Kamala Harris Promises Opportunity, but Hides Indian Outsourcing Bill

published 2019-06-30 14:25:55 by Neil Munro

Sen. Kamala Harris is declaring herself the supporter of working families — but she is the lead Democratic sponsor on legislation which offers green cards to hundreds of thousands of Indian college grads who agree to take middle-class jobs sought by young American graduates.

If Harris’ outsourcing law is adopted, the rush of Central Americans migrants at the southern border will be overshadowed by a huge rush of Indian college graduates walking into professional jobs throughout the United States. “It is impossible to understate the significance of this,” said Jessica Vaughan, policy director at the Center for Immigration Studies. Vaughan continued:

A lot of people believe this is only for IT [professionals] but the potential impact goes way beyond IT – healthcare, accountants, and other professional jobs will be at risk. These are jobs which offered a gateway into the middle class for kids from families where the parents did not have white-collar jobs… American graduates are going to see their employment prospects severely restricted by Harris’ bill.

This is “white-c0llar labor trafficking,” she added. 

“Working families need support and need to be lifted up,” Kamala Harris told the TV audience at the June 28 Democrat debate, adding:

Frankly, this economy is not working for working people. For too long, the rules have been written in the favor of the people who have the most and not in favor of the people who work the most.

We have all been traveling around the country, I certainly have, I’m meeting people who are working two and three jobs …  So when we talk about jobs, let’s be really clear. In our America, no one should have to work more than one job to have a roof over their head and food on the table.

Harris is the lead Democratic sponsor for the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act. The legislation is intended to help Indian graduates get roughly 120,000 green cards each year — or roughly five times as many green cards as they receive now.

But Harris’ bill is a special-interest fix for a problem collectively created by the federal government, India’s government, CEOs, investors, and their hired foreign contract-workers.

The huge career and financial cost of Harris’ fix will be imposed on young American graduates, including million of U.S. graduates who are likely to vote Democratic in 2020.  

The Problem:

The federal government offers 140,000 green cards to foreign graduates who are nominated by their U.S. employers. Unsurprisingly, companies love this green card giveaway because it allows them to dangle green cards to motivate their foreign workers. Unsurprisingly, many foreign workers rationally will do tough work at low wages for many years to get those hugely valuable green cards for themselves and their families — and Americans companies hire them instead of more expensive American graduates.

Companies can nominate as many foreign workers as they wish, even though the federal government only provides 140,000 cards for foreign college-graduates each year. So, of course, there is a growing backlog in the green card line as companies nominate more people than there are green cards.

Only some categories of foreign workers are eligible for these green cards. The most important group is the army of the foreign contract-workers in H-1B work-visa program. Workers with H-1B visas have to go home after six years of work — unless they get nominated by their company for one of the 140,000 green cards. Once nominated, the H-1B workers continue working for the same employer until they get their green card, after which they can try to find jobs with better pay and conditions.

So companies have a huge financial incentive to hire and import cheap foreign workers on temporary visas, and to then nominate many of the temporary workers for green cards once their temporary status is about to expire. Already, companies employ roughly 1 million foreign contract-workers via the H-1B program.

That hidden subsidy to U.S. business means at least 1 million college-graduate jobs are closed to American graduates. It also means that most Americans graduates are earning lower salaries because companies do not have to compete for their skills. Instead, Americans graduates have to compete hard for jobs that pay more than the wages earned by baristas, waiters, and temps.

Indian Graduates

Almost 70 percent of incoming H-1B workers are Indian because the Indian government has used the program as an economic development policy. That government policy has been extremely successful and Indian firms have won subcontracts worth billions from American investors who want to boost their stock values by outsourcing many of their operations to cheap Indian subcontractors. 

Roughly 1 million Indian foreign graduates have cycled through the H-1B program. While in the United States, the H-1B workers work closely with teams of India-based workers to boost the Indian economy with a huge variety of outsourced work — including software design, database maintenance, health-records management, banking networks, customer support services, and even the development of avionics software for Boeing aircraft. Most of these workers return home — bringing with them the skills, connections, and contracts that have created a national technology boom and a new middle-class. 

Understandably, American employers have extended the stay of their Indian H-1B workers by nominating them for green cards. This has spurred the creation of many communities of H-1B and ex-H-1B workers around Microsoft’s headquarters in Washington State, around Wal-Mart in Bentonville Ark., as well as in Silicon Valley, Northern Virginia, New Jersey, and Connecticut. In January 2018, for example, the San Jose Mercury News reported:

About 71 percent of tech employees in the Valley are foreign born, compared to around 50 percent in the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward region, according to a new report based on 2016 census data … the paper’s research indicated that 63 percent of Seattle’s foreign-born tech workers were not American citizens.

In Wal-Mart’s Arkansas, the Forsyth County News reported:

“The Indian population has grown a lot in Forsyth County,” said Gina Sharma, a team leader with Keller Williams Realty North Atlanta. “I moved here in 2005 from Fulton County, and over the past years, I’ve seen personally the change in Forsyth County. A lot of people are moving here from Alpharetta into Forsyth for the schools and just overall the growth that is in Forsyth County.”

There are so many H-1B contract-workers in the United States — roughly 1 million — that they are found in every state and in every congressional district. This breadth also gives them the ability to lobby many legislators.

Country Caps

This is where the H-1B and the green card programs collide to generate even more benefits for U.S. companies.

The green card law contains a “per-country cap” which was intended to ensure that a diversity of foreign workers from a variety of countries could get green cards. In practice, the cap means that only 23,000 Indians can get green cards each year.

But American companies have imported so many Indian H-1Bs, and nominated so many of them for green cards, that there is a multi-year backlog of roughly 300,000 Indian employees — and 300,000 family members — in the green card line.

Indian contract workers say this is unfair, and complain that they must wait in the line while foreign employees from other countries can pick up their green cards with little delay.

But the Indian contract workers are willing to work in the United States for five, 10, or even 15 years to finally become a legal immigrant on the day that they get their valuable green card

The Indian contract workers are working for low wages — and future green cards —  in a wide variety of l0w-status firms and prestigious companies. They work in a wide variety of careers, including therapists, designers, managers, architects, journalists, software programmers, engineers, statisticians, accountants, teachers, and fashion professionals.

Yet the number of Indians volunteering to join the next wave of H-1B visa workers is leveling off because fewer Indian graduates want to take the H-1B career path if they cannot also get green cards. Moreover, Indian graduates no longer have to go abroad in search of opportunity but can win jobs in India’s technology sector. That resulting drop off in the number of volunteers for the H-1B program is bad for companies. 

In 2015, President Barack Obama provided some relief by issuing work permits to the spouses of contract workers in the waiting line. This potentially illegal giveaway means that the spouses of contract workers can alleviate their relative poverty, especially if they are working in expensive districts, such as Silicon Valley. 

The Harris Outsourcing Bill

But the Harris bill fixes this backlog problem for U.S. investors, for India’s government, and for the Indian contract workers by eliminating the country diversity caps.

Removal of the country caps will eliminate the Indian backlog in a few years and allow Indian H-1Bs to get up to 140,000 cards per year, after a very short wait. Of course, many people from China, the Philippines, and other countries are also trying to get green cards too, but Indians comprise a clear majority of the workers in the backlog, so they can easily scoop up 100,000 of the promised 140,000 each year. 

So if Harris eliminates the backlog, her bill can provide almost 1 million green cards per decade to Indians who get visa jobs. 

The Indian government fully supports this plan because their economic development teams are trying to grow the economy by sending more workers overseas in the realistic expectation that those workers will funnel more contracts and opportunities back to their peers in India — and their peers include graduates from particular regions and castes, such as Telegu and Brahmin. The Forsyth County News reported:

Ani Agnihotri, program chair of the USA-India Business Summit, said Indians make up the second-largest group of foreign students in American universities, behind those from China, but said Chinese students frequently return to China while Indians are more likely to stay in the U.S. “Ninety-five percent of the students that come here for their higher education, mostly for master’s and Ph.Ds, and then they stay, then they start contributing to the local economy,” he said.

Agnihotri said India has a massive and young population that could provide skilled, English-speaking workers ready to relocate “even at a seven-day notice” and said the majority of doctors in the United Kingdom and about 15 percent in America are of Indian descent.

“India has the youngest population in the world. About 25 percent of the population of India, which is 1.25 billion, is below the age of 25,” he said. “We will be the provider of the workforce of the world in about 15 years, after 2035.”

India’s policy is perfectly tuned to U.S. federal policy, which seeks to stimulate the domestic economy for investors by importing 1 million consumers, renters, and workers each year via legal immigration rules — regardless of the impact on American employees and families, or the 4 million Americans who turn 18 each year, or the 800,000 Americans who earned technology-intensive degrees each year. 

So, how many additional Indian graduates will come to the United States to get their larger share of green cards?

Currently, roughly 300,000 Indian migrants and 300,000 family members are in line for their annual allotment of 23,000 the cards. Crudely speaking, that is a 24-year wait, although many subgroups of the Indians only have to wait a few years.

The willingness of 300,000 Indian graduates and 300,000 family members to work-and-wait for a decade to get their green cards suggests that 1 million extra Indians will join a decade-long backlog once Harris quadruples the number of green cards for Indians.

The backlog can grow — even if the annual number of green cards remains at 140,000 — because the annual inflow of H-1B can climb higher than current levels. 

The H-1B visa is supposedly capped at 85,000 per year, but the resident population is roughly 1 million H-1B workers, working in every state and myriad professions

And there is no limit on H-1B hiring in the non-profit sector. For example, at least 80,000 H-1 workers hold jobs in non-profit universities, hospitals, and company-funded research centers. 

Business groups are now pushing to exempt all healthcare jobs from the H-1B caps, which would allow healthcare investors to spike profits by outsourcing hundreds of thousands of additional healthcare jobs to even more H-1B workers.

The OPT Program

But there is a second pool of Indian workers that will grow if Harris expands the Indian green card numbers.

Current laws allow an unlimited number of foreign workers to get into the U.S. economy via a backdoor run by U.S. colleges and universities.

The backdoor is the “Optional Practical Training” program, which is offered to foreign graduates of U.S. colleges. The program is already used by many Indians to improve their work skills and resumes as they try to get into the H-1B program.  

Progressives for Immigration reform, a left-wing group, slammed OPT as a jobs-outsourcing program: 

OPT has gobbled up U.S. jobs at an alarming rate and is now larger than the notorious H-1B visa program, created as part of the Immigration Act of 1990, that grants 85,000 employment-based visas to foreign nationals each year even though there’s an abundance of skilled American workers available.

OPT has accounted for more than 200,000 foreign students remaining in the U.S. to work in each of the last few years.  Overall, between 2008 and 2016, OPT workers increased by 400 percent. It’s important to know that Congress never approved OPT; no public comment period was provided, and the program exists solely through regulation.

Among those that have profited the most by spurning Americans in favor of international students are the usual suspects: Amazon (3,655), Intel (1,707), Google (1,501), Microsoft (1,022), Facebook (798) and IBM (633) were in 2017 top OPT employers. DHS data showed that Amazon earned nearly $25 million in tax breaks for hiring foreign nationals instead of U.S. tech workers.

Once the Indian migrants get U.S. jobs via the OPT program they can try to win H-1B visas, which provide the vital on-ramp to the green card process. 

If Harris’ bill becomes law, more Indians will use the OPT program as an on-ramp to the H-1b program and green cards. 

It would allow many Indians to get a green card within seven years of graduation, around the time they turn 30. All they have to do is spend a decade in the OPT and H-1B programs, working long hours, for low wages, under terrible bosses, in humiliation, squalor, and crowded apartments.

That is a small price for an American green card.

The Green Card Giveaway

Getting an American green card by age thirty is equivalent to winning the lottery, or being one of the first workers at Facebook, Google, or Microsoft, or discovering a suitcase of gold in your bedroom. It is a hugely valuable prize that will make each winner the most successful person in their home neighborhood, their grade school, their university class, and their extended family. It allows Indians to escape their 4,000-year-old caste status, their own country’s caste nepotism, the poverty, and petty corruption, to become AN AMERICAN! in just ten years — and it means their spouses, their children, their chain-migration family, and all their descendent forever become AMERICANS.

The Harris bill  “would be an exponential increase in the pipeline … huge numbers of people will try to take advantage,” said Vaughan. 

The H-1B backlog also includes a small number of Chinese and Filipinos. If Harris removes the country caps, their governments will be able to surge more of their graduates into U.S. jobs, so displacing more young Americans. 

Harris’ anti-backlog “country caps” legislation may actually create a bigger backlog, warns the Congressional Research Service. “Shorter wait times for [green cards] might actually incentivize greater numbers of nationals from India, China, and the Philippines to seek employment-based [green card] status,” a CRS report warned legislators. “If that were to occur, the reduction in the number of approved petitions pending might be short-lived,” said the December 2018 report.

The backlog problem will get worse as more Indian, Chinese and Filipinos push into the pipeline — and then those stranded workers will create their own lobbies to demand more green cards to displace more American graduates, said Vaughan.

That lobbying is already underway by the Indians who have cajoled many Democratic and GOP legislators to support a bill which provides more green cards to themselves. For example, there are at least 600 H-1B workers in North Dakota, where GOP Sen. Kevin Cramer is now an ardent advocate for Harris’ outsourcing plan.

“This is the fallacy — that increasing the number of green cards will reduce the backlog — when instead what happens is that increasing the number of green cards increases the demand for green cards,” she said. Instead of reducing pressure in the pipeline, she said:

It has the opposite effect — it will increase the backlog and pressure in the green card [process] because there will always be more OPTs and more H-1Bs than green cards. The problem will grow every year and increases the pressure to expand the number of green cards and to create workarounds, such as making a special visa for the Irish, or the Ukrainians or the Malaysians.

Already, the Indians have won support from wealthy West Coast investors — such as Mark Zuckerberg — whose payouts on Wall Street are maximized by cheap labor:

And how many American graduates will lose their jobs when more Indians in the H-1B backlog and the OPT program flood into Americans’ office parks?

Harris’ bill would result in such “a huge influx of foreigners to take these white-collar jobs — and are more likely to be hired because they work for lower wages [in the expectation of subsequent green cards]. That is going to diminish opportunities for all American graduates,” including minority, women, Native American, and first-in-their-family graduates, she said. 

This government bonus of green cards for H-1B workers creates a huge competitive bias against American graduates.

How can Americans win job interviews when they are competing against equally skilled Indians who will work for starvation wages, peanuts, and fruit salad? The H-1B workers hope to get the citizenship deferred bonus — but Americans know they need higher salaries now to pay down their college debts, get married, and buy a decent house. 

Young American graduates have been walloped by economic policies and trends, amid record rates of college graduation. In May 2019, the Wall Street Journal reported

American millennials are approaching middle age in worse financial shape than every living generation ahead of them, lagging behind baby boomers and Generation X despite a decade of economic growth and falling unemployment.

Hobbled by the financial crisis and recession that struck as they began their working life, Americans born between 1981 and 1996 have failed to match every other generation of young adults born since the Great Depression. They have less wealth, less property, lower marriage rates and fewer children, according to new data that compare generations at similar ages.

“If I can’t afford a home, I definitely can’t afford kids,” said Joy Brown, 32 years old. She is a renter who is single and earns $75,000 a year. She also owes $102,000 in student loans and $10,000 in credit-card debt.

“Myself and a lot of my peers still feel like we’re playing catch-up in the game of life,” said Ms. Brown, a compliance officer for the city of Chicago.

In December 2018, the Atlantic reported under the headline “Millennials Didn’t Kill the Economy. The Economy Killed Millennials” that:

Millennials are the most educated generation in U.S. history to date. They bought into a social contract that said: Everything will work out, if first you go to college. But as the cost of college increased, millions of young people took on student loans to complete their degree. Graduates under 35 are almost 50 percent more likely than members of Gen X to have student loans, and their median balance is about 40 percent higher than that of the previous generation.

And what has all that debt gotten them? “Lower earnings, fewer assets, and less wealth,” according to the Federal Reserve paper’s conclusion. Student debt has made it harder for millions of young people to buy a home, since “holding debt is associated with a lower rate of homeownership, irrespective of degree type,” as Fed economists wrote in a previous study. In other words, young people took on debt to pursue a college degree, only to discover that the cost of college would push the American dream further from their grasp.

On June 27, the lead GOP sponsor of the Harris’ outsourcing bill, GOP Sen. Mike Lee, introduced Harris’ outsourcing bill on the Senate floor and asked for unanimous consent to pass the bill.

It was stopped, for the moment, when GOP Sen. Rand Paul, announced his objection.

But the bill has 34 supporters in the Senate — and more than 200 in the House. The bill will likely pass if President Kamala Harris is sitting in the Oval Office.

Immigration by the Numbers

Each year, roughly four million young Americans join the workforce after graduating from high school or university.

But the federal government then imports about 1.1 million legal immigrants and refreshes a resident population of roughly 1.5 million white-collar visa workers — including approximately one million H-1B workers — and approximately 500,000 blue-collar visa workers.

The government also prints out more than one million work permits for foreigners, tolerates about eight million illegal workers, and does not punish companies for employing the hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants who sneak across the border or overstay their legal visas each year, despite the rising loss of jobs to automation.

This policy of inflating the labor supply boosts economic growth for investors because it ensures that employers do not have to compete for American workers by offering higher wages and better working conditions.

Flooding the market with cheap, foreign, white-collar graduates and blue-collar labor also shifts enormous wealth from young employees towards older investors, even as it also widens wealth gaps, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, and hurts children’s schools and college educations. It also pushes Americans away from high-tech careers and sidelines millions of marginalized Americans, including many who are now struggling with fentanyl addictions. The labor policy also moves business investment and wealth from the Heartland to the coastal citiesexplodes rents and housing costsshrivels real estate values in the Midwest, and rewards investors for creating low-tech, labor-intensive workplaces.



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