Why This H-1B Visa Thing is Bulls**t

There’s trouble in the Magic Kingdom, and it all has to do with one of the least-talked about but arguably most important parts of our broken immigration system.

Last week, two former Walt Disney World employees filed a federal lawsuit against that company's Florida theme park on behalf of themselves and hundreds of their colleagues.

The two workers, who were laid off in January of last year, say that Disney illegally manipulated something called the H1-B visa program to hire their replacements, most of whom were immigrants from India.

If true, these allegations are yet another example of a disturbing trend in corporate America, one that needs to be fixed if we want a sensible immigration system.

When used correctly, the H1- B visa program is a great tool for companies and small businesses alike.

I know from experience.

Back in the 80s and 90s, Louise and I owned an ad agency that put together internal and external newsletters for big companies like Sony and Holiday Inn.

It was called Newsletter Factory, and it was a pretty successful business.

But when we started expanding our operations, we needed some help.

One of our clients had subsidiaries in South America and Japan, and if we were going to do their job correctly, we needed to hire someone who read and spoke Japanese and Spanish, along with English, and who had a graphic arts background.

So we placed an ad in the Atlanta newspaper and lucked upon this great guy named Shinji.

Shinji was born in Japan but grew up in Peru, then came to the US for college and had just graduated with a degree in graphic design.

He was literally exactly what we were looking for, and not a single American who replied to the ad had the entire language and graphics skill set we needed to get and keep this new client.

The only problem was that Shinji wasn’t authorized to work in the U.S., so we had to get him an H1-B visa, a special type of visa that lets American business owners legally hire non-Americans - but ONLY if those non-Americans have a particular skillset that business owners can’t find in the U.S.

Shinji was perfect candidate for this kind of visa, and after a lot of paperwork and a lot of trips to what was then called the Immigration and Naturalization Service, we finally got him the documentation he needed.

It wasn’t an easy process, and it shouldn’t have been.

While it’s important for business owners to have the freedom to hire the people they need to do a job, it’s also important to protect American jobs.

Which is exactly why when we were helping Shinji get his visa, we had to place ads offering the job to an American, and if an American answered the ad and qualified for it, we actually had to hire that person over Shinji. And we had to prove that we were paying him the same as we'd pay an American - in other words, we had to prove we weren't hiring him to save money.

Seems like pretty sensible, right?

Well, that’s because it is

But over the past few decades, big corporations have found a way to exploit H1-B visas just to jack up their profits - at the expense of American workers.

Instead of hiring specialized foreign workers who have skills they just can’t find in America, these big corporations are using the H1-B visa program to replace their American workers with immigrants who they don’t have to pay as much.

This is exactly what Walt Disney world is now accused of doing, and it’s flat-out wrong.

Companies who run this kind of scam aren’t just screwing over American workers, they’re screwing over our economy too, because more unemployed Americans means fewer people taking home paychecks which means fewer people spending money which means less demand, the backbone of a functioning economy .

Not to mention the cost of unemployment insurance and welfare programs.

And what’s really crazy is that despite all the problems with the current system some companies, mostly tech companies out in Silicon Valley, want to expand the H1-B visa program.

They want the government to allow them to bring in even more cheap foreign workers every year.

Microsoft and the like call this plan “immigration reform” but it’s really just another Republican cheap-labor scam.

If there was a need for more tech workers this might make sense, but there isn’t.

There are 11 million unemployed Americans with STEM degrees, and most, if not all, of them would be happy to take a job in Silicon Valley.

But the big tech companies don’t care.

They just want to make a quick buck, and if that means hurting American workers in the process, then so be it.

All this globalism stuff is BS.

It’s time to crack down on the scammer corporations, return the H1-B visa program to what it was, and end what it’s become -- which is now, unfortunately, just another way corporate America works to gut the American middle-class.


stabilizer's picture
stabilizer 7 years 17 weeks ago

I love your show and listen daily. Besides war not being moral, I resent spending most of MY TAXES to convert illiterate goat herders into terrorists.

One comment on your show Feb 4th. The fact that Hillary has changed her position to follow what we the people want is exactly what we the people want, and frankly i expect ALL OF MY EMPLOYEES TO SUPPORT MY GOALS.

Go Bernie, just wish you understood we the people don't want endless war.

Best Regards,


Legend 7 years 17 weeks ago

Ski resorts bring in cheap labor this way also.

cccccttttt 7 years 17 weeks ago

I live across the street from MicroSoft near Seattle.

Literally thousands of Indian IT workers work and live here.

But I read about the many US college grads living at home with part time work.

As a former programmer I can assure readers that it takes less

than a year to make any motivated English major into a productive IT worker.

These big companies are clearly saying "screw you" to US citizens in order

to boost their bottem line.

And the scumbag senators whom the company bribes will see that this situation continues.


Iberoguy's picture
Iberoguy 7 years 17 weeks ago

This practice is been going on for years in the health care business. Hospitals find cheap medical labor by sponsoring H1B visa right and left. They just need to prove there is a need but they circumvent the truth.

KCRuger's picture
KCRuger 7 years 17 weeks ago

This is the 1st time I've ever seen a legitimate use of the H1-B visa. Multi-national globalism is just a ruse to grease the skids for the coming 1-World Gov't, unless we put up a fight to stop it. We've been re-training unemployed programmers to become unemployed something elses since Silicon Valley began, & it's always the fault of the uneducated Americans. There's always some elusive requirement Americans don't have that investors need. Of course, the real requirement is low wages & tax break welfare for investors. If the lawyers running America can't see what's going on, they're blind.

dr818dr's picture
dr818dr 7 years 17 weeks ago

Thom, I'm glad you've finally caught on to the immigration scams going on but it's not just the H1-B visas.

First, the immigration system isn't broken. It's the politicians and DHS that are abusing it. Sure there are some changes needed but if utilized the system will do what it is suppossed to. Right now the Obama administration has basically shut the system down so don't just blame this on the Republicans. Yes, they mostly do it for the cheap labor but the Dems do it for the votes.

Second, the illegal aliens are doing the same thing at the low-skilled jobs level. The DEmocrats decry out-sourcing of jobs to save a buck but have no problem in-sourcing the labor to get a vote.

The "immigration reform" bill would have given almost every illegal alien working papers and created a chain migration nightmare that would have brought in millions of more low-skilled workers taking more American jobs. At the same time the number of H1-B visas would have been raised by hundreds of thousands. Whose bill was that? Who supported that bill? Obama and the Democrats along with a few Republicans.

As a lifelong liberal I've been waiting for some liberal media outlet to finally start telling all of my "bleeding heart" friends the truth about immigration, legal and illegal. I'm not against legal immigration but only if we are not hurting American workers and jeopardizing national security.

The middle class and the poor have been sold out by both parties. Even Bernie has succumbed to the amnesty bandwagon to pander to the Hispanic community which will actually be the biggest losers if "immigration deform" (not a typo) passes.

calipendence's picture
calipendence 7 years 17 weeks ago

One thing to note is that just in the last couple of days, it has been reported that India is looking to take us to court in the WTO because of recent actions where we've raised the fees on H-1B permits. So the free trade crap is tied in to this abused program, and there have been rumors in the right wing press such as breitbart.com also that the TPP, if passed, will remove all quota limits on H1-B Visas. This should be looked at, as it could be even worse later if the TPP actually gets passed.


There's a good discussion both in the video on this page and the article that interviews Bruce Morrison, who actually authored the original immigration bill in the 90's that created the H-1B Visa program, and he talks on how this program has been abused from the way he intended it to be used (the way Thom in the video clip really describes well his example of how it should have been used according to his vision).


As an IT worker that has been unemployed a lot lately who was paid more 20 years ago than he is in a lot of contract jobs that dominate this industry now, this is an issue that strikes at the core of workers in this industry which got hit by NAFTA oustourcing, H-1B visas, and layoffs quickly in the mid 90's to take away any shot at any kind of decent unions to be created then that the work force really didn't feel a need for before that time. This issue really needs reform. It is one that appeals across the aisle in a populist fashion towards both independents and Republicans, which is likely one reason why both Trump and Cruz are doing better since in addition to speaking against free trade have lately been speaking against H-1B visas as well. Which is why the Democratic Debates really need to talk about this topic, or if someone like Hillary Clinton winning the nomination doesn't have to speak about it (since she last did in 2008 election) and she gets asked about it in a general election debate against a Cruz or a Trump, the Republican will appear to the voters watching this debate as the populists more concerned about American jobs than she will since she supported this program before, and has avoided talking about it since that time.

If Bernie wins the nomination, then the corporate media will try to make him along with a Cruz or Trump unfairly to look like xenophobes on this issue, if someone like Bloomberg follows his earlier comments on entering the race if Bernie wins. He's stated he wants to remove H-1B quota limits about the same time he made the comments on entering the race as noted here:


Bloomberg will be made to look like the candidate that wants immigration reform, and like earlier questions and corporate news media reports, the media will also try to make Bernie look to be against immigration reform, because of his votes against these bills due to the guest labor programs in them, that they will try to label as xenophobic positions.

Lore's picture
Lore 7 years 17 weeks ago

of course, h2b visas -- are being increased too - as Trump uses them to bring in legal mexicans to work for him. the abuses of both are designed to lower wages in the US for Americans. h1b visas are used to deny teaching tech workers the latest updates.

flyguy8650's picture
flyguy8650 7 years 17 weeks ago

WOW! Now this is some HIGH VALUE PROGRESSIVE communication! Focused on real world issue the really does effect our country. This moves my "Independent-Fiscal Conservative - Social Moderate" stance more towards "The Bern". I hate his democratic socialistic position but on this and these HORRIBLE trade agreements, I agree with him totally and know that this part of the "revolution" is necessary for us, THE USA, to regain some of the American Exceptionalism we have lost. Thanks to you Thom, while I am not as "progressive" as most of your followers, I do agree with the need for trade reform and bringing back jobs for citizens and not jobs for low wadge aliens. I look forward to the HB-1 process being difficult and well tested. There are wonderful humans from all over the globe that would contribute to the USA in ways that benefit all mankind. However, the challenges are hard and it is clear that the GOP and DEMs continue to be "OPPOSAMES" when it comes to these issues.

I am a boomer who has worked hard to get to upper middle class standing without any need or help from Washington! I had a great public education, good solid Judeo Christian values and an appreciation for building and maintaining stronge work ethics, (With out Union Help as well). Free Market Capitalism is far better than Socialism but our two party system of money hungry and power hungry men and women has created crony capitalism on both sides of the asile equally. No Hillary for me, No Bush for me, No Trump for me. The Bern may be our only source of real change now. We lost the last two to a population and media that celebrates celebrity. Kasich and Kusinch had my votes early on. Too bad the rest of the population could not see the forest for the trees.

There is still hope, but I fear we are in for a very LONG SLUG back to the past!

LR from Oregon's picture
LR from Oregon 7 years 17 weeks ago

Another Great Article Thom, Thanks ! ! !

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