There was a time not long ago when the Academy Awards were a big deal. There were Oscars watch parties and a huge global audience, all hoping to offer a brief peek into the world of Hollywood movie magic and charismatic, larger-than-life stars.
That kind of enthusiasm is largely gone now for a number of reasons. Among them is that many of the actors who once held godlike status have revealed themselves to be poorly informed, radical political activists. Rather than dazzle their fans with great movies, they seem more interested in hectoring audiences on the latest left-wing political cause du jour.
This year’s Oscars show was thick with such activism. Its zenith came when Julia Reichert, one of the producers of the best documentary feature winner “American Factory,” gave her acceptance speech:
Our film is from Ohio and China. But it really could be from anywhere that people that put on a uniform, punch a clock, trying to make their families have a better life. Working people have it harder and harder these days. And we believe that things will get better when workers of the world unite.
Not surprisingly, Reichert’s comments—which included a nod to The Communist Manifesto—drew loud applause. They were also rife with hypocrisy.
If “working people have it harder and harder these days,” why is that the case? Two reasons emerge. One is that many manufacturing jobs were shipped to developing countries for cheaper labor through trade agreements like NAFTA and other globalist protocols. The other is that reckless immigration policies at home have caused working people to be replaced or see their wages stagnate.
The official goal of foreign worker programs in the United States, such as those made possible through H-1B visas, is to fill temporary skilled worker shortages. The reality is that qualified American workers are being displaced as companies exploit these programs to mine a nearly infinite source of foreign labor willing to work for substandard wages.
It is becoming harder to justify foreign worker programs based on their original purpose. According to one report by scholars Ronil Hira and Bharath Gopalaswamy, “most H-1B workers have no more than ordinary skills, skills that are abundantly available in the U.S. labor market.”
There are numerous cases of American workers suffering as a result of foreign worker programs. Save Jobs USA, a group of former employees of Southern California Edison, is suing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in response to the public utility displacing 500 American workers after forcing them to train their cheaper foreign replacements.
Many foreign tech workers’ spouses are tech workers themselves, and the H-4 visa allows the spouses of H-1B guest workers to “accompany” the alien or “join” the alien in the United States. Under the Obama administration, DHS added to the law governing the H-4 visa by allowing H-4 spouses to work in the United States. Save Jobs USA, represented by the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), is challenging DHS’s authority to issue these work authorizations.
Last November, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower federal court ruling that Save Jobs USA lacked standing to challenge the DHS regulations, so the case goes forward in district court. The stakes for American workers are high.
“The Save Jobs USA case has major implications for the immigration system,” said Dale Wilcox, executive director of general counsel of IRLI. “If the courts hold that DHS does have the authority it claims to permit alien employment through regulation, it can continue to wipe out the protections for American workers that Congress has enacted.”
The nexus between workers’ rights and reckless immigration policies was apparently lost on the audience of glitterati at the Oscars who applauded Reichert’s acceptance speech. The same Hollywood figures who tell us that immigration enforcement is a crime against humanity also cheer the notion that workers of the world need to unite.
Those two positions are incompatible. The rights of workers are undermined by excessive immigration. Those truly concerned about the plight of working-class Americans do need to unite, not around The Communist Manifesto, but the idea that our sons, daughters, and neighbors deserve a fair playing field to earn a living and reach their full potential.