American Worker Advocates: Halt H-1B Visa Program While 36.5M Jobless

In this Thursday, June 30, 2016 photo, Babson College graduate school alumnus Abhinav Sureka, of Mumbai, India, right, types in his work space at the college in Wellesley, Mass. Some U.S. colleges are starting programs to help their alumni get visas through what critics say is a legal loophole. Foreign …
AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File

Advocates for white-collar American workers and graduates are lobbying President Trump to expand his immigration executive order to stop issuing H-1B visas to foreign workers while unemployment ticks up to 36.5 million.

Last month, President Trump signed an executive order halting the issuance of some employment-based green card categories. The categories account for less than ten percent of all legal immigration to the U.S. The White House is considering expanding the order over the next few weeks.

In panels with conservative columnist and author Michelle Malkin, Protect U.S. Workers’ Sara Blackwell said any expansion of Trump’s executive order should halt the H-1B visa program whereby more than 100,000 foreign workers are admitted annually and allowed to stay for up to six years.

There are about 650,000 H-1B visa foreign workers in the U.S. at any given moment. Americans are often laid off in the process and forced to train their foreign replacements, as highlighted by Breitbart News. More than 85,000 Americans annually potentially lose their jobs to foreign labor through the H-1B visa program. Blackwell said:

Right now there are a lot of companies that are firing a lot of Americans and they’re keeping their foreign visa-holders. If you look at it from the employer’s point of view, if they fire the foreign visa-holder, they have to report it and then they have to let the foreign visa-holder go … and then if they have to rehire them, that company has to redo the paperwork and redo all this other stuff. It’s just easier to keep the foreign workers there and let the Americans go and then rehire them if they can.

Blackwell said she has recently spoken to American workers who have described how they are being laid off in the midst of the Chinese coronavirus crisis while their H-1B foreign visa worker counterparts are remaining employed.

“We have a very precarious situation where a lot of Americans are calling me and saying, we have a whole group of us that are fired and not one foreigner got fired,” Blackwell said. “It’s happening a lot in a lot of companies all over the country.”

Jay Palmer, the whistleblower whose claims against Indian outsourcing firm Infosys led to a federal investigation and civil settlement, said he and the American Workers Coalition are working with Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) to get Trump’s order expanded to halt the OPT program, B-1 business visas, B-2 tourist visas, as well as the H-1B visa program.

“We’re so over-inundated with these visas that we’ve got to put a stop to it,” Palmer said. “We’ve got [36.5] million unemployed people right now … I’m getting emails of people’s visas being extended already before we even expand the ban.”

Multinational corporations like Amazon, Google, Deloitte, and Intel employ thousands of OPT foreign workers over American STEM graduates every year. In 2017, alone, Amazon had placed nearly 2,400 OPT foreign workers into white-collar STEM jobs that could have otherwise gone to American graduates.

The incentive for Amazon and others to hire OPT foreign workers comes in the form of a 15 percent discount that has allowed employers to evade at least $20 to $30 billion in FICA taxes over the years.

“It’s the CEOs, the Zuckerbergs, it’s all these people for the cheap labor … I have a college-aged daughter, what is their future? … the OPT [program] has killed the future of our college-aged students right now,” Palmer said.

Palmer said he is concerned that corporations who have replaced Americans with H-1B foreign visa workers are now taking federal, taxpayer dollars through the Paycheck Protection Program.

Michael Emmons, who was forced to train his foreign replacement along with other Americans at Siemens ICN in 2002, urged that L visas be included in any expansion of Trump’s order. Specifically, the L-1 visa program is limitless, allowing corporations to bring as many foreign employees to the U.S. for up to seven years as they want.

As Breitbart News exclusively reported, an original draft of the order included a suspension of E visas for foreign treaty traders and investors, B visas, H-1B and H-2B visas, J-1 visas for foreign exchange visitors, L visas for foreign employees, and O visas.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) confirmed this month that federal officials will allow travel admission of H-1B foreign visa workers in India. Meanwhile, corporations like Facebook, Apple, and Amazon have been given extensions for their H-1B employees by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Already, GOP lawmakers Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Rep. Lance Gooden (R-TX), Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Rep. Steve King (R-IA), Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX), Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX), and Matt Gaetz (R-FL) have asked Trump to halt foreign visa worker programs.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.


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