The Trump Administration has long been in favor of stricter immigration policies and reform, with the President recently stating that the H-1B program is “neither high-skilled nor immigration: these are temporary foreign workers, imported from abroad, for the explicit purpose of substituting for American workers at a lower pay… I will end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program, and institute an absolute requirement to hire American workers first for every visa and immigration program. No exceptions [sic]”. It is therefore not surprising that he would recommend Sen. Jeff Sessions – R to be his Attorney General. Sessions has been described as “amnesty’s worst enemy”, referred to H-1B visas as a “Tremendous Threat” to skilled American workers, and has opposed nearly every immigration bill that has been presented to the senate, notably targeting legal immigration. He vehemently opposes the H-1B visa program, which is geared towards improving American entrepreneurship and innovation through hiring temporary guest workers skilled in science, math, and technology to fill positions in industries that are severely lacking.
With Sessions’ appointment being finalized any day, and the next 100 days of Trump’s administration putting into full swing some of his campaign promises, it is important to examine what this could mean for legal immigration, and the H-1B visa program. Without H-1B, STEM industries would take the hardest hit as even with the current program, there is still a severe lack in the high- skilled workers so desperately needed for the industries to operate, and continue to grow globally. With more growth comes more need for talent, more innovation, and more technological advancements. The idea that these jobs are being outsourced or taken away from American STEM employees is erroneous. Americans are already working in these positions, there is still a need, and therefore the gaps are filled with temporary H-1B visa employees.
Critics to Sessions and Trump’s plans for severely limiting the number of H-1B visas granted, and potentially removing the program altogether state that it would in fact hurt American workers. If companies cannot fill in the gaps with reasonably attainable H-1B visas, they may ship more, if not all jobs overseas. Tech giants, notably CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg, with bipartisan support remain committed to a more liberal immigration policy as they directly see the need for more STEM workers and recognize the talents that immigrants bring to the US.
Forty percent of Fortune 500 companies were founded by foreign-born immigrants or their children. With President Trump and Jeff Sessions plans to severely damage the H-1B and other visa programs, America, and the world will in fact feel the repercussions of this stolen potential.
Anderson, Stuart. “40 Percent of Fortune 500 Companies Founded by Immigrants or Their Children.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 25 Oct. 2011. Web. 26 Jan. 2017.
Hansen, Louis. “H-1B Visa Program Faces Uncertain Future in Trump Era.” The Mercury News. The Mercury News, 25 Jan. 2017. Web. 26 Jan. 2017.
“Immigration.” Donald J Trump for President. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Jan. 2017.
Nazarian, Adelle. “Jeff Sessions: H-1B Visas ‘Tremendous Threat’ to American Professionals.” Govtslaves.info. N.p., 02 Nov. 2015. Web. 26 Jan. 2017.
Phillips, Amber. “10 Things to Know about Sen. Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump’s Pick for Attorney General.” The Washington Post. WP Company, n.d. Web. 26 Jan. 2017.
Shaw, Adam. “Businesses Brace for Trump Decision on H-1B Visas in Wake of Sessions Pick.” Fox News. FOX News Network, 25 Nov. 2016. Web. 26 Jan. 2017.