While working for a telecommunications company, I met an Indian women who was out of her element. She was in a software group but did not understand the language used. I had an older copy of a reference book for the language and lent it to her.
She told me some stories that at first I did not believe. She told me that she had worked until midnight the previous day. And the previous week, she worked until 2 am. I thought this was insane, given how productivity drops after too many hours are worked. We were not paid for overtime, so she was not motivated by money.
Our manager told us that one of the direct reports for her boss, an Indian man, was his wife, in clear violation of company policy. She told us that all of his direct reports, except for his wife, told him that the arrangement was a really bad idea. But nothing changed.
More and more Indian workers appeared in the company, though I did not appreciate at the time that all of them were being brought in under H-1B visas which did not allow them to switch employers. All of them were in the office when I arrived in the morning and still there when I left at the end of the day. I started looking for another job.
She never did return the book.
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"Why can't Wisconsin manufacturers, why can't small businesses, find enough people to work?" Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson rhetorically asked during a speech in a Senate hearing room. He is a member of the Tea Party Caucus, along with Marco Rubio.
Johnson touted his State Sponsored Visa Pilot Program Act of 2017, S.1040, as being able to solve the problem, with Colorado Congressman Ken Buck being a fellow traveler. Their dog and pony show was held in conjunction with the Cato Institute, the temple of social Darwinism. The bill would give each state 5000 new visas, plus a population-based share of another 245,000 visas, as well as being able to share visas not used by other states.
Funny how American workers at Disney, Southern California Edison, the University of California, Northeast Utilities, and many other companies were replaced by Indian workers -- after training their replacements. This did not happen because Wisconsin or any other state's firms were unable to find suitable workers. It happened because those firms were allowed to import de facto indentured servants via H-1B visas.
Johnson raved about a "new plague [of opioid addiction] in our country," blaming it for a lack of qualified workers, with Medicaid giving out free opioids like candy on Halloween. It is true that drug overdose deaths are the leading cause of injury death in the United States, but that's a predictable consequence of the outsourcing relished by many of the elites, with suicide rates for Native Americans and middle-aged whites going through the roof.
Johnson and Buck are simply calling for more corporate welfare.
And the latest spending bill includes an increase in H-2B visas of almost 79,000, with these visas being used for blue-collar workers for seasonal jobs.
"But this is what it does: it takes jobs away from American workers and abuses the immigrants that come into this country ... In the past 10 years, the Department of Labor has found 800 employers, 800, who have abused 23,000 guest workers ... It is a new-fangled form of indentured servitude," wrote Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, who is not voting for the bill.
Not surprisingly, the Washington Post is in favor of the H-2B increase, with its owner, Jeff Bezos, having outsourced Amazon's customer service to India: "The country's $25 billion dollar horse racing industry relies on a majority Hispanic immigrant workforce ... The policies could have a significant impact on the racing industry, and many employed in it. Without enough visas, horse trainers would face a labor shortage."
Why should the horse racing industry receive federal subsidies so it can avoid hiring Americans?
If we prevented corporations from importing cheap labor, they'd be forced to hire Americans. Sure, prices for those products would increase, but those workers would then have money to spend. Consider it trickle-up economics.
Instead of Johnson and Buck's gift to multinational corporations, we should pass Iowa Senator Charles Grassley's H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act of 2017, S.180, including these common sense remedies:
- The bill requires completion of a U.S. degree (or an equivalent foreign degree) as a qualification for "specialty occupation" eligibility, eliminating experience in a specialty as an equivalent to the completion of such a degree.
- The Department of Labor may issue subpoenas and seek appropriate injunctive relief and specific performance of contractual obligations to ensure H-1B employer compliance.
- The period of authorized admission for an H-1B nonimmigrant is reduced from six to three years, with a three-year extension available for aliens with extraordinary ability or with advanced degrees or professors.
- Labor may investigate applications for fraud and conduct H-1B compliance audits.
- The bill increases certain employer penalties, including the penalty for displacing a U.S. worker.
- An employer that violates any H-1B requirement shall be liable to the harmed employee for lost wages and benefits.
- No employer may replace a U.S. worker with an L-1 worker.
Because the bronze plaque in the Statue of Liberty does not read:
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
They will be indentured servants and visa whores,
So CEOs and politicians can live on street easy."