Vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris’ acceptance speech at last week’s virtual Democratic National Convention failed to provide answers to voters seeking insight into how new leadership might help them get a better job or earn a higher wage.
Polling taken just a week before Harris addressed the DNC found that the economy remains the most vital issue to nearly eight in 10 American voters.
But instead of presenting a plan that presidential nominee Joe Biden and Harris could support to help U.S. workers achieve a more fulfilling life through better jobs, she hammered away at President Donald Trump, old news to voters.
Harris unwisely ignored the late New York Gov. Mario Cuomo’s recommendation that, in an effort to reach the widest possible audience, “You campaign in poetry; you govern in prose.”
For American workers, the 2020 decade will be a challenge, and an administration dedicated to their advancement is critical.
Since 1990, working-class Americans have been fighting, but losing the battle, against corporate America in the uphill struggle for fair wages, and for working conditions that would instill a sense of pride in the jobs that they hold.
Unfortunately, Harris is firmly aligned with the forces determined to keep American workers oppressed. The word “oppress” may seem overly harsh, but the affinity by Silicon Valley and Wall Street for Harris confirms the point. The New York Times wrote that Harris is “a VP that big business can back,” noting that “Silicon Valley is happy about seeing a familiar face.”
An Oakland native, who became California’s junior U.S. senator after her earlier career as San Francisco district attorney and then California attorney general, Harris has spent 3½ years in the Senate. During that time, her voting record proves that she’s actively worked against the very constituency that she purports to advocate for — African-Americans, other people of color and lawfully present immigrants.
Votes for higher immigration levels, which Harris has cast more than 50 times in her relatively brief Senate career, mean that more employment-authorized workers will be available to employers. Because many of those new and pliable workers will accept lower wages, Americans risk, at best, stagnant wages or, at worst, displacement — terrible outcomes for those who Harris claims to defend.
Immigration, and therefore new work authorization, is already at record levels: more than 1 million legal permanent residents annually plus 750,000 employment-based visa holders per year.
Add to the 1.75 million overseas workers entering in the U.S. labor market annually nearly 1 million more foreign nationals employed on Optional Practical Training and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals work permits. DACA and OPT were administratively created, but never congressionally approved.
Harris co-sponsored with Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., legislation, the Keep STEM Talent Act, that would create more than 50,000 additional foreign-born science, technology, engineering and math workers annually, who would then compete directly against U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents who earned college STEM degrees.
Moreover, Harris is the lead Democratic sponsor of S. 386, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, a bill that would lift the per-country caps on employment visas, and thereby give Indian tech workers an H-1B visa monopoly, an outcome that harms U.S. tech workers.
Even though little is less popular with voters than amnesty for unlawfully present aliens — Congress has been unable to pass various amnesty bills in prior years — Harris is all-in.
In a nutshell, as a senator, Harris proposed amnesty for all of the 11 million plus illegal residents. In separate bills, she co-sponsored more expansive temporary protected status legislation and a farm workers’ amnesty.
Now, as the Democrats’ prospective vice president, Harris is united withBiden’s candid amnesty commitment. Biden’s website promises to, within his administration’s first 100 days, take more than 20 steps that would greatly increase immigration levels, and which would in turn create more work-authorized residents, and dramatically eliminate interior immigration enforcement.
At the center of Biden’s immigration vision is his pledge to “create a roadmap to citizenship” for 11 million aliens.
Harris’ voting record in the Senate is readily available. It tells more than any stump speech she’ll make between now and November.
— Joe Guzzardi is an analyst and researcher with Progressives for Immigration Reform who now lives in Pittsburgh. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @joeguzzardi19. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.