Tech Titans Lean on Trump to Displace American Workers

Joe Guzzardi
June 23, 2017

Based on outtakes from his recent White House meeting with Silicon Valley billionaires and multimillionaires, President Donald Trump is skating on thin ice with his supporters.

Trump, the candidate, campaigned on creating jobs for Americans. Instead, as president, he’s cozying up to liberal tech titans, likely Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders voters, who hope to displace American technology workers with foreign-born H-1B visa holders.

Under the guise of getting input on how to make the government operate more efficiently, Trump met with tech CEOs that included Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, estimated net worth $80 billion; Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet, $12.2 billion; and the group’s pauper, Apple’s Tim Cook, $400 million.

When the meeting broke up, Trump said: “We’re working very diligently with everybody, including Congress, so that you can get the people you want in your companies,” an ominous message for American tech workers.

Insiders familiar with the meeting’s dialogue provided details that indicate that despite his campaign promises, Trump has scurried away from his commitment to “hire American.”

According to sources, Cook told Trump that he needs to handle immigration with “more heart,” a reference to former President Barack Obama’s deferred action for childhood arrivals working in tech.

Cook asked him to “send a signal,” presumably to reassure DACAs that their immigration status isn’t at risk. To Cook’s request, Trump reportedly said that he favors comprehensive immigration reform, toxic code words for amnesty, and he urged the tech titans to push their congressional representatives in that direction.

The reality is that Trump is, so far, a huge disappointment on immigration. While it’s true that Immigration and Customs Enforcement is removing criminal aliens more efficiently than previous administrations, on limiting the influx of overseas workers, Trump is a failure.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ data shows that during the Trump administration’s first three months, the number of foreign workers who were given permission to enter the United States increased by nearly 25,000 compared to the same period last year under the Obama administration.

Between January and March 2016, Obama admitted more than 112,000 foreign guest workers. In 2017, Trump allowed close to 137,000 foreign workers to enter the country.

Trump’s apathy toward the continued influx of overseas workers has been devastating to teens seeking summer employment. In his overview of vanishing jobs for teens (“Teenagers Have Stopped Getting Summer Jobs — Why?”), The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson wrote that in the summer of 1978, 60 percent of teens were working or looking for work. Forty years later, just 35 percent were in the labor force.

Thompson emphasized that, contrary to some arguments, teens haven’t gotten lazier. Rather, citing a 2012 Federal Reserve research abstract, the increase in the population of less educated immigrants has significantly weakened the teen employment market.

One of the facilitators in bringing overseas youth to the United States to take summer jobs is the State Department’s J-1 Visa Summer Work Travel Program, which Trump promised to end. So far, he hasn’t lifted a finger to give American kids a break.

More employment-based visas and amnesty were on the platforms of presidential candidates Clinton and Sanders, and not what Trump’s base voted for.

It is time for Trump to do a gut check, and start to deliver on his commitment to make immigration work for Americans.

— Joe Guzzardi is a senior writing fellow for Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) who now lives in Pittsburgh. He can be reached at, or follow him on Twitter: @joeguzzardi19. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.