Saturday, November 13, 2004

Protect American Jobs - Fight Stealth Foreign Worker Increase

FAIR has learned that cheap labor proponents plan to sneak language into "must-pass" appropriations legislation to vastly expand the H-1B "high tech" and H-2B "unskilled" guest worker programs during next week's lame duck session of Congress.

Please help us fight this by urging your legislators to oppose any and all attempts to expand these foreign guest worker programs.

Specifically, they may attempt to exempt foreign graduates of U.S. institutions with Masters and Doctoral degrees as well as some foreign doctors from the 65,000/year H-1B cap. These exemptions, in addition to the existing ones for foreigners coming to work for U.S. universities, research centers or government agencies, would make a mockery of the annual limit, especially at a time when high-tech workers have higher than ever unemployment levels. Some estimate this exemption could result in 30,000 to 40,000 more visas per year, which is a staggering level and a major threat to high tech American workers.

Details on how they plan to expand the H-2B "unskilled" guest worker program are less clear, but the threat is very real. These visas provide greedy employers with seasonal workers being paid considerably less than their American counterparts. These foreign workers are often hired to fill jobs also sought after by American teens, including hotel resort work and other summer vacation related employment. The current cap on H-2B visas is set at 66,000/year.

In 2003, the caps on both of these programs were reached within no time, which is a clear sign that employers are abusing these programs to cut costs at the expense of American wages and working conditions.

With the jobless recovery, skyrocketing unemployment rates, and the highest jobless rate among high tech workers in 30 years, efforts to bring in more foreign workers are clearly aimed at appeasing greedy employers. Too many hard working Americans are unemployed and more will face the same fate if this legislation is passed.

TIME IS OF THE ESSENCEā€¦The lame duck session is expected to be fast and furious, with hopes of adjourning as early as the end of next week. Some lawmakers believe they can sneak these H-1B and H-2B provisions by while no one is looking. If we can hold this off next week, lawmakers will be forced to debate these issues out in the open. American jobs are on the line. Please help fight this.

Action Needed:
Fax your senators and representatives for FREE by following this link and typing your zip code into the take action now box. (Click on the pre-written talking points to insert them into your message. Feel free to edit and personalize this text and remember to write your own personalized subject line.)

Follow your faxes up with phone calls reiterating the points made in your fax. Find your legislators' phone numbers here on our web site.

Forward this email to your likeminded friends and email lists. Ask others to get involved.
Talking Points:
As long as Congress allows employers to look overseas to fill jobs, it's always going to be a race to the bottom for wages and working conditions in this country.

It's outrageous to expand guest worker programs when general unemployment is high and unemployment among high-tech American workers is at a 30 year high.

In 2003, caps on the H-1B and H-2B visa programs were reached within no time, which is a clear sign that employers are abusing these programs to cut costs at the expense of American wages and working conditions.

These guest worker programs need to be curbed or eliminated, not made more generous.
Check out the following FAIR issue briefs for more information:
H-1B Visas: Harming American Workers

Why the IT Industry Doesn't Need More H-1B Workers

How Guestworker Programs Harm American Workers

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