Calvin Coolidge, the 39th president of the United States, is one of my heroes.
His words in a 1925 speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors have been distorted into a cliché: “The business of America is business.”
What Cal did say was: “After all, the chief business of the American people is business. They are profoundly concerned with producing, buying, selling, investing, and prospering in the world….” He called these “…the moving impulses of our life.”
Last week, a group of 60 CEOs of America’s largest companies rebelled with a warning to Washington, D.C.: Recent changes in national immigration policies threaten to “undermine economic growth and American competitiveness.”
The executives complained that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is causing difficulties for U.S. companies that need H-1B visas for the highly skilled foreign workers they employ.
Reformed USCIS rules allow denial of an employee’s visa renewal despite multiple prior approvals and no material change in facts.
These threatened skilled workers join an involuntary assemblage of tens of thousands now adversely affected by the government’s immigration policies.
For years, the demand for H-1B visas has far outstripped the number allowed, an indication of a lack of available U.S. talent.
Critics claim that the U.S. business potential is crippled, especially in the tech industry, by the limited number of foreign qualified professionals accepted each year.
The White House has taken a harsh stand on illegal immigration, vowing to build a wall along the Mexican border, but also to cut legal immigration by half.
H-1B work visas denials are only one symptom.
Keeping his word, the president ended protected deportation statuses granted to 60,000 Haitians after the 2010 earthquake. This ended the temporary visa status program for immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, Sudan, Liberia and Honduras. These moves have affected over 300,000 immigrants, many of them American residents for years.
In 2017, the president set a refugee admissions ceiling of 45,000. Yet since then, only 14,887 refugees have been resettled, the lowest number in the program’s 38-year history.
Domestically, Immigration and Customs Enforcement from Homeland Security has increased immigration road blocks and raids in factories, on farms and even in convenience stores across the country.
Meanwhile, about 700,000 young people, who came to the U.S. at age 15 or younger, wait for Congress to act on the DREAM Act. For now, courts have halted Trump’s deportation orders.
Need Not Apply
White House aide, Steven Miller, leads these multiple efforts. It is reported that an administration rule change will soon make it harder for legal immigrants to become citizens or get green cards if they have used popular public welfare programs, including Obamacare.
That historically shameful 19th century sign in America’s shop windows now reads: “No Irish Foreigners Need Apply.”
The U.S unemployment rate sits at levels not seen since late 2000 and job postings have started to outnumber those who are seeking jobs. Business owners have run out of options to fill their available jobs and business growth is now in danger of slowing significantly, if they cannot get the help that is needed.
America has grown into the powerhouse it is with the hard work of immigrants. Without them, America will struggle to lead growth and innovation in the coming years.
Yours for liberty,
Legal Counsel, Banyan Hill Publishing