WSJ: Business Groups Fighting Trump’s Visa Reform Want ‘Carve Out’ Loopholes

MOHALI, INDIA: TO GO WITH "INDIA-IT-OUTSOURCING" Indian employees of the Quark call center work during their night shift, late 09 May 2005 in Mohali, in India's northern state of Punjab. Bangalore may be better known to people outside of India as the place where customer calls from around the world …
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Business groups are still fighting President Donald Trump’s draft plan to create jobs for Americans by temporarily closing three pipelines of foreign visa workers, the Wall Street Journal reported on June 11.

“Senior officials at the White House, the Department of Homeland Security and the Labor Department have been working for several months on the recommendations, which they plan to bring to the president for final signoff as soon as this week, the people familiar with the talks said,” according to the WSJ, which added:

Administration officials said the president hasn’t yet signed off on the plan, adding that it could change as senior aides continue to discuss the matter.


The administration is also considering a broader carve-out allowing employers to hire [visa workers] if they can prove they can’t hire Americans for a given job.

The reform would temporarily block the pipelines which deliver H-1B and  L-1 professionals and J-1 seasonal workers to many employers, including Disney and T-Mobile. The three programs keep roughly 700,000 foreign white collar and 100,000 foreign blue collar workers in jobs throughout the United States — even as millions of Americans are looking for good jobs in the coronavirus crash.

But corporate lobbyists, CEOs, and investors — plus their allies in the White House — have already delayed and narrowed the visa reforms by four years.

“I will end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program, and institute an absolute requirement to hire American workers first for every visa and immigration program,” Trump said in March 2016. “No exceptions.” He followed up on Inauguration Day by promising a “Hire American” economic policy.

Multiple sources say the business groups are now pushing for exemptions and loopholes that would preserve the many pipelines that keep roughly 1.3 million foreign graduates in jobs needed by U.S. graduates.

For example, officials are not planning to tighten the B-1 pipeline, which companies use to import white collar workers under the guise of training programs.

The Journal reported officials are “considering a broader carve-out allowing employers to hire immigrants if they can prove they can’t hire Americans for a given job.”

“If that’s included, the entire exercise will be meaningless, just window-dressing,” said a tweet from Mark Krikorian, the director of the Center for Immigration Studies. He added:

Also, if the order includes “incentives” for hiring Americans in lieu of suspending visas, it will be B.S. Congress included empty political ass-covering like that in [the H-1B law]. The only incentive that can work is simply not to be able to hire the foreign workers in the first place.

Another possible loophole would preserve the pipeline of visa workers by creating small incentives for companies to hire Americans, Krikorian said.  

But business groups strongly support the labor pipelines for both management and financial reasons.

The flood of extra workers helps raise stock values by dropping the nationwide price of professional skills, especially among subcontractors.

It also delivers a compliant and disposable white collar labor force to the coastal executives at Fortune 500 companies and many healthcare companies. This gig worker labor force of modestly skilled workers minimizes the need for executives to hire and manage independent American professionals.

But the executives’ discriminatory exclusion of American graduates and professionals shrivels the innovation needed by the nation to counter the growing threat from government-backed Chinese companies. This exclusion is also creating an increasing population of educated but downwardly mobile and alienated young men and women.

The draft plan includes a time limit. But if Trump establishes the new rules, he will likely be unwilling to annoy voters by ending the reforms. 

Several professional and reform groups are pushing to establish the reforms. They include NumbersUSA, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, the American Workers Coalition, and U.S. Tech Workers. 

Self-reliant American professionals are learning that they must fight together to keep the white collar jobs needed by themselves and their children, said Kevin Lynn, founder of U.S. Tech Workers. He continued:

A lot of professionals feel their careers are protected by their experience and their credentials. But that is not true. Corporations don’t respect professionals. They don’t respect loyalty, so modern professionals are expendable. But I’ve watched professionals getting involved — calling Congress, organizing and doing letter campaigns, doing email campaigns, doing billboards — and they were victorious.

For example, he said, U.S. and immigrant professionals organized to block the S.386 bill that would have dramatically expanded the citizenship incentive for Indian graduates to take low-wage white collar jobs in the United States.

The bill “was supposed to fly under the radar — no problem. It didn’t. Tech workers have learned to fight,” he said.

Follow Neil Munro on Twitter @NeilMunroDC, or email the author at




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