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Congressman Mo Brooks Discusses Economics of President Trump's Foreign Worker Visa Suspension on Family Research Council's "Washington Watch" Radio Program

June 24, 2020
Press Release

Washington, DC— Tuesday, Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) interviewed with host Tony Perkins on the Family Research Council’s “Washington Watch” radio program. Congressman Brooks discussed in-depth the politics and economics of President Trump’s proclamation blocking cheap foreign labor importation through the end of 2020. By way of background, Congressman Brooks graduated from Duke University in three years with a double major in political science and economics, with highest honors in economics.

 Click HERE for audio of Congressman Brooks’ “Washington Watch” interview 

Full transcript of Congressman Brooks’ interview follows:

Perkins: Joining me now to talk about the details of the new executive order is Congressman Mo Brooks who represents the 5th Congressional District of the State of Alabama. Congressman, welcome back to Washington Watch.

Brooks: My pleasure, Tony.

Perkins: Congressman, I know you and a number of your colleagues were encouraging the President to take this step of curtailing the influx of foreign workers through the end of this year. Why is this important?

Brooks: Well, you have had more than 40 million Americans lose their jobs in the last few months because of the combined effects of the coronavirus coupled with economic shutdowns by state governors and city mayors, and when you’ve got that kind of rampant unemployment it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to force these newly unemployed to compete with cheap foreign labor. Now, I understand why the United States Chamber of Commerce wants that cheap foreign labor regardless of the adverse effects and damage that might be on struggling American families, and a  number of other special interest groups that similarly want that cheap foreign labor. But we, as congressmen, the president as president are hired to represent Americans. And, so that is what I am trying to do and am thankful that is what the president did yesterday with his order suspending the importation of large numbers of illegal aliens – excuse me – in this instance, lawful foreigners who would be competing for and taking jobs from American citizens on the one hand and on the other hand because of the huge surge in the labor supply they would be a wage suppressing effect on those Americans who are fortunate enough to have jobs.

Perkins: Now, I want to get into the practical effects of this in terms of what this executive order exactly does, but first, I want to underscore what you pointed out because I think people need to know this, that the Chamber of Commerce is often on the other side of many of these issues. They are not advocating for the American workers or the American family. They are often out there advocating for big corporations and to inflate their profits at the expense of the American worker in some cases as is this case here.

Brooks: No question about it whatsoever. The Chamber of Commerce, at the federal level, they are a special interest group. They are employed to do things to represent that particular special interest. And certainly, employers can make more profit if they can hire inexpensive foreign labor rather than pay Americans what the job market wages would require.

Perkins: Talk about that for just a moment. You talked about how the influx of these foreign workers will suppress American wages. Explain that to folks.

Brooks: Sure, it is economics 101, supply and demand. The more supply of something there is then the cheaper the price you have to pay for it, everything else being constant. So to the extent the United States Chamber of Commerce and other special interest groups can flood the labor markets with more workers than the less the United States Chamber of Commerce members and other special interest groups will have to pay for that labor. There is a study by Harvard economist Dr. George Borjas that suggests that the suppression of wages for blue collar workers in particular is in the neighborhood of $1,700 per year. Now that study is probably seven eight nine years old. Since then, there has been a huge increase in the supply of foreign labor, both legal and illegal, and I would suspect that the wages lost to American workers is much greater than $1,700 now because of the artificial impact that inexpensive foreign labor has on the labor markets.

Perkins: Well, I think it is an important point to bring up because often times you hear the Chamber and others say, “Well, these are low paying jobs that American workers won’t fill, therefore we have to have these foreign workers come in. The reality is they are low paying jobs because there is a supply of low wage earning workers but you remove that from the equation and businesses are going to have to pay more for those services which means the American worker makes more money.

Brooks: Bingo! I think it’s fair to say that Americans won’t work those jobs at the wages being paid. I think that’s got some economic basis to it, but there is zero economic basis for the claim that American simply won’t do those jobs. What would happen in a free-enterprise economy, one where special interest group money padding the campaign war chests up here in Washington, DC have no effect on it, what you would see is the employers having to compete for the labor that is in America and in that competitive phase they would have to offer more wages, higher wages, in order to attract the Americans to do the jobs that those employers want done. And that’s what needs to be understood. The people who want to import all these foreign labor, they are very clever with their comment that Americans won’t do those jobs.  From an economic standpoint, that is categorically false. It has no basis in truth whatsoever because the  wage markets would automatically adjust and change if we did not have cheap foreign labor being substituted for the competition that the employers would have to engage in if they want to produce those goods and services they want to sale.