President Trump Demands Cuts to India’s Tariffs, but Democrats Offer Extra Green Cards to Indian Business

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) attends a meeting with US President Donald Trump during the G20 Osaka Summit in Osaka on June 28, 2019. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty

President Donald Trump is pressuring India to lower its tariffs against U.S. companies, but House Democrats and Republicans are offering to open the U.S. labor market to even more Indian college graduates.

The economic contradiction was highlighted Tuesday when Trump tweeted his frustration at India’s policy of putting tariffs on American-made goods and services:

At the same time, GOP leaders in the House remained silent while Democratic leaders pushed a business-backed bill that dramatically raises the U.S. government’s incentives for Indian college graduates to take college-grades jobs from Americans in the United States.

The Democratic bill, numbered HR.1044, allows Indian college graduates to get roughly 100,000 green cards each year, up from the current “country cap” limit of about 24,000 green cards. The Indians will be able to get the extra green cards — and later, U.S. citizenship — if they agree to become H-1B contract-workers and then work for low wages and long hours in the U.S. jobs sought by American graduates.

“You have Trump tweeting about our access to the Indian market …. and yet [with this bill] we are rigging our employer-based [green card] system to benefit Indians,” said Rosemary Jenks, policy director at NumbersUSA.
“It does not make sense to reward nations that you are battling on trade issues by helping them expand their economies into the United States,” she said.

The Democratic legislation is due for a vote on Wednesday, one day after Trump posted his tweet about Indian tariffs.

GOP leaders can stop easily block the Democrats’ giveaway to Indian graduates — and to their many U.S. employers — because Democrats are fast-tracking the unpopular bill to avoid hearings and committee votes. The fast-track procedure requires bills to get a supermajority of 290 votes for passage.

Aides to Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Whip Steve Scalie declined to answer questions from Breitbart News about their views on the bill.

 

The Indian economy reaps huge rewards from the U.S. outsourcing that is supercharged by the H-1B program.

The program allows Indians companies to staff the back-office divisions of U.S. companies, and then transfer the workers and the work back to India. For example, in 2017, CBS’ 60 Minutes showed how Disney transferred one of its computer divisions in Florida to an Indian firm, which then replaced the American workers with Indian H-1B workers and gradually moved the division’s work over to India.

The same H-1B strategy has been used by investors to cut payroll costs in many companies, including Harley Davidson, McDonald’s, Caterpillar, Anthem, and Eversource Energy, and also at many hospitals and universities, including the University of California San Francisco.

The H-1B program keeps roughly 1 million Indian graduates working in a wide variety of jobs in the United States, many of which are used by Indian-owned subcontractors to quickly fill new technology jobs before American graduates even get an interview.

Many reports show much Indian-style nepotism in the H-1B program, including discrimination by Indian recruiters against American graduates and also against Indians from disfavored regions or castes. TheHindu.com reported July 2019:

Two Telugus [Telugu-language speakers] are among four executives of New Jersey-based IT staffing companies who were arrested by authorities of the United States of America on charges of fraudulently using the H-1B visa programme on Tuesday.

“The defendants used the companies to recruit foreign nationals and sponsor them for H-1B visas and to expedite visa applications. They used fraudulent applications to build a “bench” of job candidates already admitted to the U.S. for immediate hiring by clients which is an advantage over [American] competitors in the industry,” the release stated.

While Mannam, aka Ramana Mannam is reportedly from Krishna district and Mr. Vemuri of the Bay Area is reportedly a member of the executive committee of a Telugu association in the U.S.

The U.S. government’s press release is very different from the Indian coverage.

The H-1B outsourcing industry is regarded by Indian officials as a national economic asset because it funnels a huge amount of U.S. jobs and wealth back to India. A June 2019 report by the Indian government declared:

Some of the major initiatives taken by the government to promote IT [information technology] and ITeS sector in India are as follows:

  • The government has identified Information Technology as one of 12 champion service sectors for which an action plan is being developed. Also, the government has set up a Rs 5,000 crore (US$ 745.82 million) fund for realising the potential of these champion service sectors.

  • As a part of Union Budget 2018-19, NITI Aayog is going to set up a national level programme that will enable efforts in AI^ and will help in leveraging AI^ technology for development works in the country.

  • In the Interim Budget 2019-20, the Government of India announced plans to launch a national programme on AI* and setting up of a National AI* portal.

  • National Policy on Software Products-2019 was passed by the Union Cabinet to develop India as a software product nation.

Following are the achievements of the government during 2017-18:

  • About 200 Indian IT firms are present in around 80 countries.

  • IT exports from India are expected to reach highest ever mark of US$ 126 billion in 2017-18.

  • Highest ever revenue was generated by Indian IT firms at US$ 181 billion in 2018-19.

Exporting Indians workers is a vital part of the Indian government’s economic strategy because it helps funnel more Indians into important jobs and more foreign money back to India. Former Indian H-1B workers are now lead executives at Google and Microsoft.

In Arkansas, Indians provide much of Wal-Mart’s software workforce and are growing share of its managers. In February 2019, the Forsyth County Newreported:

Ani Agnihotri, program chair of the USA-India Business Summit … said India has a massive and young population that could provide skilled, English-speaking workers ready to relocate “even at a seven-day notice” and said the majority of doctors in the United Kingdom and about 15 percent in America are of Indian descent.

“India has the youngest population in the world. About 25 percent of the population of India, which is 1.25 billion, is below the age of 25,” he said. “We will be the provider of the workforce of the world in about 15 years, after 2035.”

The Indian media closely tracks the U.S. H-1B program. In March 2017, for example, the Hindustan Times posted a report describing the top priorities for an Indian diplomatic mission to the United States:

While [Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam] Jaishankar will seek assurances from the Trump administration over the security of Indians working in the US, one of the main purposes of the visit is to effectively convey New Delhi’s concerns over possible curtailing of H-1B visas issued to skilled Indian workers. The US issues 65,000 H-1B visas to Indians every year for those employed in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) areas.

… Many Indians working in the US are employed by American tech giants such as Google, Facebook, Tesla, Boeing and a few by US-based Indian companies. The top diplomat will convey that these American firms are competitive due to Indian tech power in STEM areas.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi conveyed India’s concerns over H1-B visas to visiting Congressmen last week.

“Yes, the danger [of an H-1B rollback] is looming large,” external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj told to the Times of India in June 2018. “It is an issue of worry not just for the government and the [out of power] opposition, but the entire House [of Parliament] and the nation shares this concern.” The report continued:

The minister added, in a written reply, that New Delhi [India’s government] had emphasized to Washington that the movement of skilled India professionals to the US has been a mutually-beneficial partnership which should be nurtured.

On July 9, 2019, the Press Trust of India reported on the Democrats’ giveaway bill:

Lifting the per-country cap on Green Card would mainly benefit high-tech professionals on H-1B work visas from countries like India, for whom the wait for Green Card is more than a decade.

India’s Business Today site reported June 20, 2019:

The Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM), an organisation affiliated with the ruling party BJP’s ideological mentor RSS, has urged the [Prime Minister] Modi government to not bulge under the reported plans of the United States to put a 15 per cent cap on H-1B work visas …

Commenting on the reported move, Ashwani Mahajan, National Coconvenor, SJM said that the government needs to ignore the pressure tactics that are going in the name of H1-B visa. “These are all blackmailing tactics and even if that happens, that is going to be momentary because they (US) need us more than we (India) need them,” Mahajan says.

… “Even if it comes to the worst, we will have to protect the interests of our people.”

Roughly 1.5 million white-collar contract-workers hold U.S. jobs, even as roughly 800,000 Americans graduate each year from college with skilled degrees in healthcare, science, business, economics, math, science, engineering architecture, software, or business.

India provides most of these contract workers, largely because the Indian government has helped Indian companies set up a huge outsourcing business with U.S. companies.

The U.S. companies pay their Indian graduates with low wages and promises of green cards, even though pro-diversity laws in U.S. immigration code have set “country caps” that ensure only about 24,000 Indians get green cards each year.

But the U.S demand for cheap Indian contract-workers is so huge that perhaps 300,000 Indian workers — and roughly 300,000 family members — are now waiting in three green-card lines that stretch for roughly seven years, 15 years or more than 100 years.

Instead of going home, or suing their U.S. employers for fraud, or migrating to Canada, many of the Indian workers have joined a business lobbying campaign to lift the country caps.

If the country caps are lifted, Indians who migrate into the U.S. labor market will be able to get roughly 100,000 green cards per year.

That increased share of green-cards for Indians will expand the number of Indian contract-workers in the United States, via three routes — even though the pending HR.1044 law does not increase the total number of green cards.

For example, H-1Bs contractors are supposed to go home when their visa expires in six years. But their visas are automatically extended once their employers nominate them for green cards. So the 300,000 Indian contract-workers in the so-called green-card “backlog” are staying in the United States long after their temporary visas expired in the hope of getting one of the 24,000 Indian green cards each year. If the number rises to 100,000 cards for Indians each year, “shorter wait times for [green cards] might actually incentivize greater numbers of nationals from India, China, and the Philippines to seek employment-based [green card] status,” a Congressional Research Service report warned legislators in December 2018.

The bill will also help Indian companies recruit more Indian graduates to work in more U.S. jobs. Media reports say the H-1B program is capped at 85,000 new visas per year, but the H-1B rules actually allow an unlimited supply of H-1B workers to be hired by non-profit hospitals, research centers, and by partnerships between for-profit companies and non-profit organizations. Once the companies can offer more green cards, they will be able to recruit more Indians for H-1B jobs in U.S. non-profit hospitals and universities.

The extra visas will also provide an incentive for more Indian graduates to get “Optional Training Program” work permits by simply enrolling in low-grade U.S. colleges. This uncapped OPT workforce is already huge, partly because many Indians use it to get into the H-1B program.

Leon Fresco, the Democrat immigration-lawyer who is quarterbacks the lobbying campaign by Indian contract-workers, hides the huge H-1B loophole and the OPT program:

The Democrats’ giveaway bill is being opposed by NumbersUSA, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, American for Legal Immigration, Progressives for Immigration reform and a new wave of groups created by Americans who say their incomes have been slashed by companies’ use of the green card system to attract and pay cheap labor from India.

During the last year, these professionals have organized into several groups, include the American Workers Coalitiondoctorswithoutjobs.com, ProUSworkersNo on H.R. 1044, and The Multinational Coalition Against H.R. 1044/S. 386.

In 2018, these American opponents of the green card giveaway bill helped defeat Kansas GOP Rep. Kevin Yoder, who supported a prior version of the legislation. 

In turn, these professional groups are backed up by websites which are tracking the scale and location of the outsourcing industry in each legislator’s district.

For example, h1bhuntinglicenses.com allows users to quickly check federal data to see which employers are trying to hire H-1B contract-workers in every zip code or career.  The federal data, for example, shows that employers tried to hire 2,500 foreign architects instead of Americans during the last decade.

SAITJ.org allows voters, staffers, and political researchers to quickly see how many H-1B workers were sought in each legislators’ district.

Congress.gov shows the GOP sponsors of the Lofgren’s Green card Giveaway Act, and the date when they co-sponsored the giveaway bill:

Rep. Amodei, Mark E. [R-NV-2] 05/09/2019,

Rep. Armstrong, Kelly [R-ND-At Large] 02/25/2019,

Rep. Bacon, Don [R-NE-2] *02/07/2019

Rep. Baird, James R. [R-IN-4] 04/10/2019

Rep. Balderson, Troy [R-OH-12] 03/08/2019

Rep. Banks, Jim [R-IN-3] 03/26/2019

Rep. Barr, Andy [R-KY-6] *02/07/2019

Rep. Bilirakis, Gus M. [R-FL-12] *02/07/2019

Rep. Bishop, Rob [R-UT-1] 02/11/2019

Rep. Bost, Mike [R-IL-12] 03/12/2019

Rep. Brooks, Susan W. [R-IN-5] 02/07/2019

Rep. Buck, Ken [R-CO-4] 02/07/2019

Rep. Bucshon, Larry [R-IN-8] 02/13/2019

Rep. Budd, Ted [R-NC-13] 06/21/2019

Rep. Byrne, Bradley [R-AL-1] 06/10/2019

Rep. Calvert, Ken [R-CA-42] 02/07/2019

Rep. Cline, Ben [R-VA-6] 04/09/2019

Rep. Cole, Tom [R-OK-4] 02/26/2019

Rep. Comer, James [R-KY-1] 02/07/2019

Rep. Cook, Paul [R-CA-8] 03/08/2019

Rep. Crenshaw, Dan [R-TX-2] 03/26/2019

Rep. Curtis, John R. [R-UT-3] 02/07/2019

Rep. Davis, Rodney [R-IL-13] 02/07/2019

Rep. DesJarlais, Scott [R-TN-4] 06/14/2019

Rep. Emmer, Tom [R-MN-6] 02/07/2019

Rep. Estes, Ron [R-KS-4] 02/07/2019

Rep. Fitzpatrick, Brian K. [R-PA-1] 02/07/2019

Rep. Fleischmann, Charles J. “Chuck” [R-TN-3] 02/28/2019

Rep. Flores, Bill [R-TX-17] 06/18/2019

Rep. Fulcher, Russ [R-ID-1] 03/12/2019

Rep. Gianforte, Greg [R-MT-At Large] 06/19/2019

Rep. Gibbs, Bob [R-OH-7] 02/07/2019

Rep. Gonzalez, Anthony [R-OH-16] 02/28/2019

Rep. Gonzalez-Colon, Jenniffer [R-PR-At Large] 02/07/2019

Rep. Gooden, Lance [R-TX-5] 02/13/2019

Rep. Granger, Kay [R-TX-12] 05/28/2019

Rep. Graves, Sam [R-MO-6] 05/14/2019

Rep. Green, Mark E. [R-TN-7] 06/10/2019

Rep. Grothman, Glenn [R-WI-6] 05/02/2019

Rep. Guest, Michael [R-MS-3] 02/07/2019

Rep. Guthrie, Brett [R-KY-2] 02/07/2019

Rep. Hagedorn, Jim [R-MN-1] 06/12/2019

Rep. Hartzler, Vicky [R-MO-4] 05/09/2019

Rep. Hern, Kevin [R-OK-1] 05/17/2019

Rep. Herrera Beutler, Jaime [R-WA-3] 02/07/2019

Rep. Hice, Jody B. [R-GA-10] 02/07/2019

Rep. Hill, J. French [R-AR-2] 02/07/2019

Rep. Hunter, Duncan D. [R-CA-50] 04/29/2019

Rep. Hurd, Will [R-TX-23] 02/07/2019

Rep. Johnson, Bill [R-OH-6] 02/07/2019

Rep. Katko, John [R-NY-24] 02/07/2019

Rep. Kelly, Mike [R-PA-16] 02/19/2019

Rep. Kelly, Trent [R-MS-1] 02/25/2019

Rep. King, Peter T. [R-NY-2] 02/07/2019

Rep. Kinzinger, Adam [R-IL-16] 02/07/2019

Rep. LaMalfa, Doug [R-CA-1] 03/08/2019

Rep. Lamborn, Doug [R-CO-5] 02/26/2019

Rep. Lesko, Debbie [R-AZ-8] 03/25/2019

Rep. Long, Billy [R-MO-7] 02/07/2019

Rep. Luetkemeyer, Blaine [R-MO-3] 03/08/2019

Rep. Marshall, Roger W. [R-KS-1] 02/07/2019

Rep. Massie, Thomas [R-KY-4] 02/07/2019

Rep. McCaul, Michael T. [R-TX-10] 03/05/2019

Rep. Rodgers, Cathy McMorris [R-WA-5] 02/07/2019

Rep. Mitchell, Paul [R-MI-10] 05/09/2019

Rep. Moolenaar, John R. [R-MI-4] 05/28/2019

Rep. Mullin, Markwayne [R-OK-2] 05/14/2019

Rep. Newhouse, Dan [R-WA-4] 02/07/2019

Rep. Norman, Ralph [R-SC-5] 02/07/2019

Rep. Pence, Greg [R-IN-6] 04/02/2019

Rep. Perry, Scott [R-PA-10] 02/07/2019

Rep. Reed, Tom [R-NY-23] 03/08/2019

Rep. Reschenthaler, Guy [R-PA-14] 06/04/2019

Rep. Riggleman, Denver [R-VA-5] 02/07/2019

Rep. Roe, David P. [R-TN-1] 02/07/2019

Rep. Rogers, Harold [R-KY-5] 05/02/2019

Rep. Rouzer, David [R-NC-7] 02/13/2019

Rep. Rutherford, John H. [R-FL-4] 02/07/2019

Rep. Schweikert, David [R-AZ-6] 02/11/2019

Rep. Simpson, Michael K. [R-ID-2] 03/05/2019

Rep. Smith, Christopher H. [R-NJ-4] 06/14/2019

Rep. Smith, Jason [R-MO-8] 04/02/2019

Rep. Smucker, Lloyd [R-PA-11] 05/21/2019

Rep. Spano, Ross [R-FL-15] 05/21/2019

Rep. Stauber, Pete [R-MN-8] 02/11/2019

Rep. Stefanik, Elise M. [R-NY-21] 02/07/2019

Rep. Steil, Bryan [R-WI-1] 03/25/2019

Rep. Stewart, Chris [R-UT-2] 02/07/2019

Rep. Stivers, Steve [R-OH-15] 02/07/2019

Rep. Taylor, Van [R-TX-3] 05/09/2019

Rep. Thompson, Glenn [R-PA-15] 02/19/2019

Rep. Thornberry, Mac [R-TX-13] 02/13/2019

Rep. Timmons, William R. IV [R-SC-4] 06/24/2019

Rep. Tipton, Scott R. [R-CO-3] 02/28/2019

Rep. Upton, Fred [R-MI-6] 02/07/2019

Rep. Wagner, Ann [R-MO-2] 02/07/2019

Rep. Walden, Greg [R-OR-2] 03/25/2019

Rep. Walorski, Jackie [R-IN-2] 05/17/2019

Rep. Watkins, Steven C., Jr. [R-KS-2] 02/11/2019

Rep. Wenstrup, Brad R. [R-OH-2] 04/29/2019

Rep. Westerman, Bruce [R-AR-4] 02/07/2019

Rep. Williams, Roger [R-TX-25] 03/08/2019

Rep. Wittman, Robert J. [R-VA-1] 04/29/2019

Rep. Womack, Steve [R-AR-3] 03/25/2019

Rep. Woodall, Rob [R-GA-7] 02/07/2019

Rep. Wright, Ron [R-TX-6] 02/26/2019

Rep. Yoho, Ted S. [R-FL-3] 06/14/2019

Rep. Young, Don [R-AK-At Large] 02/07/2019

 

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