The primary reason given by the so-called “free traders” for workers’ visas is that they are supposedly needed to fill jobs that Americans refuse to do. That’s a comical excuse when it comes to professional baseball, which are the most desired jobs in all of the American economy.
Baseball owners have exploited the P-1 visa to get bargain players who are cheaper than the top American talent. Apparently no one told the owners that foreign players are not going to fill a stadium the way that Stan Musial, Ted Williams, and Jackie Robinson did.
Jackie Robinson, and Willie Mays and Hank Aaron after him, inspired a generation of young African-Americans to become baseball stars like them. That motivation is gone today with the deluge of foreign players on P-1 visas, and without enough black baseball stars hardly any young African-Americans play the sport anymore.
While major league teams have an oversupply of foreign players, and even more in the minor leagues, nearly one-third of the Big Leagues today have only one black player on their roster. Last year there were fewer black players in major league baseball than 1958, shortly after Jackie Robinson retired.
Like the H-1B worker visas for ordinary employment, the P-1 visa rules are twisted to allow foreigners to take jobs away from Americans despite how that was not the original intent. P-1 visas were supposed to be limited to athletes who want to come to the United States “temporarily to perform at a specific athletic competition,” such as the Olympics, explains the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.
But later the same website says that P-1 visa holders can stay for a whopping five years in order to “complete the event, competition or performance,” even though no athletic events last anywhere as long as five years. Even worse, the government website explains further that the total stay can actually be up to ten years, by which time the professional baseball player will have found another way to stay here permanently.
When it comes to baseball, the excuse that Americans don’t want the jobs just doesn’t fly.