Skilled American Workers Ignored as Guestworker Programs Expand

CIS analyst tells Senate hearing that Obama pursuing unlimited authority to grant work authorization to aliens


Feb 25, 2016, 15:32 ET from Center for Immigration Studies

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest examines the impact of high-skilled immigration on U.S. workers. The hearing takes place the day after Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) filed the American Jobs First Act (H.R. 4598), companion legislation to the H-1B reform bill filed in the Senate by Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). Earlier this month Disney tech employees replaced by cheaper imported workers filed a lawsuit in federal court against the company.

Center Fellow John Miano, representing the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers and Local 37083 of the Communication Workers of America, AFL-CIO ("WashTech"), testifies at the hearing that Americans trained and educated in high-skilled occupations have been greatly harmed by the Obama administration's expansion of guestworker programs. "Starting in 2012, the executive branch started to claim that it has unlimited authority to grant work authorizations to aliens," Miano writes in his testimony. "This began in the context of illegal aliens under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, followed up with the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program. However recently, the administration has claimed authority for H-1B spouse employment, student employment, and employment by green card applicants."

Miano stresses the importance of the four different lawsuits presently being decided in which the administration claims unlimited executive authority to grant employment authorization to aliens. He concludes, "If the executive branch prevails in these cases, Congress will have ceded its constitutional authority to control alien employment...[and] will effectively be removed from the control of alien employment in the United States and any protections Congress enacts for American workers can be voided through regulation."

View Miano's testimony at:

Miano addresses several key problems with the H-1B program:

  • The H-1B program is too complicated; once under 100 words, the legislation governing it is now nearly 7,000 words;
  • The H-1B program allows employers to replace Americans;
  • The H-1B program allows employers to pay aliens ridiculously low wages;
  • The H-1B program does not require recruitment of Americans or showing that Americans are not available;
  • The H-1B program includes restrictions on enforcement that allow the system to be abused with impunity;
  • The H-1B program should be strictly non-immigrant;
  • There needs to be better data reporting to monitor the H-1B program;
  • The only protection for American workers under the H-1B program is the annual quota.

Miano's testimony refers to data showing that "...employers consistently classify nearly all H-1B workers at the lowest two skill levels where the H-1B 'prevailing wage' is below the normal prevailing wage (the median). This data demonstrates that employers view the H-1B program as a mechanism for importing low-skilled, low-wage workers." He notes that "if the H-1B program was limited to aliens whose skill level commands merely the median wage (average skill level), the H 1B quotas would not come close to being reached. If H-1B was limited to high-skilled individuals, the quotas would not be a factor."

Contact: Marguerite Telford

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SOURCE Center for Immigration Studies