WASHINGTON, Jan. 14, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) re-introduced his Immigration Innovation ("I-Squared") bill into the new Republican-led Congress Tuesday. The bipartisan bill could be the new direction Congress takes, following the failure of comprehensive immigration reform legislation.
"This is a wrong turn," IEEE-USA Government Relations Director Russ Harrison said. "Last year's comprehensive immigration reform bill offered a much better option for Congress. The high-skill provisions it contained would create American jobs, strengthen the U.S. economy and enrich the American middle class."
The I-Squared bill would increase the number of temporary H-1B visas from 130,000 to eventually as high as 300,000 – if not more – because of various unnecessary and counterproductive proposed exemptions from the cap. Because H-1B visas last as long as six years, that represents at least an additional 1.8 million employees competing for jobs in a U.S. STEM* workforce of about 5 million.
More than half of current H-1B visas are used by outsourcing companies, including the top 10. They specialize in replacing Americans with cheaper foreign labor, thus eliminating U.S. high-skill, high-wage jobs. Sen. Hatch's bill empowers even more outsourcing.
"There are simply no arguments for H-1B increases that aren't better made for green cards," Harrison said. "The primary, practical function of the H-1B program is to outsource American high-tech jobs. Do the bill's supporters really think that's the direction American immigration policy should go?"
IEEE-USA supports expanding the employment-based green card program to make skilled immigrants Americans. The H-1B program does not do this.
"We need more green cards, not more guest workers," Harrison said.
* Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
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