Where, Oh Where Have All The Jobs Gone?
Where, Oh Where Have All The Jobs Gone?
By Norma Sherry
Say so long to the plumber's crack. So long Roto Rooter Man. To be precise, so long to the Roto Rooter man you used to know. But, the plumber you used to know is not the only worker you soon won't be able to recognize. Your doctor, nurse, architect, accountant, your librarian, lawyer, dentist, your physical therapist, psychologist, acupuncturist, chiropractor, your social worker, your children's teacher, your puppy's vet, even the judge you may stand before, or your country's nuclear engineers are among the workforce being imported to America. So, too, they could be your new salesperson, sales manager, or your company's sales representative, attorney, the graphic artist that designs the company letterhead, the pharmacist that fills your next prescription, or your next auditor. Perhaps even the biologist or chemist in any number of American corporations or government institutions. As a matter of fact, we are in the midst of the highest percentage of immigrant workers America has seen in 70 years.
America's corporations are importing workers as fast as they are exporting jobs. Any workforce from any country where the beleaguered populace is willing to work for a pittance is a viable candidate for the insatiable greed of the American corporation. At a time when there are more American workers out of work than at any time in our history-ten million or more unemployed, without any hope of employment--without a scintilla of savings, with their unemployment having long run its course, and an estimated 20 million skilled and educated American workers that are under-employed, our legislators have voted historic increases in H-1B, L-1 visas securing a foreign workforce that is economically practicable and beneficial for none but corporate America.
Amazingly, the true numbers of H-1B visas, as well as H-2A, H-2B, J-1, L-1, and TN visas are not known because INS, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, does not keep an accurate accounting. Although, Corporate America would attest that these visas are necessary--that they are temporary visas created because high-tech companies couldn't find workers with math, engineering, and computer science skills, the truth is far-less appealing.
Corporations and our government are utilizing H-1B and L-1 visas purely to import a cheap, effective workforce in lieu of hiring the more expensive and educated American worker. Estimates from those in the know figure we now have more than the entire populace of Canada in alien and work-related visas.
Early in 1998, the 65,000 allowable work-related H-1B visas were already issued resulting in high-tech companies clamoring for an immediate increase. Congress obliged and raised the number to 115,000 in 1999 and 2000 and to 107,500 in 2001.
In 1999, Senator Phil Gramm, (R-TX) sponsored, and Trent Lott (R-MS) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY), co-sponsored Bill S 1440 IS, to allow the H-1B work-related visa to raise the annual cap to 200,000 for the years 2000, 2001, and 2002. The three additional co-sponsors were republicans from Michigan, Utah, and Kansas. On March 9, 2000, the Judiciary Committee approved a related bill, S 2045.
S 2045 IS, or the American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act, sponsored by Orrin Hatch, (R-UT) and co-sponsored by 19 fellow republicans, who included then Sen. John Ashcroft, and 4 -democrats, of whom one was Sen. Joseph Lieberman, increased H-1B visas to 195,000 annually.
Contrary to popular understanding, not all H-1B visas are granted to college educated graduates. A good immigration attorney can win an applicant status with proof that they gained professional expertise through experience that is equivalent to a degree.
For the employer's role, they must certify that no U.S. workers will be adversely affected and that the H-1B employee will be paid the prevailing wage; the L-1 visa, which has grown monumentally has no such wage restriction and no caveat regarding any undue harm to the American worker. Also, unlike the H-1B visa that is filed per individual worker, the L-1 can be filed for a group of workers. Employers argue that they just want access to the best talent and if they didn't import workers it would undermine their competitiveness and force them to outsource more jobs far from our shores.
Lobbyists representing millions of companies use unrelenting fear tactics to tout their position. Recently, Randel K Johnson, vice president of labor, immigration and employee benefits of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, told a congressional hearing, 'Any limitations on this visa category could severely harm the ability of US companies to operate and expand in the domestic and international markets.'
Another spokesperson before the aforementioned hearing, Sandy Boyd, Chair and V.P. of American Business for Legal Immigration, said matter-of-factly that "it would be unfair to undermine the program simply because a few companies have misused it".
Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT), stated before a senate committee regarding the L-1 visa that the L-1 was originally established to allow companies to temporarily bring managers and executives to the U.S. to impart their knowledge to the U.S. staff.
Poignantly, he added, "What is self-evident is that the status quo is not acceptable. American workers have a right to expect Congress to do what is necessary to protect their jobs - so that they will be able to continue to provide for their families."
Clearly, the American worker has been the brunt of Corporate America's shenanigans. It is time to relinquish their stranglehold on the nation and its workers. It is time to repeal their power and reduce them to the entities our founding fathers reserved for them. Primarily, states and its citizens chartered and monitored corporations. If they did not act "for the purpose of serving the public interest" their charters were revoked.
Through chicanery corporations manipulated the courts into deeming them "personhood". That single act of malfeasance gave them the power to become the unwieldy behemoth it is today. It is time to reel them in.
Until we do, not only will the Roto Rooter man you used to know take on a new look, but so too, will the face of America - and the American worker will disappear into oblivion.
© Norma Sherry 2004
Norma Sherry is co-founder of TogetherForeverChanging.org, an organization devoted to educating, stimulating, and igniting personal responsibility particularly with regards to our diminishing civil liberties. She is also an award-winning writer/producer and host of upcoming television program, The Norma Sherry Show on WQXT TV.
Email Norma: firstname.lastname@example.org