Last week, tech employees mounted protests at Palantir, the Silicon Valley security company connected to Peter Thiel, a prominent supporter of President Donald Trump, claiming the company would be responsible for Trump’s “Muslim registry.”
As Breitbart News has demonstrated, the “registry” was never actually proposed. But the protest also highlighted the dubious legal status of a million foreign tech workers brought to Silicon Valley by labor contractors to break wages.
Palantir and Thiel have become ground zero for Silicon Valley protesters, after “The Verge” outed that America’s top cyber and data-mining company developed “Analytical Framework for Intelligence” (AFI) software that provides “secret assistance to the US Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP) in operating a system that tracks and assesses immigrants and other travelers.”
AFI algorithms farm a variety of federal, state, and local law enforcement databases to develop hundreds of millions of biological indicators for fingerprints, scars, tattoos, and other physical traits, and then couples personal data for residence, work, travel, personal associations and organizational memberships to achieve “extreme vetting.”
Given that up to 75 percent of tech workers in Silicon Valley are foreign-born, fully unleashing AFI to the Customs and Border agency represents a existential threat to the dubious human resources practices of many of Silicon Valley’s top tech firms that use labor contractors to recruit foreign workers to hammer down the high cost of employing U.S. citizens with skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
There have been federal programs since the 1933 creation of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service that restricted employment of foreign laborers, but allowed foreign artists, academic researchers, and those with unique technical skills to work in the U.S.
But one of President Bill Clinton’s last gifts to his Silicon Valley corporate donors just before leaving office was the “American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000” that not only dramatically expanded the caps on foreign workers granted 6-year H-1B visas, but empowered labor contractors by making those H-1B visas portable.
With Clinton’s moving van in the White House driveway on December 20, 2000, his Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman issued 20 CFR 655.737, which made H-1B holders “exempt” from federal employment rules, if they were paid at least $60,000 a year.
As a result of Bill Clinton’s ACTC and federal rules, the vast majority of the 840,000 H-1B visas outstanding have gone to 8 tech labor outsourcing contractors including India’s TCS, Infosys and Wipro; Ireland’s Accenture; and U.S.-based Cognizant, Syntel, iGate and Deloitte. But in 2014, 65 percent of H-1B approvals went to computer-related occupations and more than two-thirds of those were from India.
Breitbart News reported in February 2015 that President Obama drastically expanded the H-1B program by issuing an Executive Order instructing Homeland Security to offer green cards to the over one million H-1B holders’ spouses and children under 21 years old.
But just ten months later and in the run-up to the 2016 elections, President Obama issued a 181-page Executive Order to override the “Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952” cap of 7 percent on the percentage of green cards issued to any nation. Obama’s EA also extended the time for supposedly “high-skilled” foreign H-1B workers to apply to have their status converted to permanent employment-based green cards.
A 2016 Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, Chaired by Attorney General-Nominee Senator Jeff Session found H-1B “normal prevailing wage is the 17th percentile,” or about $20,000 less than U.S. domestic workers. But in high-wage areas like Silicon Valley, the negative differential was $40,000. The report also found that the program’s regulatory “complexity seriously hinders enforcement” against fraud.
Palantir protestors know that AFI once accessed data collected by the post-9/11 “National Security Entry-Exit Registration System,” requiring 16 to 25-year-old males from majority-Muslim countries to register with Immigration Services. But Obama used Executive Orders to suspend NEERS in 2011 and delete the database on December 22, 2016.
What the Palantir protestors and their Silicon Valley corporate paymasters fear most, however, is that President Trump can immediately sign Executive Orders for the “Analytical Framework for Intelligence” to provide the Immigration Service with the knowledge to eliminate labor contractors’ widespread H-1B fraud used to break American wages in Silicon Valley.