Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN) called out Democratic Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) over his hypocritical support of Joe Biden’s massive $3.5 trillion “Build Back Better” reconciliation spending bill. Hagerty urged Sanders to oppose the bill that allows tech giants to replace American workers with a less expensive and “functionally limitless” supply of foreign workers.
On Friday, Hagerty wrote to Sanders and other senators to show that the bill has “breathtaking” provisions, the “crown jewel of corporate lobbying.” The bill would create a ten-year exemption from legislative limitations on permanent-status green cards for immigrant tech workers and their families. The Immigration and Nationality Act typically limits the number of “family-sponsored preference” and “employer-based” green cards that may be issued.
The Republican Study Committee described the exemption as one of a list of the 42 worst parts of the bill. The committee said the exemption creates a “hidden pipeline” for tech companies to fill middle-class positions with cheaper foreign labor.
Hagerty’s letter said that Silicon Valley tech giants had been the most consistent and vociferous lobby for unlimited foreign worker exemptions. He said that the exemptions hurt the most disadvantaged American workers and negatively influence women, African Americans, and Hispanics who might otherwise enter into Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education and careers.
The exemptions, according to Hagerty, would also affect established American workers in the technology industry since they would be significantly less likely to earn promotions or greater pay when computer firms could quickly replace them with labor “imported from outside.”
Sanders has argued for many years against the types of immigration carve-outs that harm American workers that he now supports. He has more recently begun to align with mainline progressive policy proposals that would increase all forms of immigration.
Hagerty also said in his letter that he “cannot imagine” that Sanders would agree to what “amounts to an enormous corporate-special-interest giveaway,” He added that he thought Sanders must agree that any legislation that blocks “our most vulnerable citizens’ pathway to the American middle class must be rejected.”
According to reports this week, negotiations between fighting Democrats in both houses of Congress have resulted in a one-half decrease in the size of the funding package so far.