Days after Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump offered an immigration plan that would power down a visa program heavily used by America’s technology superstar companies, a pro-immigration reform group founded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has replied by claiming Trump’s plan would cause vast economic devastation.
“What’s absurd is not just these ‘plans,’ but that those who would seek to represent Americans as president are falling all over themselves to support backward policies that would rip apart American families and collapse our economy,” said a statement posted by FWD.us. President Todd Schulte.
Zuckerberg’s support for more immigration led Trump to criticize him by name when Trump released his immigration plan on Sunday.
The FWD.us statement said that Trump’s plan would cause the mass deportation of an estimated 11.5 million undocumented immigrants, costing the economy $1.7 trillion, citing a 2013 study by a Harvard economist. It said it would devastate the construction, agricultural and hospitality industries.
Trump’s immigration plan would reduce the attractiveness of H-1B visas, through which top technology companies import high-skill workers from abroad. Trump wants to increase the minimum wage paid to H-1B workers to force U.S. companies to hire domestically.
“In the year 2015, with 92 million Americans outside the workforce and incomes collapsing, we need to companies to hire from the domestic pool of unemployed. Petitions for workers should be mailed to the unemployment office, not U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS),” Trump’s plan proclaims.
Schulte said more H-1B visas are needed to bring in skilled foreign workers, who he said would create jobs rather than hurt American workers. Tech companies have long been pressing for an increase in H-1B visas.
Expert analysis of the H-1B program offers a less-than-flattering picture of its results.
Employers “don’t use the H-1B visa as a way to alleviate a shortage of STEM-educated U.S. workers; they use it primarily to cut labor costs,” the Economic Policy Institute reported in February. A long-term academic study of the program released earlier this year also questioned the benefits of the program, saying: “The preponderance of evidence indicates that H-1B workers at least partially crowd out other workers, with the estimates typically indicating substantial crowdout of other workers.”
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth