Study: Immigration bill to double guest-worker inflow

The Senate’s pending immigration bill will allow companies to immediately spike the annual inflow of temporary workers by roughly 1.6 million in 2014, and subsequently double today’s inflow to roughly 1.3 million, according to new calculations from the Center for Immigration Studies.

The bill would increase several current guest-worker programs, and establish new programs, including one that would provide roughly 155,000 work-permits to people from from 30 countries that have free-trade deals with the United States, said the Center for Immigration Studies’ Jessica Vaughan.

“What I think most politicians should know is that voters trump money and special interests, and the long-term right thing to do is defend the legitimate interest of working Americans,” said GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions during a June 5 press conference to announce the new study.

“We’ve been telling young people [that] you need to get higher skills…college grads are having their wages and prospects threatened by this extraordinary flow of foreign workers,” he said.

“We our slamming the door on our own children who come out of college,” said Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Lou Barletta.

However, numerous legislators say company officials tell them that the U.S. economy needs an infusion of skilled guest workers. These legislators include supporters of the immigration bill, such as Sen. Marco Rubio and Sen. Lindsey Graham, as well as opponents of the bill, such as Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee.

Guest workers can stay for up to seven years, so the pending bill would create a guest-worker population of more than two million workers in a wide range of professional, white-collar and blue collar occupations.

The jobs include lawyers, pharmacists, reporters, accountants, doctors, therapists, and a wide range of technical experts who are performing work outsourced by brand-name companies in many cities and careers. Only about 10 percent of guest workers are used in agricultural sectors.

Roughly 50 percent of recent American university graduates are working in hourly-paid or low-skill jobs. Nationally, 20 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed.

Guest workers are not immigrants, but the bill does set up a mechanism for them to compete with each other for a limited supply of green cards. The workers will compete for the valuable cards by earning education credentials and by winning jobs.

“If it passes, the … bill could wreak havoc in U.S. labor markets, and shut out even more Americans from job opportunities, especially minorities,” said Vaughan.

“Most of these temporary worker increases are just gratuitous and have no economic justification whatsoever,” she said.

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