’s immigration policy is intended to fill new jobs in government spending programs, high-tech firms, and a growing economy.
“We are creating new jobs this year as we’re breaking ground on key infrastructure projects under the President’s bipartisan infrastructure law, the CHIPS and Science Act, [and] new green jobs as we implement the Inflation Reduction Act,” said Katie Tobin, the senior director for transborder security on the National Security Council, adding:
As our economy grows, we need workers that we just don’t have enough of. So it is in our interest to bring people in and to stay competitive globally.
“In closing,” Tobin said on May 15, “the Biden-Harris administration appreciates both the moral responsibility and the strategic opportunity that migration presents — it’s at the heart of our domestic and our foreign policy agendas.”
Tobin’s stealth policy of government-accelerated economic migration could be described as Saudi-style migration, corporatist migration, or perhaps the “Any Willing Worker” strategy pushed by George W. Bush in 2004, said Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies. He continued:
The federal government is basically serving as a staffing service for American corporations … This administration is clearly rooting for large corporations, the Chamber of Commerce, and employers who don’t want to raise wages, at the expense of ordinary workers. That’s a choice, but it should be made clear what they’re choosing and whose interests they’re serving.
Tobin is a former D.C.-based official of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. She spoke at a May 15 event at the investor-run American Enterprise Institute.
Tobin’s admission that migration is being used as a government economic strategy is starkly different from the establishment media’s coverage of migration as a chaotic humanitarian problem.
Those border-drama stories also hide the huge level of legal migration — roughly one million per year — and the huge inflow of visa workers that create a population of at least 1.5 million white-collar foreign workers in U.S. jobs.
Tobin’s comments are also legally important because the administration’s lawyers are trying to defend Biden’s claimed “legal pathways” as humanitarian aid for asylum seekers, refugees, and parole emergencies. Yet Tobin repeatedly described the inflow as economic migrants who are seeking jobs and higher living standards:
We’re extremely focused on … increasing the number of legal pathways for people migrating to the United States and … making it easier for them to access those legal pathways. To oversimplify it, we assess that there are three primary reasons why people are seeking to come to the United States.
One: For economic opportunity — we have lots of jobs and we have higher wages than a lot of countries in the region.
Two: Family reunification — A lot of people have [job-seeking illegal migrant] family here and they’ve been separated a long time. They want to be with their family, and,
Three: Protection. As was noted in the last presentation, we have a lot of people fleeing persecution, fleeing [poverty] hardship in their home countries, and they’re seeking safe haven in the United States.
Tobin ignored the rival development strategy of boosting trade with poor people in foreign democracies, or the diplomatic strategy of establishing democracy in countries where autocrats shrink trade. She said:
“Root causes” work is really tough … We’ve done a lot to put money into the hands of [Central American] NGOs, civil society organizations, the people themselves, but we have seen some democratic backsliding in some of these countries where there’s concerns about the corruption issues. This gets in the way, this makes it complicated and our administration is not willing to turn a blind eye to those issues. So it makes the progresss slow. In other countries where we’re seeing high [migrant] outflows, we have very little diplomatic opening to do much at all.
That view is good news for U.S. investors who say that the immigration of consumers, renters, and workers is better than trade because their foreign investments face political risks in poor, developing countries.
Tobin’s “kind of extraction migration doesn’t even really have the likelihood of creating any kind of circular benefits for” poor countries, responded Krikorian:
All you’re doing is draining away the people that they need for development … The people who have some get up and go, the kind of people who would start a new little business in their town, who would run for mayor to clean up the local police department, that kind of stuff. [If they go] what you have left is kids, old people, and the deadbeat brothers-in-law ….
You can’t develop your [poor] country by exporting your main resource — human beings — and importing some share of their earnings for a little while until the money stops. That’s not a development strategy.
But Tobin said the government is investing in the stable countries that host many of the migrants who are on their way to the United States:
Where we see the most opportunity in potential for a return on investment in U.S. economic terms, is in investing in these middle-income host countries in the region that already have a long-standing history of solidarity. Countries like Colombia and Ecuador, and Peru, Costa Rica.
With their extra U.S. funding, these countries can help the U.S. control the flow of migrants through the deadly Darien Gap, up through Central America, and into the United States, according to Tobin. She said:
These are countries that have long traditions of welcoming their neighbors, they have strong legal frameworks, they have relatively good economies … We think that with increased investment from the international community, these countries can really be important players in this broader framework of managing migration. They can host these populations, they can provide them temporary or permanent legal status, And we think that’s in the best interest for a lot of these migrants.
For example, in April, Tobin told reporters that the U.S. government would work with Columbia and Panama to crack down on the migrant smugglers that escort people through the dangerous Darien Gap between Colombia and Panama. But the crackdown is not intended to curb the migrant flow, she said:
The campaign that we agreed to launch with Panama and Colombia is focused on joint counter-human smuggling and trafficking efforts. So we will really be focused on enhancing arrests, prosecutions, and other efforts to disrupt human smuggling efforts. So that will be the focus.
The U.S. already pays Panama to protect migrants traveling through the Darien Gap, and it funds busses to take migrants from Panama toward the United States. This effort is part of the government’s “controlled flow” transfer program.
So far, the U.S. has spent roughly $9 billion to help these countries aid migrants — including migrants heading to the United States, she said.
Tobin’s determination to move migrants into the United States is very different from the older Democratic Party which worked with unions to prevent employers from importing cheap and subservient labor, Krikorian said:
I can’t explain the process but clearly for the left, open borders is now a non-negotiable value, a litmus test issue. So it doesn’t matter what happens with those [poor] countries, that it harms their prospects for development, that it destabilizes them. It doesn’t matter that it hurts American workers.
None of that stuff matters because open migration is non-negotiable for these people.
Tobin’s plan for government-funded migration will also prevent the emergence of a tight labor market that boost Americans’ wages and productivity, Krikorian said.
A tight labor market is both a good social policy, but also a spur to labor-saving innovations … [With migration] we import workers to perform tasks unchanged from the Middle Ages even though tighter labor markets would spur the modernization of things like harvesting raisins or any number of any number of industries.
In 2020, President Donald Trump burst the cheap labor bubble that had been created by Congress’ bipartisan decision in 1990 to double the immigration inflow. That bubble suppressed wages and spiked welfare spending — and so allowed investors to profit from low-productivity work, such as restaurants and hotels. President Biden is now reinflating the bubble by importing at least 4 million migrants over the southern border.
Tobin sketched the White House plans to accelerate foreign migration into American workplaces in 2023.
“In year two and now year three, we are starting to make some really big moves and announcing a lot of new legal pathways,” she said. For example, the administration has announced it will open 100 migrant centers where foreigners can ask to migrate to the United States, often via the refugee program that is funded by Congress.
Another big focus of the Biden-Harris administration has been working to not only build back the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program but really upgrade and streamline it. The goal would be that we would use the refugee authority in our immigration laws to welcome refugees around the world, for Syrians, Ukrainian. But I think as many of you around the room know, historically, it can take several years, 2, 5, 10 years for people to be resettled, which is just not sufficient.
So we’ve been working to reduce the time really, like build in efficiencies to the refugee resettlement adjudication, so it goes from, you know, a multi-year process to just a few weeks.
And we think that that will be a more more appropriate to apply to some of these urgent, refugee crises that arise in the future.
And that is our plan in the Western Hemisphere that we’re actually going to try to do this expedited refugee processing.
The use of humanitarian parole, we often find we have a justification to use it if there’s an urgent humanitarian need or significant public benefit. But we would prefer to use refugee resettlement. It’s the more durable solution for refugees. They come here with permanent status, they can bring their family members. So it’s a long story, but we would always prefer to use refugee as the pathway over parole if we had the chance.
Tobin also said the White House is also trying to rewrite the much-abused, non-immigrant visa programs — mostly, the H-2B program for roughly 150,00 seasonal workers, and the uncapped H-2A program for agriculture workers:
There are too many [bureaucratic] steps. It’s really complicated I think for the worker — the person sitting in Honduras who wants to come work in agriculture in the United States — and the farmer in the U.S. … [and it] gives a little bit too much power to the employer.
It would be better, she said:
to have a [non-business] sponsor — so somebody that will welcome the [foreign workers], help them to settle here, but not necessarily be their employer, and then have somebody immediately have access to work authorization upon arrival, so they can immediately contribute to our economy.
U.S. media outlets have shut down any debate over the economic impact of migration, and especially over the pocketbook damage to American families. For example, the establishment reporters who cover migration rarely mention the administration’s economic policy, even though the nation’s border chief, Alejandro Mayorkas, has repeatedly pushed the issue in their faces.
For example, on January 8, a White House reporter asked Mayorkas: “What is your message to the American public about the impact of a labor shortage in America?” Mayorkas responded by calling for an even greater skew of the nation’s labor market in favor of employers and investors:
The labor shortage in the United States is one powerful example of how desperately we need to fix our broken immigration system. You know, we look to the north … Canada realized that it has a 1-million-person labor shortage there, and they are bringing in approximately 1.4 million migrants this year to address that labor shortage.
Our programs — our H-2A, our H-2B, our skilled worker programs — are far outdated to really meet the economic needs as well as the economic opportunities [for migrants] that immigration can provide.
On May 11, another White House reporter asked Mayorkas about the taxpayer cost of migration. Mayorkas dodged the question and argued that U.S. investors should be allowed to hire cheap workers from poor countries — such as Columbia in South America — instead of being forced to fairly compete for American white-collar and blue-collar employees in a level U.S. labor market:
Let me turn that question around … I’m going to turn it around to match the question that an international partner asked of me and the question that the international partner asked of me is ‘What is the economic cost of your broken immigration system?’ Since there are businesses around this country that are desperate for workers, there are … desperate workers in foreign countries that are looking for jobs in the United States, where they can earn money lawfully and send much-needed remittances back home. ‘What is the cost of a broken immigration system?’ That is the question I am asked and that is the question that I pose to Congress, because it is extraordinar[ily high].
“There’s no question that some Republicans will succeed in making this case [agianst Biden’s] immigration, but they’re going to have to up their game,” said Krikorian. The GOP message “too often is limited to the border disaster … But if you fix the border, then what?”
“That’s something that some Republicans have been talking about — I think more now than before — but they still have a ways to go,” he said.
The federal government has long operated an unpopular economic policy of Extraction Migration. This colonialism-like policy extracts vast amounts of human resources from needy countries, reduces beneficial trade, and uses the imported workers, renters, and consumers to grow Wall Street and urban economies, such as New York.
The migrant inflow has successfully forced down Americans’ wages and also boosted rents and housing prices. The inflow has also pushed many native-born Americans out of careers in a wide variety of business sectors and contributed to the rising death rate of poor Americans.
The lethal policy also sucks jobs and wealth from heartland states by subsidizing coastal investors with a flood of low-wage workers, high-occupancy renters, and government-aided consumers.
The population inflow also reduces the political clout of native-born Americans, because the population replacement allows elites to divorce themselves from the needs and interests of ordinary Americans.
In many speeches, Mayorkas says he is building a mass migration system to deliver workers to wealthy employers and investors and “equity” to poor foreigners. The nation’s border laws are subordinate to elite opinion about “the values of our country,” Mayorkas claims.
Migration — and especially, labor migration — is unpopular among swing voters. A 54 percent majority of Americans say Biden is allowing a southern border invasion, according to an August 2022 poll commissioned by the left-of-center National Public Radio (NPR). The 54 percent “Invasion” majority included 76 percent of Republicans, 46 percent of independents, and even 40 percent of Democrats.