Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives rammed through HR 1044, a job-busting bill that would, if it becomes law, eliminate the 7 percent employment-based visa country cap and would raise the family-based visa cap from 7 percent to 15 percent.
Despite much controversy surrounding HR 1044, debate was limited to 20 minutes, regular rules were suspended, and the final tally was 365-65, with Democrats voting 225 yea, eight nay; Republicans, 140 yea, 57 nay, with three abstaining, and positioned as a bipartisan success. Defenders of American jobs, pro-labor progressives and organizations that promote fair immigration, including U.S. Tech Workers, however, universally denounced the bill.
The misleadingly named Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, which has been unsuccessfully kicking around Congress since 2011, has multiple negative ramifications. Worst among the bad is that HR 1044 rewards large corporations that employ foreign national H-1B workers to displace U.S. tech workers.
If per-country caps were eliminated, as HR 1044 proposes, Green Cards would go to foreign nationals from two main countries, India and China, at the expense of people from other countries, and would primarily benefit big tech, which lobbied for this. More tech immigration enriches the already wealthy Silicon Valley elites.
As the Congressional Research Service summarized, “… absent a per-country ceiling, a handful of countries [India and China] could conceivably dominate employment-based immigration, possibly benefitting certain industries that employ foreign workers from those countries, at the expense of foreign workers from other countries and other industries that might employ them.”
In her 25-year congressional career, Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), who introduced HR 1044, has amassed the most solidly anti-American worker voting record as any of her peers. Lofgren has, 100 percent of the time, voted in favor of more employment-based visas for foreign nationals, and amnesty for illegal aliens that included lifetime work authorization.
Lofgren has voted against tightening border security, closing asylum loopholes, ending chain migration and eliminating amnesty entitlements. No one in Congress has more completely failed at protecting American workers or the best interests of U.S. citizens than Lofgren. Not just tech workers would be affected by Lofgren’s legislation, but a wide swath of white-collar employees would also become vulnerable.
Expanding the H-1B visa is Lofgren’s pet project. But, a mountain of evidence continues to grow that more H-1Bs are unnecessary and that there has been routine abuse in the program. The latest exposéby Ron Hira and Bharath Gopalaswamy published by the Atlantic Council concluded that the H-1B program has never been fixed to meet the original promises Congress made to protect U.S. jobs. Instead, the program has been expanded to allow even larger numbers of H-1B workers, admitting them for longer periods of time, while its flawed governing rules have remained as they originally were loosely written in the Immigration Act of 1990.
Lofgren’s fascination with foreign imports begs for a closer look at what’s happening in the district she is supposed to represent. While Lofgren is working tirelessly on behalf of Indian and Chinese nationals as well as multinational tech giants, a growing percentage of her San Jose constituents are living on the streets.
According to a 2019 federally mandated count of the area’s population that lives rough, San Jose, the nation’s tenth largest city, has seen its population of people living on the streets jump from 4,350 in 2017 to 6,172 in 2019, a 42 percent increase. Santa Clara County, where Lofgren earned a law degree, has experienced a 31 percent hike from 7,394 to 9,706. Even though the homeless include many veterans, Lofgren has been mostly silent on the growing plight. Lofgren needs to check her priorities, which are badly out of whack.
The fight for preferential treatment for mostly Indians moves on to the Senate, with S 386, where the prospects for the bill’s defeat are greater, but no sure thing.