Marco Rubio may have abandoned the “Gang of Eight”amnesty legislation he helped pass in the Senate, out of political expediency, but he’s by no means finished his assault on American workers. This time, he’s forged another immigration coalition to assist corporations in the tech sector of the economy to replace their workers with imported workers, and bypass unemployed workers with ready tech skills.
Business executives and several mayors met behind closed doors to craft a strategy to pass a bill known as the “I-Squared” bill – officially known as “Immigration Innovation Act of 2015”(S.153), through the Senate. The bill is co-sponsored by Orin Hatch, R-Utah, Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., Chris Coons, D-Del., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn and Marco Rubio.
The group hosting the meeting is one notorious for pushing higher quotas for H1B workers. The Partnership for a New American Economy consists of a who’s who of major corporate tech employers. There are scores of mayors, current and former, involved in this campaign to destroy the wage structure of skilled IT workers, or throw them out of jobs altogether.
The list of CEO’s and execs from firms with large pools of tech workers include Microsoft, which just last year began projected layoffs of 18,000 employees, Hewlett Packard, which announced layoffs of 27,000 last Fall, Boeing, Marriott, and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.
Also on the list is Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO of Walt Disney, of whom a report was issued in October of several hundred IT workers summarily dismissed, while in reminiscent fashion of Pfizer Corp, required these same employees to train their replacements. Computerworld reports:
Disney cut well-paid and longtime staff members, some who had been previously singled out for excellence, as it shifted work to contractors. These contractors used foreign labor, mostly from India. The laid-off workers believe the primary motivation behind Disney’s action was cost-cutting.
“Some of these folks were literally flown in the day before to take over the exact same job I was doing,” said one of the IT workers who lost his job. He trained his replacement and is angry over the fact he had to train someone from India “on site, in our country.”
Ron Hira of Howard University in Washington, D.C, formerly of the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), states:
The replacement workers are not the “best and brightest,” he added, but “ordinary IT workers with ordinary skills.” No one knows how many are in the United States but “you’re talking over a million people.” About 80% of those brought by the two largest users of H-1B visas, the Indian outsourcing giants Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), have “no more than a bachelor’s degree.” He recounted watching RIT graduates forced to train their foreign replacements at Xerox; anyone who balks risks losing unemployment benefits and severance pay.
The proposed bill that Rubio is pushing, will increase the quota ceiling of H-1B work visas handed out to foreigners with a bachelor’s degree or higher in a STEM field by more than double. At present, the annual number of these guest worker visas is 65,000, but Senator Rubio’s friends in the corporate world are bribing him and his cronies in both parties to ratchet that number to at least 115,000 and perhaps as high as 200,000, claiming a shortage of American tech workers with STEM degrees (science, technology, engineering and math).
The problem with the Partnership for a New American Economy’s disinformation crusade is that no such shortage of domestic talent exists. Statistics compiled by the Economic Policy Institute and the Center for Immigration Studies tell a very different story. Roughly half of Americans who graduate with STEM degrees have been unable to find work in a STEM field because there is already a glut of STEM employees– an increasing percentage of which are composed of the current crop of H1B workers.
In the words of Center for Immigration Studies Director of Research, Steven Camarota, “In 2012, there were more than twice as many people with STEM degrees (immigrant and native) as there were STEM jobs— 5.3 million STEM jobs vs. 12.1 million with STEM degrees. Only one-third of natives who have a STEM degree and hold a job do so in a STEM occupation.”
An illustration of the benefits to corporations of displacing citizens in favor of lower paid H1B workers from outside of the country, is the Southern California Edison case, in which about 500 American workers earning $110,000 per year were replaced by foreign H1-B visa holders who will do the same job for $70,000.
And also in California, home to the largest market of tech labor in the nation, is the ultimate irony of the insult and injury to American workers. California’s Employment Development Department, (EDD), which administrates claims of Californians suffering the effects of the H1B program, itself has outsourced its IT department to Indian H-1B workers employed by Deloitte, the tenth largest labor contractor that leverages the visa program.
The Economic Policy Institute outlines why IT specialist wages have stagnated and why the I-Squared Act will only make matters worse, not better.
There are two reasons these firms hire H-1Bs instead of Americans: 1) an H-1B worker can legally be paid less than a U.S. worker in the same occupation and locality; and 2) the H-1B worker learns the job and then rotates back to the home country and takes the work with him. That’s why the H-1B was dubbed the “Outsourcing Visa” by the former Commerce Minister of India, Kamal Nath. Rather than keeping jobs from leaving our shores, the H-1B does the opposite, by facilitating offshoring and providing employers with cheap, temporary labor – while reducing job opportunities for American high-tech workers in the process. The I-Squared Act does nothing to protect against this, while vastly expanding the size of a deeply flawed program that accelerates the offshoring of American high-tech jobs and reduces America’s future capacity to innovate.
Supporters of I-Squared claim that trained workers are in short supply, but the bill itself shows that to be a false premise, if not an outright lie. There is one provision in the bill for the continuance of an existing program called Optional Practical Training OPT, which would add an estimated 120,000 foreign workers per year via student visas. The name of the program explains its purpose – it will train imported workers for the jobs that are being denied American citizens.
John Miano, labor attorney and former IT professional, explains the ludicrous nature of the program and its attraction for tech employers:
“The Department of Homeland Security simply turns these aliens loose in the job market without any supervision, even allowing them to be unemployed to look for work,” Miano said. “Worse yet, employers do not have to pay Social Security and Medicare tax for aliens on student visas. This makes OPT workers inherently less expensive than hiring Americans.”
Watchdog.org quotes Rutgers professor Hal Salzman as pointing out in a Congressional hearing, that “expanding immigration programs are undermining STEM education at home while flattening domestic tech wages over the past 15 years.”He testified that U.S. universities already supply more twice as many STEM graduates as the private sector can support, and that disproportionately large enrollments of foreign students “distort” the labor market.
The proponents of I-Squared seem to be parroting variations of the same set of talking points. Here are a couple of examples out of dozens, prepared for them by the United States Chamber of Commerce and Mark Zuckerberg’s consortium of tech giants – FWD.us, pimping increases in H1B visas. Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, whose constituents decided to lay him off permanently, stated, “So we must continue to take advantage of our status as a destination for the world’s best and brightest.”
And book ending that is this from Senator Jeff Flake, Marco Rubio’s fellow “gang” member. “Along with other critical solutions, Congress needs to guarantee that our country remains a leader in innovation and global competition by ensuring access to the highly skilled talent U.S. companies need, a vibrant economy for homegrown and foreign entrepreneurs, and that U.S. universities continue to attract the best and the brightest from around the world.”
Just a look at the list of co-sponsors of the industry meeting that Senator Rubio spoke at, reveal the special interest impetus behind the legislation: the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Business Roundtable, the Council for Global Immigration, FWD.us, HR Policy Association, Information Technology Industry Council, National Association of Manufacturers, National Venture Capital Association, Semiconductor Industry Association, Society of Human Resources Management, and TechNet.
The meeting was closed to the press, for the obvious reason that the strategies discussed wouldn’t withstand the disinfectant of sunlight.
Of I-Squared, Marco Rubio proclaims, “America deserves an immigration system that works for our economy, drives innovation, and creates good paying jobs for our people.”
What is true of his statement, contradicts his support of the legislation. America does deserve a respite from the relentless downward driving force of wage destruction, unemployment and income inequality, Mr. Rubio.
NOTES: Search out other sources of information on Scrubio showing his past and present life experiences, accomplishments, and qualifications, etc.—He Doesn’t Deserve Even A Chance To Be Anywhere Near Our Oval Office!!–Send Him Home To South Florida ASAP!!!