The Senate’s draft immigration bill will provide 1 million visas for foreign workers each year, according to government data and news reports.
The 1 million inflow would provide companies with almost one foreign worker for every four Americans who turn 18.
The inflow would be high enough to fill up all the new non-farm jobs created during the last six months, and it is in addition to the routine annual inflow of 540,000 working-age immigrants.
The 1 million worker inflow would include at least 350,000 people capable of competing for middle-class skilled jobs sought by the 1.8 million Americans who graduate from university each year. Only about 10 percent of the visa workers are farm workers.
“I believe in a free-market, but this [inflow] will aggravate the problems for [American] graduates,” Richard Vedder, director of the libertarian Center for College Affordability and Productivity, told The Daily Caller.
The increased inflow numbers suggest “we’re substituting foreign workers for domestic workers, and maybe that makes a certain about of sense” for cost-conscious businesses, he said.
In response, he suggested, colleges could reduce enrollment of U.S. students who will be crowded out of middle-class jobs, even after paying expensive tuition prices. “Why should kids be paying $100,000 to go to college and then get jobs working at Wal-Mart or Target?”
Amid the stalled economy, college graduates comprise roughly one-third of the minimum-wage workforce. Half of recent graduates are working in jobs sought by high-school graduates and dropouts, and roughly 20 million skilled and unskilled Americans lack full-time jobs.
The inflow of workers is good for the Democratic Party’s political clout, because it increases unemployment, reduces wages and boosts dependence on government aid.
But it creates a problem for Republicans, partly because low unemployment and high wages encourage people to get married, have kids and vote GOP.
It’s also a problem for Sen. Marco Rubio, who is simultaneously helping to write the bill and preparing to run for president in 2016 as a supporter of the middle-class.
“We … want to make sure Americans don’t lose their jobs because of a guest worker program,” he told Politico.
Even before the bill is released, the public has already shown its concern about immigration’s impact on jobs. “A majority [56 percent] of Americans … say that illegal immigrants hurt the economy by driving down wages for many Americans,” said a March poll by the left-of-center Public Religion Research Institute.
The bill is being drafted in secret by eight Republican and Democratic senators, including Rubio. It is backed by top Democratic leaders, including President Barack Obama, and many in the establishment media.
Under the political deal, companies would bring in many low-wage workers. In exchange, the workers would be allowed to become citizens and vote from 2026 onwards, likely for Democratic candidates.