Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Trump's election finally sets stage for H-1B reform

President-elect Donald Trump gave laid-off IT workers something his rival, Hillary Clinton, did not during the campaign: Attention and a promise to reform the H-1B visa program.

The IT workers that Trump wanted to appeal to don't work for startups, Google, Facebook or Microsoft. They run IT systems at insurance firms, banks, utilities and retailers. They live in Rust Belt cities and in New York City, but are too spread out for pollsters to measure.

Trump recognized that IT workers are aggrieved and so did Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who worked with the president-elect on this issue. Sessions, after being appointed in early 2015 as the chairman of the Senate immigration subcommittee, set out to become "the voice of the American IT workers who are being replaced with guest workers."

Sessions emerged as one of the visa program's harshest critics. He is now set to play a major role in a Trump administration.

Trump has appointed Sessions' chief counsel, Danielle Cutrona, to head his immigration policy transition team. Sessions is reportedly being considered to head the Department of Homeland Security (which oversees the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service), Department of Justice (which can investigate discrimination complaints), or the Department of Defense.

"Trump was the only candidate to invite me to share my horrific Disney story at his rallies, and Jeff Sessions was the only senator to invite me to testify at a Senate hearing," said Leo Perrero, a former IT worker at Disney who trained a visa-holding replacement. Disney laid off somewhere between 200 and 300 IT workers after hiring H-1B using contractors.

With Republicans in control of the Congress as well, Perrero said, "I am very optimistic that action will finally be taken."

After Southern California Edison (SCE) replaced a major part of its IT staff last year, Sessions took to the Senate floor and...Read More HERE

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