Giveaway to Big Tech in Build Back Better will hurt American workers

Published 2:05 pm Tuesday, November 9, 2021

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In 2007, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said: “I think at a time when the middle class is shrinking, the last thing we need is to bring, over a period of years, millions of people into this country who are prepared to lower wages for American workers.”
We agree.
Yet, buried in the “Build Back Better” legislation that Sanders has written are several jaw-dropping immigration provisions that would sell out American workers for the benefit of the largest and most influential corporate interests.
Entirely separate from providing amnesty to illegal immigrants, this legislation includes several provisions that effectively terminate, for at least 10 years, all numerical limits on the annual allotment of green cards for foreign workers, for which Big Tech has consistently lobbied for years.
At a time when we are actively encouraging students in our home states to work hard, seek STEM skills and aspire to the high-tech jobs of tomorrow, this legislation would create an unending, permanent pipeline of foreign labor for Silicon Valley giants to use in place of aspiring American youth. And American workers currently employed by these companies will be far less likely to see wage gains because they can be replaced at less cost with workers imported from overseas.
This increased leverage over employees is one of the reasons multi-billionaires of Big Tech love to utilize foreign labor. Just two weeks ago, Facebook settled a lawsuit brought by the Department of Justice regarding its hiring discrimination against American workers in favor of workers from overseas.
Sadly, the negative effects of this legislation would be permanent, not temporary. Because this provision is effective for a decade and confers permanent resident status on green card recipients, it results in a permanent supply of labor competition, reducing opportunities and wages for American workers — both now and in the future.
There is already considerable bipartisan consternation about the growing influence of Big Tech over every facet of American life, as well as the extraordinary financial power accumulated in recent years by a few Big Tech titans. It is astonishing, therefore, that the “Build Back Better” plan includes a provision that would increase profits for Big Tech CEOs while cutting out America’s working and middle class, widening the gap even further.
We need to be lifting up American workers and students in good-paying STEM jobs of the future, not telling an entire generation of young Americans that some of America’s best and highest-paying jobs aren’t available to them because Big Tech secured a corporate carve-out for unlimited foreign labor.
Put more broadly, American immigration policy should benefit Americans. Yet, the “Build Back Better” bill ushers in outsourcing American jobs by another name — rather than moving a company to a foreign country to operate at lower costs, the company just brings the lower-cost foreign labor here.
Despite claiming that this spending bill will benefit American workers, Democrats are sneaking in a provision that undermines them. And they’re pushing to pass this bill as soon as possible, before Americans realize that it contains a massive corporate carve-out for Big Tech.
After all, how could you possible justify this to the American people?
(Bill Hagerty is the junior senator from Tennessee.)

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