No sooner does one awful, American job-killing bill get nixed in Congress than another pops up to replace it. Such is the nature of trying to protect U.S. workers from an unnecessary wave of foreign nationals displacing talented, educated white-collar Americans from their middle-class jobs.
To the specifics, S. 386 the misleadingly named Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act that Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and presidential aspirant Kamala Harris (D-CA) cosponsored was derailed when, unlike its House companion bill, the Senate couldn’t ram through a unanimous consent agreement – no amendment allowed, no public comment permitted, and no opposing testimony that would have put forward valid objections to S. 386 on the grounds that eliminating the 7 percent country cap would favor one country, India, over all others seeking employment-based H-1B visas.
Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL), the Democratic Whip, stepped forward to block S. 386, but not for the heroic reason that he wanted to protect Americans, but rather to introduce his own and much worse legislation, the Resolving Extended Limbo for Immigrant Employees and Families Act (RELIEF). With ranking Senate Judiciary Committee member Patrick Leahy (D-VT) cosponsoring RELIEF, the legislation would not only lift the country cap, it would also over a five-year period eliminate the estimated 4 million Green Card backlog. Further, RELIEF would remove spouses and minor children from the employment-based pool of Green Cards and shift them to the immediate family categories which would result in an increase of between 50,000 to 100,000 Green Cards per year.
The Durbin/Leahy bill is without protections for U.S. tech workers, and represents a slap in the face to American employees who have paid for their college educations, amassed debt to pursue their degrees and have families to support. Big tech companies’ executives from Apple, Deloitte, Walmart and Facebook supported S. 386 and are lobbying for the RELIEF Act, and cheering for the cheap labor policies, specifically the H-1B visa, that contribute to their multimillion-dollar annual incomes.
The congressional horserace to cross the finish line first in the effort to displace American workers is always neck-and-neck. But during his 35-year career in the U.S. House and then the Senate, few have done as much to promote foreign nationals’ interests at Americans’ expense than Durbin. The Illinois senator has consistently voted to increase coveted employment-based visas as well as for amnesty entitlements, and more liberal refugee and asylee policies.
At the same time, Durbin refuses to vote for actions that would secure the border, enforce the interior, reduce illegal immigration incentives or end sanctuary cities. Durbin was infamously a Gang of Eight charter member that helped pass S. 744, a Green Card giveaway that would have amnestied the 2013 illegal immigrant population, then about 11 million. And over a decade, the legislation, which wasn’t considered in the House, would have issued 33 million employment-based visas to overseas workers. Durbin’s bottom line: immigrants and would-be immigrants come first, and deserve a chance at good U.S. jobs. Unlucky Americans get the back of Durbin’s hand.
Since Congress created the H-1B visa as part of the Immigration Act of 1990, employers have falsely insisted that a dire shortage of skilled workers exists. On its face, their argument – that for nearly 30 years, not enough qualified Americans can be found – is ludicrous. A January 2019 New York Times story recounted American university students’ difficulty in getting seats in high-demand computer science classes.
Naturally, employers love the H-1B visa because, among other benefits to them, it increases the job applicant pool, and allows them to keep downward pressure on wages. A true worker shortage would result in increased wages. But instead, tech salaries remain flat. Average annual 2018 salaries leveled off at $93,244, an insignificant 0.6 percent increase from 2017.
Fewer than 30 percent of Silicon Valley techies are Americans, an unthinkable outrage. U.S. jobs should go first to Americans. But unfortunately, globalists like Durbin and tech employers have a captive congressional audience when they wolf cry “shortage.”