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Thread: Trump's election sets stage for H-1B reform

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  1. #1
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    Trump's election sets stage for H-1B reform

    Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, a harsh critic of the visa program, to play leading administration role

    By Patrick Thibodeau
    Computerworld | Nov 14, 2016 3:01 AM PT

    President-elect Donald Trump gave laid-off IT workers something his rival, Hillary Clinton, did not during the campaign: Attention and a promise to reform the H-1B visa program.

    The IT workers that Trump wanted to appeal to don't work for startups, Google, Facebook or Microsoft. They run IT systems at insurance firms, banks, utilities and retailers. They live in Rust Belt cities and in New York City, but are too spread out for pollsters to measure.

    Trump recognized that IT workers are aggrieved and so did Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who worked with the president-elect on this issue. Sessions, after being appointed in early 2015 as the chairman of the Senate immigration subcommittee, set out to become "the voice of the American IT workers who are being replaced with guest workers."

    Sessions emerged as one of the visa program's harshest critics. He is now set to play a major role in a Trump administration.

    Trump has appointed Sessions' chief counsel, Danielle Cutrona, to head his immigration policy transition team. Sessions is reportedly being considered to head the Department of Homeland Security (which oversees the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service), Department of Justice (which can investigate discrimination complaints), or the Department of Defense.

    "Trump was the only candidate to invite me to share my horrific Disney story at his rallies, and Jeff Sessions was the only senator to invite me to testify at a Senate hearing," said Leo Perrero, a former IT worker at Disney who trained a visa-holding replacement. Disney laid off somewhere between 200 and 300 IT workers after hiring H-1B using contractors.

    With Republicans in control of the Congress as well, Perrero said, "I am very optimistic that action will finally be taken."

    After Southern California Edison (SCE) replaced a major part of its IT staff last year, Sessions took to the Senate floor and read Computerworld's news account of the displacement into the record. He invited leading H-1B critics to testify.

    A poster-sized photograph showing American flags in the cubicles of soon-to-be laid off workers at Northeast Utilities, since named Eversource, was displayed at another immigration committee hearing. The flags were raised in protest by the utility's IT employees.

    Brian Buchanan, a former senior IT staffer at SCE who also trained a visa-holding replacement, voted for Trump. He wants to see big changes to the visa program. But he is skeptical about the final outcome.

    "Everyone including Trump says they're gonna fix this," said Buchanan, "but yet it just keeps on going and getting worse. We need to take back these jobs and give them to unemployed Americans. There are millions of Americans that would benefit if we ended these programs, but the lobbyists, elite, special interests and politicians have a vested financial interest in keeping Americans wages low and replacing us whenever they can."

    What Buchanan wants to see is elimination of the H-1B program, because he believes it can't be fixed. "Every time government tries to fix broken programs, they make it far worse," he said.

    To prevent what happened at Edison, Buchanan believes U.S. firms should be liable for any contractor that uses H-1B visa workers to replace American workers. He also wants higher wages for visa workers, and believes the Trump administration should rescind President Barack Obama's executive order giving the spouses of some H-1B workers the ability to work. He has been part of a lawsuit fighting the Obama move.

    The H-1B program "was only supposed to be used for an unfilled job that you couldn't find an American worker for," said Buchanan.

    Reform of the H-1B program will face considerable opposition in Congress. It is an issue that transcends party lines. When longtime H-1B critic Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) tried to amend the 2013 Senate comprehensive immigration bill with U.S. worker protections, his chief opponent was a fellow Republican, Sen. Orrin Hatch, of Utah.

    But Trump, as president, will have executive powers to force changes in the program. And with Sessions set to play a prominent role in the administration, Silicon Valley faces a difficult fight. Whether the risk of IT worker displacement recedes, remains to the seen.

    Dawn Casey, an IT worker whose Twitter accounts announces that she trained her foreign replacement, tweeted on the night of Trump's victory about her joy over his victory. "I think his election is very important to the H-1B issue. Trump will put Americans first and he will bring back jobs," she wrote.

    http://www.computerworld.com/article...1b-reform.html
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    We need a 10 to 20 Year Moratorium on All Immigration. And we need it Day One.
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  3. #3
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    Chamber Panicked Trump Could Reform H-1B Visas

    Foreign-worker program that undercuts skilled American workers likely headed for major transformation

    by Jim Stinson | Updated 18 Nov 2016 at 7:47 AM

    The H-1B worker visa program could finally get an overdue revamp.

    The H-1B visa program, which ushers foreign workers into U.S.-based jobs (mainly technology work), has been mentioned by President-Elect Donald Trump on the campaign trail.

    And now that Trump approaches the White House, those who support the unfettered growth of the program are having panic attacks. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce (USCC) is a leading supporter of the program, and thinks the annual number of foreign workers brought in is too low.

    Some of the USCC’s top backers, not surprisingly, also think this too. Among the mega-backers of expanding the H-1B visa quota is Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook.

    The USCC, and Indian companies who benefit from the outsourcing, may be meeting soon to reach a consensus strategy in the wake of Trump’s win. Chamber of Commerce officials did not return a message seeking comment about what they are planning to do, after LifeZette received a tip about a possible meeting in Washington, D.C.

    Critics of the program say the powerful USCC, the foremost national business lobby, needs to reconsider its support for the H-1B program, which was kicked off in 1990. The program is supposed to supplement and aid U.S. tech workers — not replace them. Instead, critics charge the program is being used to cut wages in the industry by replacing skilled U.S. workers with cheap foreign replacements.

    "[The USCC] is too vested in the idea," said Dan Stein, the president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a watchdog agency that opposes the visa program. "It's past time to scrub the whole thing and start over."

    Stein said it's likely too late to salvage the program, which was founded in 1990. Trump himself sometimes appeared on stage with perhaps the most famous American victims of the program, former Walt Disney Co. employees who had to train their Indian replacements on the way out the door.

    In March 2015, The New York Times wrote about the October 2014 layoffs of 250 Disney employees, many in Florida. Trump's campaign used the issue to get a leg up on his rival, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.

    "Many of their jobs were transferred to immigrants on temporary visas for highly skilled technical workers, who were brought in by an outsourcing firm based in India," The Times wrote. "Over the next three months, some Disney employees were required to train their replacements to do the jobs they had lost."

    The move was a <acronym title="Google Page Ranking">PR</acronym> disaster for both Disney and the H-1B program. There was no apparent need to replace the workers. Worker-visa critics charged Disney used the swap to cut wages and replace older Florida workers with Indian workers. And technically, the program cannot be used to replace U.S. workers.

    Congress reacted. Rep. Darrell Issa, a Republican from California, tried to pass House Bill 5801. The bill would tighten restrictions on the worker program. It's currently delayed in Congress, but Issa's office told LifeZette on Thursday that the congressman hopes to get it passed soon.

    But first the bill and other restrictions will have to get past perhaps the largest and most powerful army of lobbyists in Washington. Not only does the Chamber of Commerce want more H-1B visas — Facebook, Google, and Microsoft want more too.

    Right now, only 85,000 H-1B visas are issued annually. The USCC makes the counterintuitive claim on its website that the annual quota of 85,000 foreign tech workers a year causes more job losses, as many as 500,000 lost jobs a year.

    But Disney workers did not feel that way. One worker told The Times that he was not going to get his bonus unless the "highly skilled" worker from India was fully trained in his new job within so many days. Two former Disney IT workers, Dena Moore and Leo Perrero, later appeared at a Trump rally in Alabama, according to Variety magazine. They later sued Disney.



    Disney's problems didn't end there. In March, Perrero testified before a Senate subcommittee, chaired by Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions. Perrero told lawmakers that a Disney official told them, in frank language, that they had to comply with training the new workers or they would not get severance.

    Perrero told Congress that many displaced tech workers do not want to speak out, for fear of being blacklisted in the powerful industry.

    John Miano, a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, said the H-1B visa program is in fact a mess designed to be complex and therefore hard for the government to monitor.

    But what really bothers Miano is the lack of data on H-1B visas. That makes it hard to analyze the program, he said.

    "It's a greater secret than what goes on in Area 51," said Miano.

    http://www.lifezette.com/polizette/c...rm-h-1b-visas/
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    For the most part, I'd say industry and business designs on H1B workers is over for a very long time. We have so many talented, skilled and educated workers available for work in the United States, we do not need any visa workers for years, and with technological developments that reduce the number of workers needed, possibly forever. The whole program needs to be put on hold, revamped and considered an antique from a time long gone by when Americans weren't watching their own hen houses and allowed their government to sell out their country. That will not happen again in the United States. That tragedy is over.
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