President Barack Obama flew to Pennsylvania on Wednesday afternoon to announce he is spending more money to fund apprenticeship training for Americans so they can win high-wage jobs.
But on Wednesday morning, Obama also called for the House to pass an immigration bill that would boost the inflow of foreign workers into the same jobs sought by Americans.
“He is advocating major new spending for schools and businesses to train Americans for real jobs… but at the same time, he is insisting on passing legislation to immediately and massively increase the number of foreign workers at all skill levels competing for U.S. jobs through lifetime work permits,” said Roy Beck, the executive director of NumbersUSA, an anti-amnesty immigration reform group.
“This push for training appears to be more about giving 2014 voters some sign of interest in jobs,” than in actually helping Americans, Beck added.
Regardless of political strategy, his goals of increased immigration and increased corporate training of workers are contradictory, said Mark Krikorian, the director of the anti-amnesty immigration reform group Center for Immigration Studies.
“Why would business undertake training for Americans if they’re able to just import people who work cheaper instead?” he asked.
“I don’t doubt that the president believes his malarky about how his own immigration policies will create jobs for the poor… but a lot of people who sell snake oil think it works,” he added.
The discordant policy objectives, however, reflect Obama’s consistent efforts to keep the Democratic Party in power past the 2014 election and beyond.
The afternoon speech in Pennsylvania was designed to spur blue-collar turnout in the November election. The morning statement was designed to spur Latino turnout in the off-year election.
The statement came on the one-year anniversary on the Senate’s immigration rewrite, which was approved by the Senate last June. If approved by the House, it would double the inflow of Democratic-leaning immigrants and guest-workers up to 40 million during the next decade.
Forty million Americans are expected to turn 18 and enter the workforce over the next decade.
“Unfortunately, Republicans in the House of Representatives have repeatedly failed to take action, seemingly preferring the status quo of a broken immigration system over meaningful reform,” said the White House statement.
The Senate bill “would boost our economy, strengthen our security, and live up to our most closely-held values as a society,” according to the White House.
However, the Congressional Budget Office reported that the bill would only slow the inflow of illegal immigrants, while also shifting more of the nation’s annual income from wage-earners to investors. In 2012, the share of income earned by wages-earners has already fallen to a 63-year low, while the share earned as profits has risen to an 85-year high, and the middle-class has shrank further.
The president’s afternoon speech in Pennsylvania was intended to tout his support for apprenticeship training of working-class Americans.
“That’s the promise at the heart of this country. If you’re responsible, you’re willing to put in some sweat, you can get ahead… we’ve got to train more Americans with the skills to fill the jobs that are there,” he said.
“And today I’m announcing that we’re going to award nearly $500 million to those institutions who are doing it best in all 50 states — using existing money to create opportunity for hardworking folks like you,” he said at his speech in the Community College of Allegheny County.
He underlined his partisan goal several times in the speech, by blaming the Obama economy on the GOP’s refusal to comply with this progressives economic policies.
“Everybody who works hard and takes responsibility deserves a chance to get ahead. That is what this country is built on. That’s what the moment requires. That’s what Congress should be working on,” he insisted.