Question about Obama's executive order on immigration
This question is part of the Stop Amnesty Challenge. See that page for the details on the Challenge.
This question is appropriate for Democratic Party leaders in Congress and the Obama administration, especially those who've clashed with WalMart in one way or another. See the immigration wage floor page for background.
Here's the question :
My question is about Obama's executive order on immigration that will give work permits to up to five million illegal aliens.
I'd like to ask you to put yourself in the place of a U.S. citizen who wants to get a job at the local WalMart. Imagine you live in Fort Stockton and you want to get a job at WalMart to help feed your family.
Let's say right now there are five other competitors for the same WalMart job. But, after Obama's executive order things will change. Instead of just five competitors for the same WalMart job, you might have eight or ten competitors: those new competitors will be illegal aliens who got Obama's work permits. Before they couldn't compete with you for the WalMart job, but after Obama gives them a work permit they can apply for any job they're qualified for.
Put yourself in the position of that person who wants the WalMart job, and tell us how increased competition for that job - something Obama plans to create where it didn't exist before - is going to help you. You want that WalMart job, and Obama's actions have suddenly increased the competition for that job. Will that increased competition help or hurt your job prospects? Please only answer that question: will that increased competition help your job prospects, or will it hurt your job prospects?
These are the notes on the question, including possible follow-ups:
- A variant of the question is: "Will that increased competition for WalMart jobs be better for Americans who want to work at WalMart, or will it be better for WalMart Inc.?" (It's actually Walmart Stores Inc., but that might be confusing. You can also say "the Walmart corporation".)
- Replace "Fort Stockton" with a nearby town that has a WalMart, especially a town in the politician's district. You can also replace WalMart with another nationally-known company if it would work better, but WalMart is best. Obama helping WalMart reduce wages will sound more damning to most than him helping Piggly Wiggly or Dunkin' Donuts. You can also use your hands to illustrate the point, but only if it fits your personality. For instance, gesticulate at the politician when saying "Imagine you live in Fort Stockton". At the end. put your palms together in front of you to the left for the "help your job prospects", and then move your hands to the right for the "hurt your job prospects". But, only if that's natural for you. If it fits your style and it's necessary, be a little condescending in your follow-ups. But, don't overdo it: the goal is to make the politician look bad, not make them look sympathetic.
- This question is a little wordy, so if you can condense it in some way while making the same point please do so. However, note that the question doesn't refer to "legalizing" illegal aliens; using that word would be a mistake because the politician could claim that Obama doesn't have the authority to legalize illegal aliens. It only refers to giving work permits.
- If the politician laughs at the idea of them working at WalMart, use that against them if at all possible. The point of this contest is to get an answer to the question above. But, if the politician can be made to look bad in some other way that would be a bonus. If the politician laughs or similar, play it by ear and say something like: "With all due respect, I find it distressing that you'd laugh about working at WalMart. They employ over a million Americans, including no doubt many of your voters. Not everyone has what it takes to become a high-powered DC lobbyist or politician. It's your job to set policy for the U.S., and that includes workers at WalMart." Then, segue back in to the original question. If, without overdoing it, you can work in a "let them eat cake" reference so much the better.
- If the politician claims illegal aliens are doing those jobs now, say something like: "Pardon me for interrupting you, but are you seriously accusing WalMart of employing large numbers of illegal aliens? The fact is that the vast majority of WalMart workers are U.S. citizens or legal workers. Illegal aliens aren't currently in direct competition with Americans who want to work at WalMart. But, if Obama gives work permits to millions of illegal aliens, then some of those who got work permits will be in direct competition with Americans for WalMart jobs." You can also segue into the next response if necessary, or ask the politician to answer your original question.
- If the politician in any way disputes that some illegal aliens will move up in the job market, say: "Pardon me for interrupting you, but let me explain what I mean. Someone who's here illegally can only do certain jobs like picking crops or working as a housekeeper at a small motel. That housekeeper might have the skills to work as a WalMart cashier, but WalMart won't hire her because she's here illegally. However, after Obama gives her a work permit, she'll be able to do any job she's qualified for. If the housekeeper is qualified to work at WalMart, she'll be able to apply using the work permit Obama gave her. If the farm laborer is qualified for a major construction project, he'll be able to apply for those construction projects using the work permit Obama gave him, and so on. That's great for those foreign citizens, but not so great for the American citizens - the ones you're supposed to represent - that will face brand new competition for jobs. That process is well known. I can forward an academic study to you if it's still not clear. In fact, the AgJOBS bill you might be familiar with seeks to 'keep illegal aliens down on the farm', literally. In order to be eligible for legalization under the AgJOBS bill, an illegal alien must work a number of years in farm labor. The reason for that is clear: to prevent those farm laborers from moving up in the job market. Sorry to digress so much, but I just want to make this clear. Now, please answer my question: will the increased competition for the WalMart job you want help you or hurt you?"
- If the politician goes into a stock speech about immigration reform helping the economy or otherwise won't answer the question, interrupt them: "Pardon me for interrupting you, but you didn't answer my question. Please simply answer my question: will the increased competition for the WalMart job you want help you or hurt you?"
- If the politician says illegal aliens getting work permits will cause them to become consumers and help the economy, say: "Pardon me for interrupting you, but you chose the wrong side. Instead of siding with the American who wanted that WalMart job, you'd keep the American unemployed and give the same job to a foreign citizen. Since you side with foreign citizens over your fellow citizens, why should any American citizen vote for you?" In case saying something like that is too aggressive for you, then say something like: "I'd really like you to answer my question. In the case I outlined, will the increased competition for the WalMart job you want help you or hurt you?"
- If the politician says that immigration reform would reduce the deficit or increase GDP, say "Pardon me for interrupting you, but I assume that's a reference to the 2013 Congressional Budget Office study. The same CBO study also said the same 2013 Senate immigration reform bill would mean static or reduced wages for millions for over a decade. That's a very serious downside of that bill. In the past, when have you acknowledged *that* claim by the CBO? Please tell us if you've acknowledged *that* claim, and also please answer my original question."
- [11/21/14: this response can now be ignored since Obama released his plan.] If the politician won't answer the question but instead says that we don't know what Obama plans to do, say "We don't know what Obama's going to do, but clearly granting work permits to a large number of illegal aliens is the possibility that's been most discussed. For instance, Rep. Luis Gutierrez claims Obama could give out five million work permits. So, let's assume - just for the sake of argument - that Obama does grant a large number of work permits. It would be foolish to pretend that's not a strong possibility. So, please make that assumption and answer my question: how will increased competition for jobs like WalMart cashier help Americans who want to work as a WalMart cashier?"
- If the politician says Americans should go to college so they won't wind up working at WalMart, say something like: "Not everyone has the ability to succeed at college, just as not everyone has the ability to succeed at other endeavors. In a country of over 300 million people, only a small number will be able to get PhDs. We need to develop realistic policies that work for every American citizen. Are you really saying that Americans who want to work as cashiers should face undue competition for those jobs? It's your job to set policy for all types of workers, not just DC lobbyists but also struggling American workers. Please answer my question: how will increased competition for jobs like WalMart cashier help Americans who want to work as a WalMart cashier?"
- If the politician says Americans should move to another town to get a job, ask them "Wait: you're seriously suggesting that Americans should move to another town because of undue competition for jobs Americans should be doing?" If it fits your style, play the audience against them, such as by turning to the audience (while speaking into the microphone) and asking the audience if they believe what they're hearing.
- If the politician keeps giving you the run-around, say something like: "Look, I realize you don't want to face up to the impacts of Obama's plans. But, it's your job to set policy for the U.S. Do you represent the interests of Americans who want to work as Walmart cashiers, or don't you? Please simply answer my question: how will increased competition for jobs like WalMart cashier help Americans who want to work as a WalMart cashier?"
 On 11/22/14 I changed the first paragraph to reflect the fact that Obama did release his plan as expected. The first paragraph originally said "Obama's said that after the election he'll issue an executive order on immigration. That executive order is widely expected to include a plan to give work permits to up to five million illegal aliens. Please assume for this question that Obama does in fact give work permits to millions of illegal aliens."