U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton is commanding national media attention for going farther right on admission of seasonal immigrant workers than Donald Trump.

Typical is the New York magazine report.

It’s not easy to get to the right of the Trump administration on immigration issues, given the president’s iron conviction that a hard-core position on the border and everything related to it is crucial to his reelection and the key to the hearts of MAGA people in particular. Sure, you can go all Steve King and attack Dreamers — instead of taking them hostage as Trump has done. But short of that, most immigration ultras have been in lockstep with POTUS.

Not anymore: Arkansas senator Tom Cotton, usually a staunch Trump ally on pretty much everything, is angry at an administration decision to use its discretion to extend some additional visas for temporary nonagricultural “guest workers” for the third straight year.

Cotton contends younger Americans lose jobs by allowing 30,000 more immigrant workers. In one tweet, he said it affects 50,000 unemployed Arkansans. Some other Republicans aren’t so upset. Their businesses need workers.


New York says there’s reason for Cotton to take issue with Trump — hypocrisy.

He has a point, though: If the president’s going to depict himself as America’s protector from every foreign scourge, most emphatically people of color from points south, he shouldn’t go soft on guest workers, as the Washington Post points out:

The H-2B visa allows foreign workers to come to the United States legally and work for several months at companies such as landscapers, amusement parks, or hotels. About 80 percent of these visas went to people from Mexico and Central America last year, government data shows.

Trump, of course, might have some sympathy for H-2B consumers, based on this report from 2018:

A Vox analysis of hiring records for seasonal workers at three Trump properties in New York and Florida revealed that only one out of 144 jobs went to a US worker from 2016 to the end of 2017. Foreign guest workers with H-2B visas got the rest.

This is the sort of thing that probably enrages Cotton and other Trump allies who see the president’s convictions collide with his business interests — and quickly surrender.