From the Paper
Online copy at WSJ
Put American Workers Ahead of Foreigners
If there really is a “downward spiral” in skilled workers as the Economic Innovation Group finds, it’s because of these visa programs. The abuse of the H-1B visa program is as old as the program itself.
Regarding Matthew J. Slaughter’s “Immigrants for the Heartland” (op-ed, April 29): I disagree with importing more foreign workers. Our entire IT department at Siemens ICN was ordered by corporate management to train our replacements, who were Tata India employees on H-1B/L-1B visas. The well-educated American employees were given a small severance and a pink slip. Our extremely diverse department was replaced with an all-young, male, foreign workforce.
It was the most demoralizing time of my career. I had three Indian trainees, each of whom learned a different facet of my job. None had near the knowledge or experience as me, but they were cheaper.
It isn’t just H-1B visas, there is an alphabet soup of visas that corporations can use to not hire citizens. The OPT (Optional Practical Training) visa has grown by 400% recently. Under OPT visas neither corporations nor the visa holder have to pay Social Security or Medicare taxes, which is an immediate savings for the employer of about 13.85% versus hiring a young citizen graduate. Why hire an American when you can own an indentured foreign worker? Both L-1B and OPT visas have no quantity limits or salary constraints and, in most cases, none of these visas require companies to seek qualified Americans before hiring foreign workers.
If there really is a “downward spiral” in skilled workers as the Economic Innovation Group finds, it’s because of these visa programs. The abuse of the H-1B visa program is as old as the program itself. There are YouTube seminars created by immigration attorneys that describe how to not hire qualified Americans.
Our children deserve better. Americans should have the first opportunity for jobs in their own country.
Michael T. Emmons