America never has, and never will, face a shortage of attractive people looking under-fed and willing to pose for photos or stroll down a runway. The modeling profession will never require bending immigration rules so that our country doesn’t get out-modeled by foreign competitors.
The only reason this needs clarification is because Melania Trump, who could become America’s next first lady, somehow finagled a coveted H1B visa in 2000 (the same year she began appearing in public with Donald Trump) under the guise of being a model. Not just any model but one of “extraordinary ability,” according to her application.
How a Slovenian fashion model pulled this off is still unclear, but it’s highly likely that someone of significant influence in very high places assisted. Someone like Donald Trump.
Only 65,000 H1B visas are awarded each year, which is an extremely small number compared with the high demand. The H1B visa program was created to ensure that American employers have access to top-level talent when American workers are unable to fill the void.
Employers in science, engineering and high-tech fields have been pleading with Congress for years to raise the cap on these visas because American companies are losing their competitive edge for lack of qualified talent. When key employees must exit the country because their work permits have expired and they cannot obtain an H1B visa, the employer is forced to scramble to find someone else of equal talent. Meanwhile, his former employee typically goes to work for competing companies in more immigration-friendly countries overseas.
That gives the overseas companies a competitive recruiting advantage. Because Congress has so radically restricted H1B access, top-notch scientists and computer engineers from China and India, among other countries, are opting to forgo the hassle of U.S. immigration laws altogether. This is one reason U.S. employers reduce their operations here and, instead, move to countries where fewer restrictions apply.
The United States has never faced a shortage of fashion models. The H1B program was never designed to help maintain America’s edge on the fashion runway. The visa that Melania Trump obtained came at the expense of some other employer who needed it for a more critical sort of worker.
Donald Trump, of course, denies having intervened on Melania’s behalf. He also claims to be the standard-bearer of the movement to halt immigration abuses. If this doesn’t qualify as an abuse of the system, what does?
The fact is, Trump lives and breathes by a double standard on immigration in which it’s perfectly fine to bend the rules when it suits his needs. When it’s other people’s lives, families and staffs on the verge of being split up, he shrugs his shoulders and pronounces, “Get ’em outta here.”