India’s CEOs Applaud State Department Gutting Trump’s Visa-Worker Policy

Employees work on their computers at the office of HackerEarth in Bangalore, India, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
AP Photo/Altaf Qadri

India’s outsourcing industry welcomed the State Department’s August 12 decision to add many exemptions to President Donald Trump’s June 22 executive order that barred the inflow of foreign workers during the coronavirus crash.

“NASSCOM welcomes this move and believes it will help U.S. businesses access talent critical to the economic recovery phase in the post-COVID world,” said the August 13 statement by the U.S. and Indian-owned outsourcing companies who are members of the NASSCOM trade association.

The NASSCOM group also suggested it deserves credit for opening back doors through Trump’s popular June 22 executive order:

The National Interest Exceptions includes potential carve-outs/ exemptions for technology workers on H-1B/ L-1 visas providing critical infrastructure services …  a key ask by NASSCOM and the Indian tech industry.

Trump’s order blocked the arrival of H-1B outsourcing workers until at least January and directed officials to draft regulations that would exclude H-1Bs from the starter jobs needed by new American graduates.

NASSCOM includes most of the large Indian-run staffing companies, which provide a large share of India’s 450,000 H-1B and L-1 outsourcing workers now in U.S. white-collar jobs. These contract workers cut salaries for American graduates. They also help the Fortune 500 CEOs keep tight control over the technology sector by minimizing the number of innovative American graduates who can get careers or subcontracting jobs in the high-tech sector.

On June 23, NASSCOM declared that Trump’s June 22 policy included few exceptions: “With very few exceptions, Indian nationals and others who are granted new H-1Bs or L-1s as well as other visa types after 23rd June will not be allowed to enter the United States until the proclamation expires.” The group also slammed Trump’s August 3 order, which pressures government agencies to reduce their hiring of H-1B workers.

The many exemptions were inserted August 12 into Trump’s order by the head of consular affairs at the State Department, Carl Risch, and by the top lawyer at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Chad Mizelle.

“This was not done in a back room by one person — it was a collaborative effort by people who are okay with undermining the president, less than 90 days before his reelection date,” said Rosemary Jenks, policy director at NumbersUSA. “I was told it was Carl Risch and Chad Mizelle who were the primary authors of the exemptions that drove a truck through the actual order,” she said. 

Risch’s boss is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Mizelle’s boss is Chad Wolf, acting secretary of DHS. Wolf is a former lobbyist for NASSCOM and will need to find a job once he leaves DHS, perhaps as early as January 2021. 

“Everyone involved in this thought the American people were too stupid to find out about these exceptions … which completely gutted” Trump’s rule, Jenks said. The exemptions are “the swamp beating the country,” she added. 

Trump’s intervention to save U.S. white-collar jobs is very popular among millions of American voters whose futures are threatened by the Fortune 500’s preference for docile and cheap visa workers. The CEO’s workforce policy keeps at least 1.3 million foreign graduates in U.S. jobs, even amid the dramatic economic crash caused by China’s coronavirus.

 The officials “totally eviscerated the requirements” of Trump’s order, said John Miano, a lawyer with the Immigration Reform Law Institute. “There is no doubt about it — whoever created this is thumbing their noses at President Trump,” he told Breitbart News, adding, “You can bet that the guys who did this are voting for [Joe] Biden.”

The State Department declined to let Breitbart News interview Risch. However, an agency statement said:

The Department of State worked closely with the Departments of Homeland Security and Labor in the development of these exceptions. We refer you to those departments for specifics regarding their internal approval processes.

The Department of State is committed to implementing this Proclamation in an orderly fashion in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security and other interagency partners and in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.

Nationwide, U.S. CEOs keep an army of at least 1.3 million contractor workers in a wide range of skilled jobs in numerous states, including New Jersey, North Carolina, New York, and California.

The agency also said that the department has issued 60,000 fewer H-1B visas this year, compared to last year, adding:

The total number of H-1B visas issued since Proclamation 10052 went into effect in June [22] through August 14 is 468.  The vast majority of these (442 cases) were for professionals and researchers in the public health and health care sectors to bolster the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  A total of fourteen cases received an exception as the spouse of a U.S. citizen, and six more were workers returning to their employers after a short trip abroad.  More than 20 nationalities are represented in the total group.

However, many of those 60,000 H-1Bs stuck overseas will try to get into the United States by citing the department’s exemptions to Trump’s rule.

Inside the United States, there is no evidence that many H-1Bs have been sent home — as required by law — since losing their jobs in the coronavirus crash. They can stay legally because regulations allow jobless H-1B workers to switch their visas to F-1 study visas, and then reactivate their H-1Bs when companies seek to hire them again, sources tell Breitbart News.

On June 23, NASSCOM slammed Trump’s June 22 order:

The proclamation issued today barring the entry of certain nonimmigrants into America and setting new conditions for others is misguided and harmful to the US economy. Thousands of US corporations, universities, medical facilities, research institutions, directly and through their associations have asked the President not to take such action because of the harm it would do now and going forward as the country reopens and recovers.

Without [H-1Bs’] continued contributions to the U.S. economy, the economic pain would worsen, industry would slow, and the timeline for a treatment and cure of Covid-19 would lengthen.

On August 13, the NASSCOM outsourcing group added a few cautions to its enthusiasm for the return of business-as-usual:

… we remain “cautiously optimistic” – as caveats in the DoS guidance about seniority, unique and significant contributions and/or other factors that go along with the exceptions still allow a lot of leeway in interpretation of the new guidance. The impact can only be gauged in course of time. That said, we believe this is a step in the right direction and encourage the implementing agencies to ensure U.S. businesses’ access to critical talent is not hampered.

 

 

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