Corporate America’s War on the Middle Class

H-1B visa program being used to displace Americans.

Focus on the immigration crisis generally centers on massive numbers of illegal aliens who run our nation’s borders, particularly the violent U.S./Mexican border.  Many political Conservatives are quick to take issue with the Democrats who purportedly see in those massive numbers of illegal aliens potential voters who will vote for the Democratic candidates.

Undoubtedly there is some truth to that, but in reality, the leaders of both political parties seek to flood America with foreign workers who are willing to work for substandard wages under substandard, often illegally dangerous conditions.

As I like to say, “There is always room for more oarsmen on a slave ship!”

The exploitation of foreign workers is not, however, limited to aliens who enter the United States illegally without inspection, but also includes aliens who legally work under the auspices of certain nonimmigrant (temporary) visas such as the infamous H-1B visa that permits aliens who have hi-tech education and skills to work because, ostensibly, there is a shortage of available and qualified American workers who are ready, willing and able to take those jobs.

While in some instances this is the case, all too often employers seek foreign workers because workers from Third World countries have Third World expectations of wages and working conditions and therefore will accept much lower wages American workers.

We have seen numerous instances where thousands of American workers were fired by their American employers in the United States, replaced by lower salaried foreign workers, often from India, particularly where IT jobs are concerned.  In some instances, these hapless American workers were ordered by their soon-to-be former employers, to train their foreign replacement if they wanted to receive their severance packages.

This betrayal has been a major concern for both President Trump and his Attorney General Jeff Sessions who last year, got support from an unexpected source in the form of a Huffington Post commentary that was published on February 3, 2017.  The author was Norm Matloff, a Professor of Computer Science, University of California at Davis. 

The very title of his piece makes his position abundantly clear, Trump Is Right: Silicon Valley is Using H-1B Visas to Pay Low Wages to Immigrants.  The subtitle went on to note, This drafted executive order could actually mean higher wages for both foreign workers and Americans working in Silicon Valley.

Here is an important excerpt from the article:

In a 2012 meeting between Google and several researchers, including myself, the firm explained the advantage of hiring foreign workers: the company can’t prevent the departure of Americans, but the foreign workers are stuck. David Swaim, an immigration lawyer who designed Texas Instruments’ immigration policy and is now in private practice, overtly urges employers to hire foreign students instead of Americans.

This stranglehold on foreign workers enables firms to pay low wages. Academics with industry funding claim otherwise, but one can see how it makes basic economic sense: If a worker is not a free agent in the labor market, she cannot swing the best salary deal. And while the industry’s clout gives it bipartisan congressional support concerning H-1B and green card policy, Congress’s own commissioned report found that H-1B workers “received lower wages, less senior job titles, smaller signing bonuses and smaller pay and compensation increases than would be typical for the work they actually did.”

Consequently, the Trump administration issued an Executive Order to have USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), the division of the DHS that adjudicates applications for various immigration benefits, begin to issue Notices to Appear (NTA’s) to aliens whose applications for immigration benefits are denied, such as applications to extend the authorized period of admission for a nonimmigrant (temporary visitor).

The NTA is the equivalent of a summons that orders that the alien appear before an Immigration Judge who may order that alien deported (removed) from the United States.

On September 27, 2018 USCIS issued a policy memorandum (PM) that clarified the administration’s policies on the issuance of NTA’s.  Disappointingly, the memo noted that employment-based petitions and humanitarian applications are exempt this program.

This is a reasonable approach because the legal remedy for an alien who violates his/her terms of admission is to required that they leave the United States.

When a guest at a hotel reserves a room for a specific number of days, that guest is required to vacate that room when his/her reservation expires.  No one would say that the hotel that insists that the guest leaves to free the room for other guests is being evicted.  Similarly, temporary (nonimmigrant) visitors to the United States are expected to depart from the U.S. when their authorized period of admission expires.

Aliens who violate the terms of their lawful admissions are no less illegally present than aliens who run our borders.

Nevertheless, on October 1, 2018 The India Times published a report, Expired visa? From October 1, US to start deportation proceedings.

On September 26, 2018 another website, True Visa, posted an article that was clearly opposed to this policy, USCIS allows deportation proceeding after H1B Extension or Transfer Denial.

In countering the Trump’s policies, the website included an internal memo from the Obama administration issued on November 7, 2011.  Here is the sentence that includes the link:

Before this change, a criminal conviction was required to be deported forcefully by issuing NTA. Refer 2011’s USCIS policy on NTA.

The posting also noted, however that the Trump administration was, to an extent, backing down where H-1B visa holders, as opposed to all other visa categories, are concerned.  For now, H-1B visa holders will not be issued NTA’s when their authorized period expires.

What is disconcerting is how/why the Trump administration apparently came to this decision.  The article also included a link to a letter to the DHS signed by a veritable “Who’s Who” of corporate executives, particularly from Silicon Valley, making the claim that America needs these huge numbers of H-1B visa workers because Americans are not available and ready, willing and able to do these hi-tech jobs.

Here is the excerpt from this website that includes the link to that letter from the Business Roundtable:

Update August 24, 2018

Business Roundtable has sent an official letter to USCIS on their recent policy changes and how they affect the H1B families.

Letter in support of H1B is signed by Apple, ADP, American Airlines, Pepsi, Coca Cola among other CEOs to rethink their NTA policy:

In September 2016 the National Bureau of Economic Research published a working paper on the topic of High-Skilled Immigration and the Rise of Stem Occupations in U.S. Employment.

The paper made a number of statements that need to be carefully analyzed.  For example, the paper reported:

Immigrants account for a disproportionate share of jobs in STEM occupations, in particular among younger workers and among workers with a master's degree or PhD. Foreign-born presence is most pronounced in computer-related occupations, such as software programming.

e United States that noted:

In 2013, approximately 61.6 million individuals, foreign and U.S. born, spoke a language other than English at home. While the majority of these individuals also spoke English with native fluency or very well, about 41 percent (25.1 million) were considered Limited English Proficient (LEP). Limited English proficiency refers to anyone above the age of 5 who reported speaking English less than “very well,” as classified by the U.S. Census Bureau. Though most LEP individuals are immigrants, nearly 19 percent (4.7 million) were born in the United States, most to immigrant parents. Overall, the LEP population represented 8 percent of the total U.S. population ages 5 and older.

Ultimately, however, there will be a shortage of American STEM professionals as more American workers are displaced by foreign workers and American students will find it increasingly difficult if not outright impossible to get jobs for which they trained.

Education is supposed to be an investment.   Students expend time and money to acquire an education and skills that will prepare them for success in the future.  Today Americans are finding roadblocks have been erected by American companies and their political allies, to block their progress while our nation’s borders that are supposed to protect Americans, have been taken down particularly where foreign workers are concerned.

On April 30, 2009 Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank testified before a hearing called by Chuck Schumer, then chairman of the Senate Immigration Subcommittee on the topic, “Comprehensive Immigration Reform in 2009, Can We Do It and How?”

Greenspan's prepared testimony included this statement concerning the supposed “benefit” to opening up the number of H-1B visas:

The second bonus would address the increasing concentration of income in this country. Greatly expanding our quotas for the highly skilled would lower wage premiums of skilled over lesser skilled. Skill shortages in America exist because we are shielding our skilled labor force from world competition. Quotas have been substituted for the wage pricing mechanism. In the process, we have created a privileged elite whose incomes are being supported at noncompetitively high levels by immigration quotas on skilled professionals. Eliminating such restrictions would reduce at least some of our income inequality.

Unscrupulous and un-American employers are obviously taking the advice of Alan Greenspan, who has long been an advocate for driving down wages of highly skilled Americans by making them compete with foreign workers.

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