Sunday, February 05, 2017

Transcript of Steve Bannon's Tirade Against Legal Immigration, Asians, and Silicon Valley, and His Belief in the 'Race to the Bottom'

Stuart K. Hayashi

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

During their ravings against immigration, “immigrant skeptics” frequently shout, “I’m for legal immigration; I'm just against illegal immigration!”   Here is what is wrong with that cliché:

 To proclaim that one favors legal immigration, while refraining from supporting a loosening of the present restrictions, is disingenuous.

This is one of he few areas where President Donald Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, is more honest than most "immigration skeptics."  He did a podcast on March 9, 2016 where he delivered a whole diatribe against legal immigration from Asia and against the Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who hire those immigrants for engineering jobs. Essentially, Bannon makes the same “Race to the Bottom” argument long delivered by Karl Marx and other left-wing anti-capitalists. You can read my refutation of the “Race to the Bottom” argument over here and over here.

The Washington Post embedded an audio recording of that podcast here, but the accompanying article only quoted a few sentence fragments. I therefore made a more complete transcript below.

In the rant, Steve Bannon is critical of then-candidate Trump for being too laissez faire on legal immigration and H-1B visas; he expresses the wish that Trump would take more of a hard-line stand against H-1B visas going to Asians.

As for why the “Race to the Bottom” argument is fallacious, I have prepared this infographic:


By the way, we started off the day in London with our [Breitbart] Tech group talking about the progressive plutocrats in Silicon Valley. John Hayward came on. These [Silicon Valley] oligarchs that were down there with Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, um, and they weren’t just down there for radical ideology. I can’t tell you the number of callers that call in and are Trump supporters but are rattled. They are rattled about how they see this massive [Trump] rally with the Disney workers [who complain that the Walt Disney Company may outsource their jobs to Asia]. They hear a debate [where Trump criticizes immigration] but they think they hear a different thing [from Donald Trump] on the [H-1B] visas, and the next day it’s clarified; they got a [Republican presidential primary] debate coming up, and they see these [Silicon Valley] oligarchs down there with 54 private jets, and they’re not down there for their health.

They [Silicon Valley executives] are called down there by Karl Rove, and it’s a ‘Stop Trump’ movement, because they [Silicon Valley executives] want unlimited H-1B visas. So how is this going to work in the Trump campaign? People read the white papers [policy positions from the Trump campaign]; people hear the Disney workers [worrying that the Disney Company may replace them with foreign-born employees], people hear the [Donald Trump] rhetoric [against immigration], and, all of a sudden, [they want to ask Donald Trump,] ‘are you trying to be nuanced, or make a [dog whistle] signal, or is it that [Trump] doesn’t believe in the policy [he advocates] and [will] come out the next day and reverse it?’

Where are we in the Trump campaign right now with H-1B visas, because you got the [Silicon Valley] oligarchs down there, brother, and they got Karl Rove and they got literally hundreds of millions of dollars that come, and they’re coming for one reason, and the reason they’re coming is that they want unlimited — unlimited — ability to go throughout the world, and people come here [from Asia] and compete with [native-born] kids coming here out of engineering schools with I.T. [information technology] jobs? If you’re in your forties or fifties right now, people will tell you they haven’t had a raise in decades in I.T. What was supposed to be a great career [in engineering for native-born Americans] turned out not to be such a great career. It’s because [of] these [H-1B] visas.

And now all the [American] engineering schools are full of people from South Asia and East Asia. It’s not that [native-born] people have any problem with these folks, but they’re coming here to take these jobs [away from native-born Americans]. We’ve turned over the entire American education system. We’ve cut out art, we’ve cut out history, we’ve cut out music. Why have we done it? STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering, Math. We’ve told every [native-born] kid in this country, ‘You’ve got to have some of that.’ What happens? They can’t get engineering degrees, they can’t get into graduate schools because all these foreign students come [to the USA] and they [native-born Americans] can’t get a job. And they’re looking to people liked Ted Cruz and Donald Trump to talk about immigration and to talk about H-1B visas and to stand up against these [Silicon Valley] oligarchs. So where are we on this?

Stephen Miller talks, and then Stephen Bannon expresses disapproval that Arthur Brooks and the American Enterprise Institute are not opposed strongly enough to the issuance of H-1B visas to Asians.

Steven Bannon continues:

Isn’t the beating heart of this problem, the real beating heart of it, of what we have got to get sorted here is not illegal immigration — as horrific as that is, and it’s horrific — don’t we have a problem that we’ve looked the other way on this legal immigration that has kind of overrun the country, when you look at [the figure] of 61 million [immigrants in the USA], twenty percent of the country is immigrants? Is that not a massive problem?

Vox did a transcript of this podcast, though not exactly the same as the one I did above. The way in which Vox characterized Bannon's position is accurate: Bannon considers legal immigration to be the real problem.