Here’s what the Senator and the media don’t want constituents to know about all of this visa alphabet soup: No citizens or green card holders are welcome to apply. It’s really that simple. The result of this “emergency” order is that another whole batch of US jobs are being advertised as OPT only. The OPT visa program was created to allow foreign students at US Universities to apply for a year of employment following graduation in the interests of “cultural exchange”. It is not a path to citizenship. The 12 month period has been extended by emergency order to 29 months. Here’s an ad on Dice.com for a corporation based in Hyderabad INDIA that’s already begun seeking ONLY OPT, H1B and J-1 visa applicants. No citizens or green card holders need apply (and if they do, it is perfectly legal to ignore them). Please note that your taxpayer dollars are being used by government organizations to legally thwart the hiring of qualified American citizens. There are now reports of US medical student grads losing out on residencies because of preference being given to OPT students. Is it really in the best interests of this country to deny available jobs to citizens and green card holders? When US doctors can’t appy for jobs, will someone begin paying attention to this fiasco?
A number of organizations have banded together and filed a lawsuit requesting a preliminary injunction against Chertoff and The Homeland Insecurity Department. The AFL-CIO has filed an amicus brief in support of the lawsuit. Chertoff will be using the argument that these organizations have no standing. I’m not an attorney, but I would think that every single US citizen who has been refused the right to apply for a job advertised as “ONLY for visa holders” should have standing. If there are any grads out there who’ve been recently sold out, now’s the time to be heard and to join in the effort to stop the insanity (I’d contact the AFL-CIO).
There is a lot of complexity to visa issues. It’s not always easy to discern where to stand on these issues. Witness BMG poster JayBooth who, as a good progressive Dem, wanted to dismiss my last posting about H1B’s as my being anti-immigration. The whole problem with his theory is that none of these visas lead to green cards and immigration. They are simply a method used to drive down the costs of labor and to further outsource jobs to other countries. This is what is happening in DC where common sense is trumped by corporate lobbyists. In this particular instance, there is no right or left. There is only common sense, which our Senators, Congresspersons and Governor don’t seem have much of when listening to folks like Bill Gates.
From Wiki, here’s the justification for the existence of each type of visa:
A J-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa issued by the United States for exchange visitors. The purpose of this visa is to promote cultural exchange. Students must meet certain eligibility criteria and be sponsored by a private sector or government program. Exchange visitors are expected to leave the United States at the completion of their program and return to their home country.
The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa in the United States under the Immigration & Nationality Act, section 101(a)(15)(H). It allows U.S. employers to employ foreign guest workers skilled in specialty occupations – regardless of whether qualified U.S. citizens or residents are available to fill these jobs.
The DOL’s Strategic Plan, Fiscal Years 2006-2011 (pg. 35) states: “…H-1B workers may be hired even when a qualified U.S. worker wants the job, and a U.S. worker can be displaced from the job in favor of the foreign worker.”
An L-1 visa is a visa document used to enter the United States for the purpose of work in L-1 status. It is a non immigrant visa, and is valid for a relatively short amount of time – generally three years. L-1 visas are available to employees of an international company with offices in both a home country and the United States, or which intend to open a new office in the United States while maintaining their home country interests. The visa allows such foreign workers to relocate to the corporation’s US office after having worked abroad for the company for at least one year prior to being granted L-1 status. The US office must be a parent company, child company, or sister company to the foreign company.
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a period during which undergraduate and graduate students in F-1 status who have completed or have been pursuing their degrees for more than 9 months are permitted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to work for at most one year on a student visa without needing to acquire a work H-1B visa towards getting a practical training to complement their field of studies. F-1 students are permitted total of 12 months towards practical training, on being certified by the advisor of the usefulness of the work towards goals of the degree, which can be distributed between Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and OPT. M-1 students are also permitted to engage in post-completion OPT. They are entitled to one month of training for every four months of study, with a maximum length of six months.
The issuance of these visas does not typically result in immigration and the US permanently retaining advanced skills. That is not the stated purpose for the existence of these visas.
Aren’t there any politicians out there who will stand up for Democratic priciples and US citizens’ rights? Do our children have to live through the battles for civil rights and equal opportunity all over again?