H1-B visa issue: US Senator says H1-B visa and employment-based green card to be reformed
United States Senator Tom Cotton, close to the US President Donald Trump, on Wednesday said that the H1-B work visa and the employment-based green card categories will likely be reformed to attract the brightest people from across the world.
The Republican Senator from Arkansas said that the current H1-B visa system in place in the United States does not assist in bringing the best and the brightest from across the world, hence there is a need to reform it. Cotton, who met Trump on Tuesday, added that the President is planning to change it for the better of the nation.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) last week on Friday had announced that it will “temporarily suspend premium processing for all H-1B petitions” starting from April 3. The department, in a statement, had said that the suspension may last up to six months and that it was a move by the administration to speed up all the applications.
The suspension of the H1-B visa premium processing came even though India last month had pressed US for a fair and rational approach on the matter from a trade and business perspective.
The US H1-B visa is a non-immigrant visa, which allows firms to hire foreign workers in specialised occupations. The H-1B and L1 work visas are majorly used by Indian IT professionals. Currently, the cap on H1B visas stands at 65,000, out of which 25,000-35,000 are issued to Indian nationals.
“I think, on the H-1B temporary visa but also the permanent green cards, like EB1, EB2, the President wants to get the very best people from around the world. Often those programs are implemented in a way that are not consistent with their purposes,” Cotton told MSNBC.
“They don’t bring in PhDs and computer scientists. They bring in mid-level and they replace mid-level data management workers. That’s why you get controversies like people losing their jobs at companies like Disney and Southern California Edison that were just replaced by foreign workers who weren’t necessarily high skilled,” Cotton said.
“So he (Trump) would like to see reforms to those programs that I would,” said Cotton, who is also a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. “It’s really an empirical question about where we have gaps in our economy. But I will say this, there is no job that an American won’t do. Americans, with the right pay, will do any job. That’s just the fact of the matter,” the Senator added.
Arkansas’ House of Representatives just passed a religious freedom bill that is very similar to Indiana’s, according to multiple reports. Because the Arkansas Senate already passed the measure last week, it now goes to Governor Asa Hutchinson ®, who has indicated that he will sign the legislation into law. According to the New York Times, the Arkansas legislature rejected attempts to carve out an exemption prohibiting discrimination against members of the LGBT community.
It’s been a hellish few days for Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who made the horrible decision to sign his state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law. Now, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchison may be about to make the same mistake.
The Arkansas House and Senate have both passed a RFRA nearly identical to Indiana’s, allowing individuals and businesses to express their “religious freedom” without penalty – even if it means discriminating against LGBT people or anybody else. We should know for sure whether Hutchinson will sign it by around 11:30 EST today.
The perils Hutchinson faces were made clear Tuesday morning when Pence insisted he’d “fix” Indiana’s law to make sure it doesn’t allow businesses like Christian florists or bakers to turn away gay and lesbian customers – which the bill’s conservative supporters had said was one of their chief goals.
“Was I expecting this kind of backlash? Heavens no,” Pence said.
Following Indiana, Arkansas becomes the second of what could be a spate of states to add religious freedom laws to their books this year. There are 14 other states considering similar proposals this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. […]
The other states where religious freedom bills have been introduced are Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.
Those efforts have stalled, though, in North Carolina and Georgia.
Not an April Fool’s joke. An actual real thing, that could actually become law in roughly a third of the country. How.
In recent days, public statements from businesses like Walmart, which is based in Arkansas, have played a big part in getting the Arkansas governor, Asa Hutchinson, and the governor of Indiana, Mike Pence, to reconsider their previous support for the religious freedom laws as passed by their Legislatures. On Thursday, lawmakers in Indiana adopted changes to clarify that its law does not authorize discrimination. And Arkansas legislators changed their law so it closely mirrors a federal law.
Just issuing corporate statements against such a law is relatively easy and actually doesn’t provide protection against discrimination. If corporations and their executives care about civil rights, they should make clear that they will not donate to or support the campaigns of politicians who back such regressive legislation. They certainly shouldn’t back lawmakers like Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, who is running for president and who has been a vocal supporter of the initial versions of the Indiana and Arkansas laws, and Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, who suggested on Wednesday that gays have it pretty good in the United States because they are not executed here as they are in Iran.
Another thing businesses can do is to make clear that they want lawmakers in all states to pass anti-discrimination protections for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people. More than three dozen chief executives of technology companies did just that in a statement released on Wednesday.
“It is a useful thing when a political party reveals itself as utterly unsuited for national leadership. This may be the one redeeming feature of Monday’s letter to the Iranian government signed by 47 (or, to put it another way, all but seven) Senate Republicans.
"The letter—which encourages Iran’s leaders to dismiss the ongoing nuclear talks with the United States and five other nations—is as brazen, gratuitous, and plainly stupid an act as any committed by the Senate in recent times, and that says a lot. It may also be illegal.”
Even if it is illegal, nothing will happen, but the fact that these people thought this was a good idea makes them completely unfit for their offices.