The International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) has written a letter to members of the U.S. Senate asking them to oppose the immigration bill, S. 744. Specifically, IFPTE opposes the Schumer/Hatch amendment that passed during the Senate Judiciary Committe mark-ups earlier this month. The Schumber/Hatch amendment would increase the annual numbers of H-1B Visas.
In their letter to the Senators, IFPTE Union President Gregory Junemann details the effects the Schumer/Hatch amendment would have on American tech workers:
The impact of the Schumer/Hatch compromise is simple: Hundreds of thousands of foreign STEM workers – engineers, scientists, and others – will enter the United States each year for the sole purpose of working in jobs that Americans would normally do. hese are jobs that are currently being performed by highly educated and skilled workers, and jobs on the orizon that millions of American STEM students attending our colleges and universities plan to fill. Sadly, Senators Schumer and Hatch, among others, have sold these workers and students down the river, in favor of catering to the high-tech industry’s interest in gaining unfettered access to cheap labor from all across the globe.
Junemann points out that the Schumer/Hatch amendment takes out any bill language that would protect American tech workers during the hiring process and give them priority over foreign workers.
The Hatch amendment was objectionable for several reasons. First, the amendment gutted the language in the bill that required employers to prioritize hiring American workers who are, “equally or better qualified” than H-1B workers. Instead, the Schumer/Hatch compromise will llow American employers to simply overlook well qualified American STEM workers and graduating STEM students in favor of lower paid H-1B workers, regardless of how well qualified they are.
The letter goes into detail on the huge increases in H-1B visas the bill would bring if passed.
Of equal importance, IFPTE would also like to address the huge increase in the annual allotment of H-1B Visas. If passed in its current form, this bill will further undercut American workers by more than tripling the numbers of H-1B Visas from 65,000 to as many as 230,000 a year – not the 180,000 stated in the bill. When the base number of allotted Visas reaches 180,000 there is an escalator that kicks in if all of the visas are issued within the first 45 days. The first escalator trigger is an additional 20,000, but it does not stop there. After 60 days another 15,000 are issued; after 90 days another 10,000; and, on the 185th day another 5,000. All total that is another 50,000 visas on top of the 180,000 H-1B Visas, not including the tens of thousands of exemptions already included in the bill. As if that were not bad enough, all spouses of H-1B Visa recipients also get work authorization to work in the United States – STEM and non-STEM alike, and with absolutely no prevailing wage protections to speak of. As you can imagine, while this may be a bonanza for high-tech employers, it is a lose-lose for both American and foreign workers.
The tech worker union condems the Schumer/Hatch amendment and deonounces the actions of the Senators for using American tech workers as a bargaining chip for amnesty for the millions of illegal aliens. The letter states this exchange is "a cruel betrayl of American workers."
Click here to read the full letter.
Updated: Fri, May 31st 2013 @ 4:47pm EDT