IT Reshoring News

December 06, 2016

Will President-Elect Trump Pursue H-1B Reform?

Politicians make many promises in an effort to get elected. For President-elect Trump, one promise was to tackle H-1B visa abuse. Will this become a cause for the new administration or will it suffer from bureaucracy?

At several rallies, then-Candidate Trump spoke about the need for H-1B reform.  He even singled out the tech industry as one of its biggest abusers.

The frustration of those displaced by H-1B workers certainly played into his presidential win.  But many in DC expect “Big Tech” and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to fight against, stall, or even derail any H-1B reform efforts.

Now, the president-elect has selected Senator Jeff Sessions as his new Attorney General.

Businesses brace for Trump decision on H-1B visas in wake of Sessions pick – Fox News

Sessions has continuously spoken out against H-1B abuse in his political career.  He presided over the Senate Judiciary Committee which heard testimony from laid-off Disney workers forced to train foreign replacements.

From the article:

“In 2015, Sessions sent round an ‘immigration handbook’ to Republican members of Congress that calls immigration reform ‘a legislative honorific almost exclusively reserved for proposals which benefit everyone but actual American citizens.’
“In that handbook and since, Sessions has railed against what he sees as the abuse of the program. In his handbook he cites statistics suggesting that guest workers make up two-thirds of all new IT hires, while half of Americans with STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics] degrees can’t find work. He says that while the cap is 85,000, the real number is much higher.”

Is this the first sign that President-elect Trump will pursue H-1B reform?  

His campaign did release a statement saying the H-1B program “is neither high-skilled nor immigration: these are temporary foreign workers, imported from abroad, for the explicit purpose of substituting for American workers at lower pay.”  It suggests Sessions will have the president’s backing.

But, Washington insiders are telling us Trump and Sessions may need to focus elsewhere.

Kim Berry, President of Programmers Guild, a group pushing for H-1B reform, believes “Trump will have his hands full replacing ACA and pushing eVerify—among other promises.  It’s great that he understands the H-1B issue, but I don’t think it’s on his top-10 list.”

An inside source in DC agrees that Congress can’t ignore the issue forever.  “There have simply been too many examples of Americans losing their jobs because of the work visa for companies to pretend that outsourcing never happens.”

However, since the public is passionately divided on H-1B and immigration reform, he believes Congress won’t want to take a strong stance.  Our source thinks Congress will opt to “Let Trump lead, and take the heat.  If he succeeds, legislators can always applaud him.  And if he fails, they can duck the blame.”

As Kim Berry sees it, Congress might take up the issue for debate, but warns, “Along the way, they get blindsided by industry lobbyists and their ‘best and brightest’ lies.”

Still, Kim is hopeful.  “With Disney and such in the news, I think we have the best chance in the last decade to prevail.”

It’s still too early to know which battles a Trump administration will take up.  The H-1B story will continue to evolve, and WOOF! will keep you informed about what happens next.  Trump’s selection of Sessions as Attorney General, and his success in keeping Carrier from moving 1,000 jobs to Mexico, gives us hope that he may tackle H-1B visa abuse soon.