A persuasive argument can be made that President Trump’s most trusted White House confidant is his son-in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner. Kushner has outlasted almost every presidential appointee except for his wife Ivanka Trump, who has hung on since day one.
Recently, the Brookings Institute compiled a White House turnover analysis of President Trump’s most influential inside advisors, or “A” team. As of May 1, turnover is 86%, with many of the departures labeled as “resigned under pressure.” More difficult to measure, Brookings admitted, is Cabinet turnover. Case in point, Nikki Haley was upgraded from United Nations Representative to the Cabinet. After she resigned, her Cabinet post evaporated. Despite the confusion associated with tracking the inner circle’s comings and goings, Brookings concluded, President Trump’s Cabinet turnover rate is “record setting.”
Throughout the turmoil though, Kushner remains on the President’s Cabinet. In January 2017 when President Trump named Ivanka and Jared as advisors, the president’s base wondered what possible good could come from adding family to the White House team. Little did the questioning base know they’d be poster children and proponents for high-immigration, the equal of any congressional Democrat.
Well-placed Washington insiders reported that Kushner, who has a long history of immigration advocacy, was the loudest voice in the push back against President Trump’s April 22 executive order to temporarily suspend immigration. “Globalist” Kushner, sources said, immediately objected to the order and led “an internal battle” over the suspension. He quickly became “one of the loudest voices pushing back on a full ban”, and sought “to carve out exemptions for refugees, temporary workers under the H1B visa program, and farmworkers under the H-2A visa program.”
Only a couple of weeks have passed since Kushner highjacked his boss’ original, more restrictive immigration order, and in that brief period the jobs’ landscape has dramatically worsened. The question is no longer “When will the economy restart?” or “When will the 36 million unemployed creep back into the labor force?” The new reality is as long as the status quo remains, many companies will declare bankruptcy, their employees will be set adrift, and those individuals may eventually have to file for personal bankruptcy.
J. Crew was the first of the major embattled retailers to file bankruptcy, with 15,000 on its payroll. Neiman Marcus, with its 13,500 employees, quickly followed, and others on the brink include JCPenney and Rite-Aid.
The Walt Disney Company, with its theme park, cruise line, and entertainment businesses hammered, has lost one-third of its market value. It hopes to recoup $80 billion through a debt offering, but Wall Street analysts peg the company, with its 223,000 employees, at a 41 percent chance of going bankrupt.
While some failing companies have been teetering for years, the COVID-19 pandemic has landed the knock-out punch. Their employees must now depend on slow-to-arrive unemployment insurance checks.
The longer this lockdown persists, the less the need for employment-based immigration. As the June 23 deadline for President Trump’s executive order nears, he can either listen to Kushner echo Senator Chuck Schumer’s come one, come all immigration dream, or he can bury the hatchet and listen to his former attorney general Jeff Sessions.
Sessions has said that the U.S. has no jobs, and will “lay off more people this week than last week.” He’s chided his old congressional colleagues for ignoring “the interest of the American people. It’s [high immigration] in the interest of their [Congress’] corporate friends and some ideology that they adhere to.”
Instinctively, President Trump knows importing foreign labor during this economic implosion is folly, but he needs the political courage to act on his common-sense predisposition. He’s been reluctant to do that and come November, he may regret his waffling.
Joe Guzzardi is a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.