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America Pulling Up the Welcome Mat

November 22, 2017
Plain English Version

It will not be easy to work in America.

Fewer foreign tourists and students are coming to America. And that is only the beginning.

Many people want to come to America. Most of the time, most of the people who come to America do so in a legal manner.

There are programs designed to make coming here easier. These programs make life in America better for foreign workers and the U.S. economy. The H-1B visa program is an example.

The program is for American employers facing a shortage of skilled workers. They can search abroad for workers to fill the worker gap. Many hospitals have hired foreigners to work as doctors and nurses. The tech industry grew and needed skilled workers. Coders from English-speaking countries like India came to America. They reduced the industry’s worker shortage.

There are two questions about the H-1B program. Is there a real shortage of American workers to do the job? Or are foreigners cheaper to use? The questions are the same for foreign farm workers and temporary workers. Always the answer is there is a shortage of Americans. And wages are not the big issue.

But when money is involved, there is always a chance for abuse. For example, the Disney Company employed H-1B workers. They worked in the company's computer center. It turned out that they were there to learn how to do the jobs of American workers. Then they were to return to their country where they could do the same jobs more cheaply.

In effect, the Disney jobs would leave the country. The trained foreign workers would do the jobs cheaper than American workers. Foreign workers would replace American workers. It was a clear abuse.

Meanwhile, companies in India saw a chance to find workers to send to America. They created a new small industry. Soon they found ways to push their workers to the front of the H-1B line. Indian firms and American employers were in collusion.

Donald Trump campaigned on an “America First” theme. He is trying to reduce the use of H-1B workers. The U.S. agency in charge of issuing H-1B visas is USCIS. It is making it much harder to get an H-1B visa. It is turning down requests. It is sending applications back for more information. It is ending a rule that allowed the spouses of H-1B workers take jobs in America.

Donald Trump owns a resort in Florida called Mar-a- Largo. The resort uses the H-2B program to hire temporary workers, including cooks and cleaners.

The Trump government is betting that people living in America can fill available jobs. This is beginning to affect all those around the world who see America in their future.

America needs farm workers, skilled workers, and temporary workers from other countries. America's economy is growing. Reducing the number of legal immigrants may not be the answer. Fewer abuses of legal immigration is a goal.

Most American employers make honest use of H-1B workers.

Source: The Wall Street Journal November 19, 2017

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