President Donald Trump’s new nominee to run the Department of Labor is an accomplished lawyer and a rising star in the GOP’s Hispanic and pro-diversity wing.
The nominee, Alexander Acosta, is a Harvard graduate and a former senior justice department official under George W. Bush. From 2005, he served as a federal attorney in Florida, where he successfully prosecuted a series of high-profile cases and is now a university dean.
If confirmed by the Senate to run the Department of Labor, Acosta will play an important role in overseeing and regulating the annual inflow of roughly 1 million contract workers. Those contract workers fill white-collar and blue-collar jobs throughout the economy and they also lower wages for American graduates and unskilled workers.
However, he’s likely to clash with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a populist who is expected to push for reduced use of foreign workers. Throughout the 2016 campaign, Trump called for reforms of the contract-worker programs, including the H-1B program, and declared his policy would be to “Buy American, Hire American.”
On Wednesday, Jan 15, Trump’s first nominee for the job was withdrawn after a few GOP Senators said they would not vote for him in the closely divided Senate. The first nominee, restaurant CEO Anthony Puzder, was damaged by his pre-nomination support for cheap-labor immigration.
Acosta has worked in multiple legal jobs
He was appointed by Bush to the five-member National Labor Relations Board from December 2002 to August 2003. Next, he served as assistant attorney general for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights division until June 2005, and then became U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida until 2009. He then moved to become dean of Florida International University’s College of Law.
Acosta successfully prosecuted multiple high-profile cases in South Florida
According to Acosta’s resume posted at his law school;
While Dean Acosta served as U.S. Attorney, the Southern District prosecuted a number of high-profile defendants, including Jack Abramoff for fraud, Jose Padilla for terrorism, Charles “Chuckie” Taylor Jr. for torture, (the first torture case of its kind in the U.S.), and the Cali Cartel founders Miguel and Gilberto Rodriquez-Orejuela for the importation of 200,000 kilos of cocaine, which resulted in a $2.1 billion forfeiture. The District also targeted white collar crime, prosecuting several bank-related cases, including one against Swiss Bank UBS. The case resulted in UBS paying $780 million in fines, and for the first time in history, the bank provided the United States with the names of individuals who were using secret Swiss bank accounts to avoid U.S. taxes. Under Dean Acosta’s leadership, the District also focused on health care fraud and because the top district in the nation in health care fraud prosecution, charged more than 700 individuals responsible for more than $2 billion in fraud.
Acosta supports amnesty for illegals and a continued inflow of foreign workers
In January 2012, at an event organized by former Gov. Jeb Bush’s Hispanic Leadership Network, Acosta urged politicians to create “a pathway to legal immigration” despite strong public opposition. He said:
They [the illegal aliens] go nowhere. As the Secretary said, they’re not meant to go anywhere. We need a solution. Several individuals here on the panel were involved in finding a solution several years ago under President [George W.] Bush, and we need someone who’s going to say, we have to enact immigration solutions. Part of that means figuring out what we do with all the individuals that are already in our nation. We need them here. They provide construction jobs. They provide agricultural jobs. We need to figure out a way to address that. We need to figure out a way to then have the pathway to further future legal immigration. If we do not take it all at once, we’re not going to solve it. You cannot solve part of it without solving the other part. You cannot address immigration without answering, what do you do with the individuals that are already in the United States? So let’s just get it done, and let’s get it done quickly.
View the video here.
Under current rules, the federal government annually provides work permits to roughly 1 million contract workers and Green Cards to roughly one million immigrants each year, just as four million young Americans join the workforce. The high level of immigration has been supported by the GOP’s business wing, including President George W. Bush, Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
Acosta worked with pro-amnesty progressives at the American Bar Association
Acosta joined a bar association panel called the Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights & Responsibilities, which included the heads of the ACLU and of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. The commission then produced a report which condemned public opposition to illegal immigration, saying:
The role of elected officials in furthering a discourse of antipathy towards immigrants, including out-of-status immigrants, often underlies these state legislative efforts, and arguably provides legitimacy to the increased hostility towards Latinos, and the marginalization of Latino communities. Apparent public support for these legislative efforts have made Latinos feel vulnerable and has also significantly impacted Latinos’ perceptions of fairness … the [2012 DACA mini-amnesty] policy does not grant any substantive right, and does not provide a long-term solution to the immigration system problems, which can only be addressed through appropriate immigration reform.
The report was titled “Latinos in the United States: Overcoming Legal Obstacles, Engaging in Civic Life.” The report cited support from several Latino radicals, including the president of the National Council of La Raza ethnic advocacy group. Acosta currently chairs the 11-member panel, which also includes the president of LatinoJustice PRLDEF, a Latino advocacy group.
Acosta Supported Pro-Diversity Federal Mandates
From 2003 to 2005, he was Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, where he supported lawsuits that imposed social diversity on cohesive American communities. His wins include a court decision ending a schoolroom ban on Islamic hijabs, and an anti-discrimination case which forced a community to permit housing for imported contract workers. According to his resume posted at Harvard;
Alexander serves on the Florida Supreme Court’s Commission on Professionalism, on the Florida Innocence Commission and the American Bar Association’s Commission on Diversity in the Education Pipeline. He has received several professional recognitions, including the American Bar Association’s Council on Legal Education’s Legacy Award for efforts on diversity; the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund’s Excellence in Government Award and the D.C. Hispanic Bar Association’s Hugh A. Johnson Jr. Memorial Award.
There are many ways that this can be done, and we have the technology now so that we can have apps, we can have iPhones. And I should say, you know, this isn’t just an issue for Spanish with modern technology. You can do this for so many languages and really take the responsibility and the obligation away from the police officer to have to look through various translation cards and read in a language that they don’t speak Miranda warnings to individuals when they are arrested.
In 2011, he testified at a Senate hearing for policies that would treat Islam as if it were a religion which separates church and state, as does Christiniary and Judaism. He also defended Bush’s sympathetic outreach to Islamist political groups in the United States.