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.

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