A group of India’s H-1B contract workers surrounded Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) to demand he support Sen. Mike Lee’s (R-UT) S.386 bill, which gives citizenship to more Indian graduates if they take jobs from Americans.
When confronted in Illinois, Durbin told the Indian contract workers on Sunday that he wants more foreign workers hired in American workplaces:
I believe in expanding immigration to this country. I believe it is good for America and it is good that you come to America. No questions asked, no question asked — if you have been here three, or six or seven years, ten years, whatever it is, and you have done nothing to raise any questions, you have a right to stay here. That’s the way I feel. Alright? Now we’ve got to find a way to work through this because there have been some difficulties, and you know what they are.
Durbin is blocking Lee’s S.386 bill because he wants to put even more Indian contract workers on a fast track to citizenship — and he also wants to more than double legal immigration from one million to roughly 2.6 million per year for several years. That huge inflow would add two million immigrants to compete for decent jobs against the four million Americans who turn 18 each year.
The huge inflow would expand the economy and boost investors — but would also shrink the per-capita income of American employees and their families.
— John-blocked by IV (@gstreetj) November 4, 2019
Lee’s S.386 bill does not change the annual limit of 140,000 green cards that employers can grant to their employees in place of wages, nor does it expand the yearly inflow of roughly 100,000 H-1Bs for jobs in companies, universities, and hospitals.
But the bill greatly expands the citizenship incentive for Indian migrants to take jobs from U.S. graduates.
The bill expands the incentive by removing the “country caps,” which limit the annual award of green cards to roughly 10,000 Indian visa workers and 10,000 of their family members.
By eliminating the country caps, Lee’s bill offers more green cards to reward Indian graduates who fly into the United States, enroll in college, get an Optional Practical Training (OPT) work permit, and so take jobs from Americans graduates. This pipeline from OPT permits to citizenship runs through the H-1B program, which allows employers to pay Indians with citizenship in place of wages.
There is no limit on the number of Indians who can take jobs via the OPT program, no requirement for employers to justify hiring foreigners instead of Americans, and no compensation for indebted American graduates who lose jobs and salaries to the Indian graduates.
In 2017, the OPT program included 330,000 people on one-year work permits and 90,000 people on three-year work permits. Another 105,000 people were using the Curricular Practical Training (CPT) program to get jobs before they even graduated from U.S. colleges.
If Lee’ s bill passes, roughly 50,000 Indian workers and 50,000 Indian family members will be able to get green cards and citizenship each year, up from the current inflow of 10,000 employees and 100,000 family members. That five-fold increase will significantly expand the citizenship incentives for many Indian graduates to take starter jobs from U.S. graduates via the uncapped and wide-open OPT and CPT programs.
Roughly 300,000 Indians are now working in a wide range of U.S. jobs while they wait for green cards, often for more than ten years.
These 300,000 Indian workers are allowed to keep U.S. jobs — long after the supposed six-year term on their H-1B visas passed — because their employers nominated them for green cards. These Indian waiting-list workers are protesting Durbin’s opposition to Lee’s bill.
In 2015, President Barack Obama also provided work permits to 100,000 spouses of these waiting-list workers. Since then, many of the spouses have been recruited for college-level jobs by Indian managers in U.S. jobs who have multiple incentives to discriminate in favor of fellow Indians and discriminate against American graduates.
Another 500,000 foreigners — including at least 300,000 Indians — are working in the H-1B program. Overall, U.S and Indian companies employ roughly 1.5 million foreign graduates in U.S. jobs, which is roughly twice the annual total of 800,000 Americans who graduate from four-year colleges with degrees in business, health care, engineering, science, computers, math, accounting, statistics, or architecture.
Lee’s outsourcing bill is supported by nearly all GOP senators, who have been persuaded by investors’ lobbyists that the country caps are an unfair regulation on companies’ ability to freely hire foreigners instead of American voters.
The main lobbying group for India’s contract workers is Immigration Voice, which bitterly criticized Durbin after he blocked Lee’s bill. The group announced this month that it would stop labeling Durbin as a racist, but promised to up the lobbying pressure on Durbin.
The Illinois Immigration Forum organized the Indian crowd.
IIF team was able to talk to @SenatorDurbin at Uptown Chicago this evening.Will never give up,keep reaching out to Senator to pass this most deserving legislation for high skilled Immigrants #s386@immivoice @SIIA_US @GcReformshttps://t.co/tNMdxF1lR4
— Illinois Immigration Forum (@IIFImmigration) November 4, 2019
The video shows the Indians urging Durbin to back Lee’s giveaway bill, even though it would exclude many possible immigrants from other countries:
“We love you, senator. We respect you. You are the champion of immigrants like Mohandas Gandhi
“You will be living in our hearts forever; almost 100,000 people will keep your temple in their hearts.”
“You are the champion of immigrants; we are proud of you.”
“This is about people already in the country, and you are arguing about people who are going to come in the country.”
“We are starving here; you are offering a full-course meal. We respect that. We are going to get the best recipe in the world. But that may take some time. But until then, the starving kids that are needing that bread on the roadside, you know, we will die by the time your recipe gets made.”
“Every week two people are dying, and two women are becoming widows” before they can get their green cards, said one voice.
“We are being vetted every year, unlike other country people,” said a voice.
“We love you, senator; we are respecting you.”
“You are the champion of immigrants; we are proud of you.”
“This is about people already in the country, and you are arguing about [non-Indian] people who are going to come in the country.”
U.S. Tech Workers is a group formed to help American professionals defend themselves from corporate pressure to outsource their jobs to Indian workers. “Stalking a Senator; bombarding his office with hateful phone calls to his staffers; spreading disinformation about S.386; a canceled event to celebrate Diwali in front of his house; sure, it was a “peaceful” discussion,” the group said via Twitter.
Stalking a Senator; bombarding his office with hateful phone calls to his staffers; spreading disinformation about S.386; a canceled event to celebrate Diwali in front of his house; sure, it was a “peaceful” discussion. The person filming the video was exposed working for an ICC. https://t.co/tmnLtaOTaS
— U.S. Tech Workers (@USTechWorkers) November 4, 2019
Lee has encouraged the Indian contract workers to lobby Durbin for more green cards, and the Indian lobby group is raising funds to accelerate the lobbying.
Watch GOP Sen. Mike Lee publicly urge Indian contract-workers to lobby US Senators for a bill offering fast-track citizenship to Indian grads if they take jobs (at low wages) from US grads. No GOP Sen. has rebuked him & no anti-GOP journos 'pounce.' Weird. https://t.co/A5VOsuyOVt
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) October 18, 2019
The country cap law was put into the 1965 immigration law to diversify the variety of legal immigrants who come to the United States. But it is now a huge problem for the many U.S. and Indian companies who are recruiting Indians for U.S.-based jobs in the U.S-India Outsourcing Economy.
It is a huge problem because the multiyear backlog of Indians waiting for green cards deters other Indians from agreeing to accept U.S. college graduates’ jobs.
That deterrent factor is doubly good news for Americans because the imported Indian workers are also sending many additional jobs back to Indians in India. For example, the New York Times reported how Toys “R” Us company used just eight Indian visa workers to outsource much of its 67-person computer department to India:
For four weeks this spring, a young woman from India on a temporary visa sat elbow to elbow with an American accountant in a snug cubicle at the headquarters of Toys “R” Us here. The woman, an employee of a giant outsourcing company in India hired by Toys “R” Us, studied and recorded the accountant’s every keystroke, taking screen shots of her computer and detailed notes on how she issued payments for toys sold in the company’s megastores.
“She just pulled up a chair in front of my computer,” said the accountant, 49, who had worked for the company for more than 15 years. “She shadowed me everywhere, even to the ladies’ room.”
By late June, eight workers from the outsourcing company, Tata Consultancy Services, or TCS, had produced intricate manuals for the jobs of 67 people, mainly in accounting. They then returned to India to train TCS workers to take over and perform those jobs there. The Toys “R” Us employees in New Jersey, many of whom had been at the company more than a decade, were laid off.
This outsourcing economy and Lee’s bill are fully supported by India’s government, whose national economic strategy is based on sending workers to other countries in the expectation those workers will send some of their pay and expertise back to India, and will also send millions of jobs to India.
Top U.S. CEOs lobby India's gov't to send millions of Indian graduates into the US jobs needed by US college-grads. So #SenMikeLee #S386 bill is just a starter before a "free flow of skilled labor in both countries”? https://t.co/2mN846ZnUZ
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) October 24, 2019
But Lee’s bill is opposed by Democrats because it does not also accelerate the arrival of more immigrants.
The Democrats’ basic strategy in immigration politics is to block any benefits for business unless the GOP also agrees to increase the inflow of Democrat-voting immigrants. But Lee’s bill gives U.S. investors what they want — much cheaper white-collar labor — without increasing immigration.
So Durbin blocked Lee’s bill and is proposing his own REVIEW Act legislation. Durbin’s bill would provide green cards to roughly 120,000 Indians and 120,000 family members each year, which would dramatically increase the incentive to Indian graduates to use the uncapped OPT program to grab white-collar jobs from Americans.
Durbin’s bill would also dramatically increase legal immigration, up from one million each year to 2.6 million for three years and then to 1.5 million indefinitely.
That huge rush of labor would expand the stock market but would shrink per-capita wages and salaries. The population inflow would also drive up housing prices, giving a huge bonus to landowners. That rent increase would also force low-skilled immigrant service workers to share rooms in their urban apartments and would push millions of young Americans out of the fastest-growing, high-rent cities.
GOP Sen. Mike Lee is again pushing his #S386 bill to reward 300K Indian graduates for taking college jobs from American graduates. GOP Senators stay quiet & Dems say Lee should reward more foreign grads. Estb. media is silent. Truly bizarre. https://t.co/oghLQIAmy0
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) October 31, 2019