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In the News

ICYMI: Both Sides Come Together In Support of Issa H-1B Reform

In The News
Jan 2, 2018

NOTE: "The rare bipartisan support that Issa’s bill received wasn’t lost on its supporters..the mere fact that lawmakers crossed party lines to craft the bill is worth noting.

'In 30 years in public policy, I’ve never seen my nation so divided and divisive about issues on immigration...to have Issa and Lofgren working together on a bill that’s good for the economy, good for workers and innovation can only add value to the current political climate in Washington.'"

Plan finally moving to overhaul H-1B visa program
The Mercury News | January 2, 2018
By: Tatiana Sanchez
https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/01/02/plan-finally-moving-to-overhaul-h-1b-visa-program/

Amid bitter partisan divisions over immigration, Democrats and Republicans in Congress have come together in support of a bill under close watch in Silicon Valley that would make it harder for certain companies to employ skilled foreign workers.

The plan, expected to go before Congress in the new year, is aimed at reforming the H-1B visa program, which critics say allows companies to bring in cheaper, skilled foreign labor at the expense of American technical workers.

“We created a reform that will minimize the abuses,” said Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, author of the “Protect and Grow American Jobs Act” that emerged from the bipartisan House Judiciary Committee.

The bill would likely put Indian outsourcing firms, outfits that specialize in supplying cheaper visa workers to larger firms, at a particular disadvantage. But it seeks to avoid hurting tech companies such as Facebook, Microsoft, IBM, Qualcomm and others that say they’re highly dependent on H-1B workers to stay competitive.

...

Issa said that although it may seem like the bill targets the roughly 12 employers — most of which offer outsourcing services — that receive the bulk of H-1B allocations, it levels the playing field for smaller firms looking to hire the “best and brightest.”

“If (outsourcing companies) are saying they’re being disadvantaged then the question is, aren’t they already getting a huge benefit?” Issa said. “This will rebalance their share to give small and medium U.S.-based companies a better chance to get the H-1B employee they want and add them to their workforce.”

Added Issa: “Those companies get a couple of Ph.D students that otherwise might not get a job at all.”

Carl Guardino, CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, which represents major technology firms in Silicon Valley, said Issa’s objective to redefine H1-B dependent companies and call for higher wages is reasonable.

“That is a level playing field,” he said. “The importance of startups being able to get talent is a significant component because they’re already at a disadvantage.”

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, who helped write the bill, said the H-1B visa program allows the U.S. to fill critical needs, but acknowledged “deep and long-standing flaws” in the system.

“Every year, tens of thousands of H-1B visas are taken by outsourcing companies whose business models rely on paying foreign workers less,” Lofgren said in a statement. “In the IT sector, for example, these companies bring in H-1B workers at reduced wages to compete against American IT workers in companies and organizations across the country. When the work is outsourced, the American workers are laid off. In some cases, the American workers are even asked to train their replacements.”

Lofgren, a staunch supporter of immigrant rights who normally opposes Republican policies against foreigners coming to the U.S., said that while the bill would help prevent displacement of U.S. workers, much more needs to be done.

“We might take care of one abuse just to see others pop up later,” Lofgren said. “We need to more fully curb abuses in the H-1B program, including by reforming wage systems and enhancing protections to prevent displacement.”

The rare bipartisan support that Issa’s bill received wasn’t lost on its supporters. Guardino said the mere fact that lawmakers crossed party lines to craft the bill is worth noting.

“In 30 years in public policy, I’ve never seen my nation so divided and divisive about issues on immigration,” he said. “To have Issa and Lofgren working together on a bill that’s good for the economy, good for workers and innovation can only add value to the current political climate in Washington.”

Read Full Story in The Mercury News

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In The News Jan 2, 2018
NOTE: "The rare bipartisan support that Issa’s bill received wasn’t lost on its supporters..the mere fact that lawmakers crossed party lines to craft the bill is worth noting.