Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America get a kick out of Trump protesters arguing about who is more oppressed. They also rip New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker for testifying against the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions to be attorney general. And they sigh as the insane people from Code Pink repeatedly disrupt the Sessions confirmation hearings.
Many of Donald Trump’s cabinet selections are getting strong reviews from grassroots activists and traditional Republicans, but a leading immigration expert says Trump’s choice to head the Department of Labor could be a threat to American jobs.
Center for Immigration Studies Executive Director Mark Krikorian sees fast food titan Andrew Puzder as a problem across the board on immigration, but he says his biggest concern with a Puzder-led Labor Department is the influx of legal immigrants who could put American citizens out of work.
“The primary problem is you have to get the okay from the Labor Department before you can bring in one of these people on worker visas. There’s something like three quarters of a million people we bring in. These are people who are often directly replacing American workers,” said Krikorian.
“We saw this at Disney about a year-and-a-half ago. We just saw it with Carnival Cruise Lines, I think just this week. They fired their American workers, usually their IT workforce. They bring in foreign workers on visas that have been okayed by the Labor Department. And then (the American workers) are forced to train their replacements,” said Krikorian.
While that does happen with some frequency, Krikorian says the big picture is murkier and there are no hard numbers on how many Americans lose their jobs to legal immigrants.
“It’s never a one-to-one thing. You can’t say that one immigrant worker comes in and that means one fewer job for an American. The economy doesn’t really work that way,” said Krikorian. “There’s no way to say this guy lost his job because of that guy. It doesn’t work that way.”
However, Krikorian says it is clear which Americans are most at risk of losing their jobs through the importing of foreign workers.
“At the bottom of the labor market, and that means less-skilled workers and that means teenagers looking for work and others – people who get out of prison and want to clean up their act,” said Krikorian. “Anybody who’s getting on to the first rung of the job ladder. Those people are hurt by ongoing immigration,” he said.
So where does Puzder fit into all this? Krikorian says Puzder has long been an outspoken proponent of bring in foreign workers.
“Andy Puzder has for years shown himself to be a big fan of importing more and more and more and more foreign guest workers to compete with Americans,” said Krikorian.
He also sees Puzder as being on the wrong side of the most recent congressional fight over immigration reform.
“[Puzder supported] that Gang of Eight bill from a few years ago that would have amnestied illegal aliens – the one Rubio and Schumer and Obama were pushing. It would have amnestied illegal aliens, would have hugely increased legal immigration, almost doubled it, and supposedly would have enforced the law better at some point down the road,” said Krikorian.
He says Puzder also weighed in on immigration policy during the 2016 campaign.
“Just last year he made a press statement with several other people, calling on the Republican primary candidates to support so-called comprehensive immigration reform, in other words Obama’s immigration agenda,” said Krikorian.
In response to criticism of Puzder’s previous immigration pronouncements, the Trump transition is trying to assure skeptics they have nothing to worry about.
“A statement was issued under his name, which I think was pretty clearly written by the campaign, that said he would be tough in protecting American workers and that sort of thing. Maybe. I’m skeptical because his whole life has actually been the opposite so why would we believe in this sudden change,” said Krikorian.
Krikorian says Trump’s vision on legal immigration has always been a bit fuzzy but that the president-elect has made several strong promises.
“He’s always been kind of shifty on this and vague, but he has been very clear that these visa programs must never be used to replace American workers. And the law allows that now,” said Krikorian.
Other members of Trump’s cabinet who will deal directly with immigration issues are getting rave reviews, especially Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., the nominee for attorney general.
“Jeff Sessions is a top pick. He has the potential to be the best attorney general in American history. I have great respect for Jeff Sessions. I think he’s going to be great across the board at the Justice Department, both immigration stuff and everything else,” said Krikorian.
Retired U.S. Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly is Trump’s choice to lead the Department of Homeland Security. Krikorian says Kelly is a well-known “border hawk” but isn’t sure how he will approach concerns over legal immigrants overstaying their visas or making sure businesses do not hire people in the U.S. illegally.
“I don’t have any reason to think he’ll be bad on that but he doesn’t have any experience on it so we’re going to have to wait and see how he does,” said Krikorian.
Krikorian admits Puzder will likely be confirmed by the Senate. It’s only then that America will find out if his new assurances or his old positions carry the day.
“Supposedly he’s seen the light,” said Krikorian. “We’ll have to see whether that’s true or not.”
While some of Donald Trump’s early personnel choices are leading some Democrats and media figures to conclude a racially insensitive administration is preparing to take charge in Washington, the leader of a prominent black conservative group says the concerns are double standards whipped up by the left and that Trump’s controversial choices are actually more tame on racial issues than their counterparts in the Obama administration.
And he is also offering Trump some advice on how to make good on promises to revitalize predominantly black neighborhoods.
As of Monday afternoon, Trump has named people to five prominent positions, only two of which require Senate confirmation. The choices eliciting the most concern from the left and the mainstream media are Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, for attorney general and former Trump campaign CEO Steve Bannon for chief strategist and counselor.
Project 21 National Advisory Board Co-Chair Horace Cooper begs to differ on multiple fronts. First, he is weary of race being injected into every political debate.
“We are distorting the conversation, generally, about public policy by randomly throwing around epithets that this person or that person, either a supporter or and individual affiliated with Mr. Trump, must in some way be bigoted, racist, or sexist,” said Cooper, who served as general counsel for former House Majority Leader Richard Armey, R-Texas.
He says that constant prism is also a hindrance to advancing good policy.
“The idea that a person is for a tax cut or against a tax cut, is for a construction project or against a construction project, can only be viewed from the prism of does that make you a racist, a sexist, or some other ‘ist,’ is completely unhelpful,” he said.
Cooper is also frustrated by what he sees as a massive media double standard on personnel, noting that current Obama counselor Valerie Jarrett and former Obama Attorney General Eric Holder got a free pass even though they contributed mightily, in his eyes, to far worse race relations over the past eight years.
“These two individuals helped to encourage and promote what could only and honestly considered to be racially divisive policies by President Obama, and yet none of these questions were being considered,” said Cooper.
“I bring those two names up because I want to highlight the contrast where the media has played no role and where voices that claim they are interested in encouraging America to come together have been completely silent, even to this day, about the role that those two individuals provided in the Obama administration,” said Cooper.
Stacked up against Holder and Jarrett, Cooper believes Sessions and Bannon look pretty good.
“I don’t see any similar record with regard to the designate for attorney general, Mr. Sessions, or to Mr. Bannon as a key strategist and counselor in the office of the White House,” said Cooper.
Critics of both Sessions and Bannon point with alarm to statements and posts from avowed racists praising the choices.
“Bannon, Flynn, Sessions — Great! Senate must demand that Sessions as AG stop the massive institutional race discrimination against whites!” tweeted former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke, who recently collected three percent of the vote in Louisiana’s jungle U.S. Senate primary. He finished in seventh place.
Cooper says an avowed klansman in publicly endorsed and donated to Hillary Clinton and she faced little media pressure to denounce him, although her campaign did. He says the bottom line on a candidate or nominee is their record and not who likes them.
“I actually don’t care whether (Louis) Farrakhan or whether the Klan issues an endorsement in the election. What I care about is what are policies and characteristics of the individual in question who is asking for our vote,” said Cooper.
Once again, Cooper says the media is showing a double standard.
“This has not been an even-handed assessment on the part of the media. If they would like us to have this more expansive view, that supporters of given a given entity or individual are as important or more important than the candidate him or herself, then they needed to have been saying or doing that over the last eight years. And they didn’t,” said Cooper.
He also hammers the press for drawing parallels between what might come in a Trump administration and the segregation era of American history.
“The mainstream media is working hand in glove with progressives to create this false impression. This is not good for the country. It is not helpful to pretend that a record in America that existed during the era of Jim Crow is the functional equivalent of a 21st century Trump transition team,” said Cooper.
“If we are serious about looking at the rhetoric, we need to match the rhetoric with the reality. Nothing in Donald Trump’s commentaries is the equivalent of that old evil of segregation and racism,” said Cooper.
Cooper hopes Trump can put the concerns of many at ease by making good on his promise for a New Deal for the black community. Cooper says any meaningful effort will start with improving schools in those neighborhoods. And that means improving school choice.
“We’ve absolutely got to stop the union stranglehold over our schools and allow our young people, particularly in the inner city, to have the option of leaving poorly-functioning public schools or threaten to be able to leave them,” said Cooper.
He says that choice ought to extend to faith-based schools as well.
“That’s a key ingredient in the black community that will instill the kinds of achievement values that are biblically based. That would go a long way to assuring that young black men and women who graduate from failed public schools, and not able to read their diploma, would be able to not only read their diploma but be able to compete,” said Cooper.
On the economic side, Cooper says enforcing and even tightening immigration policy would greatly help improve employment in black neighborhoods since illegal immigrants can easily underbid American citizens for work.
But Cooper also says government policies that encourage entrepreneurship can also revitalize those local economies.
“If you want to incentivize employers, then you create a right regulatory regime and the right tax regime so that it is possible that jobs in the community close to where inner city residents live can develop,” said Cooper.
Greg Corombos of Radio America and Ian Tuttle of National Review discuss President-Elect Trump’s first cabinet nominees. They also react to Harry Reid fearing the world will blow up with Trump as president and Keith Olbermann virtually guaranteeing concentration camps. And they discuss the poor results of a feminist snow plowing strategy in Sweden.