The business community is trying to have it both ways. They continuously claim there is a labor shortage and at the same time layoffs have increased five-fold this year. Amid these layoffs, the Big Business and the media call for ever more immigration to solve inflation, worker shortages, and our national fiscal problems. This cognitive dissonance is most pronounced in the tech sector. Layoffs in 2022 and 2023 have resulted in over 170,000 tech jobs being cut. Now, the latest news from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is that H-1B visa lottery registrations were up to 780,884, a 61 percent increase from the year before. This follows a 57 percent increase in H-1B visa registrations from the year prior. In other words, the only thing outpacing the number of tech layoffs is the number of H-1B visa registrations. In logic, there is something called the law of noncontradiction. The law simply states that contradictory statements cannot both be true at the same time. Hurray for the logicians as our immigration system is providing a real time example for their classes. Can there be massive tech layoffs of American workers and a shortage of American tech workers at the same time? Tech companies are firing Americans and breaking records for registrations of foreign workers to replace them.
USCIS has reached a similar conclusion regarding fraud and H-1B abuse. They took the step of emailing their stakeholders to scold them about the rising H-1B registrations. Even an administration that is decidedly on the side of “see no evil, hear no evil” can no longer deny the blatant fraud. We have seen the administration ignore child abuse until it hit critical mass with reporting from The New York Times. In this instance, for the year 2021 there were roughly 274,000 H-1B registrations. The number has increased steadily reaching the current crescendo of 780,884. USCIS said to their stakeholders:
“The large number of eligible registrations for beneficiaries with multiple eligible registrations - much larger than in previous years – has raised serious concerns that some may have tried to gain an unfair advantage by working together to submit multiple registrations on behalf of the same beneficiary.”
Additionally, we are right to wonder what took USCIS so long to see the forest for the trees. The number of registrations has been growing steadily for years. The instances of abuse within H-1B are impossible to miss. Tech companies have had to settle discrimination claims. Tech workers have been forced to train their foreign replacements before being booted out. The foreign workers are being paid less than the companies would have to pay American workers.
Also, keep in mind that H-1B visas are not the only foreign worker pipeline for the tech industry. Sure, it is the primary visa option in the statutes, but that has not stopped the government from creating unlawful programs to supplement the firing of American workers for cheaper substitutes. Remember the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program, which allows foreign students to remain after graduation to work. The government has turned student visas into one of the largest temporary employment visas in the country. All to the primary benefit of the tech industry.
This is a prime example of how the government has twisted our immigration laws into a pretzel to accommodate industries that seek cheap labor. We see child labor with the assistance of the federal government, forced labor, wage theft, and indentured servitude. Yet none of this deters the government from bending every rule and pulling every lever to expand the number of foreign workers in the United States. The Biden Administration has greatly expanded H-2B visas annually. They are creating illegal parole programs that admit tens of thousands monthly, supposedly to stop the increasing flows at the border, but keep in mind these people will be provided employment authorization documents (EAD). Time after time, the Biden Administration is doing the bidding of the captains of industry in the name of compassion and worker shortages. As a thank you, the companies blatantly game the system and break the law by using child and forced labor, while laying off working-age Americans.
During the pandemic we heard of the so-called “Great Resignation” and “quiet quitting,” both of which were painted as some grave threat to the country. American workers have been slandered throughout this process as being lazy and unwilling to do certain jobs. In a recent Judiciary Committee markup designed to quell the border catastrophe, Representative Pramila Jayapal openly wondered who would pick our food and clean our houses if we stopped the black market in labor. It was an appallingly elitist statement to both American and foreign workers. Most Americans have to mow their own lawn and clean their own homes. They are also willing to do any job if the labor conditions are safe and the wage is proportionate to the work. Meanwhile, foreign workers do not exist to be a cheat code for menial labor at discount prices. Clean your own house or pay an American or legal worker a fair wage.
In addition to the labor crisis caused by twisted government action, the tech industry itself has become dependent on foreign labor. Newsweek reported in 2018 that more than half of Silicon Valley’s tech jobs were held by foreign workers. It is concerning that such a critical driver of economic growth and jobs in the United States is so dependent on importing labor. What would happen if the immigration well dried up for some reason? Would the tech sector just collapse? The fact that a critical driver of growth and jobs in the United States is wholly dependent on immigration fraud and cheap labor does not seem to trouble the Executive Branch or Congress.
Given their dependence on cheap foreign labor, it is no surprise that the tech industry has dumped millions of dollars into lobbying Congress to expand their supply. However, it is clear these cheap labor addicts require an intervention. Congress must reject the insanity of claims of worker shortages. An industry cannot be in the middle of laying off thousands while registering for hundreds of thousands of foreign workers. It will no doubt be painful to make the foreign worker addicted industries go cold turkey. Congress needs to end OPT and drastically reform the H-1B program to include more stringent wage requirements and a reduction in the numbers. The only Americans who have shown an unwillingness to work have been those in Congress ignoring these critically important issues. We desperately need them to ignore the donors and protect the American workforce.
JARED CULVER is a Legal Analyst for NumbersUSA