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Nonimmigrant Visas: H-1B/L-1

While the U.S. lost about 500,000 tech jobs between 2000 and 2003, Congress admitted about 500,000 foreign tech workers on nonimmigrant visas: L-1 and H-1B - resulting in the displacement of over one million American workers. These visas provide no protection to U.S. workers, as employers are not required to consider U.S. applicants as a condition of obtaining H-1B visas. Even with record unemployment and new graduates unable to find work, Congress continues to flood the job market.

While protecting Citizens is among the most important roles of government, the U.S. Congress has knowingly violated the liberty and property interests that 500,000 Americans had in their chosen profession by allowing them to be displaced by foreign workers. Many highly skilled U.S. workers now work at Wal-Mart and Borders Books, while their jobs have been given to foreign workers.

It's a fiction that the United States suffers a shortage of skilled labor, and most H-1B aliens fill entry-level jobs. By far the most H-1Bs are issued to people from India, with the second largest number coming from China.

On Oct 8 2004 the San Jose Mercury News reported that 50% of U.S. tech workers have been displaced from the profession. On Oct 9, 2004 the Indian press concedes the reduced H-1B visa quotas is "bad news for Indian body shops," and reveals that many companies "sandbag" visas, securing visa before they even have the need for them.

Corporations continue importing H-1B aliens at the same time they lay off U.S. citizens. In 2002 the DOL granted 8000 LCAs for H-1B visas to Intel, even as Intel was laying of it's American IT workers. The USICS website explains how easy it is to hire an H-1b rather than an American.

With hundreds of thousands of unemployed American engineers, why should corporations receive special privileges to import even more foreign workers?

Corporations love H-1B aliens not only because they work longer hours for lower wages, but also because it is more difficult for them to change jobs. This system is an affront to free enterprise because the regulations confine the foreigners to their sponsoring corporations like indentured servants.

Government officials don't check for violations of H-1B regulations or determine if there really is an actual shortage of U.S. skilled workers.

Computer science expert Dr. Norman Matloff provided ample proof to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Immigration, that H-1B aliens depress wages for all workers. He cited a UCLA study that H-1B engineers were paid 33 percent less than comparable Americans, a Cornell study that found wages 20-30 percent less, and a Forbes Magazine report that H-1B wages are 25-30 percent less.

This is not free-market economics. It is collusion between corporations that pour big money into politics to pass legislation that replaces American workers with foreign substitutes. The law keeps wages artificially low for the benefit of corporate profits.

Siemens ICN, used L-1 visas to replace 20 American computer techies with aliens from India. "Management mandated we train our foreign replacements, then Americans were shown the door. It was the most demoralizing thing I have ever experienced," stated Mike Emmons.

These nonimmigrant visas are causing irreparable constitutional harm to Americans and should be suspended immediately.