Business Groups Push Joe Biden to Drop Trump’s H-1B Reforms

Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the '100,000 Strong in the Americas' event, Monday, Dec. 14, 2015, in the Indian Treaty Room of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington. The event recognizes the accomplishments made over the past 3 years of the 100,000 Strong …
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Business groups are pushing Joe Biden’s team to drop President Donald Trump’s pro-American reforms of the H-1B visa-worker program.

“They’ve indicated they are going to be very different than the Trump administration on high-skilled immigration, immigration in general,” the head of an investor group told the Hill. “High-skilled immigration … has led to so much growth and technological superiority and competitiveness for the U.S.,” the investor group head, TechNet CEO Linda Moore, said.

Moore continued:

Any rules that impose stricter standards around H-1B visas will have zero impact on increasing American jobs and will harm our country’s ability to recover from the pandemic just as cases are beginning to rise again. … They should allow the incoming administration to set the tone on immigration policy as our country moves forward under President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris.

The U.S. Chamber also wants to stop the regulations. The Hill added:

“We see improvement there. There is still a lot more work that requires Congress’s attention when it comes to immigration,” Neil Bradley, chief policy officer at the Chamber, said on a recent call with reporters.

The reforms are being championed by groups who represent U.S. graduates in debates and lawsuits.

“We’re aiding with amicus briefs, supporting the [Department of Labor] and the [Department of Homeland Security], informing the judges in each of these cases of the real impact, the real displacement, that the H-1B programs create,” said Kevin Lynn, director of U.S. Tech Workers.

“They’re a pipeline of cheap labor. … Labor is not immune from the law of supply and demand,” he said.

Since June, Trump has added a series of reforms and curbs that would pressure Fortune 500 companies to hire American graduates instead of lower-wage, compliant, and disposable foreign workers from India and China.

The variety of visa-worker pipelines allow Fortune 500 companies to exclude at least 1.3 million qualified and ready U.S. graduates from technology jobs.

Trump’s curbs require U.S. employers to pay higher wages to foreign workers, reduce the inflow of H-1B workers for the staffing industry that fill outsourced jobs for the Fortune 500 companies, and narrow the types of jobs that can be filled by foreign workers with particular qualifications.

The reforms would bar the inflow of H-1B and J-1 workers until at least January, end the award of H-1B visas by lottery, and begin awarding the visa to companies that offer the highest wages.

Many of these rules are being turned into regulations — but business groups are suing to block the regulations’ creation.

Trump’s low-profile approval of the pending regulations may have upped his white-collar support in the 2020 election. However, he did not push the issue in his campaign speeches or advertising.

If the reforms are approved as regulations, Biden’s deputies may be reluctant to kill the reforms because the campaign was strongly supported by the U.S. college grads who are replaced by the visa workers.

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