OpinionTrending Commentary

Biden Is Destroying Legal Immigration. Republicans Should Call Him Out


During Wednesday night’s debate in Miami, the Presidential candidates were right to hold Biden accountable for manufacturing the worst border crisis in American history.

But the growing migrant surge isn’t the only immigration disaster that candidates should’ve raised last night. In addition to ushering in an era of historic illegal crossings and jeopardizing U.S. national security, Biden is quietly dismantling the legal immigration system that helps struggling businesses.

Last September, the Biden Administration proposed a new regulation forcing farmers to allow labor groups to set foot on their property for 10 hours each month if they hire employees through the H-2A visa, their only legal means of recruiting agricultural workers from abroad. Farmers using the program will also need to provide these labor groups with their H-2A workers’ phone numbers, home addresses, messaging apps, and other contact information — without any employee consent.

This sweeping assault on property and privacy rights was proposed during peak harvesting season, when farmers are at their busiest and lack the time to read a 327-page regulation that could dramatically upend their livelihoods.

This rule comes on the heels of other regulations that have forced farmers to triple their paperwork and pay thousands in additional compliance costs. When Biden first took office, a farmer would pay $10,000 to bring over one H-2A worker. But now, small farmers report that these new regulations will cost them an additional $100,000 each season. As they struggle to implement the new rules, 65 percent of farmers report that the program may be too cumbersome and confusing for them to use.

Adding insult to injury, Biden is hiking the fees that farmers must pay for using H-2A visas by over 130 percent. The reason? To help subsidize asylum claims for migrants—many of whom have crossed the border unlawfully. Ironically, the vast majority of these asylum seekers are likely seeking economic opportunities. But because Biden is slamming the door on work visas, more migrants are crossing the border and claiming humanitarian protection as a backdoor for finding employment.

By making work visas more difficult to use, employers who work hard to follow everything by the book get penalized while those willing to hire outside the law get rewarded. Farmers who use the H-2A program have long been subject to frequent audits and obligations to pay their workers above the average wage that U.S. workers make. But employers who hire illegally are subject to no such requirements, which is why unauthorized migrants earn significantly lower wages than H-2A workers.

As Biden adds more employer regulations to the immigration process, government adjudicators will be bogged down with evaluating more paperwork, causing processing times to balloon. The Department of Labor is already failing to approve H-2A visa petitions until weeks after farmers need them. But these regulations are also likely diverting time and resources away from adjudicating other visa petitions used for recruiting engineers, scientists, and other skilled workers. Before Biden took office, employers would wait 10 months for the Labor Department to approve green cards for skilled workers. Now they’re waiting over 16 months.

Instead of upholding an immigration system that advances our national interest, Biden is throwing sand in the gears of the very process that allows Americans to control who comes into the country. The next time candidates excoriate Biden for his failures at the border, it’s imperative that they also rebuke him for his legal immigration failures as well.

Sam Peak is a senior policy analyst at Americans for Prosperity.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.


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