Hilda Solis' Labor Day: supports illegal foreign labor, misleads, and plays dumb

Hilda Solis is one of the best Labor Secretaries the Mexican government has ever had. Unfortunately for us, she's the Secretary of our Department of Labor. In her Labor Day editorial, she sticks up for illegal foreign labor, she shows that she's uninterested in replacing some of that illegal foreign labor with unemployed American workers, she misleads, and she plays dumb about the pro-American arguments of her opponents. Most U.S. Labor Secretaries should stick up for American workers and not foreign workers, but Solis will have none of that.

Her editorial ("Immigration reform is an economic imperative", link) shows that she does not put the fate of American workers - or the vast majority of Americans in general - first. Rather, obtaining race-based power and helping corrupt cheap labor employers are higher priorities for her. Let's take a look at the whole thing:

Google, Goya, Yahoo, Intel and Levi Strauss. It’s hard to imagine a day without these iconic and uniquely American brands.

Most people don’t know that all were founded or co-founded by immigrants.

Note that, unlike Gary Locke and Carlos Gutierrez, she's added in the "co-founded" bit; others have just claimed that those and similar companies were "founded" by immigrants and ignored their non-immigrant co-founders. But, she's still misleading: Intel appears to have had only two co-founders, both native-born Americans. So, with five companies on her list, four of the nine co-founders were native-born Americans. Instead of focusing on them, she's focusing on the immigrants.

[..Goya, Yahoo history...] Immigrants founded 18 percent of the 2010 Fortune 500 companies - which post combined revenues of $1.7 trillion dollars and employ more than 3.6 million people.

Read the link for a few reasons why that statistic is misleading.

Our current economy needs to foster success stories like these. But just as important: We also need to foster the successes of countless immigrants who mow our lawns, build our roads, clean our offices and harvest our crops. Because we all benefit from their work, too.

The problem is that those "immigrants" (many of whom are actually illegal aliens) are a bit different from immigrants of the past, as even Obama somewhat acknowledged. And, as illegal aliens, we have every right to deport them or encourage them to leave. Doing so would make it easier for unemployed Americans to "mow our lawns, build our roads, clean our offices and harvest our crops". Solis is implying the "Veranda Pitch": Americans can sit on their butts on their verandas watching imported foreign serf labor do the jobs they should be doing. If Solis were pro-American and wasn't just a corrupt lackey, she'd support immigration enforcement so that Americans - such as some of the 75% of non-institutionalized black youth who aren't in the labor market - could be doing some of those jobs.

Too often, immigrants work in an underground economy - earning unfair wages, suffering unsafe conditions and hiding from authorities. This is not only wrong, but economically self-defeating. For generations, immigrants have helped to bring prosperity to America through entrepreneurial spirit and sweat equity. Given their economic potential, why would anyone want to shut off the tap of foreign-born talent? Why force willing wage earners - and potential taxpayers - into the shadows with no path to legal citizenship?

Solis is whining about a situation those like her helped create. The reason there's such a large "underground economy" is due to lax immigration enforcement, something that many of those who whine about labor exploitation tend to support. Some in that group genuinely think that they can have lax immigration enforcement without labor abuse; others just sell that same false thinking. As for "hiding from authorities", tell me another one. While the Obama administration has deported large numbers of illegal aliens, they've also been handing out work permits to illegal aliens for years and just recently declared a mini-amnesty. For years they've sent the message that illegal aliens who don't commit major crimes won't be deported, and Solis is trying to make you think illegal aliens are living in the shadows and "hiding from authorities". Dick Durbin and Janet Napolitano even welcomed illegal aliens to appear before Congress. The "generations" sentence is yet another instance of the immigration tradition fallacy: the situation in the U.S. and the immigrants themselves are different now than past generations. The "willing wage earners" has more than a whiff of George W Bush's "willing workers", and the taxpayers part contradicts claims by those in Solis' sphere that illegal aliens are already paying taxes.

Then, Solis plays dumb, sticks up for corrupt growers, and supports braindraining the world:

I’m perplexed by the questions - because the answers seem so obvious. Yet the current U.S. immigration system does exactly these things.

We educate foreign-born workers at a faster rate than any other country. But our outdated immigration system often sends them packing, only to create billion-dollar companies in countries that compete against us.

Our flawed immigration system also threatens the country’s agriculture industry. Growers that can’t find field labor end up shutting down - or turning to undocumented workers.

I’ve heard the arguments: Immigrants take jobs away from native-born workers. They depress wages. Both claims are false. In fact, every immigrant farm worker supports three additional jobs - often in better-paying sectors. In high-skilled industries, the impact is even greater - with each immigrant worker creating five additional jobs. As for pay, studies show that native workers earn higher wages in areas with higher immigration.

There's little chance that Solis will ever try a counter-argument against anything in this post or against others who've made arguments against her policies, so playing dumb and relying on misleading studies is the best we should expect (from an editorial at least). If she were serious about being perplexed, this would be a case of "epistemic closure", but it probably isn't.

Regarding foreign students, there are foreign policy reasons why educating them might be both good and bad: it might make future foreign leaders more amenable to U.S. interests, but at the same time it might create a "club" of globalists. They're also a cash cow for universities. But, we don't have to educate so many of them. The Solis alternative - the establishment alternative - is to braindrain the world through skilled immigration, no matter the impact on both U.S. citizens and other countries.

The bit about the agriculture industry would be funny if it weren't so sad: the idea that growers are forced to turn to illegal aliens is absurd because those are who they prefer. They know there's little chance of them getting into trouble over hiring illegal aliens, and they'll be able to work them harder and for lower wages.

Regarding the last paragraph, see immigration economics, and look around. A very large number of Americans are unemployed; the official "real" unemployment rate was 16.2% in June, and the actual real unemployment rate including those underemployed is probably a good bit higher. At the same time, millions of foreign citizens are in the U.S. and working. Yes, they contribute to economic activity. But, at the same time they incur social welfare costs, and so too do the unemployed. And, having large numbers of Americans unemployed for long periods has large, long-term costs to the U.S. If Solis and the rest of the Obama administration were pro-American they'd move heaven and earth to get some of those unemployed working some of the jobs that illegal aliens are doing. Instead, they're going in the opposite direction: giving work permits to illegal aliens who they could deport if they wanted to.

If the status quo persists, America stands to miss enormous opportunities to accelerate our recovery.

All during the recession, the Obama administration has allowed high immigration, and it hasn't helped with the recovery.

Not content to support illegal aliens taking jobs from Americans, Solis also supports illegal aliens taking college educations from Americans:

I’m particularly concerned about undocumented young people who live in the United States because their parents came here seeking a brighter future. I think about them every time I talk about the DREAM Act - legislation designed to stop punishing innocent young people for the actions of their parents, by giving them the chance to obtain legal status either by pursuing a higher education, or by serving in the U.S. armed forces. Sadly, the DREAM Act has yet to become reality, despite the economic value. Students who will benefit from the DREAM Act are projected to contribute well over $1 billion in tax returns for multiple years. That benefits all of us.

That $1 billion is over 10 years, and see DREAM Act for the huge downsides of that bill.

We have made progress. The Obama administration recently unveiled new policy initiatives to attract foreign entrepreneurs to invest in fields with high unemployment and start new companies. The recent expansion of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs and support of emerging legislation like the StartUp Visa Act also point in the right direction. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has announced they will begin applying common sense guidelines to deportation decisions, factoring in ties and contributions to the community, family relationships and military service records.

The Obama administration and the rest of the establishment really does not have a high opinion of those unlucky enough to share citizenship with them. There's a large amount of capital available - Apple supposedly had more cash on hand than the U.S. - and a large talent pool already in the U.S. A pro-American Obama administration would move heaven and earth to get unemployed tech workers working and building companies. See skilled immigration, specifically the competition part. The last sentence is a reference to Obama's mini-amnesty.

These are significant steps, but President Obama cannot fix America’s immigration system on his own. He needs partners in Congress to pass reforms that will support immigrant families and strengthen the American economy.

"Support immigrant families"?? Solis wants to support foreign citizens who are here illegally. Her job should be support American families.

On Labor Day 2011, I’m reminded that America is an ongoing story, and that we have not reached the final chapter. Immigrants played - and will continue to play - a critical role in that story.

That's great to know. In the meantime, Solis should remember who she's supposed to be working for, and her employers - us - should hold her accountable for putting the interests of foreign citizens, her political party, and corrupt employers ahead of the interests of the vast majority of Americans.