7:30 PM, May 3, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
In a memo raising concerns about the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), Alabama senator Jeff Sessions worries that the trade deal would open immigration floodgates.
"There are numerous ways TPA could facilitate immigration increases above current law—and precious few ways anyone in Congress could stop its happening. For instance: language could be included or added into the TPP, as well as any future trade deal submitted for fast-track consideration in the next 6 years, with the clear intent to facilitate or enable the movement of foreign workers and employees into the United States (including intracompany transfers), and there would be no capacity for lawmakers to strike the offending provision. The Administration could also simply act on its own to negotiate foreign worker increases with foreign trading partners without ever advertising those plans to Congress. In 2011, the United States entered into an agreement with South Korea—never brought before Congress—to increase the duration of L-1 visas (a visa that affords no protections for U.S. workers)," reads part of the memo from Sessions's office.
"Every year, tens of thousands of foreign guest workers come to the U.S. as part of past trade deals. However, because there is little transparency, estimating an exact figure is difficult. The plain language of TPA provides avenues for the Administration and its trading partners to facilitate the expanded movement of foreign workers into the U.S.— including visitor visas that are used as worker visas. The TPA reads:
“The principal negotiating objective of the United States regarding trade in services is to expand competitive market opportunities for United States services and to obtain fairer and more open conditions of trade, including through utilization of global value chains, by reducing or eliminating barriers to international trade in services... Recognizing that expansion of trade in services generates benefits for all sectors of the economy and facilitates trade."
"This language, and other language in TPA, offers an obvious way for the Administration to expand the number and duration of foreign worker entries under the concept that the movement of foreign workers into U.S. jobs constitutes 'trade in services.'
"Stating that 'TPP contains no change to immigration law' is a semantic rather than a factual argument. Language already present in both TPA and TPP provide the basis for admitting more foreign workers, and for longer periods of time, and language could later be added to TPP or any future trade deal to further increase such admissions.
"The President has already subjected American workers to profound wage loss through executive-ordered foreign worker increases on top of existing record immigration levels. Yet, despite these extraordinary actions, the Administration will casually assert that is has merely modernized, clarified, improved, streamlined, and updated immigration rules. Thus, at any point during the 6-year life of TPA, the Administration could send Congress a trade deal—or issue an executive action subsequent to a trade deal as part of its implementation—that increased foreign worker entry into the U.S., all while claiming it has never changed immigration law.
"The President has circumvented Congress on immigration with serial regularity. But the TPA would yield new power to the executive to alter admissions while subtracting congressional checks against those actions. This runs contrary to our Founders’ belief, as stated in the Constitution, that immigration should be in the hands of Congress. The Supreme Court has consistently held that the Constitution grants Congress plenary authority over immigration policy. For instance, the Court ruled in Galvan v. Press, 347 U.S. 522, 531 (1954), that 'the formulation of policies [pertaining to the entry of immigrants and their right to remain here] is entrusted exclusively to Congress... [This principle] has become about as firmly imbedded in the legislative and judicial issues of our body politic as any aspect of our government.' Granting the President TPA could enable controversial changes or increases to a wide variety of visas—such as the H-1B, B-1, E-1, and L-1—including visas that confer foreign nationals with a pathway to a green card and thus citizenship.
"Future trade deals could also have the possible effect of preventing Congress from reforming abuses in our guest worker programs, as countries could complain that limitations on foreign worker travel constituted a trade barrier requiring adjudication by an international body.
9:27 AM, Apr 27, 2015 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
According to Gallup, only 7 percent of Americans want immigration levels to increase, while 86 percent either want them to remain at current levels (47 percent) or decrease (39 percent). With most current and prospective Republican presidential candidates tripping over each other to vie for that 7 percent, it would seem to be good politics for a candidate to break from the pack and speak for the other 86 percent essentially unopposed. That’s more of less what Scott Walker has done over the past week.
9:17 PM, Mar 9, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama is responding to Scott Walker's latest move in Wisconsin with a sharply worded statement.
12:01 AM, Mar 7, 2015 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
Sometimes -- not often, but sometimes -- anecdote is more revealing than data. Especially when the data are subject to major revisions, which is the case with most monthly economic data. This is one of those times. Last week’s jobs report -- 295,00 new nonfarm jobs in February -- was a bit more robust than most experts had expected, and the unemployment rate ticked down from 5.7% to 5.5%.
10:03 AM, Feb 24, 2015 • By JERYL BIER
The same day the White House renewed a push to increase the federal minimum wage, an announcement appeared on the White House blog for the Summer 2015 White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders [AAPI] Internship Program -- all unpaid positions.
Oct 13, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 05 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
Politico recently hired Timothy Noah to be the publication’s labor and employment editor. Noah is a former Slate and New Republic columnist known for being liberal. Of course, most reporters on the labor beat are pro-union, so you’re probably wondering what the news is here. Well, that would be Noah’s hiring, in turn, of Mike Elk, formerly of Huffington Post and In These Times, to help him cover the beat.
10:22 AM, Jul 10, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Initial claims came in at 304,000, slightly less than expected (315,000) and low enough to keep the low flame of optimism burning after last weeks good jobs number.
12:00 AM, Jun 14, 2014 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
Until Eve’s encounter with the serpent, Adam did not spend a lot of time looking for work. Didn’t have to. Expelled from Eden and cursed with the necessity of earning his bread “in the sweat of his face,” he found work. Had to. Therein lies a partial, but only partial, explanation for one of the strange developments in America’s labor markets.
8:32 AM, May 2, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The latest jobs numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 288,000, and the unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage point to 6.3 percent in April, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment gains were widespread, led by job growth in professional and business services, retail trade, food services and drinking places, and construction.
Household Survey Data
12:00 AM, Dec 14, 2013 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
Free traders are ecstatic. Negotiators at the 9th World Trade Organization ministerial conference in Bali cheered, hugged, and wept at what they see as the successful culmination of their recent round of talks. “A giant step for businesses large and small,” enthused the CEO of UPS.
Protesters stay home.12:54 PM, Dec 4, 2013 • By JIM SWIFT
At the corner of First and H Streets in Northwest Washington, the balloons were all set, hanging stories high in the cold morning air. The inflatable Pepsi and Mountain Dew bottles were twisting in the breeze, and a mini-hoop game was set up. There was even a marching band and Chester the Cheetos Cheetah.
Nov 11, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 09 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
Mike Lee, the senator from Utah, gave a speech at the Heritage Foundation last week that demands attention. The takeaway: Candidates need policy ideas that address the concerns of ordinary voters—and they have to campaign, and win, on those ideas. Lee noted that conservative scholars have a number of imaginative proposals that try to address the breakdown of the family, the rising cost of health insurance and higher education, the lengthening suburban commute, and out-of-control entitlement spending.
1:12 PM, Sep 12, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
It has been clear for some time now that big labor is no fan of Obamacare. Now the AFL-CIO has passed a resolution making it official. As Sam Hananel reports for the Associated Press: