Just two days after the Obama administration said it would unilaterally ease immigration rules to help technology companies, President Barck Obama found himself at a California fundraiser, seeking campaign money from technology companies.
It’s a tradeoff that seems to happen routinely in Washington — politicians often end up collecting money from people and companies they’re trying to help.
But Obama’s decision to fundraise off the immigration move is of particular concern to some Republicans, since they see the immigration decision as one that helps foreign workers gain jobs over American citizens.
“This latest fundraising tour comes only days after the White House unilaterally moved to provide these companies with access to another 100,000 guest workers,” said Stephen Miller, communications director for Senate Budget Committee ranking member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). “As Senator Sessions has asked, who does this administration represent?”
On Tuesday, the Obama administration’s Department of Homeland Security announced a proposed rule that would authorize the U.S. employment of spouses of skilled, non-U.S. workers who are permitted to work in the country.
DHS said that by making it possible for the spouses of these H-1B visa holders to work, it would be easier for the U.S. to retain the H-1B workers. “The proposed rules announced today provide important support to U.S. businesses while also supporting economic growth here in the U.S.,” said Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
But Sessions blasted the proposal as one that could let close to 100,000 non-U.S. citizens take jobs that might otherwise go to U.S. citizens.
“It is good news for citizens in other countries who will be hired,” he said. “But for struggling Americans, it will only reduce wages, lower job opportunities, and make it harder to scrape by.”
After DHS made its announcement, Obama traveled to California for a Thursday fundraiser at the home of Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs. According to The Hill, tickets cost up to $34,000 to attend the event, which Obama used to again pitch immigration reform.
“A majority of American people think we should reform a broken immigration system that can help reduce our deficits, create more growth, create more innovation, and even as we are securing our borders and making sure we’re a nation of laws, we’re also reminding ourselves we’re a nation of immigrants,” Obama said.
Miller said the DHS rule is just the latest example of how Obama is helping non-U.S. citizens over U.S. citizens. He noted that the White House’s proposed immigration bill would expand guest worker visas, even though there are plenty of American workers trained in the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math.
“We graduate twice as many STEM-trained American students each year as there are STEM openings to fill,” Miller said.