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Anti-Union Gov. Walker Opposes Work Visas "To Protect US Workers". By Roger Algase

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Arguably no one in America is better known for preventing US workers from bargaining for higher wages or more benefits than Wisconsin Governor and Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker, whose union-busting tactics forced him into a recall election which he narrowly survived not too long ago (with the alleged help of "dark money" from the Koch brothers, who are now backing him for president in the full light of day and pledging to spend nearly a billion dollars to elect him).

See: Huffington Post: The Koch Brothers Are Reportedly Ready To Back Scott Walker (April 20)

Therefore, if there were any truth to the claim that employment based legal immigration, such as H-1B and L-1 visas, lowers the wages of American workers, one would logically expect Scott Walker, more than anyone else, to be on the side of increasing legal work visas in order to bring in more foreign workers and keep US workers' wages down.

But, to the contrary, Walker has now joined the far right wing members of his party who not only want to prevent reform of illegal immigration, but who also want to restrict legal immigration.

As the Huffington Post points out in its April 20 article: Scott Walker Tacks Far Right On Immigration

Walker is now putting himself at odds with his own party's other announced or likely presidential candidates, including former Florida governor Jeb Bush, and Senators Marco Rubio (FL), Rand Paul (KY) and Ted Cruz (TX). All of these, except for Walker, have either supported or refrained from criticizing legal skilled and professional worker immigration.

Indeed, while most Republican politicians are well known for their hard line on illegal immigration, they have, in general, been outspoken and consistent in their support for employment-based legal immigration.

The most recent example of this is the bipartisan bill introduced by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) which would increase H-1B visas to reasonable levels more in line with actual demand, and also do much to end the unconscionable backlogs in employment-based green card quotas. A more detailed analysis of this worthy and badly needed bill, which is now being opposed by the extreme anti-immigrant wing of the GOP, led by Senate Judiciary Committee Charles Grassley, will appear in a future post.

Gov. Walker, who as mentioned above, is known more than anything else for being on the side of keeping American wages low, is now arguing against legal immigration because of a sudden, very new-found interest in "protecting American workers and American wages". One can only wonder how genuine Walker's sudden conversion to the cause of keeping American wages high and preserving American jobs is.

If that is his real motivation, rather than pandering to nativist anti-immigrant feeling in order to gain right wing votes, one can assume that Walker will take prompt steps to repeal the anti-union legislation in his own state which he himself so eagerly pushed through.

While waiting for Walker to act (which might be a very long wait indeed), advocates of a fair and rational employment-based immigration system (which, to their credit, most Republicans support) would do well to take the vocal right wing opposition to raising the H-1B visa cap and reforming the green card quota system in the avowed interest of "protecting American wages and jobs" with more than a few grains of salt.

Few if any of the politicians who now want to restrict employment-based immigration in order to "protect American workers" have ever voted for real worker protections, such as supporting union rights or raising the minimum wage.
Roger Algase is a New York lawyer and graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School who has been practicing employment-based and family-based immigration law for more than 30 years. He has helped immigrants from many different parts of the world overcome the obstacles of our complex immigration system and achieve their goals of living and working in America.

Roger welcomes comments and questions sent to

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Updated 04-21-2015 at 06:48 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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  1. Walker Supporter's Avatar
    Walker may have just cinched the Republican nomination with his bold and long overdue support for debating reductions in LEGAL immigration as well as opposing amnesty. We have reached the point of CHAOS in our immigration system. DHS released 30,000 convicted criminals back into American streets in fiscal year 2014, and REAL unemployment (people who have been looking for work for longer than 4 weeks) is 11% according to Gallup. It's time for a big "time out" on immigration to 1. remove the 12 million illegal aliens here 2. allow the legal immigrants to assimilate to American language and culture and 3. restore credibility to our immigration laws. Hillary would simply continue Obama's lax and dangerous policies.
  2. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    "Walker Supporter's" comment is little more than a rehash of the hoary old canards that immigrants are criminals who cannot or will not assimilate to American culture.

    There have been many accusations against H-1B and other skilled foreign workers who benefit from employment-based legal immigration, but being criminals is not among these accusations. Even Sen. Grassley has not made such an absurd charge relating to foreign skilled or professional workers.

    Not assimilating to American language/culture is also absurd as far as foreign skilled/professional wokers are concerned. The real reason for keeping them out is that they, for the most part have superior English skills and, in many cases, a better education than their American counterparts.

    To suggest, for an example, that an IT professional from, say, China or India with a US master degree would have a problem assimilating to American language or culture is simply ridiculous and is merely a sign of the anti-immigrant prejudice which Walker, who only wants to lower the wages and job security of US workers by busting unions, is obviously pandering to in order to win votes.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 04-22-2015 at 12:23 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
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