Investor, CEO, and presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg says he would allow investors and employers to hire the “the best” workers from around the world instead of Americans.
“This country needs more immigrants and we should be out looking for immigrants,” Bloomberg told the San Diego Union-Tribune on January 5.:
For those who need an oboe player for a symphony, we want the best one. We need a striker for a soccer team, we want to get the best one. We want a farmworker, we want to get the best one. A computer programmer, we want to get the best one. So we should be out looking for more immigrants.
The reporter did not ask Bloomberg to define “best.” But for cost-conscious shareholders and executives, “best” is a synonym for ‘cheaper than Americans.’
“If business were able to hire without restrictions from anywhere in the world, pretty much every [American’s] occupation would be foreignized,” said Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies. He continued:
Americans would have to accept dramatically lower earnings, whether they object or not. Not just landscapers and tomato pickers, [because] Indians and Chinese by the millions can do nursing and accounting. There would not be any job that would not see its earnings fall to the global average.
Bloomberg — who has an estimated wealth of $55 billion — is trying to exempt investors and shareholders from the nation’s immigration rules, said Krikorian. For Bloomberg, “immigration laws are not one of those things that should be allowed to interfere in [the growth of] shareholders’ value,” he said.
“It is obviously unprecedented — but this is not obviously different from [President] George [W.] Bush’s ideal immigration plan … [and] he is expressing a pretty standard Republican plutocrat approach to immigration,” he added.
President Bush described his “any willing worker” cheap labor plan in 2004, saying:
Out of common sense and fairness, our laws should allow willing workers to enter our country and fill jobs that Americans have are not filling. (Applause.) We must make our immigration laws more rational, and more humane. And I believe we can do so without jeopardizing the livelihoods of American citizens.
Our reforms should be guided by a few basic principles. First, America must control its borders …
Second, new immigration laws should serve the economic needs of our country. If an American employer is offering a job that American citizens are not willing to take, we ought to welcome into our country a person who will fill that job.
In December 2018, departing House Speaker Paul Ryan echoed Bush’s “any willing worker” goal, saying:
[Immigration reform needs] border security and interior enforcement for starters, but also a modernization of our visa system so that it makes sense for our economy and for our people so that anyone who wants to play by the rules, work hard and be part of American fabric can contribute.
This “any willing worker” idea encouraged Ryan to work closely — but behind the scenes — with pro-amnesty, pro-migration groups.
Many GOP legislators echo this “any willing worker” claim when they declare a “‘legal good, illegal bad,’ approach to migration,” said Krikorian. That mantra is “piously claiming that illegal immigration is bad, but is making [pro-American protections] moot by letting huge numbers of people in legally.”
In contrast, President Donald Trump won his 2016 election on a promise to shrink immigration. Since then, he has forced down illegal migration via Mexico and has largely blocked numerous efforts by business to expand the huge inflow of legal immigrants and visa workers. Trump’s curbs on the supply of foreign labor have helped to force up wages for blue-collar Americans — despite determined efforts by business and investment groups to prevent wage increases.
Bloomberg’s “best worker” pitch is not a problem for the Democrats’ 2020 base of “woke” progressives, said Krikorian:
He is running in the Democratic primary and there is an overlap between the plutocrat assault on national borders and the leftist assault on national borders. They come at the issue from the different starting points but they have the same enemy, which is Americans’ sovereignty. It is not obvious that his [pro-employer] immigration stance is going to be a turn-off to Democratic primary votes.. How different are the specifics of his immigration proposal from [Joe] Biden, Sen. [Bernie] Sanders or [Sen. Elizabeth] Warren?
Our Statue of Liberty invites in the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Donald Trump has slammed the door in the face of families fleeing persecution and violence.
Bloomberg’s pro-employer view is coherent and likely sincere, said Krikorian.
Bloomberg aspires to a single global labor market, and everything else follows from that. A concern about improving the lot of less-skilled American workers is by definition contrary to that view because there is no such thing as an American labor market. There is only a global labor market. Domestic employers are not thinking about the consequences for people from Pennsylvania when they hire people from Tennessee, and Bloomberg wants that same approach across the entire world.
There is even an altruistic way of viewing that — which I assume guys like this have — that it improves the lot of Hondurans [and other migrants] who are coming here.
The issue is not that Bloomberg and his guys are factually incorrect. It is that their values are contrary to the values that most Americans hold – which is that we have a greater loyalty and obligation to our fellow countrymen than to foreigners. Guys like Bloomberg reject that [obligation] in principle.
But Bloomberg also wraps his economic demand for more immigrants in a progressive-style cultural message.
Bloomberg told the San Diego Union-Tribune that amnesty “is a no-brainer — you give [a] pathway to citizenship to 11 million people.”
In December, Bloomberg said additional immigrants could “improve our culture, our cuisine, our religion, our dialogue, and certainly improve our economy” — but without being asked by reporters which American cultures, cuisines, religions, and dialogues do not meet his standards.
Bloomberg also echoes the Democrats’ claim that the U.S is a diverse “nation of immigrants,” instead of a country built by similar-minded settlers from Europe. “This country was built by immigrants,” Bloomberg said, without noting the role played by Americans and their children.
Bloomberg has long supported greater immigration. In 2013, he joined with the owner of Fox News, Rupert Murdoch, to create the Project for a New American Economy. The group of investors and politicians then pushed for passage of the failed Gang of Eight amnesty in 2013.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicted the planned “Gang of Eight” amnesty would shift more of the nation’s new wealth from workers to investors.
The flood of roughly 30 million immigrants in ten years would cause Americans’ wages to shrink, the report said. “Because the bill would increase the rate of growth of the labor force, average wages would be held down in the first decade after enactment,” the CBO report said.
But all that cheap labor would boost the profits and the stock market, the report said. “The rate of return on capital would be higher [than on labor] under the legislation than under current law throughout the next two decades,” says the report, titled “The Economic Impact of S. 744.”
For Bloomberg, Krikorian said, U.S. “employers have no greater obligation to fellow Americans than to Hondurans [or other foreign workers] … what Bloomberg is saying is that immigration laws should not interfere with the pursuit of shareholder value [because] employers can hire anyone from anywhere at any wage, period.”