If it’s good for Google, is it good for America?
Under pressure to bring more foreign technology workers into the country, Congress is weighing a bipartisan bill to triple the number of skilled-work visas and expand other immigrant programs.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, is all in. On Tuesday, the bill’s sponsor called the United States “a stupid country” for failing to maximize skilled labor from overseas.
Critics warn the plan promoted by industry lobbyists would further tighten the screws on U.S. workers.
“We have Americans being replaced by cheap foreign workers and the response is to supply industry with more foreign replacements to put even more Americans out of work,” says John Miano, a tech worker-turned lawyer.
“Giving more foreign labor to industry is like giving cocaine to an addict,” he said.
The proposed “Immigration Innovation Act of 2015” is hailed as a much-needed fix by tech giants such as Google, Microsoft and Facebook.
Like its 2013 predecessor, the new “I-Squared Act” would sharply increase the ranks of H-1B (skilled) foreign workers. Now capped at 65,000 visas a year, plus 20,000 for holders of U.S. graduate degrees, H-1Bs could rise to 195,000. The benefits work squarely to the advantage of tech companies and their imported labor.
- There would be no cap on H-1B visas for foreign nationals with advanced degrees from U.S. universities.
- Discharged H-1B workers would be given a 60-day grace period during which they could change their immigration status or obtain a new visa with another employer.
- Foreign workers no longer eligible for H-1B can use a variety of other programs to stay in the U.S. and underbid American workers for jobs.
One program — Optional Practical Training OPT — is adding an estimated 120,000 foreign workers per year via student visas.
“Given these trends, it is likely that America’s largest guest worker program is now student visas,” Miano said.
Indeed, OPT participants are not students — they are workers co Americans.”
“The Department of Homeland Security simply turns these aliens loose in the job market without any supervision, even allowing them to be unemployed to look for work,” Miano said. “Worse yet, employers do not have to pay Social Security and Medicare tax for aliens on student visas. This makes OPT workers inherently less expensive than hiring Americans.”
The Washington Alliance of Technology Workers is suing the government over the OPT program. “There is no statutory authority whatsoever for aliens to work on student visas, but over the years the Immigration and Naturalization Service and DHS have allowed such work through regulation,” asserts Miano, who is representing WashTech.
Read Watchdog.org: Stupid country? ‘I-Squared’ immigration lobby hammers U.S. technology workers
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