How about this for irony: a Democrat is now pressuring President Donald Trump to toughen immigration standards. According to this article from Bloomberg news, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) recently “wrote a letter to the president urging him to follow through on a promised crackdown before the end of the month.” Not to go overboard with the role reversal, Senator Durbin’s request is devoid of any mention of the need for a wall or a travel ban. His letter was instead specifically focused solely on H-1B visa reform.
The H-1B visa program is just one of several ways for a non-citizen to receive permission to work inside the United States as a nonimmigrant, temporary worker. As such, these visas technically do not have anything to do with citizenship or naturalization, but instead mainly impact the economy. Every year, the United States government admits sixty-five thousand of these nonimmigrant workers. The requirements for a visa are rather strict and include the prerequisite that the applicant holds a bachelor’s degree or higher (or equivalent experience). The visa is also only awarded under the condition that the worker is in an existing relationship with a company who intends to hire them for employment in a “specialty occupation,” generally STEM related.
The legalese is all well and good, but how does this play out in practice, and who benefits and suffers under this program? Demand for these visas is enormous – so high, in fact, that the government is forced to resort to a lottery system to decide how many permits each company receives. The businesses that do receive an allocation are generally within the technology sector. One would think that this program would help technology companies remain rooted squarely in the United States by supplementing a majority American workforce with a few hard to fill positions sourced internationally. While this may have been the original intent of the program, the reality on the ground today could not be more different. Instead of familiar names like Google, Facebook, and Amazon, the largest users of these visas are companies like Cognizant Tech Solutions, Infosys, and Tata Consultancy Services, according to InformationWeek. Take a peek into the business model of these lower profile companies, and you will find the definition of offshoring.
While maintaining a small footprint within the Unites States, these companies leverage nonimmigrant visas to create a link back to their home country where thousands of foreign workers serve as system administrators, programmers, and analysts for U.S. based customers looking to outsource their technology needs. Infosys, for example, is headquartered in India. According to the site Workpermit.com, “Infosys had a total of 23,594 employees based in the US, most of whom had entered the country on business visas.” However, Infosys has a total workforce of nearly two hundred thousand employees. According to the latest quarterly report from Infosys, over 66% of their revenue came from sales in North America, while business in India generated a mere 2.4% of the total. H-1B visas enable companies like Infosys to maintain this incredibly lopsided balance between a small host nation presence and a large, cheap, home country workforce.
Does this behavior hurt workers in the United States? Absolutely. One of the companies mentioned above, Cognizant Tech Solutions, was accused of colluding with Disney to bring in foreign workers under the H-1B program to replace American workers. Both Breitbart and the New York Times covered this story. The most tragic part of the whole situation? The judge ruled everything that happened as perfectly legal.
President Trump himself has criticized the H-1B visa program as being “neither high-skilled nor immigration,” according to his campaign website. He remains committed to eliminating them as a cheap labor program. Senator Durbin’s proposal includes several changes to the system designed to do exactly what the president wants while preserving the best parts of the program. His bill would prioritize employers that pay higher wages and would also favor foreign graduates from U.S. universities. One of the most beneficial outcomes of the H-1B program is that these visas allow foreign medical students who finish their residency under a different type of visa to remain in the country and continue working as full-fledged doctors.
President Trump may also want to implement a requirement that any job filled by an H-1B visa holder be offered exclusively to American citizens for several months before being extended to nonimmigrant workers. This change would virtually eliminate the theft of American jobs. It appears that the president is already taking Senator Durbin’s admonition to act quickly on reform to heart: breaking news over the weekend from CNN reports that the government has suspended the expedited processing option for these visas. This freeze will slow the speed of approvals when the application window opens in April, providing more time on the calendar to implement a permanent solution. Moving away from a lottery system to one centered solely on merit and what is best for the people of the United States is the right move for this program.
Liberty Nation Today:
A Sneak Peek
BREAKING: Trump Org. Companies Convicted of Tax Fraud - Was it a political witch hunt or justice served? - Read Now!
The Battle for Georgia: Senate Tiemaker or Tiebreaker? - Democrats hope to create a true majority, while Republicans fight to overcome midterm disappointment. - Read Now!
Loudoun County Public Schools Hit With Damning Grand Jury Report - VA school board badly mishandled an alleged sexual assault – and it only got worse from there. - Read Now!
Beware the Return of the Obama Economy - Obamanomics might make a return after the next recession. - Read Now!
Girl Scout Brownies Are Racist? Time to Rebrand - Canadian Girl Scouts say the name is preventing some girls from joining. - Read Now!