The debate over illegal immigration continues to rage as Republicans and Democrats in government clash over funding for President Trump’s proposed border wall. But what about the impact of legal immigration on American workers?
Those who desire more effective border security are concerned with preventing people who subvert the nation’s immigration laws from entering the country, but not much attention is paid to flaws in our immigration system.
An organization of American workers in Connecticut intends to stage a protest against the H-1B program, which has displaced many citizens who need jobs. The demonstration will highlight a serious — but often overlooked — issue.
Connecticut Workers to Protest Outsourcing
Protect U.S. Workers, an organization that lobbies on behalf of American employees adversely affected by the H-1B visa program, has scheduled a protest against a decision by Connecticut’s governor to subsidize Infosys, an Indian company that uses H-1B visas to import low-wage workers from India who fill positions that would otherwise be held by Americans. As part of the deal, the business could receive $12 million in grant money if it fulfills its obligations when it comes to hiring in the state.
One of the conditions of the deal is that Infosys would be required to create jobs locally. Sounds pretty good, right? Not so fast. The agreement does not specify that these jobs would be filled by Americans. The company’s staff typically is made up of Indians hired through the H-1B, L-1, and Optional Practical Training work-permit programs. Put simply, it’s not likely that this deal will create much of a benefit for American workers who would gladly fill these positions.
Who Is Protecting U.S. Workers?
Protect U.S. Workers is a bipartisan activist group that advocates for Americans who have been negatively impacted by foreign guest worker programs. Formed in 2018, the organization is fighting to effect change in America’s visa system that will provide opportunities for American workers.
Sara Blackwell, the founder of the organization, has been at the forefront of the movement to prevent foreign workers from taking jobs from Americans. In an interview with Breitbart News, she said:
“I’m being called by thousands of people on a regular basis being fired and replaced by these ‘high-skilled’ people, they’re not … it’s a business model where they are pouring in this cheap labor so that the CEOs can make billions of dollars and bonuses and it is not, the H-1B, has not been used as a high-skilled visa.”
Impact of Outsourcing on Americans
The United States uses legal immigration and various visa programs to boost economic growth, but in some cases, these policies can do more harm than good to everyday Americans. Indeed, they do tend to increase profits for many major corporations, but they also cut salaries for U.S. employees. By using Indian workers, they drive down wages, which means that citizens find it more difficult to make a living.
The H-1B program employs about 650,000 foreign workers nationwide in positions that include the education, medical, and STEM fields. About 70% of these workers are from India, where they are more willing to accept lower wages because they can obtain their green cards through the program.
…discourages Americans from pursuing careers in industries saturated by low-wage workers.
By decreasing salaries, cheap labor increases the wealth gap and tax burdens, while it discourages Americans from pursuing careers in industries saturated by low-wage workers. If a citizen is unable to earn a reasonable income in a tech field because it is populated by foreign employees who accept a lower income, there is less of a reason for Americans to seek employment at these companies.
A majority of Americans support legal immigration, but they are not in favor of policies that impoverish American workers. Several studies have shown that when immigration is not handled properly, it can have dire consequences for citizens who wish to make a decent living. Programs like H-1B could serve a positive purpose, but it is clear that its current iteration is leaving many Americans behind. The battle over illegal immigration is certainly critical, but the government cannot afford to neglect the faults in our current system. Otherwise, the country might simply be trading one problem for another.