August 29, 2018
The Honorable Kirstjen M. Nielsen
Secretary, Department of Homeland Security
800 K Street, NW, #1000
Washington, DC 20528
Dear Secretary Nielsen:
In response to the Business Roundtable’s letter dated August 22, 2018, and on behalf of every American white collar worker who has lost his/her job due to visa exploitation, I ask that you examine the facts related to H-1B, L1, F1, OPT and J1 visas.
Thousands of American citizens are threatened by the continuation of immigration policies that put American workers and their families at risk. Millions of American white collar workers have already been displaced from their jobs as a result of U.S. visa policies established in 1990.
In 2018, the labor participation rate remains low and unchanged year over year. Wage stagnation persists. These circumstances are a direct result of the sheer magnitude of foreign workers employed in the U.S. in what were once secure and high paying U.S. professions. Over 125,000 certified H-1B visas have been issued to the corporate signors of the August 22nd letter in the years 2015, 2016, and 2017. Additionally, many of those same corporations have replaced their domestic, white collar professionals with hundreds of thousands of “captive” white collar workers in foreign lands. It is in their best interest that the U.S. continues to allow the displacement of white collar, American professionals with cheap foreign labor.
Due to a shortage of available white collar jobs today, many Americans find themselves struggling to support themselves and their families. In the STEM fields, less than 50% of U.S. stem graduates are employed in the STEM field, the number of American women participating in technology related occupations has exhibited a steady decline since the last century; today, many experienced, white collar professionals are unable to obtain job interviews or get hired. The recruitment channels for educated Americans in many white collar professions have been seriously hampered as the corporate emphasis to reduce costs and hire foreign workers to replace American workers has prevailed.
Americans continue to be laid-off or early-retired and then replaced by either foreign visa workers in the U.S. or foreign workers employed remotely in a foreign land that work for less pay and little benefits. Corporate severance packages and threats of social media’s impact have silenced this generation of U.S. professionals.
Visas continue to undermine the economic growth of the U.S. and cause significant hardship for American citizens who follow the law, have spent considerable time and money earning degrees from U.S. universities, often in critical STEM fields, and who pay taxes, support their state and local governments, and vote.
Out of fairness to every American citizen, I encourage you to strictly enforce legal immigration policy in the hopes of creating true diversity and U.S. global competitive advantage.
Every American citizen finds hope in the following:
- October 23, 2017, USCIS correctly made it more difficult for visa holders and their employers to scam the U.S. visa system.
- July 23, 2018, USCS correctly requested improved “evidence” associated with a visa holder’s purported qualifications. Many U.S. technology workers have lost their jobs to foreign H-1B professionals who are less skilled and less educated than the American workers they replace.
- H-4 spouses of H-1B visa holders exacerbate the number of white collar jobs being lost in the U.S. by foreign visa workers. Spouses of American highly skilled workers deserve the right to compete and be hired for white collar positions in the U.S. as American citizens and their educated spouses are also most often valuable professionals in their own right.
Today, less than 30% of those employed in the technology sector in Silicon Valley are Americans. Similarly, in 2018, thousands of American medical students who have incurred debilitating amounts of school debt are unable to secure a medical residency in the U.S.
In any given year, the number of visa requests being made directly correlates to the adoption of an entity’s policy to replace Americans with foreign workers. This is clearly evidenced by analyzing the history of visa requests by entity from 1990 until today. When companies begin the cycle of displacement and layoffs, the number of visas requests is high. As they progress in moving the majority of white collar positions off shore, the visa requests wane. Companies that function as low-cost labor suppliers, however, consistently request high numbers of visas every year to support their core business model.
As the federal government undertakes its legitimate review of immigration rules, it must take into account the number of American lives that have been destroyed by the ease at which white collar American professionals are consistently displaced by less expensive foreign labor. It is my great hope, that you and your team will continue to examine the facts associated with legal immigration and visa issuance and enable positive change for our country and its citizens.
Thank you for your service to our great nation.
Hilarie T. Gamm, author of Billions Lost: The American Tech Crisis and The Road Map to Change