President Donald Trump’s xenophobic targeting of immigrants through bans on both low wage and high skilled workers not only undermines American corporations, but it is also an assault on the American Dream itself.
Make America Great Again by Shutting Doors and Closing Borders
Throughout its history, The United States of America enticed migrants from around the world to make something of themselves and, in so doing, benefit their adopted country. The pursuit of the American dream ensured that anyone with grit and determination could succeed and realize their ambitions. This has helped generations of Americans prosper and, in the process, make the United States the world’s preeminent power.
However, the rising tides of xenophobia and populism that culminated in the election of President Trump have led to an unprecedented hardening of immigration laws and bans on immigrants from some countries. Indeed, the campaign slogan Make America great again might better be interpreted as ‘make America work for Americans, not immigrants’.
Watch: Trump targets Foreign Workers with Visa Ban
Do Low Wage Hispanic and Other Immigrant Workers Take Away Jobs from Americans?
Months into his administration, Trump insisted on building his border wall to keep Mexicans and other immigrants from streaming across the Porous Southern Border. At the same time, he rescinded the protections under DACA or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, both aimed at Hispanic migrants.
These measures were taken to keep out illegal immigrants who, in Trump’s view, were taking jobs from his core base of white, heartland Americans.
Given that many illegal immigrants work for low wages, many small- and medium-sized businesses were ok with employing them, and have come to consider Trump’s restrictions as an inconvenience. For this reason, many such businesses lobbied the administration to streamline the immigration process, rather than keep Hispanics out altogether.
Crossing the Rubicon: The Bans on High Skilled Immigrants That Undermined Big Tech
While low wage workers suited the requirements of much of corporate America, Big Corporates and Big Tech firms generally looked the other way as Trump cracked down on low wage immigrants. The corporate honchos did not envisage that Trump would also go after high skilled Tech Workers from India and elsewhere coming into the United States under the H1B Visa.
Of course, they did protest and stood up for Dreamers (the DACA recipients) many of whom are on the frontline of the Healthcare workers helping the US battle COVID 19. Now, the stakes have been raised due to the ban on Highly Skilled Immigrants, which is slated to remain in place until the end of the year, with the intention that unemployed Americans can take up those roles.
Is Trump Cutting off His Nose to Spite His Face by Eroding American Competitiveness?
The point that business leaders such as Google’s Sundar Pichai and others make is that given the shortage of highly educated and skilled tech workers, Big Tech has to necessarily rely on immigrants from Asia and elsewhere who are experts in tech and who give more to the United States than they take.
Indeed, research has shown that the competitiveness of the big tech firms such as the FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google) is mainly because the United States became a magnet for talent, attracting creative and innovative workers from anywhere and everywhere.
The success of Silicon Valley as a global innovation hotspot and cluster for big tech is a testament to the power of the enabling ecosystem and culture of excellence for which it has become famous. Thus, many big titans of tech are justifiably angered that Trump is undermining what is beneficial to the country rather than making it great again.
Watch: Silicon Valley takes aim at Trump’s visa ban
Hurt or Heal the Nation? The High Stakes 2020 Presidential Elections
No wonder Immigration has become a hot button issue for the upcoming Presidential election. The battle lines have been drawn on this divisive issue. At stake are not only the prospects of jobs, and who gets what, but a more fundamental question of what being an American means.
Indeed, for a nation that was built by immigrants, turning its back on them means the end of the American dream for many, including those who Trump deems ideally or intrinsically American.
In other words, Trump must realize that he is hurting corporate America, specifically Big Tech, more than he is helping Americans. There is a need for a course correction as far as immigration is concerned and hopefully, the election of Democratic nominee, Joe Biden, can help heal a divided nation.