White House Extends 100,000 Work Permits for H-1B Wives from India

Indian Hindu devotees offer prayers to Lord Balaji, known as the 'Visa God', at the Chilkur Balaji Temple in Rangareddy district, some 30 kms from Hyderabad, on April 29, 2017.

The Department of Homeland Security has again delayed a plan to cancel 100,000 work permits which were printed for the Indian spouses of H-1B visa workers by President Barack Obama.

The announcement, by choice or not, is a political gift to the growing Indian diaspora in the United States, and it comes just a few days before President Trump attends an Indian political rally for the Indian Prime Minister in Houston, on September 22.

“At this point, DHS has informed counsel that it believes the earliest possible publication date for that [H4EAD cancellation] rule would be in spring 2020,” said a September 16 letter to a judge who is overseeing a lawsuit against the program. “Although that timeframe is aspirational,” the letter added.

The rule was drafted at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency to help implement President Donald Trump’s “Hire American” Inauguration Day promise. But it has been held up by reviewers at the White House’s Office of Management and Budget amid business groups lobbying to keep the visas.

But the cancellation delay is a domestic 2020 problem for Trump because he needs to rebuild support among the GOP’s traditional college-graduate supporters in suburbia, many of who voted Democrat in 2016 and 2018.

The rebuilding is made even more complicated when the administration supports the Indian visa programs because they are a direct economic and status threat to the well being of their college graduates’ families and the future careers of their children.

Nationwide, Indians comprise at least two-thirds of the roughly 1.4 million white-collar foreign visa-workers who have taken jobs in office parks around the nation, even though many skilled and debt-burdened young American graduates are eager for those jobs. The Indians work as software developers, tax consultants, designers, accountants, engineers, doctors, and increasingly as recruiters and day-to-day managers of many American firms.

This year-round population of U.S.-based Indian college graduate visa workers is far larger than the shifting population of roughly 500,000 blue-collar H-2A, H-2B, and J-1 visa workers.

Also, the Indian visa workers have a bigger impact on U.S. graduates than their U.S-based numbers suggest.

Many of the Indian H-1Bs serve as the U.S-side of the U.S-India Outsourcing Economy, and they help export additional U.S. work to at least two million India-based college-graduate workers. The outsourcing sends U.S. jobs to India and Indians to U.S. jobs — sharply reducing pressure on employers to pay good wages to younger or older American college graduates.

Online, U.S. professionals reacted with hostility — and usually anonymously — to the H4EAD news.

“This country is reaching saturation  — the U.S. economy is not big enough to employ all the cheap labor that will come out of India,” said Bob Heath, a Florida software engineer and the founder of H1BFacts.com. If high-tech investors have their way, he said, they will use millions of graduates from India to flatline college salaries in America. “Think of how when you grew up, you had neighbors pursuing careers in science and technology, but those careers won’t exist for your children — the few children that you can afford,” he told Breitbart News. 

The establishment media has mostly ignored the issue, although establishment reporters have produced many articles gushing with sympathy for upper-caste wives of Indian H-1B workers.

The white-collar outsourcing is a critical slice of just U.S-India trade relations, which are growing more important amid the U.S. pushback against China’s mercantilist economic policy.

American companies and investors hope to export energy, food, technology, and weapons to India — but India has little means to buy those products except via its outsourcing industry, which relies heavily on exporting Indian graduates to U.S. and European jobs. This trade imbalance is hinted at in Indian press reports about a partial trade deal to be announced by Trump and Modi during the Houston event.

“India will make it easier for America to export to India its agricultural produce, medical devices and [information technology] products by lowering tariffs,” according to a September 9 report in the Indian website, ThePrint.In. But a bigger trade deal depends on bigger swaps, the report said. “We are talking about resolving a few key issues to which, by and large, the two governments know what the answers are. I am hopeful this happens before [Priime Minister Narendra] Modi comes to the US,” said Nisha Biswal, president of the US-India Business Council.

U.S. investment groups favor the preservation of the 100,000 H4EAD visas for at least two reasons.

The 100,000 extra permits provide them with 100,000 extra workers, so helping prevent a shortage of workers that would spike salaries.

More importantly, the 100,000 permits provide a second income for 100,000 of the 300,000 Indian H-1B workers who at working in lower-wage college jobs while they wait many years to get green cards.

The 300,000 waiting-and-working Indians are part of the resident population of roughly 800,000 H-1B visa-workers. The 300,000 are allowed to stay in U.S. jobs long past the six-year terms of their visas because they have been nominated for green cards by their employers.

U.S. companies have exploited this loophole and have nominated 300,000 Indians H-1Bs for green cards, so allowing them to stay past their visa expiration dates.

So the line for green cards now stretches for more than a decade because the pro-diversity “country caps” in immigration law mean that only about 20,000 of 140,000 green cards issued each year go to the Indian workers and families.

That long wait creates a problem for the companies — many of the H-1B spouses would prefer to go home to Indian and work, instead of waiting for a decade or more, unemployed, in the United States. So Obama’s H4EAD program was created to get jobs for the wives so the Indian H-1Bs stay in the United States.

U.S. business groups support the H4EAD program. For example, FWD.us, a D.C.- lobbying group for a group of West Coast investors led by Mark Zuckerberg, has repeatedly endorsed the visas:

The cheerleading by FWD.us concern makes sense, in part, because many investors are profiting from the outsourcing.

For example, Walmart is boosting its stock value by outsourcing 569 finance and accounting jobs in North Carolina to Indian contract-workers who will be imported Genpact, a U.S. outsourcing firm. Genpact is a spin-off of General Electric and is a member of India’s association of outsourcing companies. The company has made $7 billion for its investors, which include Bain Capital, Blackrock, and Charles Schwab Investment Management.

The companies and investors are also supporting a bill that would remove the “country caps” on Indian visa workers. If passed, the pending S.386 and HR.1044 bills would put a population of 300,000 Indian H-1B workers — and their 300,000 families — on a fast track to green cards, citizenship, and the voting booth.

The Indian government is working with many U.S. companies to lobby legislators to boost the inflow of Indian visa workers via the S.386 “country caps” bill. The U.S. Senate is expected to hold a vote on September 19 on the S.386 bill which would transform U.S. immigration policy to help Silicon Valley import more visa workers.

Nearly all of the Indians who become citizens vote Democrat, in part, because their 3,000-year-old Hindu religion and caste-culture make them a cultural minority in a no-caste society of equality-minded Americans.

The population of Indians in the United States is roughly 4 million. The number includes at least 1.1 million visa workers and family members, plus a growing number of illegal migrants. The population of illegals includes many lower-caste service workers plus many college graduates who overstayed their work visas.

Several education and advocacy groups oppose this white-collar outsourcing, including the Center for Immigration Studies, the American Workers Coalition, Doctorswithoutjobs.com, alongside ProUSworkersNo on H.R. 1044, and The Multinational Coalition Against H.R. 1044/S. 386.

John Miano, a lawyer at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, is suing to overturn the H4EAD program on behalf of several Americans whose jobs have been outsourced to India workers. The DHS letter on the H4EAD program was sent to the judge in the lawsuit to ask for a delay in the next court battle, due September 27.  The judge announced late September 17 to continue with the hearing, Miano told Breitbart News.

The lawsuit has been repeatedly delayed and slowed since it was filed in 2015, he said.

In turn, these groups are backed up by a few sites that are tracking the scale and location of the outsourcing industry in federal legislators’ districts. The sites include SAITJ.org and H1BFacts.com. “The scope of this thing is really unbelievable,” said one researcher.

Other sites document the conflicts created by diverse foreign business practices in the United States. The non-political MyVisaJobs.com site also provides much information about H-1B outsourcing and green card rewards in multiple industries. The federal USCIS agency provides some data, including some data about the uncapped OPT program.


Immigration Numbers

Each year, roughly four million young Americans join the workforce after graduating from high school or a university. This total includes about 800,000 Americans who graduate with skilled degrees in business or health care, engineering or science, software, or statistics.

But the federal government then imports about 1.1 million legal immigrants and refreshes a resident population of about 1.5 million white-collar visa workers — including approximately 1 million H-1B workers and spouses — and about 500,000 blue-collar visa workers. The government also prints more than 1 million work permits for new foreigners, and rarely punishes companies for employing illegal migrants.

This policy of inflating the labor supply boosts economic growth and stock values for investors. The stimulus happens because the extra labor ensures that employers do not have to compete for American workers by offering higher wages and better working conditions.

The federal policy of flooding the market with cheap, foreign, white-collar graduates and blue-collar labor shifts wealth from young employees toward older investors. It also widens wealth gaps, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, reduces marriage rates, and hurts children’s schools and college educations.

The cheap-labor economic strategy also pushes Americans away from high-tech careers, and it sidelines millions of marginalized Americans, including many who are now struggling with drug addictions.

The labor policy also moves business investment and wealth from the Heartland to the coastal citiesexplodes rents and housing costs, undermines suburbiashrivels real estate values in the Midwest, and rewards investors for creating low-tech, labor-intensive workplaces.

But President Donald Trump’s “Hire American” policy is boosting wages by capping immigration within a growing economy. The Census Bureau said September 10 that men who work full-time and year-round got an average earnings increase of 3.4 percent in 2018, pushing their median salaries up to $55,291. Women gained 3.3 percent in wages, to bring their median wages to $45,097 for full time, year-round work.

But white-collar wages are growing slower than blue-collar wages, partly because of the Indian outsourcing.





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