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Immigration analyst warns congressional proposal will harm American graduates, worsen student loan debt

He warns that the current proposal opens the floodgates for foreign workers

A provision proposed under the budget reconciliation bill will harm American college graduates while bringing in cheap workers for Big Tech companies, an immigration analyst told The College Fix.

While the Senate parliamentarian ruled that immigration cannot be included in the budget bill, the proposals could still become law and are part of immigration agenda of the Democratic Party and some Republicans.

“The legal immigration provisions in the Democrat’s reconciliation bill will cripple the job opportunities for Americans, especially recent college graduates and those in the STEM fields,” Robert Law told The Fix via email. He is the director of regulatory affairs and policy for the Center for Immigration Studies.

The proposed changes would make it easier for tech workers from countries such as India to bring in family on one green card. “The tech industry and other corporations are heavy users of the H-1B nonimmigrant visa, which allows these companies to legally underpay foreign workers compared to what the market wage would be for a similarly skilled American,” Law explained in a separate analysis article for CIS.

Law said the provision will reduce American wages, push people out of jobs and lead to a worsening student loan debt problem.

“Through a combination of exemptions, waivers, and a legal fiction called ‘unused visa recapture,’ the bill would deliver employers an unlimited supply of cheap foreign labor which will drive down wages and push some Americans out of jobs,” the analyst told The College Fix. “This bill rewards Big Tech and other corporate interests who have consistently discriminated against American workers and use the immigration system to maximize their profits by keeping payroll levels low.”

“If this becomes law, American graduates will be hampered with massive student loan debt they will never be able to repay, while the lavish lifestyles of corporate executives will flourish,” Law said.

Others urge looser immigration policies

The Cato Institute, a libertarian think-tank, is an advocate for increased immigration, including for tech workers. It wants President Joe Biden to make it easier for immigrants to come here.

“It’s clear that immigrant workers, entrepreneurs and consumers can help jumpstart the economic recovery,” Alex Nowrasteh, the think-tank’s immigration policy director wrote in an August article, describing the economic benefits of increased migration. “The Biden administration should do everything it can to increase the pace of legal immigration.”

He previously wrote that “a liberalized immigration system for highly skilled workers can boost long term growth in productivity, technological innovation, and entrepreneurship,” while writing about the need to increase similar visas to the ones that would be granted under the current immigration proposals.

The College Fix contacted Nowrasteh on October 6 and October 11 to ask for comment on the immigration proposal but did not receive a response to emailed questions.

The Fix asked how the legislation would affect American college graduates and what principles lawmakers should follow when creating a visa system.

Companies such as Abbott Laboratories have previously faced criticism for laying off American workers while bringing in workers on H1-B visas.

“It should go without saying that such harsh and insensitive conduct is not justified by whatever marginal financial benefit might accrue to your company, which is already making billions of dollars in profits every year,” liberal Democratic Senator Dick Durbin said in a 2016 letter to the CEO of Abbott Labs.

Durbin represents Illinois in the Senate, where the biomedical company laid off some American workers and required them to train H1-B replacements, according to computerworld.com.

MORE: Zillennial conservatives support hawkish immigration measures


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About the Author
Hannah Lalgie -- University of Florida