By Leigh Bravo
Happy New Year, America! While you were out celebrating the passage of the new year, President Obama was busy signing another Executive Orderthat increases the number of Foreign Workers allowed in the United States. He has, once again, bypassed Congress and is breaking quotas established by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) of 1952.
Before the New Year, Congress passed an omnibus spending bill that dramatically increased the supply of H-2B foreign workers to fill construction, hospitality, truck driving and other blue-collar jobs. Although it does not allow increases over the current 66,000 cap, it does extend the length of their stays, further hindering the job market for blue-collar workers. Now President Obama, though his executive action, will offer extensions and increases to the H-1B foreign worker program. It will grant work permits to foreign workers who are in the country on a temporary work visa and offer them green cards. It would also extend the length of work permits for foreign STEM students.
So, while Congress and the President seem to believe that jobs are so abundant that we can offer them up to foreign workers, the facts point to a job market that is less than favorable for American citizens.
- The U.S. graduates twice as many students with STEM degrees as are hired in STEM occupations.
- Two thirds of entry-level hires in the tech industry are now going to foreign workers.
- 92 million Americans have dropped out of the workforce due to a lack of jobs.
- 2.8 million college educated graduates will enter the workforce this year, yet represent 40% of the unemployed.
- We have been in the longest sustained period of unemployment since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began collecting their data following World War II.
- Manufacturing jobs have fallen.
- More businesses are closing their doors than opening.
Examples of how this program is being used to undercut American workers are becoming mainstream. Recently, Southern California Edison laid off hundreds of loyal employees and forced them to train H-1B guest workers hired to replace them. Disney also laid off hundreds of employees but not before requiring them to train their H1B replacements. Microsoft laid off over 18,000 U.S workers while lobbying Washington for an increase in H1B visas. Toys “R” Us, New York Life Insurance Company, Engage Learning, Intel, and others have displaced thousands of workers in lieu of cheaper, unskilled foreign workers.
Tata and Infosys are two of the largest recipients of H1-B visas, receiving more than 12,400 new visas in 2013 alone. Tata paid 29.8 million to settle a federal class action bought by 12,800 outsourced workers for mistreatement and Infosys paid $34 million to settle federal charges that it had defrauded immigration authorities. The H1B program has been and continues to be used as a scam for outsourcing firms and their U.S. clients; firing older, more experienced workers in lieu of cheaper foreign workers.
Senator Jeff Sessions has singled out presidential candidate Marco Rubio’s I-Squared bill, which triples the number of H1B visas issued in the United States. Sessions asked why Congress would ever consider
“Advancing legislation that provides jobs for the citizens of other countries at the expense of our own?”
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, testified before Congress,
“Our higher education system doesn’t produce enough top scientists and engineers to meet the needs of the U.S. economy.”
Gates suggested that we should allow corporations to hire an ‘infinite’ number of H-1B workers.
While Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg are pushing for unlimited H1B visas, people like Christine Miller, an American born MIT Graduate with 20 years of research experience with Johns Hopkins is laid off because of funding cuts. Sona Shah, another American-born worker with degrees in physics and engineering, was laid off by a computer company that was simultaneously hiring foreign workers on temporary visas. Figures from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation are indicating that hundreds of thousands of STEM workers in the U.S. are unemployed or underemployed.
Does the United States actually have a shortage of qualified workers or is our government selling us down the proverbial garden path in favor of their biggest supporters….the corporate bottom line?