Insiders: U.S. White Collars Helped Win White House H-1B Visa Worker Halt

white collar

Grassroots groups of white collar professionals helped President Donald Trump overcome internal opposition to his draft executive order blocking the inflow of new H-1B visa workers until late 2020, say political insiders.

American graduates and professionals helped to win the new curbs — which are likely to be announced June 22 — by lobbying legislators, and by making their views clear via email, Twitter posts, and article comments, said the insiders. Their stories and activism put a human face on the many polls that show Americans like immigrants but strongly prefer that unemployed Americans get jobs, they said.

“People saw it all — it had an influence,” said one administration official.

“The difference between now and two years ago is night and day,” said Kevin Lynn, founder of U.S. Tech Workers. He continued:

I’ve talked to people on the hill — staffers and lobbyists — and they’ve never seen this kind of reaction from the professionals here.

We’re celebrating this victory but we’ll be back at it tomorrow. We need to reward the politicians that helped us get this and we need to punish the politicians that didn’t help us with this.

The white collar groups are a potentially powerful ally for blue collar Americans, who have largely been dismissed by the upmarket journalists and staffers in the D.C. establishment. But the journalists and staffers have college friends, siblings, parents, and adult children whose white collar jobs and careers are being sidelined by CEOs’ preference for visa workers.

The grassroots success came in the face of aggressive lobbying by wealthy Fortune 500 companies, tech companies, universities, and Indian outsourcing firms. The business groups sought to block any curbs, to minimize the draft curbs, and to maximize loopholes in the curbs.

The business groups keep roughly 1.3 million visa workers in Americans white collar jobs, including 600,000 H-1B contract-workers. This massive legal labor force also hides a growing workforce of college trained illegal immigrants, many of whom get into the United States with B-1 visitor visas.

The rules to be be released by Trump will reportedly block the H-1B, L-1, and J-1 pipelines until late in the year. The temporary suspension can create a respite for U.S. graduates and professionals to regain jobs lost amid the coronavirus crash, large-scale outsourcing, and a labor-market flooded by the annual arrival of roughly 500,000 foreign graduates with U.S. work permits.

NPR reported June 21:

President Trump is expected to sign an order to suspend H-1B, L-1 and other temporary work visas through the end of the year, according to the multiple sources familiar with the plan.


The executive action is also expected to suspend H-2B visas for seasonal workers such as hotel and construction staff, and J-1 visas, which are meant for research scholars and professors and other cultural and work-exchange programs. Trump could renew the suspensions when they lapse. The order is not expected to immediately affect anyone already in the United States.

“No matter how you slice it, this is shaping up to be a big win for American workers at a critical time,” said RJ Hauman, government relations director at the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which advocates for lower levels of immigration. FAIR had called on Trump to suspend guest worker visas.

FAIR is one of the few groups who advocate for American employees as business groups try to create workforces of compliant, controlled, and cheap employees. The visa workers are ideal for this purpose because they have few legal rights, can be sent home for any offense, and will work long hours in the hope of getting U.S. green cards.

Many U.S. executives prefer to not hire American graduates because Americans can disagree with them, switch to other employees, or quit to create rival products.

The gradual replacement of American professionals has been largely missed by the prestige media, although it is marked by a growing number of lawsuits.

U.S. professionals have been organizing since 2019 to preserve their interests, said Lynn.

In 2019, for example, American professionals allied with intending immigrants to Utah GOP Sen. Mike Lee’s S.386 bill. The bill would have expanded the number of green cards business groups could provide to India’s graduates in exchange for taking U.S. white collar jobs. “That was supposed to go under the radar screen and be passed with ease: It ended being a war,” said Lynn. 

The professionals’ groups include the American Workers Coalition, Protect U.S. Workers, and a variety of other groups, such as White-Collar Workers of America, and various student groups. These groups coexist with established groups, such as NumbersUSA and FAIR

White collar professionals need to celebrate each step forward in what will be a long and tough campaign, he said:

We need to appreciate what a significant change this has been. The professional class is beginning to understand they have to get involved in politics. They increasingly recognize that “I need to do politics to make sure I’m going to have a job 10 years from now, to make sure that we’ve invested in our kids’ education will help them become independent.”

“The professionals, the white-collar employees, are waking up to the fact that if they don’t become involved in politics, they don’t have a chance.”

Follow Neil Munro on Twitter @NeilMunroDC, or email the author at


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.