Published on November 30th, 2007

A video captures what working Americans have known all along

By Mark Cromer

As the Senate prepares to renew its push for the most sweeping mass amnesty in the history of nations, a group of lawyers from the Pennsylvanian law firm of Cohen & Grigsby committed a rather nasty faux pas in this Age of YouTube: it let the cat out of the immigration bag.

Caught on camera addressing a conference on immigration law last month, a lawyer blithely offered detailed descriptions of how the firm helps their business clients make sure that Americans are not hired for job openings—all the while complying with the letter of the law that states such positions must first be offered to citizens.

Portions of the conference were posted to YouTube earlier this week and have now been picked up on CNN. It’s hard to imagine a more damning sequence of footage. While the ‘comprehensive reform’ legislation being pushed in the Senate requires that Americans must be offered jobs first, before new visas are issued, Cohen & Grigsby’s crew cleared up just how that process actually works.

The video shows Lawrence M. Lebowitz, vice president of marketing for the firm, repeatedly stressing that the goal of helping businesses comply with the Department of Labor’s PERM process was to make sure Americans were disqualified for the particular job opening, thus allowing a foreign worker to qualify for an H-1b visa and be brought in to fill the position.

“Yeah, because our goal here of course is to meet the requirements, number one; but also do so as inexpensively as possible, keeping in mind our goal,” Lebowitz said. “And our goal is clearly not to find a qualified and interested U.S. worker.”

For an instant, Lebowitz seemed bemused by his own blunt assessment of what his firm actually does for its business clients in this regard. “And, you know, in a sense that sounds funny,” Lebowitz says of the efforts to make sure Americans don’t get hired. “But it’s what we’re trying to do here.”

Lebowitz’s matter-of-fact description of how the American worker is targeted for elimination from the job market is stunning for its candor, but equally chilling (or enraging) is the blasé reaction his words inspired among his colleagues assembled on stage with him.

Two of his female cohorts are emotionless as they describe the best tactics to employ when attempting to make sure that the fewest number of citizens possible will even see the job opening, and those that do apply will be disqualified for the job by virtually any means necessary.

One woman describes interviewing candidates for jobs not as a vetting process to find the right qualified worker, but as a necessary inconvenience employers sometimes face while finding “a legal basis to disqualify” Americans seeking the job.

She adds reassuringly “In most cases that doesn’t seem to be a problem.”

The footage delivers hard proof of what working Americans have known all along: businesses—and not just big corporations—are gaming immigration and employment laws in order to hire foreign workers that drive wages down and boost profits up.

But it also reveals something far darker, far more insidious that has been eating away at the American people like a cancer that slowly spreads. Lebowitz and his colleagues discussed banishing the American worker in such casually arrogant tones that its clear they didn’t feel they were at any risk whatsoever.

There’s certainly no risk of the government taking action, since the government has played along with this ‘compliance’ game with a wink and a grin for decades; and now seeks to actually expand the program.

Apparently they see no real threat of the villagers marching by torchlight onto the commons for a tar and feathering party either. And they may yet be proven right.

Proponents of the Senate’s mass amnesty plan will either ignore this damning footage altogether or dismiss it as an anomaly. As for the wrath of the American worker? Well, five days after it was first posted to YouTube, it has been viewed less than 30,000 times.

In a nation where college girls dancing mindlessly in their bikinis can generate millions of views on the Internet within 48 hours, a cadre of lawyers calmly plotting to make sure Americans are driven out of entire industries is evidently not ‘hot’ enough (or what we used to call boring) that it may actually shield them from any backlash of consequence.

If the fallout isn’t grim for the businesses that use such tactics to deny Americans a chance to work and for the elected officials who continue to pander to them, then no one should be surprised if the next video we see on YouTube goes even further.

Perhaps then we’ll see a clip featuring lawyers polishing their stand-up routine by riffing on the ‘stupid Americans’ standing in the unemployment line, or moving out of their foreclosed home.

If so, the joke will rightly be on us.

 Mark Cromer is a Senior Writing Fellow for Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS), www.capsweb.org. He can be reached at [email protected] or [email protected].

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