Will Mike Lee Finally Pass S.386?

Mike Lee of India

We last mentioned Utah Republican Mike Lee’s so-called “Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants” bill on December 19 and December 16. As we said then, the bill, which Lee introduced more than a year and a half ago and which he seems to be making his life’s work, would remove the country caps on green card issuance to workers holding H-1B visas, making it an enormous boon to the 600,000 India contract workers and their families, as well as the outsourcing companies they serve.

As we explained in December, the effect of the bill would be this:

[T]here are 300,000 Indians working in this country now under temporary H-1B status. The green card cap on Indian workers means that only 20,000 of those workers are eligible for green cards in any given year. Removing the caps would make immediately eligible not only those 300,000 Indian workers but also their 300,000 family members. Thus, a potential 600,000 Indians could be put in line right away for permanent green cards and eventual citizenship.

Holding up passage of the bill has been Illinois Democrat Senator Richard Durbin’s proposed “50/50” amendment, which would bar American and Indian firms from getting more H-1B workers if their H-1B workers comprise more than 50 percent of their work force. Senate Republicans, the Department of Homeland Security, and the India-based trade association of outsourcing companies NASSCOM are all opposed to the amendment, and word is Durbin may be willing to drop or at least delay it to get the bill finally passed.

S.386 would further entrench Indian contract workers, along with their India-based contracting firms, in the American economy. As such, it would be more bad news for American workers trying to find jobs. As Neil Munro of Breitbart News says in a July 31 piece:

Since 1990, millions of white-collar jobs have been transferred by this process, mostly to Indians and India. This massive outsourcing has cut Americans’ salaries, delivered a compliant workforce to CEOs, and boosted income for Fortune 500 companies and their staffing subcontractors.

Boosting income for the Fortune 500 is music to the ears of Congressional Republicans, of course, and as Munro reports, “nearly all GOP Senators” as well as top Administration officials are quietly backing the bill.

In opposition are groups representing American workers, such as U.S. Tech Workers, which insists that, in view of the job market upheaval caused by the Wuhan virus, now is hardly the time to hand out massive work permits to foreign workers. Says founder Kevin Lynn: “I can’t imagine that with so much unemployment and much disastrous economic news, that Republican and Democratic Senators choose to push a bill like this at this time. With 23 GOP Senate seats up for election this year, and several of these races being very close, I can’t imagine why they jeopardize their chances for election to support outsourcers.” Lynn went on to predict that, regardless of support within the Administration, President Trump would not sign it before the election.

Meanwhile, Mike Lee is clearly determined to get S.386 passed, come hell or high water. We’ll see if the coronavirus can do what those two obstacles have so far failed to do.

For more on this complex bill, see Breitbart News.


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