DHS Admits 600,000 Foreign H-1B Workers in American Jobs

Employees work on their computers at the office of HackerEarth in Bangalore, India, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
AP Photo/Altaf Qadri

U.S. employers keep roughly 600,000 foreign H-1B visa workers in jobs throughout the United States, according to an unprecedented report released by the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency.

The total number of resident H-1B workers has successfully been kept secret for decades, mainly because Fortune 500 companies do not want voters to recognize the massive outsourcing of jobs for themselves and their college graduate children.

But President Donald Trump has allowed his pro-reform deputies to release the data, likely to boost his June 22 reform plans.

The DHS agency studied the shifting number of H-1Bs working in 2018 and 2019. The resident population usually declines in September as the foreign workers go home or get green cards. For most of the year, the number of working H-1Bs was about 600,000, says the report, titled “H-1B Authorized-to-Work Population Estimate.”

The USCIS report admits that “no unique identifier exists for all H-1B petitions in the USCIS electronic [system of record, so] we use a methodology of statistical inference.”

“There is no count, so they had to estimate,” said John Miano, a lawyer at the Immigration Reform Law Institute. He said:

The whole thing is astounding. For years, [DHS] has deliberately not stored [visa worker] information into their databases. They only enter selected information into the computers. That was deliberate so that no one could know what is going on. We have sent in all kinds of [Freedom of Information Act] requests, and often the response is ‘we don’t keep track of that.’

The calculation is poorly explained, so “the estimate would be much more believable if that whole process had been explained carefully,” said David North, an expert with the Center for Immigration Studies. “Close to a quarter of the records — dealing with workers who often make $100,000 a year or more — there is no SSN,” he added. “What an admission!”

The failure to track legitimate H-1B documents and workers — or to punish groups for using fake H-1B documents — is routine. For many years, business advocates have kept legislators in the dark by splitting and subdividing oversight of the visa-worker economy between the Departments of State, Homeland Security, and Labor, he said.

This fragmentation has helped to minimize awareness of the scale among journalists and the public. For example, very few reporters describe the scale of the H-1B population to their readers, and most rely on talking points from business advocates who say the program brings in 65,000 or 85,000 “high skilled” workers each year when companies cannot fund U.S. workers.

In reality, up to 85,000 H-1B visas are given out to companies each year, while roughly 15,000 are provided to non-profit groups, including hospitals, research centers, government agencies, and hospitals.

The new USCIS report does not estimate the number of fake H-1B documents in circulation despite myriad cases of fraudulent work permits and made-in-China green cards. For example, Indian-owned subcontract companies duplicate valid H-1Bs to provide work documents for illegal immigrants because the U.S. managers at the prime contractors “don’t check anything,” said an American who migrated into the United States as an Indian H-1B worker.” It happens all the time.”

However, USCIS officials working for President Donald Trump have released much information about the huge Optional Practical Training (OPT) and Curricular Practical Training (CPT) programs. Those programs keep up to 500,000 foreign workers in the economy, many for up to three years.

Officials at the Department of State have provided little data about their visa programs, including the J-1 program, the huge L-1 program, or the potentially massive abuse of the B-1 business visitor program that allows foreign employees to visit the United States for up to six months at a time.

In 2016, for example, the department provided Indians with 51,981 L visas (including multi-year L-1A and L-1B worker visas), 236,851 H visas (including three-year H-1Bs), plus 563,202 B1/B2 visas.

In December 2019, Breitbart News reported on B-1 fraud:

Infosys, one of the biggest Indian outsourcing companies, allegedly cheated 500 American graduates out of jobs over 11 years from 2006 to 2017 — and will only have to pay $800,000, without admitting guilt, in a settlement with California’s attorney general.

The Indian company allegedly cheated American graduates by importing Indian workers under B-1 visas. The B-1 visas are provided to company employees for short-term, non-work visits, such as training or inspections. By quietly flying in Indian workers with the B-1 visas, the company saved itself the cost of hiring American graduates for American work in American work sites.

Many additional Indian and Chinese workers are kept as bonded labor in the so-called “green card backlog.”

The number of people in the bonded workforce s displayed on the USCIS website. The Department of States’s Visa Bulletin shows the length of each line for green cards. Together, those two sources show that roughly 60,000 Chinese nationals and roughly 420,000 Indian nationals are still waiting in line for green cards.

But about half of the bonded workforce are the foreign-born spouses or children of H-1B workers. In addition, some backlog people are living in their home countries, and some have L-1 work visas instead of H-1B work visas.

However, some of the backlog people are likely included in the 600,000 headcount, said Miano, especially if they get into the backlog before their initial H-1B visas expire.

Also, many of the bonded spouses are allowed to get work permits, dubbed Employment Authorization Documents. The spouses carry H4 visas, so their work permits are dubbed H4EADs. USCIS shows that at least 100,000 of the spouses get work permits while they wait for green cards.

March 2020 report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) says 568,414 Indian workers and their Indian-bor dependents, plus 59,034 Chinese workers and their independents, are still waiting for the cards promised by CEOs in exchange for work.

Federal regulation allows this “green card backlog” population to stay in the United States, long past the expiration of the six years allowed to most H-1B workers, So the regulation allows CEOs to create a vast bonded workforce by dangling green cards in front of desperate Indian graduates who really do not want to go back to their underdeveloped, corrupt, and caste-ridden country.

The CRS report predicts the bonded workforce will grow to 1.3 million Indians by 2030 as Fortune 500 CEOs dangle green cards to imported Indian workers instead of paying cash to American graduates.

These bonded workers are not legal residents of the United States until they officially receive a green card. Once they get the green card, they can apply for citizenship in five years.

Overall, the number of legally resident, white-collar, foreign contract workers is at least 1.3 million.

This population keeps denying roughly 1.3 million Americans out of starter jobs, Fortune 500 jobs, and well-paid jobs in Silicon Valley — plus an uncounted number of B-1s and subcontractor-managed illegal professionals.

The corporate white-collar cheating is protected by federal laws that minimize the duty of primate contractors to verify the legality of subcontractors’ employees.

The same legal loophole has allowed at least eight million blue-collar illegal migrants to hold jobs in construction, restaurants, warehouses, and other sites where professional licenses are not needed.

Follow Neil Munro on Twitter @NeilMunroDC, or email the author at NMunro@Breitbart.com.


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