☕ Cover: New York, United States, Statue of Liberty
Good Morning. Here’s what you need to know to start the day, along with perspective from both sides for calmer coffee conversations with your family, friends, colleagues, and co-workers. Plus, a bit of good news: A Nebraska cop was caught on a viral video attempting to rehang a fallen American flag outside of an auto repair shop on Sunday.
📰 TOP STORY
Expanding Immigration Restrictions: On Monday, President Trump signed an order temporarily barring new immigrants who are on a host of employment-based visas from coming to the U.S. The president had previously signed an order in April that restricted some green cards but held off from limiting guest-worker programs. The latest order extends the measure further, however, by pausing new H-1B tech worker visas, H-2B seasonal worker visas, certain J work and education exchange visitor visas, and L executive transfer visas. The restrictions are set to take effect today and last through the end of the year. Health care workers assisting with the fight against COVID-19 will be exempt as will some people who were in the original green card order, including members of the U.S. military. The order also does not affect the H-2A agricultural guest-worker program. The administration estimates the order will affect around 600,000 jobs before December 31. Here’s what both sides are saying:
On the Right: According to the White House press release, “many workers have been hurt through no fault of their own due to coronavirus and they should not remain on the sidelines while being replaced by new foreign labor.” The order is meant “to ensure American workers take first priority as we recover from the economic effects of the coronavirus… [and] polls show that the overwhelming majority of Americans support pausing immigration as we recover as a Nation from the coronavirus pandemic.” The White House Press release points to a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll which found that 65% of those who participated in the survey support pausing immigration into the country, including 61% of minority respondents. A Pew Research Center poll also found that 81% of Americans see mass immigration as a threat while we confront the challenges posed by the coronavirus. The White House also points out that “Democrats and liberal commentators used to support such commonsense efforts to protect American jobs,” They provide quotes from prominent names on the left including Sen. Bernie Sanders, who said, “You think we should open the borders and bring in a lot of low-wage workers, or do you think maybe we should try to get jobs for those [American] kids?” Additionally, Paul Krugman stated that “Immigration reduces the wages of domestic workers who compete with immigrants. That’s just supply and demand.” Lastly, then-Sen. Barack Obama warned that mass migration “threatens to depress further the wages of blue-collar Americans and put strains on an already overburdened safety net.”
On the Left: In an opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times, Jon Healey writes that, “there is evidence that worker visas, and particularly the H-1B program, have enabled some employers to replace higher-wage U.S. workers with cheaper foreign labor. That’s particularly true as companies have switched from having in-house tech support teams to tech service contractors, many of which rely on foreign workers.” However, Healy says that, “Recessions invariably displace workers whose skills fall out of demand. And one thing this country doesn’t seem to be very good at is retraining people to keep pace with those changes. In the meantime, though, it won’t help the U.S. economy recover if businesses that are trying to reopen or expand can’t do so because they can’t find the workers they need.” Tech firms specifically, who rely heavily on H-1B visas, are not happy with the President’s directive. Outlined in a clip from 2017, Businessman Mark Cuban told FOX News host Tucker Carlson that “importing American labor makes America stronger.” While Cuban thinks the hoarding of H1-B visas by certain companies is a problem that needs to be fixed, he also says that the program has allowed American firms to stay competitive globally by getting the most qualified workers for their company. To that end, as David Meyer points out for Fortune, “For the past three decades, the U.S. has been listed as one of the world’s top five most competitive economies, in rankings produced by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Switzerland. Just two years ago, the U.S. topped the list.” However, “those days are over, at least for now.” In the 31st edition of the ranking, released last Tuesday, the U.S. had fallen to 10th place, just behind the United Arab Emirates. Duolingo CEO Luis von Ahn summarized this on Twitter saying, “Imagine if Real Madrid or Barcelona could only hire players from Spain. They probably wouldn’t be the best in the world anymore. This is what the new executive orders will do to American technology companies.”
Flag This: Something that gets overlooked in the H1-B debate is the fact that the problem originates before visa-applicants enter the workforce. In a lot of cases, foreign students come to the United States for four years of college. We train them at our top universities, they make friends and connections, and a good portion of them go on to get jobs at firms like Google or Goldman Sachs in cities like San Francisco and New York. Then, a year after they get settled, the U.S. kicks them out because their H1-B Visas expire. Keep in mind, these students, now young-professionals, were paying some of the highest taxes in the country, spending money in their cities, and investing in the United States by way of time, effort, and capital. Shipping them off to cities like London, Hong Kong, or Geneva ultimately becomes a net-loss after so much has been invested in these people. In fact, it makes those other cities more competitive as evidenced by the IMD list above. That said, if this is such a problem, it needs to be addressed well before H1-B candidates enter the workforce. Maybe colleges need to think about how many foreign applicants they accept and whether or not they’re taking the place of American students. In the President’s perfect world, by limiting H1-B visas, a foreign candidate will be restricted from a domestic position, which ideally opens it up to an American. However, if not enough Americans received the requisite training and education, because colleges prioritized foreign applicants in their admissions process then there will be less qualified candidates to fill the empty spot. This will slow hiring, slow productivity, decrease global competitiveness, and ultimately weigh on the country. It’s not that the issue shouldn’t be addressed, it’s just that currently we’re not targeting the correct source of the problem.
🦅 US NEWS
A Bit of Bipartisanship: Lawmakers Ask Fed to Help Businesses Struggling to Make Mortgage Payments
“More than 100 members of Congress are calling on the Trump administration and the Federal Reserve to help struggling businesses pause debt payments in a key real-estate financing market,” Ben Eisen reports for the Wall Street Journal. What’s Happening: “Many of the hotels, shopping malls and office buildings that borrow money in the roughly $550 billion market for commercial-mortgage-backed securities said they have been unable to negotiate debt reprieves during the coronavirus pandemic.”
- Flag This: The effort is being backed by a bipartisan group of representatives led by Rep. Van Taylor (R., Texas). This group delivered a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell on Tuesday asking them to set up a lending facility to support these borrowers through the current stretch.”
Cash Strapped Cities Delay Repairs
“More than 700 U.S. cities have halted plans to improve roadways, buy new equipment and complete a wide array of upgrades to water systems and other critical infrastructure, as government officials slash spending to shore up the massive holes in their budgets created by the coronavirus,” Tony Romm reports for The Washington Post. This is according to new data from the National League of Cities released on Tuesday, which deduced “that more federal aid is necessary to ensure that local financial woes do not imperil the country’s economic recovery.”
- Flag This: “Cities had already predicted they would need about $500 billion from Washington to help cover the massive, unanticipated declines in tax revenue and other costs incurred from the pandemic.” Mike Catalini and Michael Melia of the AP point out that budgets are putting limits on social distancing options for schools as well. “The burdens loom large in particular for urban, under-resourced districts that often have neither the space nor the budgets to accommodate new health protocols.” Keep reading.
🌎 WORLD NEWS
From Matina Stevis-Gridneff of the NYT: “European Union countries rushing to revive their economies and reopen their borders after months of coronavirus restrictions are prepared to block Americans from entering because the United States has failed to control the scourge, according to draft lists of acceptable travelers seen by The New York Times.” The Tables Have Turned: “A prohibition of Americans by Brussels partly reflects the shifting pattern of the pandemic. In March, when Europe was the epicenter, Mr. Trump infuriated European leaders when he banned citizens from most European Union countries from traveling to America. Mr. Trump justified the move as necessary to protect the United States, which at the time had roughly 1,100 coronavirus cases and 38 deaths.”
- Flag This: “That prospect, which would lump American visitors in with Russians and Brazilians as unwelcome, is a stinging blow to American prestige in the world… a final decision on reopening the borders is expected early next week, before the bloc reopens on July 1.”
Putin Uses World War II Parade to Boost Support Before Vote
“A massive Russian military parade postponed by the coronavirus pandemic will roll through Red Square [today] to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, even though Russia is still registering a steady rise in infections,” Vladimir Isachenkov reports in Moscow. “President Vladimir Putin’s insistence on holding the parade reflects not only his desire to put Russia’s power on display but also to bolster patriotic sentiments a week before a constitutional referendum that could allow him to remain in office until 2036.”
- Flag This: “The show is particularly important this year for Putin. The Kremlin hopes it will help secure public support a week before the July 1 nationwide vote on constitutional amendments that effectively reset the clock on his tenure in office and will allow him to seek two more six-year terms if he chooses.”
- Bonus: President Vladimir Putin raised income tax for wealthy Russians and offered new state handouts to families with children on Tuesday ahead of the July vote.
Mexico: A powerful earthquake of magnitude 7.4 struck the coast of southern Mexico on Tuesday.
UK: Prime Minister Boris Johnson said pubs, restaurants, and hotels could reopen in England early next month, easing the coronavirus lockdown that has all but shut the economy.
🗞️ BIZ, SPORTS, & TECH
Amazon Starts $2 Billion VC Fund to Combat Climate Change
Amazon announced Tuesday the launch of a $2 billion investment fund focused on “sustainable and decarbonizing technologies” in an effort to offset its carbon footprint. Named the Climate Pledge Fund, the fund’s mandate will be to back industries and technologies focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions that are considered the key culprit behind climate change. Keep reading.
Novak Djokovic has Tested Positive for Coronavirus
Top-ranked tennis player Novak Djokovic announced Tuesday that he and his wife have COVID-19 after he played in a series of exhibition matches he organized in Serbia and Croatia with zero social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Disney+ to Debut in Eight More Countries Throughout Europe
Walt Disney Company will launch Disney+ in eight more countries in Europe as millions of people stuck at home due to coronavirus-induced restrictions turn to streaming services for entertainment.
📢 PRESENTED BY GRILLAHOLICS
🗳️ FLAG POLLS
President Trump said that people who burn the American Flag should be sentenced to jail for at least one year at a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Do you agree? Click here to vote.
Blast From the Past: In 1979, a U.S. satellite detected signs of a nuclear explosion. An analysis of the evidence today points to a clandestine nuclear test, a Carter administration cover-up, and only one country that was willing and able to carry it out: Israel. Foreign Policy · 39 min
How Political Opinions Change: A clever experiment shows it’s surprisingly easy to change someone’s political views, revealing how flexible we are. Scientific American · 7 min
How to Tell If You’re Talking to a Bot: The five best ways to detect fake social-media accounts. MIT Technology Review · 3 min