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Saturday, January 9, 2016

"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free and I'll give them a H2 visa

Rich Lowry of National Review was quoted as saying at a Heritage org event; "The next time I hear a Republican strategist or a Republican politician say that there are jobs that Americans won't do, that person should be shot, he should be hanged, he should be wrapped in a carpet and thrown in the Potomac River. That's unusually strident for Lowry. In fact if Donald Trump had said that Lowry and the entire NRO bunch would have issued a scathing condemnation but about the work that Americans refuse to do.
How many young men in rural Mississippi would turn their nose up at a $11.11 per hour job mowing roadway shoulders and mediums? We won't know because the jobs went to Mexican workers imported under that beloved program of Paul Ryan and the Republican donor class, the H2 visa program. I gleaned this case from the Southern Poverty Law Center which was very upset that the guest workers were not paid the prevailing wage and American workers be damned.
Mexican guest workers hired by a contractor with more than $9 million in state contracts to maintain the shoulders and medians of rural Mississippi roadways were cheated out of their wages. A federal lawsuit on behalf of six workers alleged that the contractor broke federal racketeering laws.
The lawsuit describes how Culpepper Enterprises and its president, Kathy Culpepper, used the nation’s H-2B guest worker program to hire the workers but failed to pay the wages that were promised and reported to the U.S. Department of Labor, which oversees the program. These false statements to the federal government by Culpepper and its labor recruiter, North American Labor Services, violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
Culpepper Enterprises of Collins, Mississippi, employed the workers from 2012 to 2014 to fulfill contracts with the Mississippi Department of Transportation. The contractor pledged to pay guest workers the prevailing wage for the area, a legally required wage to ensure employers don’t use the guest worker program to undercut local workers.
Instead of paying the prevailing wage – which ranged from $10.26 per hour in 2012 to $11.11 in 2014 – the H-2B workers were paid the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. In one year, they were underpaid by almost $6 an hour in overtime pay. Culpepper pushed their wages even lower than the minimum wage by illegally deducting fees for equipment, protective gear and overpriced housing.
The company worked with North American Labor Services to recruit seasonal workers from Mexico – each year attesting to the Department of Labor that there was no local labor to fill the positions. Under the H-2B program, workers cannot change jobs. This means if their employer cheats them out of wages or is abusive, they often must choose between continuing to work or returning home, typically in debt from the various fees paid to secure the job.
Defendant North American Labor Services dissolved as a corporation in 2009, but its agents, Jon and Cheri Clancy, continued to do business. They are also named as defendants in the lawsuit. Culpepper Enterprises dissolved as a corporation in 2014.
Yes, the Mexican workers were exploited and American workers were denied gainful employment by a corrupt contractor in cahoots with a corrupt government but this is frequently the case under this and the better known H1 visa program. For the truly gullible Speaker Paul Ryan explained his obligation to undercut American workers. “The dairy farmers in western Wisconsin are having a hard time finding anyone to help them produce their products, which are mostly cheese. You raise wages too much in certain industries, then you’ll get rid of those industries, and we’ll just have to import,” complained Ryan, the champion of the free-market. This is one of the brightest bulbs in the GOP? Does he expect us to believe that a government mandated "prevailing wage" does not redound to political donors. Not only does it imperil the native born American's employment it also gives the employer an advantage in wage negations as both parties know that pushing for a wage higher than the prevailing wage could result in losing that job to a guest worker.
I would pay money to hear Donald Trump tell Speaker Ryan, " this is not who we are as a party"

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