On the day the H-1B visa program is open for applications by employers, mostly from the tech industry, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is warning companies not to replace American workers with foreign help.
In a statement, Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ DOJ laid down a more aggressive tone on the issue of the H-1B visa’s long history of being used to outsource Americans’ jobs to cheaper, foreign workers that are brought to the U.S.
“The Justice Department will not tolerate employers misusing the H-1B visa process to discriminate against U.S. workers,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Tom Wheeler of the Civil Rights Division said in the statement. “U.S. workers should not be placed in a disfavored status, and the department is wholeheartedly committed to investigating and vigorously prosecuting these claims.”
While the Immigration and Nationality Act is meant to prohibit discrimination against American workers solely because of their citizenship, the H-1B foreign guest worker visa has defied those rules for decades.
Under the H-1B visa, 85,000 new foreign workers are brought to the U.S. every year, often taking once high-paying jobs from Americans who are fired and forced to train their replacements.
If the H-1B visa program had never been introduced and enacted, computer science job availability in the labor market would be up 11 percent and wages in the tech industry would have increased by five percent, Breitbart News reported.
The H-1B visa remains incredibly unpopular with American voters. As Breitbart Texas reported, only 30 percent of Americans say companies bringing in foreign workers to fill jobs are necessary. Some 44 percent said those foreign workers take jobs away. The vast majority of Americans also said the number of H-1B visas allotted every year to companies should either be decreased or kept at the current levels.
While President Donald Trump has signaled support for legislation that would raise the minimum salary for H-1B visa workers, the White House has not taken any steps thus far to reform the program, as Breitbart Texas reported.
Trump’s nominee to lead the Labor Department, Alexander Acosta, curiously told Congress last month that it was “not the intent” of the visa to replace Americans with foreigners, as Breitbart Texas reported.
John Binder is a contributor for Breitbart Texas. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.