Trump's Visa Ban Will Slow America's Recovery

The net result of turning away foreign labor is greater unemployment—and lower wages—for native-born workers.


In April, as COVID-19 spread through the United States, President Donald Trump imposed a two-month pause on nearly all legal immigration to protect America's physical and economic health. He has now extended the ban until December and expanded it, while acknowledging that the changes are primarily about protectionism for American labor.

The original ban halted new green cards for anyone other than the children and spouses of American citizens, because, the order claimed, lawful permanent residents get instant "'open-market' employment authorization documents" that allow them to immediately compete with American citizens "for almost any job in any sector of the economy." The latest ban also imposes a moratorium on temporary work visas for foreign techies, low-skilled nonagricultural workers, people with summer jobs, and intra-company transfers. America's unemployment rate quadrupled between February and May, Trump proclaimed, so more foreign workers would "present a significant threat to employment opportunities for Americans."

Foreign workers typically fill niches at both the top and bottom ends of the labor spectrum, where qualified Americans aren't available or willing to take jobs. If there were a surfeit of such workers, the labor market would itself reduce foreign worker inflows, since existing labor and immigration laws already make it costly to hire a foreigner. But restrictionists argue that starving businesses of foreign workers will force them to invest in training domestic workers or to start paying them more.

Yet the market cannot bear endless price increases. To control labor costs, businesses will automate what they can and outsource what they can't, resulting in a bigger loss of American jobs.

The former happened after the end of the "bracero" program in 1964 that had allowed American farmers to hire around half a million Mexican guest workers on a seasonal basis. The small increase in wages that farms had to pay domestic workers evaporated quickly as machines replaced the lost Mexicans.

The latter will happen in the tech sector. Even when the United States' overall unemployment rate in June touched 13.3 percent, that number was only 2.5 percent for computing jobs, according to the pro-immigration National Foundation for American Policy.

In 2004, when Congress slashed the high-skilled H-1B visa cap from 195,000 a year to less than half that, multinational companies started hiring more workers in their affiliates abroad, according to Wharton School professor of management Britta Glennon. Given that each H-1B supports 1.83 jobs for Americans, University of North Florida economist Madeline Zavodny has found that the net result of turning away foreign labor is greater unemployment—and lower wages—for native-born workers.


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  1. Tell that to all the people that lost their jobs and businesses due to these lock downs. I have no problem with those who want to come to this country legally. I just don't think the recovery depends on them. One thing is not like the other.

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  2. This is not a friendly move at all, It may affect the economy negatively.

  3. "The net result of turning away foreign labor is greater unemployment—and lower wages—for native-born workers."


    I know one native-born worker who's been especially hurt by Orange Hitler's draconian war on immigration. His name is Charles Koch, and he's the billionaire who funds

    Mr. Koch's net worth currently sits at a pathetic $54.9 billion — barely enough for a spot in the global top 20. His businesses are struggling because Drumpf won't let him hire his preferred employees: highly-skilled immigrants, particularly from Mexico.


    1. Now do Donald Trump’s net worth, and projected net worth for the next five years.

      1. Irrelevant. Drumpf is a fake billionaire who inherited his so-called "fortune."

        Mr. Koch, in contrast, built his empire from the ground up.

        1. If the New York Times article is correct, calling him a fake billionaire is accurate.

          1. Tax returns do not indicate net worth.

            1. Have you read the article?

              It covers his Federal tax returns, but also discusses what is publicly known about Trump's income and debts.

              1. I quit working at shoprite and now I make $65-85 per/h. How? I'm working online! My work didn't exactly make me happy so I decided to take a chance on something new…FGb after 4 years it was so hard to quit my day job but now I couldn't be happier.

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              2. "but also discusses what is publicly known about Trump’s income and debts."

                You're dragging this lie everywhere, huh?
                It guesses at Trump’s income and debts, but admits it has no clue.

                1. So, where is my lie?

                  1. Shut the fuck up Dee, you squawking bird.

      2. Who knows what his net worth is? Who cares?

        He seems to be smart in reducing his income tax to zero. You know, like lots of other wealthy Americans.

        The wealthiest Americans have no taxable income, and most of their assets are in companies they control.

        1. Have you read the article?

          He has a huge amount of debt coming due in the next four years.

          1. Based on anonymous sources and secret documents? Seriously? From the people who pushed Russian Pee-Gate?

            To find out what his financial situation is, you need a complete view of all his businesses, properties, etc. You can’t get that, not even from his tax returns.

            1. There is someone who could provide that complete picture.

              1. I doubt even Trump has the complete picture.

                And it frankly it’s none of your or my business, nor is it Congress’s business.

                1. It’s the voters’ business if they want to make it their business. A President who is desperately in need of money could be a b it problem.

                  1. You are pathetic

                  2. Voters have the choice of not voting for him. They don't have the choice of forcing him to release his tax returns or declare his financial situation.

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                    2. Nobody is forcing him to release his tax returns. You just said the same thing I was saying.

                    3. Well, Democrats and the NYT believe they do have the right to release of his tax returns and financial information.

              2. Damn Dee you’re dumb.

          2. His company has, according to the article. And, if you knew anything about business you would know that this is a standard practice.

            1. A distinction without significance.

              Whether it is standard practice or not depends on how much debt. It is standard practice to have some level of _managable_ debt.

    2. “The net result of turning away foreign labor is greater unemployment—and lower wages—for native-born workers.”

      The law of supply and demand is valid for every commodity except labor.

      1. Maybe they'll change "Reason" to "Reasons".

        1. Maybe they'll trade Shikha for someone who understands economics.


        2. "Feelz" would be more appropriate, especially when Shikha articles are published.

  4. In April, as COVID-19 spread through the United States, President Donald Trump imposed a two-month pause on nearly all legal immigration to protect America's physical and economic health. He has now extended the ban until December and expanded it

    Just like every other country on the planet then.
    Poor Shikha, she really only has one trick and Covid has ruined it for her.

    1. Shikha’s arguments aren’t just wrong, they are despicable. I think they are rooted in stupidity rather than malice. But it really takes a special kind of stupidity to want to transform the country you immigrated into into the kind of shithole you emigrated from.

    2. Incorrect. Canada is actually increasing its immigration intake during this time.

      In fact, Canada is thrilled that the US has stopped immigration. It allows them to snap up all the valuable immigrants that the US is foolishly leaving on the table.

      1. People coming on H1B visas are not immigrants.

        Furthermore, the US (fortunately) isn’t Canada. Let them “snap up” whoever they want.

  5. Trump is a failure. The worst president ever. It's beyond pathetic that Trump is hero worshipped by Republicans. What a fucking joke.

    1. Lol, you're supermad. How delightful.

    2. Said the asshole getting buttfucked regularly.

    3. No logical argument, reasoning, or facts. Must be a Democrat.

    4. Your existence is a fucking joke.

    5. Trump is far from the worst ever - he's closer to the best. Look at virtually everything he's done, he's done better than any Prez in my lifetime. I mean actually look, not assume what CNN says has any relationship with the truth.
      The worst president has a last name begins with "O."

  6. All right new content I can read while taking a Shikha.

    1. You’re exciting the squirrel.

  7. To business owners: "Unrestricted immigration will reduce your labor costs!"

    To native workers: "Unrestricted immigration will provide job security and raise your wages!"

    I'm for relatively open borders, and she's right that immigrant labor tends to fill and flatten out the bell curve with unskilled and highly skilled workers, but this counter-claim that *restrictions* on immigration actually lead to higher unemployment and lower wages for native-born workers is simply ridiculous.

    1. What the hell does "unrestricted immigration" have to do with this story? Green cards are NOT unrestricted. They are very difficult to get. It takes years for spouses of native citizens to get one, longer if you're not.

      1. We're not just talking green cards here, though, we're talking H1-B visas, too.

        Mind, legal immigration to depress the wages of upper middle class workers, it's the illegal immigrants who are depressing the wages of the poorest workers.

        Really, the argument here IS that labor is the one commodity immune to supply and demand. Somehow.

      2. Spouses of native citizens need about 9 months for a green card.

  8. To control labor costs, businesses will automate what they can and outsource what they can't, resulting in a bigger loss of American jobs.

    That’s the argument the Luddites made; it’s utterly absurd.

    Automation is what makes nations prosperous and more productive. It raises average wages, it raises productivity, creates high paying jobs, and creates incentives for education.

    1. Everything should be handmade!

      1. think of the quality improvements!

        1. Just look at Enzo Ferrari's products! Each individually hand made by an expert! Extremely high quality! Ridiculously Expensive and Unaffordable by 99.99% of the population!

      2. By a handmaiden!

        1. It will be if ACB is confirmed!

          1. You must see the world as 24/7 colonoscopy with your head where it is.

  9. How on Earth does letting in thousands of foreign workers help native-born workers? Especially in the middle of a recession? How does allowing them to work here raise native-born wages and slash native-born unemployment?

    The way I see it, the corporations that cheered on the looting and rioting that took place during the lockdown deserve to be punished. They don't deserve to be rewarded with more cheap labor.

    1. Shikha thinks like an upper class Indian: having a large pool of low skill, low wage labor let’s them live in luxury. The fact that it impoverishes the country doesn’t matter to her.

      1. Funny. The article talks about the benefits of immigration to both the high and low ends of the labor market.

        1. Yes, the article talks about it and it is wrong.

          And I explained to you how it is wrong: what Shikha advocates is for the US to adopt the social and economic structure of impoverished third world societies, like the one she emigrated from.

          1. "And I explained to you how it is wrong"

            Yes, but he ignored all that because otherwise it would remove a pet talking point from his arsenal.

        2. Shut the fuck up Dee.

    2. There are people that would have you believe a company blowing $100 million on donations to a violent marxist organization is fine, but spending half that to train a domestic labor force will ruin their business.
      It's incredibly stupid.

  10. Saw the headline and knew it was by Shikha, looked yes it is. I'm not wasting my time reading her crap.

    1. I thought maybe OBL wrote it.

  11. I suspect the reason the Biden campaign hasn't made immigration an issue in this campaign is because they think it's a losing issue.

    1. Biden's ads talk about getting tough with China on trade.

      1. Are those the same ads where he says he would remove the Tariffs on Chinese goods?

  12. Yeah, 15% unemployment = bring in more workers.

    I agree that immigration should be free and open, but this is an odd pitch.

  13. My wife has been unemployed since July 1st (finally got a job thank God). She applied for every position she could, even school janitorial staff but there was like 15 applicants for every job (in a town of 750 that is fairly high). When you've been unemployed for awhile you start to realize that there are no jobs you don't want to take (well you should anyhow). Her new job is at the Nursing Home she left a year ago because they treated her so bad. But she sucked it up and took the job. I also have done similar in the past, taken jobs I hated to support my family while looking for something better (it's easier to find work if you are working). Not sure how bringing in more workers for jobs Americans don't want helps lower unemployment.

    1. Partially why she chose to take a bad job was because she has had trouble getting her unemployment benefits. Maybe if we cut unemployment, more people would take those undesirable jobs and we wouldn't need to import workers?

      1. Soldiermedic, we always will need to import workers. Because arguing to drive COGS to the absolute lowest point is the sole purpose of this magazine.

        The absolute gall of this rag to argue for expanding foreign worker visas during a pandemic crisis that caused unemployment to skyrocket. And then to argue that we'd all be better off because of it! I don't know why anyone would be surprised. It's what they do here.

        1. I don't disagree with immigration is a net benefit but disagree with Shikha's take here. Not sure bringing in more workers when we have 15% unemployment is going to help.

          1. Just ask Mr. Koch.

    2. First of all, glad to hear that your wife found a job, and sorry she had to take one she doesn't particularly like. My wife also found a new job during the pandemic, but was fortunate that it's one she really likes.

      My experience is more with trying to hire highly-skilled software developers. It was hard to find people with the desired skills, or that even wanted to learn the desired skills, without considering immigrants and dealing with H-1B visas.

      On the low end of the labor market, I've lived places where it seems like restricting immigrants would help people find employment (as you describe) and other places where as many warm bodies as were willing to work hard were needed. It's harder to find a low-skill job (or any job) in a small town, and easier in a big city.

      1. I am not knocking work visas so much as Shikha's take. During most times immigration is not a negative but it starts to become one when you have 15% unemployment, at least at the lower end of job skills. Also, our area was an employee friendly area until the panic drove down oil prices and all the oil companies shut their doors (or most). Suddenly a once vibrant employment environment with jobs to be had suddenly became one of no jobs.

        1. A year ago employers were begging people to come work for them, now they have more applicants than they can handle.

        2. Sounds like a solution would be to be a restriction on low-skilled immigrants in areas that have high unemployment, but I'm not sure how to do that and still be compatible with libertarianism, or even how to do it practically in a large nation with free movement of people within its borders.

          I'm more and more convinced all the time that the United States is much bigger than the optimum size for a nation-state, and that leads to it being divided politically and practically ungovernable.

          1. Actually, the solution would be to put Schecky to sleep.

          2. The US wasn’t intended to be a “nation-state”; it was intended to be a free trade zone with free movement of people and goods between separate states. The aftermath of the Civil War and the progressive era ended that.

            The way to fix that is to return to something the US was intended to be and undo some of the mistakes we have made, such as direct election of senators, the federal income tax, and most federal programs.

            1. The problem is putting the genie back in the bottle.

              1. A good start is not voting for progressives or socialists, and not voting for higher taxes or more federal programs and regulations.

      2. Kids who learned to code found that most of the decent jobs went to code monkeys overseas and visa workers stateside. They wound up taking shit jobs. The trade schools are having trouble filling seats because of all the visa monkeys depressing wages. So don’t tell anyone the lie that immigration is good for the economy. It slows it.

  14. People who want the government to protect them from job competition, are pathetic. People who think their rights come from the government, don't understand rights. Immigrants have the same, unalienable, individual rights as native-born Americans.

  15. This author is full of Shikha. I retired after almost 50 years in IT going back to keypunch and programming COBOL on boards. H1B visa holders are in many cases marginally skilled and depress wages, not increase them. I've worked with them and had one that came over as a UNIX admin ask if I could teach him to write Korn shell scripts. I told him fuck no because he was supposed to have a "short supply" skill. I did offer to purchase a copy of "A Passage to India" for him to read on the return flight.

    And when Indian's become supervisors, the racist assholes will not hire native employees, only Indians. There have been several complaints abut that behavior, the worse which was in Tampa at a TELCO.

    1. Often in IT interviews the Indians will claim a particular coding skill, but when pressed or asked to demonstrate, you find out they have only read half the book on it. If they are offshore it is even worse because they claim knowledge and you cannot find out if their resume is truthful, and then try to learn while coding your project, turning out poorly working shit in the process.

      A broad generalization, yes, but one not without merit or history. Saw it dozens of times working with Tata Consulting - the biggest IT outsourcing company in India.

  16. Shitka, you ignorant slut!

  17. SHakeyk your "logic" does not make a lick of sense.

    You want me to believe that when millioins of Americans are off work, and thousands of forengiers are free to come and take their jobs, that ending the foreigners taking the jobs will make those out of work more poor? What HAVE you been smoking?

  18. How many H1-B visas does 'reason' have for "senior analysts"? I bet none. So I volunteer Shikha to test her own theory.

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  20. I had to find the link to actual study on Forbes, too bad there was no link here...Anyway, this is not peer-reviewed research which says alot. It seems the point is that it is better for the company and the US to have H1Bs here (who may cost the company more than a US worker in legal work/govt fees) in the US than hire people offshore (which may be lower-priced but usually has hidden costs).

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  22. Congrats to the author.
    You've just written the absolutely dumbest bunch of nonsense I've ever read.
    Perhaps return to first grade and start over - you obviously forgot to pay the slightest bit of attention the first time through.

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