Anti-Immigration Group Knocks Trump’s Choice For Labor Secretary

AP Images for Carl's Jr.

One of America’s largest anti-immigration groups on Thursday criticized Donald Trump’s choice of fast-food CEO Andrew Puzder for U.S. Secretary of Labor, citing his support for guest worker programs and amnesty for undocumented immigrants.

The nomination “raises questions and concerns about whether [Trump] will vigorously defend the interests of American workers,” Federation for American Immigration Reform President Dan Stein wrote in statement. “Puzder has served as an executive of a fast food conglomerate — an industry that has thrived on low-wage labor, illegal workers, and which has lobbied for greater access to foreign guest workers to maximize corporate profits.”

Puzder is chief executive of CKE restaurants, which owns the Hardee’s, Carl’s Jr., La Salsa, and Green Burrito chains. He is an outspoken supporter of immigration reform, and has criticized the President-elect for calling for the deportation of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.

“Legal immigrants are an asset to the country. We believe that deporting 11 million people is unworkable, and we hope in the end Mr. Trump comes to this same conclusion. Deportation should be pursued only when an illegal immigrant has committed a felony or become a ‘public charge,’” Puzder wrote in a July op-ed in The Wall Street Journal on July 14.

FAIR’s Stein charged that Puzder may “prioritize the interests of cheap labor employers” over those of American workers.

The anti-immigration group’s views are more in line with those of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who Trump has chosen to serve as his attorney general. Sessions will have much more influence over enforcing immigration laws, as will Trump’s newly announced pick to head the Department of Homeland Security, retired Gen. John Kelly.

Others on the right are similarly frustrated by Trump’s choice of Puzder to lead the Labor Department.

David Frum, a conservative commentator at The Atlantic, wrote on Twitter that Puzder was “perhaps the most outspoken advocate of Bush-style immigration policy in US business community.”

His selection, Frum wrote, suggested that the President-elect’s administration “is a giant prank on Trump voters” given his hardline rhetoric on immigration during the campaign.

Read FAIR’s full statement below.

(December 8, 2016, Washington, D.C.) — The following statement was issued by Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) regarding the nomination of Andrew Puzder to be U.S. Secretary of Labor:

“Donald Trump was swept into office by championing the cause of American workers who have seen their jobs and wages steadily eroded by a combination of factors, including an immigration system that allows employers to exploit low-wage workers from other countries.

“President-elect Trump’s choice of Andrew Puzder to run the Department of Labor raises questions and concerns about whether he will vigorously defend the interests of American workers. Puzder has served as an executive of a fast food conglomerate – an industry that has thrived on low-wage labor, illegal workers, and which has lobbied for greater access to foreign guest workers to maximize corporate profits.

“Based on Puzder’s support for increased guest workers, can struggling American workers count on him to maintain tight labor markets that promote wage increases? Are his positions advocating ‘a pathway to adjusted status for those here illegally now,’ consistent with the interests of American workers who have been undermined by illegal immigration, or the Trump administration’s goal of reinstating the rule of law and putting Americans back to work?

“The outgoing Secretary of Labor prioritized the interests of illegal aliens over those of American workers. The American people need to be reassured that the incoming Labor Secretary will not prioritize the interests of cheap labor employers over the interests of those same American workers.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.

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