Date: Friday, January 8, 2016 9:30 PM
Subject: New Obama executive rule for massive foreign tech workers
Obama puts damper on New Year for American tech workers and students
As American workers began to welcome in the start of a New Year, the Obama Administration did its best to crush their hopes of finding new jobs or increasing their pay in the New Year.
On New Year’s Eve, the Obama Administration published a massive, 181-page proposed rule to the Federal Register that would allow the Department of Homeland Security to grant work permits to skilled foreign workers well-above the limits established by Congress.
The most offensive provision would allow foreign workers in the country on the H-1B nonimmigrant guest worker visa to receive a three-year work permit until they become eligible for the limited number of employment-based green cards.
HERE’S HOW IT WOULD HAPPEN
High-skilled foreign workers are sponsored by U.S. employers for the three-year temporary H-1B work visa. (We’ve documented on numerous occasions the devastating effects that current, abusive H-1B practices have on skilled American workers and their wages.) These foreign workers can renew their H-1B visas once for a total of six years, but they must leave the country after the six-year period unless their employer applies for and receives a permanent employment-based green card on their behalf.
The rule attempts to appease the tech companies that want the annual caps raised and per-country limits eliminated. For example, the EB-2 green card, which is reserved for foreign workers with “advanced degrees” is capped at around 40,000 per year. But only 7% can be issued to workers from one country, so many times a foreign worker from India or China must leave the country at the end of the six-year period because the feds have already reached the limit for the year in that particular category or to citizens of that particular country.
Pres. Obama’s proposed rule would allow those foreign workers who have not received their EB-1, EB-2, or EB-3 visas (even though an application has been filed on their behalf) to receive a three-year work permit until a green card becomes available. None of these new work permits would count against any of the existing caps for nonimmigrant visas or green cards established by Congress.
Over the years, employers have been more selective when choosing which H-1B workers for whom they submit employment-based green card applications for.
But should this new rule be implemented, employers can apply for green cards on behalf of all their foreign workers knowing they’ll receive work permits even if the caps have been reached.
Even with its cap restrictions, employers prefer H-1B workers over American workers because they can pay them less and the workers can’t switch jobs, which is why they’ve been pressuring Congress for years to increase the caps. This proposed rule accomplishes the same by lifting the six-year limit and exempting them from the H-1B caps.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
The rule change has only been proposed, so there is time to stop it from going into effect. You can post a public comment in opposition to the rule on the Federal Register’s website here. Next week, we’ll be launching a new website that will include background information, talking points, and a link to comment on the rule.
DHS must read and respond to every comment submitted, so if our grassroots network can submit enough comments before the Feb. 29 deadline, we may be able to prevent the rule from going into effect.
You can read more about the rule here and Sen. Jeff Sessions’ comments on the rule here.
CENTRAL AMERICA TO HELP SEND CUBANS TO U.S.
Many of you have already received action alerts this week on the agreement between several Central American countries that would help pay for Cubans to reach the United States illegally.
In recent months, Cubans have been leaving Cuba en masse in fear that improved relations between the U.S. and Cuba would end a policy that gives preferential treatment to Cuban citizens in the United States. Their journey takes them through Central America where they can easily cross into the United States at the Southern border.
Viewing it as a humanitarian crisis, Nicaragua has shut off its borders with Costa Rica, stranding thousands of Cubans there. The new agreement will fly the stranded Cubans to El Salvador where they’ll be bused through Mexico to illegally cross the U.S. border. Current U.S. law, under the Cuban Readjustment Act, gives illegal aliens from Cuba permanent legal status if they can set foot on U.S. soil.
We’ve posted new faxes in response to this agreement. First, we’re asking Congress to block any aid to Central American countries that encourage illegal migration to the United States. Second, we’re asking lawmakers to support Rep. Paul Gosar’s bill that would repeal the Cuban Readjustment Act that grants special status to Cuban citizens.
If you haven’t sent these faxes already, please visit your Action Board and send them today.