President Obama’s Department of Labor has identified dozens of U.S. employers who are violating the rules of the nation’s foreign guest-worker program, yet are still being allowed to continue replacing American workers with cheaper foreign labor.
The Center for Immigration Studies has published two maps identifying chronic users and abusers of the so-called H1-B visa program.
The first map contains the names of 2,000 employers across the U.S. that are “dependent” on foreign guest workers coming in to fill jobs that would ordinarily be taken by Americans if not for the program, passed by Congress, that allows them to hire foreigners at lower wages. These firms actually prefer foreign workers over Americans.
The second map includes “willful” violators, which are companies that have skirted the rules and abused the program, yet, in most cases have not been barred by Obama’s DOL from continuing to use the program.
This map includes a bevy of technology companies across the country as well as a dairy farm in rural Michigan, a small-town country store in Georgia operated by an Indian owner, and a large public-school district in Maryland. Only about a dozen of these ‘willful’ violators, pinpointed in red on the map, have been barred from continued use of the visa program. Click here to see the names of the companies.
The Center for Immigration Studies, which produced the maps using publicly available data, is a Washington, D.C.-based think tank specializing in immigration issues.
The H-1B visa allows employers to hire temporary foreign workers for skilled positions at wages well under the prevailing rates paid to American workers. The foreign workers can stay in the U.S. and work for a single employer for up to six years.
The maps are noteworthy not only for who they name, but for who they don’t name.
Walt Disney Co. was not included on either of the two maps, not the one showing addicted employers or the one showing abusers of the program. This supports what Sen. Jeff Sessions has said in arguing against the expansion of the H1-B program, that Disney’s actions, seen as egregious by most Americans, were entirely within the rules set out by Congress when it passed the guest-worker laws.
During the GOP primary debates Sen. Marco Rubio, a backer of the H1-B visa program who has lobbied for more than tripling the number of such visas allowed on an annual basis, claimed that companies that replace Americans like Disney were “abusing” the program and should be barred from it.
But the CIS study proves that very few of the “willful violators” are actually barred from the program and others such as Disney are not even seen as abusers.
One employer who was on the list was the Prince Georges County public schools in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
According to a DOL press release, the school system “illegally reduced the wages of 1,044 foreign teachers hired under the H1-B program” by requiring the foreign teachers to pay $4.2 million in fees. The H1-B program requires employers to pay certain fees for each foreign guest worker but the school district was making the foreign teachers pay the fees instead. It was let off the hook with a $1.7 million fine.
“All employers, including school systems, are required to follow the law. That includes the legal duty to pay every teacher hired the full wages he or she is owed,” said Nancy J. Leppink, acting administrator of the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division.
But, with nothing more than a toothless warning and a fine that was less than half of what the school system was required to pay in the first place, the Maryland school district was allowed to continue hiring foreign teachers at wages undercutting the prevailing U.S. wage for teachers.
Even the term “temporary” is a misnomer in the corrupt H1-B program, according to the CIS analysis.
That’s because the three-year visas can be renewed for another three years, and the visas can be kept alive, “virtually forever, if the employer has applied for a permanent immigrant visa for the worker in question.”
The guest workers are also allowed to bring their spouses and children (under H-4 visas) with them to the United States – and under some circumstances these aliens can work legally.
2,000 companies named
The first map identifies 2,000 employers who “actively and publicly prefer alien workers for at least some jobs” to U.S. workers.
“The formal name for this group of employers sounds like it comes from the field of abnormal psychology: they are ‘H-1B dependent,'” said Bryan Griffith and David North, authors of the CIS study.
This is the definition of the term: an employer with 25 full-time workers or fewer, with eight or more of them H-1Bs; with 26-50 workers, there are 13 or more H-1Bs; and with 51 or more there are 15 percent or more H-1Bs. Most users of the H-1B visa, in general, are not H-1B dependent.
The CIS study also notes how companies are able to discriminate in their hiring practices under the H1-B program in ways they ordinarily could not.
“Under U.S. law an employer gets into trouble, appropriately, for discriminating against African-Americans in favor of whites, or Gentiles in preference to Jews, but it is perfectly okay under the law for the same employer to hire alien workers (through the H-1B program) in preference to resident ones,” the authors write. “And if the employer decides that what he really wants, as some do, are twenty-some-odd males from one nation in Asia, that’s okay.
“Many employers are attracted to these workers because they can be paid at below-market wages, and they are docile and less likely to seek better jobs than their American peers.
“The second map shows H-1B employers who are classed as debarred or willful violators. They have, at some point in the past, violated the H-1B rules and have been denied the use of H-1B workers for a period of time. As we pointed out in a report about two years ago the department is, unfortunately, extremely reluctant to put erring employers in either category.”