Joe Guzzardi: Labor Day and the Disappearing American Worker | Opinions

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Unemployed people, especially during prolonged periods of unemployment, suffer from stress often so intense that mental anxiety eventually affects their physical well-being.

Losing the self-identity and confidence that comes with a steady job and steady income creates a huge physical and mental challenge.

The physical setbacks most likely to occur after job loss are headaches, back pain, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. As the unemployed no longer have work-related medical coverage, the care they desperately need is lacking and physical ailments may worsen.

With tens of millions of Americans out of work and without health benefits in their underemployed status, the nation is experiencing an accelerating health crisis. Yet for decades the federal government persisted in issuing employment-based visas to foreign-born nationals.

To be perfectly clear, a visa is synonymous with employment – ​​employment that a US or legally present immigrant will not receive, due to the ready availability of cheap imported labor.

The State Department issues so many categories of work visas that the exact total can be a mystery to even the most knowledgeable. Including eligible family members of the primary visa beneficiary, the total is approximately 35.

Whatever the Bureau of Labor Statistics identifies as an occupational category, a visa is most likely available for a foreign national to fill the position.

The donor class constantly lobbies Congress, citing a severe labor shortage, and demands more foreign employees when domestic labor is plentiful.

Even visas that expressly exclude work authorization, the B-1 temporary business visitor, have been used to move Americans.

Despite the potential availability of able-bodied American workers, Congress often increases existing visa caps. The H-2B for non-agricultural domestic workers is an example.

Daniel Costa, director of immigration law and policy research at the Economic Policy Institute, analyzed recent H-2B data and found that although the visa has an annual cap of 66,000, the Congress and the White House have rounded out the total in recent years.

In 2021, 117,000 H-2B workers attended; in 2022, however, the program will grow to over 150,000, a record high.

The H-2B program has indirectly encouraged employers in the major hiring categories in which the visa is used — landscaping, construction, forestry, food processing, restaurants and hospitality — to engage in unscrupulous practices. Labor Department statistics that Costa studied showed that between 2000 and 2021, employers stole $1.8 billion from American and foreign-born workers.

Wage theft in the H-2B program is a serious concern. The Government Accountability Office, after analyzing 10 diverse cases, found that different industries with employees in 29 states failed to pay promised wages, overtime, and charged exorbitant fees to H-2B workers.

The GAO also uncovered employers and recruiters who submitted fraudulent documentation to government officials, evaded IRS payroll taxes, and laundered money.

The total number of potential workers is climbing every day. The projected 2.1 million illegal aliens crossing the southern border will, for the most part, end up being granted asylum or parole; both come with work authorization.

Unfortunately, few members of Congress and no one in the White House care that a foreign-born worker replaces an American. Since 2000, the total foreign-born population, a record 47 million, has increased by 50%; it has doubled since 1990, tripled since 1980 and quintupled since 1970 — all workers or potential workers.

The United States doesn’t need 150,000 H-2B visas, the total Costa expects, to mow lawns, serve meals or hang drywall. Americans can and will do these jobs, assuming a living wage.

In his previous reports, Costa wrote that “no national labor shortages (exist) in major H-2B occupations.” But the federal government and its crooks at the United States Chamber of Commerce are indifferent to the plight of displaced American workers, their families, or newly graduated students looking for jobs.

American workers on Labor Day 2022 struggle with a job market stacked against them. In theory, a solution could be implemented – immediately reduce, with a view to eliminating, unnecessary work visas.

Unfortunately, the White House has proven time and time again that it refuses to put Americans first.

– Joe Guzzardi is a nationally syndicated columnist who writes about immigration and related social issues. He joined Progressives for Immigration Reform as an analyst after 10 years at Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) as director of media relations and senior editorial research. Originally from California, he now lives in Pittsburgh. Jo can be reached at [email protected] and joeguzzardi.substack.com, or follow him on Twitter: @joeguzzardi19. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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