At the high-tech Cross Campus in Santa Monica on Thursday, President Barack Obama suggested that he is considering taking executive action to grant more guest-worker visas for high-tech companies.
He said this even though there is a surplus of American high-tech workers, and companies like Microsoft have lobbied for massive increases in guest-worker visas while laying off 18,000 American workers. The Obama administration has reportedly been considering awarding 800,000 guest-worker visas via executive action in order to get support from tech executives like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg for his executive amnesty.
Obama said though, “We are in a position now where we are going to have to see what Republicans are going to do after the election” on immigration. “I’m not waiting,” he added.
Obama mentioned that he already signed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012, which gave temporary amnesty to certain DREAMers, but which also caused the spike in the number of illegal immigrants trying to enter the country illegally from Central America. Obama also indicated that he was itching to do more.
Obama said he is “committed” to using “all the executive authority that I legally have in order to make fixes in some of the system, and that includes potentially the H-1B system that is often used by tech companies and some of the other elements of our legal immigration system.”
“But whatever I do through the executive branch will not be as effective as we can do through legislation,” he said.
At a recent event with the Urban Alliance and the Chamber of Commerce on youth unemployment, Vice President Joe Biden spoke about the importance of tech and IT jobs in providing “pathways” to the middle class for Americans trying to move up the economic ladder, which will be reduced if there are massive increases in guest-worker visas.
Ron Hira, an H-1B expert and public policy professor at Howard University, has said tech jobs have traditionally provided “people who come from working-class backgrounds” a “way of getting into the middle class and the professional class, and that’s being cut off.”
“This is really important because the STEM degrees, information technology and engineering in particular, have been real pathways to the middle class,” Hira recently told Laura Ingraham. “It’s been a traditional path for working class kids to study. It’s a very meritocratic set of occupations, unlike some other areas. By cutting this off, we are cutting off that upward mobility to the middle class for so many of the working class kids.”
Recently, when Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) suggested that Facebook’s Zuckerberg look into hiring some workers Microsoft who had been laid off, Facebook board member Marc Andreessen called Sessions an “odious hack” and implied that he was “clinically insane for standing up for American workers against the so-called ‘Masters of the Universe.'” As Breitbart News reported, just days later, “Joe Green, the president of Zuckerberg’s pro-amnesty FWD.us group, who implied that foreign workers were better than Americans, was ‘forced’ out.“
Obama said, “A huge percentage of some of our biggest startups like Intel and Google were started by first-generation Americans, immigrants,” and mentioned that around “25% of Nobel Prize winners are naturalized Americans.” He said, “The idea that we would make it harder for talent to come here” makes no sense – without mentioning that foreign workers brought over for IT jobs are not any more talented than American workers.
Obama praised the Senate for passing the Gang of Eight comprehensive amnesty bill that would allow for massive increases in legal immigrants and guest-worker visas in addition to giving amnesty to the “millions of undocumented workers” that Obama said have been living in the United States for decades and “for all practical purposes are Americans but don’t have the right papers.”
Obama delayed his unpopular executive amnesty to give Senate Democrats a better chance of retaining control and has vowed to enact it before the end of the year.