Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, about 389,000 veterans are still living, a remarkable total given that most are in their 90s or older. Among our veterans also are approximately 3.5 million Korean War vets, 610,000 Vietnam War and hundreds of thousands more from the Gulf Wars and other conflicts.
On Veterans Day 2019, as those brave men and women reflect on their service in America’s defense, they could be forgiven for questioning whether, in light of Congress’ repeated betrayal of traditional U.S. values, putting their lives on the line was worth the risk. Congress has consistently refused to protect the homeland through border and interior enforcement. At the same time, Congress has passed legislation that subverts job opportunities for Americans. Good U.S. jobs have been offshored or given to foreign-born employment-based visa holders.
Despite President Trump’s immigration bravado, at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Paso del Norte Port of Entry press conference, it was announced that in FY 2019 illegal immigration apprehensions hit a decade-high 1.1 million, a 68 percent increase over FY 2018. Along the southwest border, family unit apprehension set another record, 474,000. Because of the flawed catch and release policy, most of the migrants are released inside the U.S., eventually disappearing into the general population. Department of Homeland Security officials acknowledge that catch and release is, in terms of good policy, a grave failure that Congress refuses to correct. Only 1.4 percent of migrant family members from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador who crossed the border illegally in 2017 have been deported to their home countries.
Congress has cataclysmically failed to protect American workers. A job is essential to maintain dignity and provide for family. But Congress has looked the other way as U.S. companies have, over the years since the Immigration Act of 1990 which expanded employment-based visas, hired millions of foreign nationals to displace Americans. Employers addicted to cheap labor, in all areas – from tech and call center operations to manufacturing and human resources – love the lower wages that they can pay the outsourced workers. Studies found, however, that if the outsourced jobs returned, they could be numerous enough to provide opportunities for unemployed Americans. Adding to the job challenges of unemployed citizens, including veterans, is the annual 1 million or more legal immigrants who receive lifetime valid work permits.
Finally, the amnesty specter never fades from the Swamp. The latest, but certainly not the last effort, is the House of Representatives’ Farm Workers Modernization Act which would grant amnesty to 1.5 million illegally present ag workers, expand the controversial and often-abused H-2A visa, add 40,000 Green Cards to the EB-3 category and mandate E-Verify across the agriculture sector. The bill would also create a new immigration category, the Certified Agriculture Worker, and will provide a citizenship path. The sponsors, led by Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), are notoriously anti-American worker, and have throughout their careers consistently voted for more employment-based visas.
Despite the bill’s title, the legislation does nothing to modernize agriculture technology through time-saving, efficient mechanization. Unlike stoop labor, robots can operate 24/7 and have been adopted by forward-thinking U.S. ag businesses in Florida and California.
Getting inside vets’ heads to learn their immigration leanings, pro or con, is impossible. But likely many vets, like so many other Americans, must wonder when Congress decided to cater to illegal immigrants and lobbyists instead of passing legislation which assures that citizens come first.