This week’s catch phrase “anchor baby” is not new. In 2009 this reporter wrote about a ballot measure, the “California Taxpayer Protection Act,” that sought to eliminate birthright citizenship when both parents were illegally in the country. It failed to catch fire in the navy blue golden state, but its premise appears to be making a comeback in the 2016 election cycle.
An exchange between presidential hopeful Donald Trump and ABC Good Morning America reporter Tom Llamas highlighted the media’s interpretation of the term anchor baby. The TV reporter shouted at Trump and injected his politically correct view of the phrase by stating the term anchor baby was “an offensive term. People find that hurtful.”
Trump countered, “You mean it’s not politically correct and yet everybody uses it?” Rejecting Trump’s explanations, Llamas demanded Trump, “look it up in the dictionary. It’s offensive.” GMA did not air the contentious exchange.
Back in 2008, the Pew Research Center estimated that 340,000 babies were born that year to illegal immigrant parents. The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) says that number has climbed to more than 400,000 annually. Trump contends anchor babies cost the US taxpayers billions of dollars.
In Trump’s 2011 book, “Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again” he outlines the anchor baby problem. “Some four million anchor babies are now officially U.S. citizens,” Trump said in his book. “This has to stop. The only other major country in the world that issues citizenship based on where one’s mother delivers her child is Canada. The rest of the world bases citizenship on who the kid’s parents are, which is of course the only sane standard.”
Using a Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) report, Trump claimed taxpayers spent in excess of $52 billion annually to educate illegal immigrants. “The root cause of all the welfare payments to illegal aliens is the so-called ‘anchor baby’ phenomenon,” he explains.
It’s that kind of immigration rhetoric that has made Trump the GOP frontrunner. The other, of course, is building a wall, “a big beautiful wall.” This piece of the immigration debate really resonates with American voters who believe the king of construction could actually follow through with promises to secure the southern border with a big fence.
During the first GOP primary debate Trump said; “People that I deal with that I talk to, they say this is happening because our leaders are stupid, our politicians are stupid and the Mexican government is much smarter, much sharper, much more cunning, and they send the bad ones over because they don’t want to pay for them. They don’t want to take care of them. Why should they? Because the stupid leaders of the United States will do it for them and this is happening whether you like it or not.”
For this contention, Trump may be relying on a 2008 story in the Tucson Citizen. The article opened by explaining that a delegation of nine Mexican legislators, similar to US members of Congress, made a trip to Arizona to implore US lawmakers to stop enacting laws that forced illegal immigrants to return home to Mexico.
The legislators complained that Sonora, Mexico, which shares a border with Arizona and is “made up of mostly small towns – (that) cannot handle the demand for housing, jobs and schools it will face as illegal Mexican workers here return to their hometowns without jobs or money. A law, which took effect Jan.1, punishes employers who knowingly hire individuals who don’t have valid legal documents to work in the United States. Penalties include suspension or loss of a business license. Its intent is to eliminate or curtail the top draw for immigrants to this country – jobs.”
“How can they pass a law like this?” asked Mexican Rep. Leticia Amparano Gamez, who represents Nogales, Mexico. “There is not one person living in Sonora who does not have a friend or relative working in Arizona,” Gamez said in Spanish. “We are one family, socially and economically,” she said of the people of Sonora and Arizona.
Open borders? Another politician told the paper, “What do we do with the repatriated? As Mexicans, we are worried. They are Mexicans but they are also people – fathers and mothers and young people with jobs who won’t have work in Sonora (Mexico).”
Further documentation of Mexico’s leaders urging an open border came from former President Felipe Calderon. In an address before both houses of Congress he lamented Arizona law. “I strongly disagree with the recently adopted law in Arizona. It’s a law that not only ignores reality, but also introduces racial profiling as a basis for law enforcement.”
Calderon continued, “but what we need today is to fix a broken and inefficient system. We favor the establishment of laws that work and work well for all (Mexicans).”
Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) said he was “disappointed that President Calderon did not use this opportunity before us to talk about what more Mexico will do to discourage illegal immigration and improve conditions so that good, hardworking Mexican citizens will want to stay home instead of coming to America.
… Instead, President Calderon continues to mischaracterize and criticize domestic policies of the United States. It is not right for the president of another country to come here and criticize our nation or our states for wanting to stop human smuggling and drug trafficking, or secure our border.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton once remarked that Mexico had become a “narco state” driven by the drug cartels. More than 500,000 Mexicans have died from cartel related violence, which occasionally spills-over into border states. Texas even has a “Spillover Violence” security plan to prevent cartel violence from spreading into Texas.
Another “war on women” issue driven by illegal immigration is migrant rape. A large majority of females illegally migrating from Central America and Mexico to the US are raped before they ever make it to the US. Univision first reported that a staggering 80 percent of females coming to America are sexually assaulted. This fact is confirmed by the Directors of Migrant Shelters who were interviewed by Fusion magazine.
In a disturbing trend, two years ago it was estimated that 60 percent of females making the dangerous land trek to the US were raped, according to non-profit organizations like Amnesty International.
“Women and girl migrants, especially those without legal status traveling in remote areas or on trains, are at heightened risk of sexual violence at the hands of criminal gangs, people traffickers, other migrants or corrupt officials,” the 2010 report explained. “… Many criminal gangs appear to use sexual violence as part of the ‘price’ demanded of migrants. According to some experts, the prevalence of rape is such that people smugglers may require women to have a contraceptive injection prior to the journey as a precaution.”
“I think almost all of the women are abused on the way north,” according to Elvira Gordillo, a lawyer who assists trafficked migrant women who get trafficked into prostitution. “[These migrants] know the price to pay for getting to the United States. The price is being sexually violated.”
What about the fence?
Every time the “Amnesty or pathway to citizenship” argument arises, lawmakers stakeout their territory—the left plays the compassionate card and the right says secure the border. But didn’t Congress already pass the Secure Fence Act of 2006?
President George W. Bush proclaimed the “bill will help protect the American people. This bill will make our borders secure. It is an important step toward immigration reform.” The Act set out to use 21st century technology to build a fence that would stem the tide of illegal immigration and drug trafficking. It authorized the construction of 700 miles of additional fencing along the southern border with Mexico, added vehicle barriers, checkpoints and lighting to prevent illegal immigration; it also authorized the Department of Homeland Security to use cameras, satellites and drones to reinforce the border infrastructure at a cost of $10.4 billion in 2007. The Act passed in the Democrat controlled House with a vote of 283-138 and Senate 80-19 (with then Senator Obama’s support).
Unfortunately, the political promises died in the appropriation process where the new secure border bill failed to be funded in the Congress’ infamous “bait and switch tactic” that allows lawmakers to campaign on border security knowing full well it will never be fully funded or completed.
It was former Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) who proposed an amendment to give DHS the discretion to decide what type of fence was appropriate in different areas. The law was amended to read, “nothing in this paragraph shall require the Secretary of Homeland Security to install fencing, physical barriers, roads, lighting, cameras, and sensors in a particular location along an international border of the United States, if the Secretary determines that the use or placement of such resources is not the most appropriate means to achieve and maintain operational control over the international border at such location.”
She further claimed that, “Border Patrol agents reported that coyotes and drug-runners were altering their routes as fencing was deployed, so the amendment gives our agents discretion to locate the fence where necessary to achieve operational control of our border.”
Subsequently, in 2008 and 2010 lawmakers tried, and unsuccessfully reintroduced legislation to construct at least 700 miles of double-layer fencing. In the end, the failure to finish the fence was blamed on lack of funds. So far, DHS claims it has completed 651 miles of traditional fencing, including roughly 300 miles of vehicle hurdles (people can walk through this type of fence) and 350 miles of pedestrian barriers at a cost of nearly $3 million per mile. Only 40 miles of that fencing is double-layered.
STEMs: Trump v. Zuckerberg
Another program under attack from the “Donald” is the issuance of H-1B visas. The controversy centers on the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math or STEM degrees that are in high demand. The GOP frontrunner took aim at Silicon Valley’s Facebook guru Mark Zuckerberg by claiming the social media wiz is trying to hire his own personal senator.
Trump said, “My plan will improve the number of black, Hispanic and female workers in Silicon Valley who have been passed over in favor of the H-1B program. Mark Zuckerberg’s personal senator, Marco Rubio, has a bill to triple H-1B visas that would decimate women and minorities.”
The numbers back up Trump’s assertions, according the US Census Bureau, 74 percent up from 60 percent three years ago, of STEM graduates who are not working in the technology field. Plus, numerous outspoken college professors say the IT industry consistently pays 25-40 percent less to its foreign-born workers.
“I don’t think you should eliminate the H-1B program. The problem is it’s being abused and it’s a source of very cheap labor,” said Ron Hira, a Howard University public policy professor on the topic of H-1B visas.
The H-1B visa program was established in 1990 in the Immigration and Nationality Act and signed into law by George H.W. Bush.
Since then the program has grown and now Senator Marco Rubio has co-sponsored Senate bill, “Immigration Innovation “I-Squared” Act of 2015,” that plans to substantially increase the annual H-1B visas from 65,000 to 115,00, then up to 195,00 if the market demands it. The bill also enjoys billionaires Zuckerberg and Bill Gates’ support.
Trump has complained Zuckerberg and other tech employers are skirting US laws to save money and as president he would mandate US employers who use the H-1B visa program to pay prevailing wages in an effort to employ the 74 percent of US STEM grads first.
Zuckerberg didn’t respond directly to Trump’s allegation, but his spokesman for FWD.us, Todd Shulte said, “The idea we should radically restrict pathways for highly skilled immigrants to come and stay here is — again — just wrong.”
“We need to fix our nation’s badly broken immigration system so that more highly skilled immigrants can create jobs here in the United States – and that we can continue to be a magnet for the best and the brightest from all over the world; our global competitors aren’t waiting while we waste time,” Shulte wrote. “That means creating a Startup Visa to help entrepreneurs create the next generation of innovation here in the U.S.; it means clearing the green card backlog to allow those who qualify and want to stay here to build their lives and grow our economy, and it means increasing the numbers of H-1B visas and reforming the program so that we don’t run out of spots in the current yearly allotment for this critical program within only a few days every year.”
Currently the US issues 65,000 H-1B visas a year, plus another 20,000 for foreigners with higher graduate degrees from US colleges. “Numbers from the US Chamber of Commerce suggest that Trump’s statement that US companies overlook US-born STEM students in favor of foreign workers, presumably to hire them at lower wages, does not stand to reason, and is not substantiated by fact,” Shulte finished.
However, Zuckerberg’s mouthpiece fails to explain why 74 percent of US graduates are not working in their respective fields. On a side note, US students have taken on extraordinarily large college loans, closing in on $2 trillion in debt, for degrees they are not fully using. Universities are also participating in the STEM gambit by perpetually raising tuition costs for the highly technical industry. For example, MIT charges undergrads $43,720 for nine months’ tuition. In addition, undergraduates’ room and board runs another $13,224 and books and personal expenses add another $2,790. The total? It costs roughly $60,000 per year and $240,000 for four years.
STEM visas get special treatment too
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) professions make up roughly two-thirds of H-1B visas issued to foreign workers. “Over the last decade the federal government has distributed about $1 billion from H-1B visa fees to fund programs that address skills shortages in the U.S. workforce. About half of these funds go to the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) for technical skills training that reflects industry needs. The other half of the funds goes to the National Science Foundation (NSF) for longer-term science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) training,” according to Brookings, a left leaning think tank in DC.
“Based on my research released earlier this year, about 38 percent of all foreign students on F-1 visas, or 362,500, were studying in the STEM fields during the 2008 to 2012 time period. This means that at least 72,500 graduates per year may benefit from this STEM OPT (Optional Practical Training) extension,” said Neil Ruiz, senior policy analyst and associate fellow for the Metropolitan Policy Program.
Another likely reason hi-tech companies prefer to hire foreigners lies in the fact that corporations can count on the H1B employee not changing jobs for higher pay or better conditions as the H1B visa is dependent on the visa holder being employed and the transfer process can take considerably longer than the period allowed to transfer. Hence UC Davis Professor Norman Matloff’s reference to H1B employees as ‘de facto indentured servant.’ The top 100 H1B visa employers are listed here.
By focusing narrowly on the 17-month extension, the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers successfully illustrated a dramatic increase in foreign tech workers. In 2008 OPT students consisted of 28,500 and grew to 123,000 last year.
One of the plaintiff’s attorneys John Miano, pointed out that DHS “knew when they promulgated the OPT expansion that it was illegal.” He further stipulated that DHS’s reasoning for the expansion “was a ‘critical shortage’ of STEM workers … (even though there is) no objective evidence to support the claim of a worker shortage.”
“I believe that the economic loss is substantially greater, as higher-skill work visa programs such as H-1B, L-1, and the OPT extension to the F-1 Visa have morphed into de-facto government-sanctioned foreign hiring preference programs,” said Gene Nelson, Ph.D. and leading voice on STEM related issues. “I was one of the original plaintiffs in a related case from 2008 where a group of harmed U.S. citizen technology professionals attempted to sue the Department of Homeland Security after they issued a rule substantially expanding the OPT extension to the F-1 (student Visa) term (from 12 months to 29 months) for a very large number of STEM and STEM-related majors” (The decision can be found here).
Another study conducted by the Center for Immigration Studies confirms the U.S is providing India with “Most Favored Nation” status when it comes to tech workers, as 65 percent of the foreign H-1B visas go to India.
“The extremely steady flow of Indian high-tech workers receiving the H-1B visas to enter the United States is the largest and most controversial of the one country dominated streams,” said David North, a Fellow at Center for Immigration Studies. “Noting the extremely high unemployment rate in the United States, it is shocking that an estimated 900,000 H-1B visas holders are presently employed in the country, an estimated 585,000 of these are from India. Interestingly, the government has never even tried to estimate the total size of the resident H-1B population.”
This will mean something to students attending the much sought-after “University of California” system. Many of these universities churn out STEM degrees, but unfortunately, only 50 percent of U.S. students will get a job in their field of study, with many of those jobs going to foreigners with newly obtained H-1B visas.
But it gets worse for American college students. In an effort to cover a litany of expenses, like in-state tuition for illegal immigrants and now providing legal aid for the newly amnestied immigrants, former Department of Homeland Security Secretary and current UC President Janet Napolitano orchestrated a sizeable tuition hike. For the next five years, students will see a five percent tuition hike per year. Simultaneously, the president is working on a plan to reduce or eliminate college debt so “folks” will not be burdened with the cost of education. So who exactly is going to get stiffed with the bill? The taxpayers, of course.
Outspoken critic of the H-1B expansion is STEM professor Matloff who says the program requires serious reform. “The phrase I use is Any H-1B worker is legally free to quit work and go to work for another employer at any time–but in various senses, they don’t dare do so.
This is the case for H-1B workers being sponsored by their employers for green cards. (This equates to most of the foreign workers hired from US university campuses) The green card process is very lengthy, so the worker would not want to go to another employer and start the green card process all over again from scratch. In other words, they’re trapped.”
For those H-1Bs who are not being sponsored for green cards, many hope to be sponsored, according to Matloff. In many cases the employer will string them along, with the suggestion that the employer may sponsor the worker for a green card “later.”
Immigration lawyers are also willing participants and have publicly extolled the fact that green card sponsorees are immobile. For example recent comments by immigration attorney David Swaim, mentioned “the most important advantage of [green card sponsorship] is the fact that the employee is tied to a particular position with one company and must remain with the company in most cases for more than four years.”
Additional background into the relationship between William Gates, III, Microsoft Corporation, corrupt lobbyist Jack A. Abramoff, “Team Abramoff” and the controversial H-1B Visa, comes from an exposé paper written by Nelson, “The Greedy Gates Immigration Gambit.” The report was updated in 2012, “How Record Immigration Levels Robbed American High-Tech Workers of $10 Trillion.”
Nelson contends that the adverse effect on wages and working conditions of the 37 million work visa admissions between 1975-2010 has been historically unprecedented. Nelson concludes that employer advocacy groups helped facilitate an estimated salary and benefit avoidance of $150,000.00 (per visa admission). The result has caused millions of Americans who were in the ranks of the middle class to move into the ranks of the poor. “Economic elites covet more foreign workers to boost their profits by an estimated $150,000.00 per visa admission,” Nelson finished.
It is true the US immigration system does not work effectively regarding the US border with Mexico. It’s been estimated that 500,000 immigrants cross the southern border; many argue the number does not include the “catch and release” tactic that burdens taxpayers with an annual tab of $120,000,000.
Border states, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California, have sought varying degrees of federal enforcement of the border, but the tide of illegal immigrants has reached such epidemic proportions that California has “thrown in the towel” and now grants drivers licenses, in-state tuition, and even professional licenses (Law) to illegal immigrants in California.
Further compounding the problem are sanctuary cities. They bar local law enforcement from working with the federal government like ICE. The results have been deadly. Criminal illegal immigrants have been literally killing Americans while the government refuses to address the repeat offender problems. Many states seemingly condone illegal immigrants working in the sanctuary cities without work permits, social security numbers, or possible health issues (like Ebola, TB, Whooping Cough) and prior criminal status.
The fact is that the estimated 11-30 million illegal immigrants in the US today wield an incredible amount of political power. From flooding the halls of Congress demanding a path to citizenship, to demands from the President of Mexico that the US change its laws to accommodate them, such a disenfranchised group of immigrants has never held such political clout. Ironically, the illegal immigration epidemic seems unfair to those prospective immigrants that pay their fees, pay for medical tests, study US civics and language, and wait in-line for years for legal admission.
Furthermore, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) claims, “Effective immigration enforcement will not collapse our economy. Opponents of immigration enforcement have resorted to doomsday economic scenarios under which all illegal aliens are removed or leave at once. Even the most ardent supporters of true immigration reform understand that 13 million illegal aliens did not all arrive yesterday and they are not all going home tomorrow no matter what policies are put in place. Since all rational immigration enforcement plans rely heavily on deterrence, the reversal of years of non-enforcement will happen gradually, over time. Just as the economy adjusted to the presence of millions of low-wage illegal workers, it will adjust to their absence. Moreover, the cumulative economic output of illegal alien workers will not be lost; it will be replaced. As illegal aliens leave, the jobs that need to be done in our economy will be filled by some of the 90 million working age Americans who are now outside the traditional labor force – and likely taking those jobs at higher wages. Thus, the jobs will continue to be performed by workers who earn more and send less of their money abroad in the form of remittances, and who are more likely to be in the above-ground economy and paying taxes instead of consuming public benefits.”
So it is not surprising Americans of all political stripes are angry with the immigration and economic rhetoric of the “out-of-touch” Washington elites, which is driving a non-politico like Trump to the top of the presidential polls.
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