Durbin sees shot at changing H-1B visa program
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) has been waiting a decade to make changes to the H-1B visa program. With President Donald Trump in office, it appears he might finally have his chance.
During a recent visit to Wisconsin, Trump ordered a review of the program. The order comes shortly after Durbin sent Trump a letter in early March urging him to quickly reform the program using an executive order, according to the National Law Review.
Durbin's H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act was introduced to Congress when Trump took office in January. The act falls in line with the president's “Buy American, Hire American” agenda.
Current criticism of the program focuses on American companies getting around proving they made a good faith effort to hire an American worker first. Durbin's bill would make it a requirement, The New York Times said.
The Times said the bill would also provide the U.S. Labor Department with more authority to single out abuse and ensure that the most promising foreign students enrolled in the country would receive priority for the visas.
On Thursday, Stephen Moore, a senior economist with CNN, discussed the H1-B visa program with Dan Proft and Amy Jacobson, hosts of Chicago’s The Morning Answer radio show.
Proft is a principal of Local Government Information Services, which owns this publication.
Moore supports the H1-B visa program because of the economic boost it gives the United States by bringing in the best and brightest people from around the world.
“When it comes to talented people like engineers, mathematicians, scientists, chemists: Yes, let’s bring the best in the world,” Moore said.
The program isn’t set up to displace American workers, Moore said, but is actually helping American workers because most immigrants are highly entrepreneurial.
“The more of these really highly talented people we bring in, the more jobs we have for Americans,” he said.
The United States issues 85,000 H-1B visas every year through a lottery system, and many of them go to technology companies, according to The New York Times.
Moore said he went to a speaking engagement at Google and saw a wide range of immigrant workers out of about 400 people in attendance.
“I looked out and it was like the United Nations," he said. "I have never seen anything like it."
Moore said the problem has been the abuse in the program.
“The stories about Disney requiring American workers to train their replacements from other countries ... you know that’s an abuse of the system,” he said.
Despite the abuses, Moore said he approves of any immigrant who comes here legally to work hard and add to the economy instead of abusing government services.
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