H-1B visa ban: US tech workers’ nonprofit backs Trump


US Tech Workers, a nonprofit representing the interests of American workers in the technology field, has backed President Trump’s H-1B visa ban and argued that tech companies are not facing any shortage of skilled workers.

The nonprofit’s amicus brief was filed August 25 in Oakland federal court and was drafted by the lawyers of the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) just two weeks after a group of 50 top IT companies and businesses as well as California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and New York Attorney General Letitia James led a coalition of 23 attorneys general in an amicus brief supporting a challenge to President Trump’s ban on skilled immigrant visas.

The companies had urged federal judges in California and Washington, DC, to put on hold President Trump’s June 22 order barring thousands of people on H-1b, L1 and J visas from entering the US.

Christopher J Hajec, director of litigation, ISLI, explained to indica News why they are supporting Trump.

He said that the National Association of Manufacturers is trying to block President Trump’s order suspending the H-1B program, and US Tech Workers has an interest in preventing foreign competition for American computer jobs.

He said in its amicus brief, US Tech Workers argues that the President’s H-1B suspension, because of the law of supply and demand, will protect Americans’ jobs in IT by restricting the supply of tech labor competing for them.

The brief also argues against the validity of studies funded by industry lobbyists purporting to show that the H-1B program benefits US technology workers.

The nonprofit pointed out in its submission that the lobbyist-generated studies never explain how increasing the pool of tech labor by adding foreign workers does not lower the price of that labor, as the law of supply and demand would lead one to expect.

Nor do the studies explain why many companies, including Disney, Southern California Edison, and the University of California, have fired their US tech workers after forcing them to train their own H-1B replacements, the nonprofit said.

It argued that even the global pandemic has not stopped this process of employers using non-immigrants to replace American workers.

The Tennessee Valley Authority was replacing Americans with H-1B workers in the midst of the pandemic until the President intervened, the nonprofit pointed out.

If anyone actually believed that importing foreign labor—especially in a time of massive unemployment — improved working conditions for labor, groups representing American workers would be lined up at courthouse doors filing lawsuits to resume the flow of guest workers,” the attorneys stated in the amicus brief.

It is clear why big business has gone to court to try to protect the H-1B program,” Dale L Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI, said through a press note. “It increases the supply of tech labor and so allows companies to pay their employees less.”

He added: “For that very reason, though, Trump’s suspension of the program is an admirably rational measure that obviously will protect American jobs and wages in these economically turbulent times. We applaud the President’s independence in taking this step — which is squarely within his authority — and believe that this lawsuit based on smoke-and-mirrors studies is, on both the law and the facts, doomed.”