Grassley to Microsoft: Cut H-1B Workers First

January 28, 2009

Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has told Microsoft that they have a moral obligation to cut H-1B visa workers ahead of American workers.  Microsoft has been a leading advocate of flooding the labor market with immigrant labor, a strategy for suppressing wages.  Senator Grassley, to his credit, has been a leading critic of the H-1B program.

Unfortunately, companies like Microsoft are under no legal obligation to retain American workers ahead of immigrants.

But there is nothing in the law that requires a company to cut the jobs of H-1B workers before U.S. workers, said experts. David Kussin, an immigration attorney at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, said, “In fact, the law is very well designed to say that you have to treat H-1Bs the same as U.S. citizens in all regards.”

Such laws are a product of the decades-long war on wages, the main front in the government’s and Federal Reserve’s battle against inflation.  Anything that held wages in check was perceived to be a boon to the economy, including flooding the country with immigrant labor, outsourcing and off-shoring, among other strategies.  With the willing support of lackey economists, corporate lobbyists had no problem convincing our leaders that driving down incomes to hold down prices was the road to economic nirvana.  In fact, one could argue that it was this perverse economic strategy of driving down wages while propping up consumption with debt that led to our economic collapse.  Only a fool could fail to see the fallacy of that strategy, but it seems that there were plenty of them around. 

With 1.5 million immigrants granted visas each year for “temporary work” and another quarter million given legal permanent resident status under employment preference programs like H-1B, this would be a great place to start if the Obama administration is really interested in reducing unemployment in America.  Let’s get started on fixing these laws and require that immigrants be the last to be hired and the first fired.  This isn’t discrimination.  It’s just common sense.