Senators Sessions and Nelson Sponsor Bill to Reduce H-1B Visas
Senators Jeff Sessions (R – AL) and Ben Nelson (D- FL) have introduced the Protecting American Jobs Act (S.2365) as a means of reducing the base allocation of H-1B visas by 15,000 annually. The bill is designed to open job opportunities for Americans with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) degrees.
The lie propagated by technology companies in the United States is that there are not enough Americans with STEM skills to fill their available jobs, but nothing could be further from the truth. Research has found no evidence that American STEM workers are in short supply. The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) conducted a study in 2014 designed to answer the question: Is there a STEM worker shortage? The answer was an unequivocal no! The following is some details from the study:
- Using the most common definition of STEM jobs, total STEM employment in 2012 was 5.3 million workers, but there are 12.1 million STEM degree holders.
- Only one-third of native-born Americans with an undergraduate STEM degree holding a job work in a STEM occupation.
U.S. News & World Report reported in an article published earlier this year that the employment outlook for STEM degree holders has gotten worse. “All credible research finds the same evidence about the STEM workforce: ample supply, stagnant wages and, by industry accounts, thousands of applicants for any advertised job.” Despite extensive evidence that proves there is no shortage of Americans with STEM skills, tech companies like Microsoft and Facebook constantly lobby members of Congress for more H-1B visas. The Protecting American Jobs Act is designed to provide more opportunities for the 3 in 4 Americans with STEM degrees who are not employed in a STEM job.
The legislation is in response to the unscrupulous business practices of companies like Southern California Edison (SCE). Southern California Edison has laid off 400 tech workers, with another 100 expected layoffs next year, to hire H-1B workers for less money. The tech workers did not have to leave right away because SCE needed them to train their replacements. The practice of importing foreign workers to replace American workers in order to reduce a company’s expenses, not because there is a shortage of workers, has become commonplace in America.
Senators Sessions and Nelson provided the following statements regarding S.2365:
“This straightforward proposal will transform the H-1B program through two important, commonsense reforms. First, it will significantly reduce the use of the H-1B for low-wage labor by awarding H-1B applications to the companies that offer the highest wages. Second, it will cut 15,000 low-wage H-1B visa slots to open up 15,000 higher-paying jobs for Americans. 3 in 4 Americans with STEM degrees do not have STEM employment: there is a huge surplus of talented American labor being bypassed, displaced or even forced to train their foreign replacements. The Protecting American Jobs Act will help shield American workers from these abuses and create much-needed opportunities for young, driven American students. Too often, the special interests direct the legislative agenda; this legislation is the kind of positive reform that should be embraced by both parties on behalf of all U.S. residents.
“By cutting the number of visas available each year and requiring those visas be given to the highest-wage earners first, this bill directly targets outsourcing companies that rely on lower-wage foreign workers to replace equally-qualified U.S. workers.”
Senators Sessions and Nelson have introduced a bill that has the potential to help Americans instead of harming them. The prognosis for passage of the bill is 0 percent because most members of Congress are owned by the corporations that fund their campaigns. The corrupt relationship between politicians and corporations is responsible for the bleak employment prospects for American STEM workers.