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8.5 Percent Unemployment: Rubio’s New Normal?


Among the many ways the Schumer/Rubio amnesty bill is worse than we thought is one point I haven’t seen any comment on yet. On page 808 (!), there’s a provision that bars issuance of the W guestworker visa in certain metro areas:

(f) EXCLUDED GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION.—No W nonimmigrant may be hired by a registered employer for an eligible occupation located in a metropolitan statistical area that has an unemployment rate that is more than 8 1⁄2 percent as reported in the most recent month preceding the date that the application is submitted to the Secretary

In other words, Marco Rubio appears to believe that an unemployment rate of 8.5 percent represents full employment, below which it’s okay to import foreign workers. And even that is negotiable, because the next words are:

(1) the Commissioner has identified the eligible occupation as a shortage occupation; or

(2) the Secretary approves the registered position under subsection (g)(4).

This refers to the Commissar Commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration and Labor Market Research, a new position created by the bill, who will decide (without any political pressure, I’m sure) how many and which foreign workers will be admitted to the U.S. labor market. Thus does the libertarian push for ever-more immigration by any means lead to the establishment of a People’s Commissariat for Labor. But if the Cato Institute and Marco Rubio insist on promoting state management of the labor market, couldn’t we at least set the unemployment goal a little lower before American construction and service workers get screwed by employers importing desperate foreign competition?

Or how about not admitting any foreign workers, qua workers, except for a handful of Einsteins, and letting the free market in labor within the United States work itself out? Crazy, I know.