With all the debate about illegal workers in the United States right now, a group called Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) feels something is getting lost: The need to control legal immigration.
“The United States lets in more than 1 million foreign workers and temporary workers a year,” says Marilyn DeYoung, CAPS Chairman of the Board. “These people take away American jobs and this is why we’re concerned about it.”
In response, CAPS has launched a TV campaign urging lower levels of legal immigrants and temporary workers “until Californians are working again.”
The group says the ads have previously aired on local and cable stations in San Francisco (“because the region takes in more legal immigrants on a permanent resident basis than all but a handful of metropolitan areas in America”) but made its official debut Monday in Bakersfield, where, the group says, unemployment has topped over 18 percent within the last year.
The ad begins with a shot of a spokesman separating the first two letters from the word, “illegal,” while saying: “Attention is turning to the millions of illegal workers in the state. It’s about time. But what about these workers: legal foreign workers?”
In a recent editorial calling for more H1B visas, the Boston Globe wrote that 25 percent of high-tech startups from 1995 to 2005 had an immigrant founder, and 25 percent of America's international patents were based on the work of immigrants.
But, responds DeYoung, “The few businesses that are being started by these immigrants doesn’t even begin to put a dent in the unemployment numbers.”
DeYoung says the group wants to lower the number of all foreign work visas, from those given to seasonal agricultural workers harvesting fruit to the H1B’s given to highly-skilled workers (foreign engineers who come work in Silicon Valley, for example).
“Of course people who have a degree from Sri Lanka would like to come here because they get the experience and they get much better wages. But the employer is paying half of what they would an American worker,” says DeYoung. “And Mr. Sri Lanka doesn’t come alone. He comes in and he brings his parents, his grandparents, his children. It’s chain migration, it’s not just him.”
Gretchen Pfaff, the Marketing Communications Director for CAPS, wrote that the campaign is running in various markets across California on both network and cable.
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