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Tom Donohue lie: 'American workers are inferior to immigrant labor'

Ton Donohue, U.S. Chamber of Congress
Ton Donohue, U.S. Chamber of Congress
Getty Images/Yuri Gripas/Pool

Making the case that American workers are inferior to foreign labor, less bright, less educated, less talented, less qualified, less industrious, and less entrepreneurial, Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue wrote on Feb. 13, 2014, "It's in our own best interests to welcome the world's brightest minds and hardest workers into our economy."

However, one Texas family disagrees and in an exclusive interview with me, said they would like for Donohue "and people like him to stop the immigration reform lies. Donahue, you are telling lies. American workers are inferior to immigrant labor? No. American workers are superior to foreigners. The government and businesses need to invest in American workers and stop importing foreigners to take our jobs."

Friday, over on the Drudge Report, the headline stressed Donohue's opinion of the superiority of a foreign labor pool over America's homegrown workers: Chamber CEO: U.S. Needs More Low-Skill Immigration Since Americans Not 'Qualified, 'Willing' to Work." Donohue threatened, "If companies can't find talent on U.S. soil, or if it becomes too costly and burdensome, they will move their operations.

According to Tracy Smith, companies didn't always relocate to find their talent, nor did companies import it. He recalled that when Texas Instruments (TI) of Dallas foresaw a need for skilled computer techs, they looked in their own backyards. Instead of tapping foreign labor, TI canvased American community colleges for the brightest and best young freshmen, scooped them up, hired and trained them.

Over twenty years ago, Smith, was one of those students who never got a degree. He was recruited from a community college by TI when he was a teen. Smith's current job description as a contract employee with a major tech company requires the skills of a computer engineer with a minimum of a master's degree plus 12 years experience in computer engineering. He feels lucky to have his contracting income after being laid off a few years ago when TI closed down his whole department.

According to the results of a McClatchy-Marist Poll this week, those polled indicated that they are seeing the American dream slipping out of their reach with 78 percent thinking it also will be harder for the next generation to get ahead. Smith shares their despair. After working more than 26 years for TI, Smith yearns for another permanent job; however he has about lost faith in American corporations or the government to find a solution to the current dismal unemployment rates.

Smith especially regrets that his own son, who "cut his baby teeth on a mouse," and would offer any high tech company the ideal candidate for training, will never have the opportunity Smith had. Smith said, "Today companies demand a constant flow of foreign workers, who they can turn over with a flow of more foreign workers if wages go too high. What we're seeing is exploitation of immigrants while the American business community is wasting America's best. We're right here in front of them; put us to work! How can they dare push the idea that it's our fault, because we're somehow inferior?"

Donohue praised the entrepreneurial spirit of immigrants. Speaking to the entrepreneurial spirit of Americans and the fallacy that young Americans are too proud to work hard at dirty jobs, when Smith's younger brother, Todd, graduated after working himself through college, he was unable to find a job. Todd bought a rickety old truck with his graduation checks and started a poop-scooping business for pets.

His route continues to grow; and he is making enough money to survive. Certainly, Todd should be considered one of the many underemployed American workers who has proven he possesses the work ethic any company should covet. Right now, Todd's make-do occupation is wide open, no competition. Todd guesses the work is "too nasty" for immigrants or he's found the one job an American will do that "immigrants won't do."

Todd and Tracy's dad, Gary, looks back at better years when he was well able to support his family working in his trade, installing wood and tile flooring for builders. He watched as illegal immigrants were given the jobs which were once his because they worked cheaper, had larger crews and were quicker. There was no way he could compete.

Gary says, "Now immigrants own the construction industry, from floors to roofs to bricking and drywall. All of it. My builders kept my phone number. They call me when they want good work that will last. The illegals are cheap labor, fine for working on a house some unwary American will buy; but, when it comes to their own home, builders want the quality of my work. It's depressing. I need and can do all of the work. I stand behind my work. If something goes wrong with the work done by illegals, and it often does, you're out of luck if you hope to find them."

A question about "bringing illegals out of the shadows," caused Gary to laugh outright. "The illegals like being paid underground money. Cash is their thing."

Recently, Senator Tom Sessions also issued his own warning, counter to the opinion of Donohue and others that America can't survive without foreign workers:

In the rush to pass an immigration bill, there has been a near absence of any serious thought about the conditions facing American workers. The last 40 years has been a period of record immigration to the U.S., with the last 10 years seeing more new arrivals than any prior 10- year period in history. This trend has coincided with wage stagnation, enormous growth in welfare programs, and a shrinking workforce participation rate. A sensible, conservative approach would focus on lifting those living here today, both immigrant and native-born, out of poverty and into the middle class—before doubling or tripling the level of immigration into the U.S.

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