As the COVID-19 crisis wages on and tens of millions of Americans remain out of work, pressure is mounting for elected officials to provide some sort of economic security for working Americans. Debates centered around the economic benefits of immigration and guest worker programs are certainly nothing new, but the anomaly of this time has made it exceedingly difficult to dismiss the disadvantages faced by American workers.
Graduating college students are perhaps most affected by the combination of the current economic crisis and the broader imprudence regarding immigration policy. This reality motivated the San Diego State College Republicans chapter to lead the effort in drafting a letter to President Trump regarding the dire need for immigration reform and policies that prioritize Americans. The SDSU chapter was joined by dozens of others from across the nation, all looking to express their concerns to the Trump administration.
The organizations also take issue with the advantages given to nonimmigrant guest workers, such as those in the Optional Practical Training (OPT) and H-1B programs. “Specifically, we ask you to immediately take action to rescind the work authorization of hundreds of thousands of foreign, nonimmigrant skilled guest workers in order to ease the economic suffering of American college students and recent graduates looking for meaningful employment in these trying times,” the letter states.
SDSU College Republicans President Oliver Krvaric played a leading role in not only developing the letter, but in building a coalition of organizations to unite in the cause. His efforts have certainly caught national attention, as he appeared on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight.
In the interview, Krvaric explained the desperation behind the letter and the immediate need for reform. He noted the immense positive feedback that the letter has received, suggesting that there truly is an appetite for change regarding the guest worker programs that the United States has relied on for years.
“In these times of economic crisis and uncertainty, it is unconscionable that American corporations continue to rely on imported foreign labor. This letter represents the grassroots voices that are hungry for economic direction from the White House that truly puts America—and American workers and families—first,” Krvaric told San Diego News Desk.
This sentiment is embodied in the conclusion of the letter, which notes the origins of the guest worker programs and the risk they currently pose to American graduates.
“Mr. President, in addition to ending the Bush-Obama OPT program, we strongly urge you to suspend the H-1B program. Millions of Americans are unemployed. Many of us will graduate with uncertain futures. The number of available jobs continues to shrink by the day… You can make this right by ending the OPT program and suspending the H-1B program. Suspending all guest worker programs is ideal, but the OPT and H-1B schemes are especially egregious. We look forward to seeing what you do to help America’s college students and recent graduates.”