Progressive Immigration Critic: Corporations Push H-1B Giveaway Bill to Slash Middle-Class Salaries

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Bills H.R.1044 and S.386 — both titled the “Fairness to High-Skilled Immigrants Act” — will accelerate “the active stripping of the United States” via the “outsourcing of white-collar jobs” to H-1B visa workers, explained Kevin Lynn, executive director of Progressives for Immigration Reform. He joined Tuesday’s edition of SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight for an interview with hosts Rebecca Mansour and Joel Pollak.

Progressives for Immigration Reform was founded in 2008 to examine “the unintended and intended consequences of unbridled immigration,” said Lynn. “There’s a reason immigration [used to be] restrictive and well-regulated. It’s because prior to it being so from the 1920s back, immigration was being used to hammer labor, so it was very much a part of the populist movement [which] called for restricting immigration. We began to see the first of that legislation in the 1920s, and really, that system was in place until 1965 when the idea was to increase the diversity but not the numbers because the Democratic Party was very much aware of what large numbers of immigrants — how that would impact wages, benefits, [and] social mobility through supply and demand.”

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The “Fairness to High-Skilled Immigrants Act,” the namesake of both H.R.1044 and S.386, is a “misnomer,” said Lynn. Mansour described the bills’ shared name as “Orwellian.”

Lynn recalled his time volunteering and working for Ross Perot between 1992 and 1994. “[Ross Perot’s] big thing was fighting NAFTA, GATT, and the WTO. We failed, and a good portion of our manufacturing base was shipped overseas, and what we’re seeing now [is] the outsourcing of white-collar jobs. We look at a lot at tech workers, but it’s really beyond that — it’s any white-collar job — [and it has] been happening since the late 1990s.”

Disney’s replacement of American workers at Disney World with foreign H-1B workers in 2015 — which included the American workers training their foreign replacements prior to being laid off — is an illustration of a broader phenomenon of “displacement of American workers” via the status quo of H-1B visa issuances, said Lynn.

Outsourcing of jobs to foreigners has expanded beyond manufacturing jobs, explained Lynn. “Initially, they stripped out the manufacturing, and now they’re going after the intellectual property: what’s between the ears of our productive class here in America. This bill, what it will do, is reward all this bad behavior.”

H-1B visas have become de facto green cards, explained Lynn.

“Prior to 1990, an employment visa was a temporary visa,” noted Lynn. “The dual intent nature of the [H-1B] visa, now, allows them to apply for a green card. You have 85,000 people a year coming in on these green cards, which are supposed to be for a three-year stint, which typically allows them to stay another three years on an extension — so it should be six years and gone — but we have all these people coming here with green cards staying. And then, to add insult to injury, they said, ‘If you apply for your green card and you run into that six-year deadline, you can just stay,’ so as a result, hundreds of thousands of workers from India [stay in America] because 80 percent of the workers who come in on the H-1B visa are from India. So you now have hundreds of thousands of [Indians] in the queue versus other countries, and that’s why there’s a backlog, not because India has such a large population.”

“This bill is just going to exacerbate the problem, obviously,” said Mansour. “It seems as if this is a giveaway to the corporations that are — let’s just be honest — trying to replace American workers with cheaper labor because it dramatically cuts their overhead and increases their profits. … This mass inflow of cheaper foreign labor is felt overall by every American all across the American workforce, not just the tech sector. This reduces wages for all Americans, eventually.”

Foreigners graduating from American post-secondary institutions are less costly to hire than their American counterparts, explained Lynn.

“In 2017, over 200,000 foreign students who graduated from a U.S. college or university took advantage of Optional Practical Training,” noted Lynn. “As if things aren’t difficult enough, [American graduates] are now competing with foreign students who actually get a 15-percent rebate to the person hiring them because [the employer] doesn’t have to pay Social Security or FICA.”  Non-citizen foreigners, he speculated, are likely to be more “acquiescent” to employer demands than their American counterparts. “It’s a downward spiral [of wages],” he added.

“I see what’s going on as — I call it — the active stripping the United States,” added Lynn.

Political leaders have prioritized “diversity and multiculturalism” over “good-paying jobs,” stated Lynn.

“What’s going on now, particularly with our employment visa programs, these are not high-skilled workers,” remarked Lynn. “These are barely skilled workers. For instance, the H-1B program, it has four skill levels: one, two, three, and four. Seventy-four percent who come over on the H-1B program are in skill levels one and two, so they compete directly with our community college graduates, our bachelor’s school graduates, and they have a real advantage when it comes to getting hired.

Mansour invited Lynn’s response to claims that immigration is necessary to counter allegedly insufficient birth rates among Americans.

Lynn highlighted research from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. He read the following abstract [emphasis added]:

We assess and compare computer science skills among final-year computer science undergraduates (seniors) in four major economic and political powers that produce approximately half of the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics graduates in the world. We find that seniors in the United States substantially outperform seniors in China, India, and Russia by 0.76–0.88 SDs and score comparably with seniors in elite institutions in these countries. Seniors in elite institutions in the United States further outperform seniors in elite institutions in China, India, and Russia by ∼0.85 SDs. The skills advantage of the United States is not because it has a large proportion of high-scoring international students. Finally, males score consistently but only moderately higher (0.16–0.41 SDs) than females within all four countries.

“We have the brains,” said Lynn of Americans’ abilities to compete with foreigners in the workplace. “We have the talent. We have the numbers. But what we’re seeing now is this great displacement that is so large.”

Lynn concluded by highlighting a brain drain of expertise to America. “If they are skilled, that’s great,” he said of immigrant workers. “In the case of say, doctors — and I talk to a lot of foreign-trained physicians or international medical graduates, we’re really getting the best of the best, here, for the most part. But the problem is there is a hit that the sending country takes — they lose that talent — and they may be in desperate need of medical help, instead of us doing the hard work of investing in our people. Let’s make sure we are producing those types of people.”

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