Trump’s Deputies Extend Work Permits for 1,000s of Foreign Workers

H1-B Visa Workers
MANJUNATH KIRAN/AFP/Getty

Fortune 500 companies are rushing a federal agency to extend work permits for thousands of H-1B visa workers as President Donald Trump and his deputies argue over visa curbs that would help Americans regain jobs lost in the coronavirus crash.

Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook asked and got “continuing approval” extensions for 611 of its H-1B visa-workers from the staff at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services agency.

Each visa extension allows a foreign H-1B worker to stay another three years.

Tim Cook’s Apple got 647 extensions, Bill Gates’ Microsoft snagged 903 extensions, and Jeff Bezos’ Amazon got 1,245 extensions from the agency, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security.

Just 62 of these 3,497 requests for foreign workers were denied by USCIS, according to data displayed by the agency’s ‘H-1B Employer Data Hub.’

The denial rate of just 1.8 percent closed off 3,435 jobs needed by the growing number of unemployed American professionals.

The USCIS data only shows visa extensions and denials from October to May. Many more extensions will likely be sought before the fiscal year ends in September. The site also shows company requests for new visas, but it does not show how many new visas will be awarded to each company.

Each year, the 435 members of the House, the 100 members of the Senate, and the President allow companies, universities, and hospitals to import roughly 100,000 H-1B workers.

The H-1Bs are not immigrants, but the resident population of H-1Bs is huge because they are allowed to extend their visas, often indefinitely.

For years, officials have refused to reveal how many H-1Bs hold jobs in the United States. But in 2017, the total was shown to be 680,000 by a DHS inspector general report.

The total has since climbed further because the Department of Labor does not prevent companies from packing many H-1Bs into the line for green cards, where Congress allows them to get endless three-year renewals while they labor as bonded workers.

The army of roughly 800,000 H-1Bs holds jobs alongside an additional 700,000 other foreign workers who get their work permits via the L-1, H4EAD, OPT, CPT, J-1, and TN programs. Many additional B-1 visa holders work illegally.

Overall, U.S. companies employ roughly 1.5 million white collar visa workers in place of American graduates.

Just half of that population holds the jobs needed by each of the approximately 800,000 diverse Americans who will graduate in 2020 from four-year colleges. The 800,000 Americans will be denied the jobs even though they have spent four years earning skilled degrees in healthcare, business, software, architecture, accounting, engineering, science, math, or software.

Other websites provide more government data about the H-1B workers and emloyers.

For example, H1BData.info shows Apple asked to extend the visas of foreigners working as an “HR business partner,” market research analyst, software development engineer, and “radio frequency test engineer.” The jobs also included “data scientist,” “producer manager,” engineering project manager, professional services consultant, as well as producer and creative writer.

Many H-1Bs are also being hired by universities and by small American firms that would otherwise employ American graduates for starter jobs in academia, design, architecture, fashion, and other skilled careers. The USCIS data, for example, shows that architecture companies have extended visas for at least 75 foreign workers.

The H-1B program is also being used to import foreign journalists, usually for Chinese media firms, according to the MyVisaJobs.com site.

Overall, Indians comprise roughly 1 million of the 1.5 million visa workers, and China provides at least 270,000 graduates in the 1.5 million workers.

This huge imported workforce cuts the salaries of American graduates, such as academics, so boosting investors’ stock values.

Fortune 500 companies hire many of the Indian or Chinese visa workers. Yet many of these companies proudly declare themselves to be equal-opportunity workplaces, and to be supporters of transgender rights.

For example, the agency got 727 extensions requests from the Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, Wells Fargo, and American Express’ travel division, plus 104 extensions requests by the Aetna and Cigna insurance companies.

Despite the political importance of anti-discrimination laws, Justice Department officials rarely enforce the popular laws against the Fortune 500 companies that hire blocs of Indian and Chinese men via the H-1B program. This refusal to enforce anti-discrimination laws sidelines many minorities, women, disabled, men, and Americans.

Progressives rarely complain about the skewed H-1B hiring, even though many of the American victims are swing-voting graduates who would vote for politicians who protect their interests.

Indian men comprise at least 80 percent of the estimated 800,000-strong H-1B workforce. The result is that many offices at the Fortune 500 companies consist almost entirely of Indian software-maintenance workers overseen by Indian managers, while sidelined Americans are forced to file years-long lawsuits.

The bloc hiring of visa workers also excludes tens of thousands of innovative American graduates from starter jobs. This reduces the number of experienced American professionals who can get on a career track to develop the next generation of new technology. For example, the agency rejected just 16 of the 487 requests for visa extensions by Cisco Systems and Qualcomm, who are now losing the race against China to develop 5G telecommunications gear.

The Fortune 500 get most of their Indian visa workers via networks of many large and small “body shop” staffing companies. USCIS officials tried to protect American graduates from these staffing companies. But Trump’s GOP-establishment deputies barred the agency from issuing regulations, and the Indian companies recently persuaded a judge to gut the protections.

Bloomberg reported:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has reopened and approved at least 53 petitions for high-skilled guestworker visas after a recent court ruling that the agency’s criteria were unlawful.

The agency from May 8 to May 10 reversed its initial denial of dozens of separate H-1B petitions for IT staffing companies requesting guestworkers for employment at third-party work sites, according to Bradley Banias, an attorney representing the companies petitioning for H-1B workers.

The short-lived protections may explain the high number of extensions that USCIS has denied to major Indian companies who supply H-1B workers for the U.S-India Outsourcing Economy.

The USCIS data shows the agency denied 1,437 of 5,792 requests for visa extensions submitted by India-tied companies, such as Genpact, HCL America, Wipro, Cognizant, Tata, and Tech Mahindra.

This denial rate of 25 percent is likely to be reduced because Trump’s deputies refused to convert the protections into regulations.

Many brand-name U.S. companies quietly hire visa workers through the back door, often to hide the massive scale of outsourcing from employees. In general, the unions do not object to the outsourcing of jobs not held by the unions’ members.

For example, the USCIS data shows that Ford, Fiat-Chrysler, and General Motors only sought 241 H-1B visa extensions, of which only four were denied. But outside reformers were able to use 2017 data to expose the large number of visa workers employed at Fortune 500 worksites.

Since then, the USCIS and the Labor Department have refused to release H-1Bs’ worksite addresses.

The establishment media ignores the systematic discrimination in the H-1B program against Americans and hides the total number of foreign workers.

Yet the media also present the visa workforce as a vital and vibrant contribution to the economy — even though the vast majority of the foreign workers hold jobs that were once used by young U.S. graduates to launch their careers and middle-class lives. The established media also often blocks public comments on their articles about visa workers.

Many U.S. companies, and especially immigrant managers, strongly favor hiring the H-1B workers over Americans, according to evidence from lawsuits and statements by U.S. and Indian workers.

The Fortune 500 Indian managers prefer to hire Indian H-1Bs because Americans do not want to work repetitive tasks for long hours over many years, one former H-1B worker told Breitbart News. He continued:

As a manager, you want Indian guys because you are able to produce more. You have a [workforce of] compliant, amenable, never-complaining Indian guys with an H-1B. And you are basically getting the big bonuses as a vice-president because you’re able to produce more because you’re able to meet more deadlines. Of course, you don’t care about the quality of life for the employees — that’s a different game.

The visa workers will labor for 60 hours per week, at lower wages, and without complaint, for many years, because almost any job in the United States is better than a job in India or China. Moreover, many H-1B workers hope to get hugely valuable green cards after getting approvals from their employers.

However, many H-1Bs are in the process of losing their jobs amid the coronavirus crash.

Many Internet sites include reports from H-1B workers who say they are being fired by Fortune 500 companies and staffing companies.

Many also report that their employers are violating their “Labor Condition Applications’ by reducing their hours, cutting their wages, or changing their workplaces. Once the LCA is violated, the visa worker is required by law to go home in 60 days.

The Fortune 500 companies and the Indian companies are lobbying DHS, the State Department, and the labor department to quietly suspend the visa worker regulations. If agencies ignore the expanding number of H-1B violations, the companies will be able to put their Indian and Chinese workers back into the recovered jobs that would otherwise go to the American graduates who will vote in the 2020 election.

In 2019, many companies pushed Sen. Mike Lee’s S.386 bill to put Indian H-1B workers on a fast track to green cards and citizenship.

By offering more green cards, the Utah plan would have dramatically increased the incentive for Indian graduates to take many more jobs from American graduates by getting work permits from the uncapped Optional Practical Training and H-1B programs.

Follow Neil Munro on Twitter @NeilMunroDC, or email the author at NMunro@Breitbart.com.

 

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