GOP Senators, DHS, Back Mike Lee’s Outsourcing Bill

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 13: United States Senator Mike Lee speaks about the bill to end
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Nearly all GOP Senators and top officials at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are quietly backing the S.386 outsourcing bill pushed by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), according to Hill sources.

“There isn’t a single Republican in the U.S. Senate that will stand up against outsourcers,” said an advocate for more legal immigration.

I don’t think the GOP is going block the bill,” a Hill source said. 

President Donald Trump’s deputies support the S.386 bill, he said. “He’s got lots of campaign donations from the companies doing the outsourcing [and] he’s not made immigration a part of his platform this time around, which is really his biggest mistake,” the source said.

“This 2020 campaign has not been about immigration,” he added. 

The complex bill is touted as a relief for at least 600,000 Indian contract workers and family members who are waiting for more than ten years to get the green cards promised to them as wages by their outsourcing employers. The bill would remove the “country caps” rule, which caps the award of green cards to people from each country to about 25,000.

But the bill would not solve the waiting list problem because it does not set any limit on the number of Indian or other foreign workers who can be nominated by employers for green cards each year.

In fact, the bill’s removal of country caps would also help Fortune 500 CEOs recruit more Indian contract-workers to take more white-collar jobs from U.S. graduates.

Lee’s S.386 bill has been held up by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) The two Senators drafted a joint version in March, but their agreement quickly fell apart because of GOP opposition to Durbin’s “50/50” amendment.

Lee, nearly all GOP Senators, and the DHS oppose Durbin’s 50/50 curb, sources say.

The 50/50 rule would bar American and Indian firms from getting more H-1B workers if their H-1B workers comprise more than 50 percent of company work forces larger than 50 people.

This week, Durbin has restarted negotiations, and may drop or modify his 50/50 measure to let the GOP rush Lee’s outsourcing bill through the Senate, sources said. “All of this still in flux,” said the immigration advocate. 

The 50/50 rule is strongly opposed by NASSCOM, the India-based trade association of outsourcing companies that are owned by both U.S. and Indian investors. Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of DHS, is a former lobbyist for the outsourcing group, which is strongly supported by India’s government.

DHS did not respond to a request for information from Breitbart News.

DHS officials and most Republicans want Durbin to delay his 50/50 rule for three years. “That’s the part we were OK with,” said one source.

Also, he said, Durbin’s 50/50 rule exempts all current employers. “That would gut the entire thing.”

Durbin’s staff did not respond to Breitbart News. 

The Fortune 500 already keeps at least 600,000 H-1B workers in the country, alongside roughly 500,000 contract workers imported by other visa pipelines, plus a growing workforce of illegal white-collar workers. The contract-worker labor force is not part of the annual inflow of 1 million legal immigrants.

Many of the contract workers hold jobs formerly held by American graduates, and many are getting on the job-training from U.S. workers before taking the expertise and jobs back to foreign countries. Since 1990, millions of white-collar jobs have been transferred by this process, mostly to Indians and India. This massive outsourcing has cut Americans’ salaries, delivered a compliant workforce to CEOs,  and boosted income for Fortune 500 companies and their staffing subcontractors.

But Durbin’s 50/50 curb only applies to the H-1B program, and not to other outsourcing pipelines.

For example, the university-managed “Practical Training” programs allow universities to provide work-permits to roughly 500,000 foreign graduates each year. These uncapped pipelines keep at least 200,000 Indian graduates in U.S. jobs, including at top companies such as Intel Corp.

Many of these foreign graduates volunteer for low-wage or no-wage gig-worker jobs at the many Fortune 500 subcontractors. They take the starter jobs from American graduates because they want to compete for H-1B visas and eventually get the huge prize of green cards.

This huge and semi-hidden U.S.-India Outsourcing Economy annually denies starter jobs to hundreds of thousands of American graduates. It also helps to push many mid-career professionals out of jobs while they are trying to raise families. The impact reaches far beyond the software, accounting, and design sectors, partly because displaced American graduates flood into other sectors they look for jobs.

The huge inflow of foreign workers has also changed the U.S. professional workforce, which created the computer revolution since the 1980s. But China’s non-diverse workforce is surpassing the U.S. tech sector, prompting one major tech leader to ask for a federal bailout in additional to more foreign workers.

With or without Durbin’s 50/50 language, Lee’s bill will turbocharge the outsourcing of college-graduate jobs.

For example, Fortune 500 CEOs will be able to recruit many more Indian workers by dangling more fast-track green-cards as payment. The rising inflow of Indian graduates will also expand the resident population of illegal white-collar workers, many of whom are employed by subcontractors that do outsourced work for Fortune 500 companies.

The Lee and Durbin bills also allow an “early filing” benefit for the Indian visa workers who are stuck waiting several years for green cards.

The GOP-approved version of the “early filing” language would provide Indian workers with fast-track work permits before they subsequently get their fast-track green cards. The work permits would allow the Indians to switch jobs.

Neither of the bills limits the legal inflow of Indian graduates via the OPT program. They do not require CEOs to hire Americans first. They set no significant penalties to curb rampant anti-American discrimination in hiring, nor do they impose any penalties for the CEOs who hire subcontractors that use illegal white-collar labor.

President Donald Trump’s Department of Justice recently fined an American company for trying to hire Americans over visa workers.

India’s government is pushing for passage of Lee’s S.386 bill, in part, because the nation’s economic strategy is built on the export of workers and trainees to foreign countries.

Utah’s GOP establishment has pressured Lee to pass the S.386 bill. State officials and investors hope its economy and property values will benefit from additional Indian visa-workers.

The visa-worker outsourcing is spreading in every state, and is expanding from information technology to accounting, design, and healthcare and even recruiting. For example, in Durbin’s home state of Illinois, federal data shows that companies asked for 53,000 H-1B workers in 2017. Of those, 84 percent of the supposedly “top tier talent” was declared to be “Entry-level” or “Qualified.” Only 16 percent were deemed “Experienced” or “Fully Competent.”

“This bill was tailor-made for the Indian outsourcing firms and for securing the pipelines of cheap labor from one county, and that is India,” said Kevin Lynn, founder of U.S. Tech Workers. “I can’t imagine that with so much unemployment and much disastrous economic news, that Republican and Democratic Senators choose to push a bill like this at this time,” he said July 31.

“With 23 GOP Senate seats up for election this year, and several of these races being very close, I can’t imagine why they jeopardize their chances for election to support outsourcers,” he added. Also, Trump will not sign the bill before the election, he predicted.

Lynn’s group is one of several grassroots groups formed by worried white-collar professionals. The groups helped push Trump to set temporary curbs on the H-1B program in June. But their visibility has been narrowed by the coronavirus crisis and shutdown.

If passed, Lee’s bill will also cause a massive pile-up in the immigration system once the Indian H-1B workers start collecting their fast-track green cards.

The crash will happen because employees nominate far more employees for green cards each year than the statutory limit of 140,000. According to a March report by the Congressional Research Service:

S. 386 would not alter the growth of future backlogs compared to current law …  the total backlog for all three employment-based categories would increase from an estimated 915,497 individuals currently to an estimated 2,195,795 by FY2030

U.S. employers are eager to nominate visa workers for government-supplied green cards because that is the main payment sought by the foreign workers, most of whom will take jobs for lower wages than sought by U.S. graduates.

The predicted pile-up will be a loss for foreign hires from many other countries, including nurses from the Phillippines and athletes from Europe and Central America. These groups can normally get their green cards after a short wait, but Lee’s bill would force them to wait behind the Fortune 500 tech-workers.

Yet some business groups and some immigration lawyers want that pile-up – because they expect the turmoil will help pass a second bill that allows companies to reward even more foreign workers with green cards.

Tech companies want the pile-up to help them get “bill No.2,” said the Hill source. “They think there will be a huge waitlist for everybody, and then they will have the political pressure to get Congress to vastly increase the numbers of green cards,” he said. “The tech companies are bringing down the full weight of their lobbying.”

Negotiations are complicated by the Democrat-run House. GOP Senators may pass Lee’s bill in the expectation — or hope — that it will be blocked in the House. “We expect the House will not pass the Lee bill,” if it includes Durbin’s 50/50 measure. 

The congressional jobs-giveaway is happening even as millions of U.S graduates are going jobs, salaries, and careers amid the one-two punch of outsourcing and disease, said Lynn.

But the current economic crash is not part of the negotiations, the Hil source said. They “are [not] viewing this through the lens of the pandemic — they are viewing it through the lens of years of negations,” he said.

Republicans “are supporting the version that Lee has, not the version that Durbin has,” he added.


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