Investors are rushing a bill through the GOP-run Senate that would reward Indian college graduates for taking U.S. college-level jobs at low wages from young American graduates.
Utah GOP Sen. Mike Lee will ask the Senate on Thursday to approve his Indian outsourcing bill via “Unanimous Consent.” If no Senator objects, the radical bill will be considered to have passed the Senate.
A similar bill has already passed the House, numbered HR.1044, with the aid of 140 GOP votes.
Both bills are backed by India’s government that wishes to grow its economy by exporting more workers into jobs in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. The Lee/Harris bill would encourage this outsourcing by rewarding at least 100,000 Indian workers and spouses with green cards each year, up from the current “country cap” award of 20,000 green cards to Indians.
GOP Majority Sen. Mitch McConnell has the power to block the unanimous consent vote, as does any single Democratic or GOP Senator.
Officials working for President Donald Trump have not said if he will support or block the outsourcing bill.
The bill is being pushed by Lee and by Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris, who is now running for the Democrats’ presidential nomination.
Donald Trump will join India’s prime minister, Modi, at a Texas political rally orgnzd by Indian groups in US. Modi (& many US CEOs & investors) want Trump to OK a trade deal letting many more Indian grads take US white-collar jobs from American graduates. https://t.co/AxN1IBxk49
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) September 16, 2019
Lobbyists for the Silicon Valley and New York investors say the bill is a matter of fairness to 300,000 Indian visa workers who are waiting in line to get green cards. They also say, correctly, that the S.386 bill does not raise the annual inflow of H-1B workers or the yearly award of 140,000 employer-sponsored green cards.
But the lobbyists do not mention the little-known backdoor that is already being used by 200,000 Indian graduates to help get the hugely valuable prize of green cards.
The backdoor is the uncapped and huge “Optional Practical Training” program.
In 2017, 530,000 foreign graduates held one-year work permits via the OPT and the affiliated “CPT” programs. Almost 90,000 of those workers also held a 24-month extension because they won technology-intensive degrees at American colleges. Many of the foreigners register at low-status colleges so they can get a second or even a third OPT work permit.
There is no cap on the OPT program, so any and every foreign third-level student or graduate can get a work permit via the OPT program.
Many OPT jobs are poorly paid — but they serve as the critical on-ramp for the H-1B program, where the foreigners can work in exchange for the promise of a green card in five to ten years.
The H-1B program includes roughly 800,000 workers, most of whom are Indian.
The H-1B program is also uncapped because there are no caps for H-1B hiring by non-profits, such as university hospitals and research centers. Those non-profits now employ an army of roughly 100,000 H-1Bs, but business groups hope to dramatically increase that number by outsourcing many jobs in the healthcare sector.
President Barack Obama expanded the H-1B program in 2015. He provided “H4EAD” work permits to 100,000 spouses of roughly 300,000 H-1Bs who are working U.S. jobs while they wait to get green cards via their American employers. Trump’s deputies have postponed plans to end the H4EAD work permits.
Indian’s government is lobbying Congress to expand this lucrative OPT-to-H-1B-to-green card pipeline.
“Indian students are an important part of the, let’s say, engagement,” Indian ambassador Harsh Shringla told a D.C. meeting of lobbyists and advocates in July.
There are over 200,000 Indian students studying in the United States … If you are able to use the expertise of some of these people, highly trained and educated in the United States, for short-term employment, I think you would have a very useful source of professionals to maintain the competitiveness of U.S. high-tech industries … at very, very, very competitive … rates.
Shringla also praised the House for passing its green-card bill.
“I must compliment the U.S. House of Representatives for adopting the Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants bill which removes country caps on the H1B visas,” Shringla told the meeting at the Wilson Center. “I think this is an important initiative. We have worked with congressmen across the board, and we’re happy this is a bipartisan initiative in Congress, and we’re hopeful the Senate would follow course and also adopt the bill.”
This year, the Indian workforce in the United States is roughly equal to the annual output of roughly 800,000 American graduates with skilled college degrees.
The 800,000 number includes all U.S. graduates from healthcare, business, engineering, computers, science, math, or architecture courses at four-year universities.
The Indian workforce in the United States also steers many additional college graduate jobs back to India. The American portion of India’s outsourcing industry employs at least two million Indian workers and generates $78 billion in sales for India’s economy.
The demand by investors for endless migrant labor has created a new thing: The US-India Outsourcing Economy. This no-regulation zone redirects new wealth into a few cities & a small elite. Elites want to expand it, so US college-grads get #HR1044. https://t.co/4lWHtI3sUk
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) July 19, 2019
This obscure OPT-to-H-1B-to-green-card pipeline means U.S. investors and employers can hire an unlimited number of Indian graduates with the promised bonus of green cards.
So U.S. investors are pushing the outsourcing bill because they want more Indians to get into the pipeline.
The cheap Indian workers are a goldmine for U.S. investors. For example, Walmart is boosting its stock value by outsourcing 569 finance and accounting jobs in North Carolina to Indian contract workers. Genpact, a U.S. outsourcing firm, will import the Indian workers. Genpact is a spin-off of General Electric and is a member of India’s association of outsourcing companies, called NASSCOM. The company has made $7 billion for its investors, which include Bain Capital, Blackrock, and Charles Schwab Investment Management.
But the current narrow pipeline of 20,000 green cards per year deters many Indian graduates who recognize they will have to work — often in sweatshops — for a decade or more before they can get green cards.
So if GOP leaders remove the country caps, then companies can pay their Indian workers with up to 140,000 green cards each year, far more than the current “country caps” limit of 20,000 green cards. This would mean that Indian workers can get their green-card bonus after perhaps eight years in the OPT-to-H-1B pipeline.
A multiplied ability to pay more green cards faster will multiply the number of Indians who volunteer to work in the pipeline — and so will take more opportunities, jobs, pay, and careers from millions of young Americans.
Also, a bigger inflow of Indians will further depress college graduate salaries in the United States and will also flood many American technology graduates into new careers, even including journalism.
The companies’ ability to pay their Indian employees with taxpayer-provided green cards means that foreign graduates are much cheaper to hire than young American graduates, who have to be be paid in dollars so they can pay off their college debts, get married, and buy homes. Few employers will hire Americans if they can hire Indians — even poorly skilled Indians — for half the price and often for twice the hours.
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) August 29, 2019
Favorable tax rules boost the incentive to hire OPTs instead of American graduates. Employers do not have to pay Social Security taxes or Medicare taxes when they hire OPTs for U.S. jobs.
Many prestigious U.S. companies already hire OPTs instead of young American graduates.
The OPT program is widely exploited by many prestigious universities and companies, including Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and many other companies. For example, Amazon hired 3,655 OPT workers in 2017 — so denying valuable experience to 3,655 young American graduates.
The Department of Homeland Security has not posted 2018 data on the OPT program.
Similarly, New York University agreed to help educate and train many thousands of Americans in 2017 — but it also helps provide OPT jobs for 6,199 foreign students in exchange for their hard currency.
Many OPT workers get jobs with low-status Indian-owned subcontractors, allowing Indian recruiters to rent them out to brand name companies at higher rates. This subcontracting business allows brand name U.S. investors and companies to hire many OPT workers indirectly while bypassing American graduates.
The subcontractor industry includes many exploitative software sweatshops where OPT and foreign college graduate illegals work side-by-side, often for long hours, while sharing bedrooms with other OPTs.
The huge OPT program is rarely mentioned by establishment media outlets, such as Jeff Bezos’s Washington Post. But the program — and the associated fraud — has been extensively covered by Breitbart News.
Several education and advocacy groups oppose this white-collar outsourcing, including the Center for Immigration Studies, the American Workers Coalition, Doctorswithoutjobs.com, alongside ProUSworkers, No on H.R. 1044, and The Multinational Coalition Against H.R. 1044/S. 386.
In turn, these groups are backed up by a few sites that are tracking the scale and location of the outsourcing industry in federal legislators’ districts. The sites include SAITJ.org and H1BFacts.com. “The scope of this thing is really unbelievable,” said one researcher.
Each year, roughly four million young Americans join the workforce after graduating from high school or a university. This total includes about 800,000 Americans who graduate with skilled degrees in business or health care, engineering or science, software, or statistics.
But the federal government then imports about 1.1 million legal immigrants and refreshes a resident population of about 1.5 million white-collar visa workers — including approximately 1 million H-1B workers and spouses — and about 500,000 blue-collar visa workers. The government also prints more than 1 million work permits for new foreigners, and rarely punishes companies for employing illegal migrants.
This policy of inflating the labor supply boosts economic growth and stock values for investors. The stimulus happens because the extra labor ensures that employers do not have to compete for American workers by offering higher wages and better working conditions.
The federal policy of flooding the market with cheap, foreign, white-collar graduates and blue-collar labor shifts wealth from young employees toward older investors. It also widens wealth gaps, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, reduces marriage rates, and hurts children’s schools and college educations.
The labor policy also moves business investment and wealth from the Heartland to the coastal cities, explodes rents and housing costs, undermines suburbia, shrivels real estate values in the Midwest, and rewards investors for creating low-tech, labor-intensive workplaces.
But President Donald Trump’s “Hire American” policy is boosting wages by capping immigration within a growing economy. The Census Bureau said September 10 that men who work full-time and year-round got an average earnings increase of 3.4 percent in 2018, pushing their median salaries up to $55,291. Women gained 3.3 percent in wages, to bring their median wages to $45,097 for full time, year-round work.
But white-collar wages are growing slower than blue-collar wages, partly because of Indian outsourcing.
Donald Trump’s OMB again delays promised end of Obama’s @H4EAD work permits for 100K spouses of 800K H-1B visa-workers who take jobs from American college grads. Big giveaway to pro-Dem Silicon Valley investors though T. needs more whte-collr votes in 2020 https://t.co/hPqGWtUW1t
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) September 18, 2019
U.S. investors and the Indian government are hiding their cheap-labor push behind the lobbying of many Indian visa-workers in the United States.
The biggest of the visa-worker groups is Immigration Voice, which announced late Wednesday that Sen Mike Lee would try to push the S.386 outsourcing legislation through the Senate on Thursday, with the help of 34 other Senators. Here is the text of their announcement:
We are excited to share with you that H.R.1044/S.386 – The Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act is expected to be brought up in the Senate by Unanimous Consent (UC) later this week on Thursday, September 19th.
We are grateful to the United States Senator Mike Lee and U.S. Senator Kamala Harris for leading Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act in the Senate. Senator Harris and Lee have led the negotiation with Senator Paul to find a reasonable compromise. And we are very happy to share that an agreement has been reached so Senator Paul has agreed to remove his hold on the bill. Under this agreement, Schedule-A shortage workers identified by the Department of Labor will receive a set-aside of 5,000 green cards per year for the next nine (9) years. We think that this is an extremely fair agreement and we applaud all parties to this negotiation for further improving a very good bill. Schedule-A workers currently receive around 5,000 green cards every year, and this agreement will be consistent with the current demand for this specific classification of workers, which makes this agreement reasonable and fair.
As a result, we expect that later this week the Senate will UC Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren’s bill H.R.1044, which already passed the House with 365 bipartisan votes. During the UC process, the Senate will amend H.R.1044 to improve the bill with the language from Senator Durbin and Senator Grassley’s bill for worker protections, plus, Senator Paul’s amendment to allocate specific visas for Schedule-A workers.
We are extremely grateful to Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren for her leadership, plus 224 House Democrats Members who voted for the bill in July. We are also extremely grateful to Ranking Member Ken Buck for leading the bill in the House, plus 140 House Republican Members who voted for the bill around two months back.
As you are probably aware, it is illegal under labor law for employers to discriminate on national origin during the hiring process. However, once an employer has hired an employee for a job and sponsored the employee for a Green Card for that very same job (where national origin discrimination is illegal), suddenly employees born in specific countries are forced to wait up to 150 years for green cards (http://bit.ly/150yrwait). Not only does any human being has no control over their country of birth, but a person’s country of birth has no bearing on their ability to do their job. Apart from being clearly discriminatory and irrational, the current Per-country caps paradoxically result in the United States discriminating against better paid and higher qualified immigrants (http://bit.ly/higherpaid).
The lengthy wait times for tax-paying law-abiding skilled immigrants from certain countries is the result of antiquated Per-country caps on employment-based Green Cards, which have no meaning in an egalitarian society where the value a person brings to the table has nothing to do with immutable factors like race, gender, sexual orientation or country of birth. There is a wide-spread bi-partisan consensus that these unfair and arbitrary country-caps must go. The fact that the bill H.R.1044 has over 311 bi-partisan co-sponsors (http://bit.ly/hr1044cosponsors), including a majority of both political parties (and the majority of every Caucus in the House), is a testament to the bipartisanship and fairness of the bill.
Common people like us from across the country want Congress to pass sensible reform. And we are thankful for the bipartisan leadership of thirty-four (34) Senators without whose Cosponsorship (http://bit.ly/s386cosponsors) this bill would not get the necessary attention.
On behalf of a grateful community, we would like to relay our gratitude to Senator Lee and Senator Harris, along with Senator Kevin Cramer, Senator Jerry Moran, Senator Roy Blunt, Senator Chuck Grassley, Senator Tom Cotton U.S. Senator Susan Collins, Senator Tom Carper, Senator Ron Wyden, Senator Maria Cantwell, Senator Cory Gardner, Senator Tammy Baldwin, Senator Jeff Merkley, Senator Michael Bennet, Senator Kyrsten Sinema, Senator Rob Portman, Senator Roger Wicker, Senator James Lankford, Senator Tammy Duckworth, Senator Mike Crapo, U.S. Senator Martha McSally, Senator Mike Braun, Senator John Hoeven, Amy Klobuchar, U.S. Senator Chris Coons, Senator Jim Risch, Senator Doug Jones, Senator Mark Warner, Senator Todd Young, Senator Mitt Romney, John Cornyn, Senator Joni Ernst, Lisa Murkowski, U.S. Senator Tina Smith, and Senator Catherine Cortez Masto.
We would also like to express our sincere appreciation to the staff in all the Senate Offices. You have been kind and generous to give us your time and listen to our stories. And we cannot thank you enough for your service to the constituents.
Starting tomorrow (September 18th), we request everyone to please call your Senators requesting them to support Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act when it comes-up for UC on the Senate floor on Thursday, September 19th.