State Dept. OKs 100,000 Extra Green Cards for Foreign Visa-Workers in 2021

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The Department of State will soon offer a huge reward of more than 100,000 extra green cards in 2021 to the Indian and Chinese visa workers who took U.S. jobs from American graduates.

Usually, 145,000 green cards are annually given to employers’ foreign workers and their family members. But, “at this time, it is estimated that the FY 2021 Employment-based limit will be at least 250,000,” the agency said. 

The extra green cards for the Fortune 500’s visa-workers will be offered in just six weeks, after September 2020. They were freed up by the coronavirus-caused decline in family migrants in 2020, said a statement to Breitbart News from the State Department.

The cards are extremely valuable because they allow the recipients to stay and work in the United States, to become citizens in five years, and to start the process of chain migration. 

The agency is also adding roughly 11,000 green cards to the 2020 quota, up to a planned total of 156,253 green cards by September 31.

The H-1B, J-1, F-1, and L-1 visa workers who will get the cards are already working in the jobs needed by U.S. graduates, so there will be no immediate increase the population of foreign workers in the U.S.  But the extra green cards will immediately raise the incentive for more foreigners to sign indentured-service contracts that offer green cards in exchange for many years of underpaid work in U.S. jobs.

The department offered a cryptic legal explanation for its decision to transfer the unused 2020 green cards for family migrants into the 2021 “Employment-Based” account:

The State Department is required to make the determination of the worldwide annual numerical limitations and control the allocation of preference numbers, as outlined in Sections 201, 202, and 203 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

However, the agency made its policy priorities clear by saying the change “is intended to maximize number use under each year’s annual limit.”

“Do they have no self-awareness of how that looks, and what they are doing at the behest of the visa-program abusers?” responded Jessica Vaughan, policy director at the Center for Immigration Studies. “The employment situation is not improving very much, and especially in technology,” so the administration should preserve Americans’ access to job and wages, she said, adding:

I think that would be a good [courtroom] legal fight to have. I’m not saying the administration would win, but it is certainly a matter of debate as to whether the government has to get around to issuing the year’s quota of green cards in an unprecedented crisis.

The green-card transfer rule is included in the 1990 immigration-expansion law that was signed by GOP President George H.W. Bush, said John Miano, a lawyer with the Immigration Reform Law Institute. ‘It is another gift to America from the Bushes … We get the immigration system that the people in power lobby for, and this is what they want,” he said.

But the State Department’s decision also threatens the jobs of GOP legislators, because it will expand the political power of Indian migrants who overwhelmingly vote for the pro-diversity, anti-solidarity party. For example, in Texas’ 22nd district, Democrat Sri Preston Kulkarni is relying heavily on Indian-American voters to help win the seat now held by retiring GOP Rep. Pete Olson. “The H-1B visa issue is huge; it is the engine that powers this district,” Kulkarni told IndiaWest.com.

The current backlog of foreign employees waiting to get one of the 145,000 cards is huge and growing because of three U.S. laws and one economic reality.

The economic reality is that India’s population of 1.3 billion is so huge and poor that it produces roughly 20 million new workers each year — including millions who are willing to work in the United States for 30 years at low wages to get green cards. India’s government, U.S. investors, and the Fortune 500’s staffing companies are trying to get many of those workers into the U.S. labor market.

The first U.S. law says an unlimited number of Indians can get into the United States to work for at least three years, by first getting a technology degree at a U.S. university, or by getting slots in the uncapped H-1B, L-1 or J-1 visa-worker pipelines. Roughly 1.3 million foreign graduates are now working in U.S. jobs.

The second U.S. law says individuals from each country can only get 7 percent of the green cards each year, or about 10,000 cards. That pro-diversity “country cap” rule means the many waiting Chinese workers face a multi-year wait for cards — and that the huge number of Indian workers face a multi-decade wait for cards, while they work for their employer.

The third U.S. law says employers can convert an unlimited number of their temporary contract-workers into permanent contract-workers just by nominating them for green cards. So many Fortune 500 CEOs are nominating at least 60,000 Indians for green cards each year, knowing the migrants must work long hours at low wages for many years to get their valuable green cards.

A March report by the Congressional Research Service said the current backlog includes roughly 400,000 Indian workers, 52,000 Chinese workers, and 10,000 workers from other countries, plus a similar number of spouses and children, for a total backlog of almost 1 million. The backlog is expected to reach 2.3 million in 2030 as employers hire additional indentured workers instead of Americans.

But the huge backlog is also creating a recruiting problem for Fortune 500 companies.

The huge number of wait-and-work Indians — roughly 800,000 — have voluntarily and collectively clogged the Fortune 500’s pipeline for visa workers. The last Indian to join the line can expect to wait several decades — or more than 100 years — to get their green cards under current rules. This decades-long wait means the Indian pipeline is partially blocked because many potential Indian recruits instead seek jobs and residency in Canada and other countries.

However, nearly all GOP and Democrat legislators are working to unclog the Fortune 500’s foreign recruiting problem.

The primary fix is Sen Mike Lee’s S.386. The latest version of Lee’s bill creates a “Green Card Lite” legal status that allows visa workers full access to the U.S. labor market just two years after their employers nominate them for green cards. Lee’s bill is stalled, even though it has few public opponents and is strongly backed by the Fortune 50 companies. Lee’s bill gets minimal media coverage even though it would ensure that many U.S. graduates — including the children of today’s tech experts, reporters, scientists, editors, and political activists — will be frozen out of top-tier jobs in the leading technology companies.

But the State Department’s power to shift visas now offers an alternative fix for the clogged Indian labor pipeline — if family migration is kept low for a few years by epidemics, regulatory change, or even congressional decisions.

The extra green cards are a boon for the Fortune 500.

The State Department did not explain how the 100,000-plus extra cards would be distributed in 2021. For example, it did not explain if the green cards would also be distributed to the EB-5 category, where many Chinese and Indian investors are waiting for their so-called “Golden Visas” after lending money to U.S. real-estate developers.

The extra green cards may also be a win for hospital chains who are building their own pipelines of compliant foreign healthcare workers instead of training and hiring American doctors and nurses. The chains use the H-1B and J-1 visa programs to import doctors from many countries that already have a shortage of doctors. They also import nurses by first getting green cards for their hires, including many nurses from the Philippines. 

The United States’ labor force consists of roughly 130 million Americans, plus at least 20 million legal immigrants and at least 8 million illegal-migrant workers.

The visa programs are valuable to employers because they allow the Fortune 500 companies to suppress salaries with a workforce of roughly 1.3 million foreign white-collar temporary workers, and roughly 800,000 foreign blue-collar temporary workers.

Many of these white-collar and blue-collar contract-workers accept low wages for long hours in tough jobs because their employers promise to give them the deferred bonus of green cards, which are provided by American citizens and taxpayers. 

The green cards are hugely valuable to foreign employees because they can be converted into U.S. citizenship in just five years. The conversion allows the migrants to free themselves, their spouses and all their descendants to the end of time — plus some of their chain-migration relatives — from their home countries’ grinding poverty, pre-modern cultures and diverse application of the laws.  

The green cards are also a valuable subsidy to employers because they allow employers to get cheap foreign workers with promises of Americans’ legal rights, high-trust culture, shared wealth, and generous society. 

Advocates for American employees, however, lament the inflow of foreign workers. 

“All the big money is always on the side of issuing more visas, not less,” said Vaughan, adding that the State Department is tugged by the money to support more migration:

The State Department is not on the same team as the White House team because many people at the department think the visa programs are good for the country. … They have a lot of other priorities and have historically used visa issues a tool of policy to extract other [diplomatic, economic, and security] concessions from other countries. They’re willing to use American jobs that are lost to visas as a bargaining chip for their foreign priorities.

On August 12, the agency announced a wide list of exemptions to President Donald Trump’s June 22 Executive Order that temporarily barred the arrival of H-1B visa workers.

Trump should take action to block the 100,000 extra green cards, Vaughan said:

This is a reelection year, he ought to be looking at what he can do to show American voters that he will put their interest above the interest of the big tech titans, and so order the State Department to go slow on visa issues during this serious employment crisis.

If Trump allows the green cards to be issued, she said:

The only people he would be doing a favor for are the people who replaced Americans in the big tech companies. They won’t do him any favors. He needs to resist the temptation to pander to ethnic groups because he won’t be able to out-pander dams and he risks alienating the American voters who put him into office. More and more Americans are awakening to this [Fortune 500] business of using [Indian] staffing companies to replace people … He needs to keep this visa suspension in place long enough to do damage to this [outsourcing] business model, not just to stop a few people coming in this year. He needs to change the way companies hire, to wean them off foreign labor. He’s got to put them into cold turkey.

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