On Sunday, I posted a piece here praising presidential candidate Donald Trump’s stance on the H-1B work visa. Since I am a liberal Democrat, my praise for Trump caused a bit of a stir, resulting in the conservative Web site Breitbart running an article, “Floodgates Open: Top Democrat Professor Says ‘I’ve Never Seen any Politician’ with Better Immigration Plan than Trump.” Trump himself tweeted the article. (To read it without “voting,” hit Refresh in your browser.)
My, my — if only the Democratic Party would listen to this “top Democrat.” On the contrary, as I noted recently, the Democrats who used to be critical of H-1B, e.g. Harkin, Stabenow, Pascrell and so on, have all clammed up on H-1B in the last couple of years, while some Republicans, such as Trump, Walker and Santorum are now taking up the slack as supporters of American workers.
However, just two days later I had to post another piece, saying “Forget what I said” after Trump “clarified” his stance:
When foreigners attend our great colleges & want to stay in the U.S., they should not be thrown out of our country…I want talented people to come into this country—to work hard and to become citizens. Silicon Valley needs engineers, etc.
This is the standard industry party line, which portrays the foreign students as the “good” H-1Bs, as opposed to those imported directly from India by firms like Infosys to replace American workers at companies like Disney and SCE. This is simply not true, and it was quite disappointing to see Trump “go to the dark side.”
I have been assured privately by two well-connected people that Trump actually did not reverse himself, but really, it’s obvious that he did. Not only did he say we need to retain the foreign students, but also he supported the notion that we have a shortage of engineers. And the quotes in an article running in today’s edition of Inside Higher Ed show that supporters of giving work visas to the foreign students also see that Trump agrees with them. As the article puts it, Trump “is in line with mainstream sentiment in higher education.” One seldom sees Trump mentioned in the same sentence as the word mainstream, but there you have it. (The article is perhaps a tad unbalanced, but definitely recommended reading.)
Some have responded to my Sunday post by saying that Trump’s stance on H-1B is still better than that of any other politician, but I strongly disagree. He seems to be supporting the bills that would make special work visas and/or green cards for young international students, amounting to an H-1B end run. If such policies are enacted, it will be business as usual for Disney and SCE — they’ll hire the foreign students instead of H-1Bs, with the result STILL being that Americans don’t get those jobs.
I do have to say that my remarks praising Trump for his support of low-skilled American workers, especially blacks and Latinos, still stand. Again, one just doesn’t see the Democrats showing such insight/courage. San Francisco radio station KGO had me as a guest on Pat Thurston’s show the other night, and I was amazed to see Thurston, the liberal’s liberal, praising Trump. But on the issue of immigration of engineers, Trump’s a chump.