Republican senator Bill Hagerty (Tenn.) is pushing Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) to oppose a green card giveaway included in the Democrats' $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, saying the progressive lawmaker has long argued that expansive immigration harms American workers.
"For most of your career, you have been an outspoken critic of large-scale migration that displaces American workers—especially corporate-driven immigration policies—citing the substantial harm they inflict upon Americans' job opportunities, wages, and employment conditions," Hagerty wrote in a Friday letter to Sanders. "Therefore, you could imagine my shock in discovering that the ‘Build Back Better' reconciliation bill … contains several breathtaking immigration provisions that have long been the crown jewel of corporate lobbying."
Democrats included a provision in their spending bill that would "recapture" unused visas dating back to 1992, making permanent residency available to hundreds of thousands of immigrants. While green cards are capped at just under 1.1 million per year, tech companies like Apple and Facebook have advocated for so-called visa recapture to expand their access to foreign labor.
While Sanders has adopted the priorities of pro-immigration activists in recent years—including a moratorium on deportations—he has for decades argued that expansive immigration lowers Americans' wages.
"I think at a time when the middle class is shrinking, the last thing we need is to bring over in a period of years, millions of people into this country who are prepared to lower wages for American workers," Sanders said in 2007 when Congress was considering immigration reform.
Expanding the number of visas available to foreign workers has become a priority for Democrats in recent years. President Joe Biden during his 2020 presidential campaign promised to support "legislation that treats the spouse and children of green card holders as the immediate relatives they are, exempting them from caps." Democrats have also pushed to include in the spending bill mass amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants.
Published under: Bernie Sanders