In a surprising development, both parties in Congress stopped campaigning, posturing, and fighting long enough to actually enact legislation designed to create US jobs and spur development via the passage of the Jobs Act. At least one entrepreneur supporter/venture capitalist, Steve Case, believes that there is a connection between a legal immigration policy that welcomes entrepreneurs and highly skilled immigrants and new U.S. jobs growth and he has the facts to back up his argument. He also believes that the same arguments which resulted in bi-partisan support for the Jobs Act, may be persuasive enough to pass reforms in the legal immigration system. In his way stands Senator Grassley, the staunchest opponent of legal immigration, who like my 2 yr. old grandson, loves the word No ! However, Senator Grassley does like new jobs so there is hope that he will be able to move past his anti-immigrant leanings and support legal immigration reforms. Also, standing in the way are groups that want the issue of illegal immigration tied to legal immigration to more easily enact a type of amnesty or pathway to citizenship. Whether Mr. Case is able to overcome these major obstacles and achieve any meaningful reform is yet to be seen but, the mere fact that he is talking about it, can only be seen as positive.
Recently, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, along with a number of large U.S. employers urged President Obama to restore the L visa program. They charge that the changes in the application of the law by the USCIS and the US Consulates in India have gutted a program that promoted international business and spurred U.S. job growth. The fact that the denial rate of L visas has increased over 300% in the past few years with NO change in the legislation or regulatory scheme is alarming. They claim that the change in the application of existing law is politically motivated and being driven by Senators Grassley and Durbin and these efforts have resulted in an increase in outsourcing of U.S. jobs and an impediment to IT job growth in the U.S.
In several circles, the recent AG report which we discussed on Jan 4th and Jan 16th, has derisevely became known as the Grassley Report. In part, because Senator Grassley himself commissioned the report but, more importantly, and sadly, because it is a report that is so flawed in methodology, that if it were not a government product, it would be considered worthless. Senator Grassley is well known for his xenophobic policies and his stances that prevent legal immigration from flourishing but, that's a political position, and although I may disagree with such a position, I certainly support his right to hold and advocate for those positions. I presume that many of his constituents in Iowa share in those same beliefs. What is disheartening is that his political policies and his esteemed position as a US Senator have allowed him to manipulate various government agencies into creating policies and reports that start with the desired conclusion and then build upon half-truths, poor survey methodology, definitions devoid of any support in the law, and other tactics until, presto ! We have a damning report or memorandum that serves his political purposes. If only his talent at mudraking could be put to better use. For another opinion on this report, check out a recent post from the AILA leadership blog.
If you are looking for more information on the AG report which was recently released (refer to our post from 1-4-2012) please read the blog post by our friend, Angelo Papparelli, which ILW.com recently ran.
In spite of claims by protectionists (read Senator Grassley), the facts support a claim that immigrants contribute in a major way to US job growth. The NFAP released a recent study touting said facts. Now if only my copy to Senator Grassley's staff would be read instead of being used as litter box filler, maybe we could see some rational pro business, pro job growth immigration bills get fair consideration.
In spite of all the rhetoric coming from the White House on increasing entrepreneurial opportunities in the U.S. for immigrants that create jobs for U.S. workers, the opposite is the reality, as this case reported by ABC News illustrates. One must wonder, who is in charge of U.S. immigration policy ? President Obama certainly isn't ! Right now, the hard line restrictionists led by the esteemed Senator Grassley and his cohort, Senator Durbin would be proud of the closed door policy and culture of NO that this administration has achieved.
Kudos to Senator Grassley, his puppets at USCIS and other like-minded policy makers that have consistently created or applied policies that restrict and burden the use of the H-1b visa. Oh how quickly our brilliant politicians and policymakers forget that Intel, Google, Yahoo, and eBay were all founded by immigrants in an era with LESS restrictions on the H-1b visa and LESS restrictions on the L-1b visa and LESS of a wait for a green card. USA Today reports the story of SnapDeal a high tech company whose founder was previously in the US on an H-1b visa but decided to start his new company in India instead of the US due to H-1b visa restrictions. The company has grown to a size of over 400 employees. But, hey we don't need those jobs here in the US. It's time for Washington DC to wake up and recognize that there are economic consequences to immigration policy and the US economy is being negatively impacted by the current culture of NO !
As reported earlier this week, the Senate version of the Stimulus package contains restrictions on the use of H-1b visas by companies receiving funds. In typical Grassley fashion, the basis for the restrictions was short on facts and logic and long on rhetoric and 19th century protectionist thinking. The National Foundation for American Policy has created a nice 1 page briefon the topic. Although the restrictionist language is not final until the House and Senate produce a single bill, it is unlikely that the provisions will be stripped in conference. Although the impact of this specific provision may be minor, the attitude and fervor with which Senator Grassley continues to spew forth policies that restrict or eliminate the legal use of international workers is alarming.