The White House is supporting a bill that would spend roughly $29 million to exclude more Americans from white-collar jobs and also reduce job-creating investment in heartland states.
“The Administration supports House passage of GH.R.36438, the Equal Acess to Green Cards for Legal Employment (EAGLE) Act, and its goal of allowing U.S. employers to focus on hiring immigrants on merit,” said a December 6 statement from the White House’s Office of Management and Budget.
The bill is likely to cost $29 million over the next five years, according to a December 5 estimate by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
The bill is marketed as a reasonable aid for Indian migrants who have been hired for U.S. jobs by Fortune 500 companies and their pyramids of Indian subcontractors.
But the CBO report noted that the impact goes far beyond aid for Indians because it would allow foreign workers imported by U.S. companies to get renewable work permits, regardless of the backlogged line for green cards:
The bill would allow beneficiaries of employment-based petitions for immigrant visas who are living in the United States to apply to adjust status to lawful permanent resident even if an immigrant visa is not immediately available.
The biggest losers from the Democrats’ bill are the swing-voting college graduates who mostly voted Democratic in the 2022 midterm elections.
But the bill has also sparked rare opposition from Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY), who runs the immigration task force for the Congressional Black Caucus. She argued the bill would unfairly tilt the immigration system towards a subset of immigrants, adding, “I cannot support efforts that would perpetuate the current inequities in our immigration system.”
I believe we can do better, and I believe we MUST do better. The #EagleAct is simply not the reform we've long hoped for, nor is it the change to our immigration systems we've long needed.
And that is precisely why I've opposed it, today. https://t.co/r0Nqj34BOY
— Yvette D. Clarke (@RepYvetteClarke) December 6, 2022
The CBC has repeatedly tried to boost the award of green cards to African migrants. But the EAGLE Act would likely ensure the Fortune 500’s Indian workforce would dominate the distribution of green cards.
In turn, the inflow of Indians is expected to boost the political clout of ethnic Indian groups at the expense of African-American groups.
The EAGLE Act is cosponsored by eight Republicans — and is also being pushed by Republican Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) — even though it would reduce investment in GOP-dominated areas, and encourage more job investment in the c0astal states dominated by pro-migration Democrats
The corporate giveaway bill is backed by Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN). He was elected party whip for the 2023 Congress, after running a partly successful 2022 election campaign in which donor opposition suppressed Republican debate about the huge and growing pocketbook pain of migration on American families.
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) is another supporter of the outsourcing bill. He is also cochairman of the establishment-minded Problem Solvers Caucus and is pushing a farmworker amnesty that helps agricultural investors.
Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE), the coleader of the Main Street Caucus, is also a supporter of the giveaway to investors, Fortune 500 companies, and foreign graduates.
Rep. John Curtis (R-UT) is under pressure from state Republican leaders who expect many Indian visa workers to settle in their state, so boosting real estate investors and spurring retail sales.
The other supporters include Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN), Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH), Rep. Pete Stauber (R-MN), and Rep. William Timmons (R-SC), most of whom face determined home-district lobbying by Indian citizens working as contract workers in jobs needed by U.S. graduates.
The EAGLE Act would reduce job opportunities for American graduates living in interior states, such as Bucshon’s Indiana, Bacon’s Nebraska, Johnson’s Ohio, and Emmer’s Minnesota. The reduction happens because the bill opens up a huge pipeline of cheap labor for Fortune 500 companies based in California, New York, North Carolina, Texas, and Washington. Without a steady inflow of cheap foreign labor, the companies and their subcontractors would face rising economic pressure to open up new workplaces in lower-rent inland cities such as Columbus, Ohio, or St. Cloud, Minnesota.
Section 7 of the bill “is an end-run around the annual green card limit,” Rep. Scott Fitzgerald (R-WI) told the Committee on Rules, which sets the rules for each floor debate in the House, adding:
It allows certain temporary visa holders to file an application for Adjustment for Status, despite the fact that no green card is available to them. The result is that many temporary visas will essentially become permanent because the alien visa holders will be able to live and work in the U.S. as if they had a green card. Of course, this will further strangle the ability of Americans to get good-paying jobs in tech and other sectors.
The bill offers permanent work permits just two years after each foreign worker is approved for a green card. This would mean that companies can recruit endless foreign workers for U.S. jobs at low wages in exchange for providing them with renewable U.S. work permits after just several years.
The dangled “Employment Authorization” permits are extremely valuable because they allow foreign workers to work in many U.S. jobs until they can receive their promised green cards. The green cards can then be traded to get the deferred mega-bonus of American citizenship for themselves, their families, grandchildren, and all of their descendants.
There are no limits on the number of foreign workers who can be hired and then paid with the bill’s renewable work permits. These eligible workers could arrive via the uncapped H-2A visa for agricultural workers, the uncapped L-1 visa for corporate transfers, the uncapped H-1B visa for white-collar workers, the uncapped E-2 for franchise operators, or the uncapped F-1/OPT work-permit program for foreign graduates of U.S. universities.
“FAIR firmly opposes the EAGLE Act (H.R. 3648),” says a statement from Joe Chatham, the senior government relations manager at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). The statement says:
This bill undermines the fairness in our immigration system by creating a preference for workers from India and China at the expense of all other workers across the globe. It also eliminates diversity in the workers who come to the U.S. permanently. And, in the end, it would do nothing to reduce the line for employment-based green cards but would instead create more competition for American workers while lining the pockets of Big Tech.
The work-for-work-permits corporate giveaway is being hidden deep in the bill, while Democrats, advocates, and reporters tout the beneficial impact for the many Indian contract workers who have created their own huge backlog for green cards.
For example, the billionaire investors at FWD.us tout the bill as help for foreign workers:
Per-country caps have created extensive backlogs that leave immigrants and their families waiting years to receive their green cards simply because of their country of origin. This restricts their ability to work, travel, and contribute, and creates significant challenges for their families. It also makes the U.S. less attractive to global talent, hindering our competitiveness. Congress should pass per-country cap reform, like the bipartisan EAGLE Act, to ensure fairness and begin reducing the green card backlogs.
The bill also includes language to protect families and address challenges brought on by the backlogs, including allowing individuals to file for adjustment of status before a green card is available to them if they have waited two years or more for an available visa. Filing early to adjust would allow individuals to secure travel authorization and portable employment authorization so that they could change employers.
Meanwhile. Democrats and business leaders are pushing the bill amid a wave of layoffs by Fortune 500 companies that ensure rising unemployment and underemployment levels among American graduates. For example, the bill is being pushed by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), whose home district is seeing a huge wave of layoffs. On December 6, the Mercury News reported:
SANTA CLARA — Intel has revealed plans to chop hundreds of jobs in Northern California, an ominous new sign of widespread layoffs in the increasingly wobbly Silicon Valley tech industry, official state filings show.
The latest layoff notices from Intel meant that since Oct. 1, tech and biotech companies have unveiled job cut plans, or carried out layoffs, that affect well over 7,700 jobs in the Bay Area, this news organization’s review of WARN notices filed with the EDD shows.
The vast majority (62%) of [American] college-educated workers who majored in a STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] field were employed in non-STEM fields such as non-STEM management, law, education, social work, accounting or counseling. In addition, 10% of STEM college graduates worked in STEM-related occupations such as health care.
The path to STEM jobs for non-STEM majors was narrow. Only a few STEM-related majors (7%) and non-STEM majors (6%) ultimately ended up in STEM occupations.
Dice.com collects data on technology workers’ salaries. In January 2022, the site’s owners showed that U.S. tech workers’ wages had dropped in value from 2009 to 2021 because inflation had exceeded their wage gains.
The pre-inflation salaries in the tech sector rose from $78,845 in 2009 to $93,244 in 2018, and to $104,566 in 2021. But that shows a slight decline of 0.3 percent according to the inflation calculator offered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As tech salaries stalled, tech investors gained trillions of dollars in extra value from escalating profits and stock prices.
The visa programs are all about forcing down Americans’ wages, said one American who has been forced out of work by CEOs’ preference for cheaper Indian workers. Investors “saw this as an opportunity to drive down wages,” he added.
This workplace shift from professionals to foreign workers also allowed C-suite executives to demote professionals’ workplace clout. That demotion crippled many major companies, such as Intel, Boeing, and Theranos.
A wholescale GOP surrender on the EAGLE Act is unlikely because roughly one in six GOP voters described immigration as their single top issue in 2022.
But GOP leaders in the Senate may let the bill pass while they theatrically oppose the giveaway.