Jan 31, 2017

Behind Trump's visa thinking

Evan Vucci / AP

If you want insight into the nationalist philosophy underpinning President Trump's visa plans like the draft executive order that's being emailed around by tech leaders, pay attention to two endorsements that received relatively little mainstream media coverage during the campaign.

On Feb. 28, the same day Jeff Sessions endorsed Trump at an Alabama rally during the primaries, Trump received two other endorsements that animated Trump's inner circle of nationalist populist allies (a group that includes Sessions, chief strategist Steve Bannon, and the influential policy adviser Stephen Miller.)

That day, Breitbart's Julia Hahn — who has now joined Bannon in the White House — wrote a story titled "Displaced Disney Workers: Shame on You Marco Rubio; We Stand With Trump."

The key excerpt:

Dena Moore and Leo Perrero were two Disney workers who were informed that they were going to be laid off during the holiday season of 2014. They—along with scores of their colleagues—were told that before they were let go, they'd be forced to train their low-skilled foreign replacements brought in on H-1B visas. Earlier this week, Perrero testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the humiliation he was forced to endure by training his foreign replacement. While Donald Trump has called on Disney to hire back all of these workers and has pledged to end H-1B job theft as President, Sen. Marco Rubio has pushed to expand the controversial H-1B program—he has introduced two bills that would dramatically boost the issuances of H-1Bs. As recently as last year, Rubio introduced a bill—endorsed by Disney's CEO Bob Iger via his immigration lobbying firm—that would triple the issuances of H-1Bs.

Why it matters: When Bannon was running Breitbart, he drove his reporters to cover what he believed was rampant visa abuse. He has long believed that heartless profit-driven "globalist" CEOs are giving foreign workers a jump on American citizens. Breitbart's newsroom, in close collaboration with Sessions' office, aggressively followed this thread. Miller, a top Sessions aide, and Hahn, a reporter at the time, were an especially tight team. Now, the team is reunited in the White House. Our message to Silicon Valley: Buckle up.

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