America’s biggest businesses — from Apple to Koch Industries — have cheered President Trump’s tax plan and his push to rollback regulations, but they say Trump is wrong on immigration. Throwing a million immigrant workers out of this country, as Trump is threatening to do, would be devastating for the economy, business leaders say.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the largest business lobbying organization and a powerful financial backer of many GOP senators and representatives, went as far as to predict “there will be a big upheaval” if Trump deports the 690,000 young immigrant “dreamers” and the 200,000 Salvadoran immigrants who have been in the country under a program known as temporary protected status. Another 30,000 spouses of highly-skilled immigrants are also losing the right to work. In December, the Trump administration said it would do away with an Obama-era rule that allowed spouses of H-1B visa holders to work in the United States.
“Think about taking 1 million workers out of our [economy] and what that would do to us right now,” said Thomas Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce after his giving annual “State of American Business” address. “Think about who those people are. They are our neighbors.”
Many of Trump’s top economic priorities for 2018 would be jeopardized if the administration starts mass deportations of these immigrants, many of whom work and have been in the country for years, Donohue said. Trump says he plans to unveil an infrastructure package soon, but Donohue says there aren’t enough workers left to do all the rebuilding of roads, bridges and ports that politicians in Washington envision.
“If we do a $1 trillion-plus, 10-year infrastructure plan, we can’t do that with the workers we have now,” said Donohue.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce building is located just north of the White House. Two big banners that say “America. Built By Dreamers” are sitting just outside the front doors of the Chamber’s building, aimed toward the White House.
By Heather Long for THE WASHINGTON POST
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