If you’re reading this week’s Founder’s Corner on July 3, know that we are at Proclamation Day (PD) + 11. On June 22, President Trump announced expanding his immigration ban to include several categories of employment visas. As expected, the corporate-controlled pundits of mainstream media, a host of industry trade publications and industry-controlled social media channels have been hyperventilating over their stream of indentured servants being drawn down to just a trickle.
Despite this tsunami of well-monied propaganda, a few stories were published that not only spoke to the virtue of Trump’s proclamation, they called on the president to expand it to include additional categories and deny extensions of those currently here. Links to several of those stories can be found below in our “News You Can Use” section.
As tragic as it can be to be involved in a fight for hearts and minds when the opponent controls much of the media, things did take a turn for the comical when NPR’s 1A program hosted by Sasha-Ann Simons hobbled together a panel to discuss the proclamation this past Monday. The panel lineup included Hamed Aleaziz, an immigration reporter from BuzzFeed; Eleanor Pelta, an immigration attorney; Natasha Bhat, a compensation manager with Freshworks; and Felice Gorordo, CEO of eMerge Americas.
As one might surmise from the lineup, the entire discussion was one-sided, and that is being generous. For instance, Pelta described H-1Bs as highly skilled workers and executives. Gorordo from his perspective as a CEO didn’t seem to be able to come to grips with the fact that there are more than 40 million unemployed Americans. He reverted to the tired old saw that his company and others needs to be able to source the world’s high-skilled talent. Hey, Gorordo! At least three-quarters of H-1Bs are not highly skilled!
Fortunately, several members of the SWAT team did get through and force the panel to address the displacement of Americans. It seemed to get to the point where so many questions were streaming in from American workers that Simons was forced to say “… If you’ve navigated the visa system as an immigrant, or an employer, we especially want to hear from you….” Although the questions were met with other old saws such as a “relatively low unemployment rate” in technology, it was great to hear these clowns put on the spot. In the end, the most concrete example of how the ban would impact U.S. business was to state “what an HR administrative nightmare” this would prove to be.
It’s always funny to hear reporters like Aleaziz from left-leaning platforms like Buzzfeed lock arms with big business and the chambers of commerce and join them in condemning the proclamation. Oh, the irony!
Then to add insult to irony, the company Freshworks may be headquartered in California, but the majority of the employees are in India which is probably why the panelist was out of the U.S. when the ban was initiated. (She mentioned she was in India attending her father-in-law’s funeral. Makes you wonder, why did her husband choose to remain in the U.S. and not join her in attending his own father’s funeral?) Being an Indiancentric company also raises the question as to just why does it need to have a foreign national fill the role of compensation manager? How technical is that position? And, no American could be found to do that job? Inquiring minds want to know!
SWAT Team, Others Speak Out
It was not only the SWAT team (group of U.S. tech worker activists working with USTW), but many other tech workers who made their voices heard at NPR on Monday. And that was awesome! But we can’t stop there. When news outlets and social media platforms cover worker issues, they need to hear from you. To help with that, we are crafting a few sample message points to assist you in writing letters to the editor in your local news outlets and responding on social media, specifically in response to the President’s Executive Order. We’ll share those in a separate communication.
Tighter Regs on B Visa
The Department of State is preparing to tighten regulations on the B visa as it pertains to temporary visitors here on business and pleasure. For a number of years, heroes like Jay Palmer, a former Infosys staffer and now an advocate for American workers, have been fighting to bring attention to how people coming here on B visas were actually taking permanent jobs. The new language will remove any hint of ambiguity that might blur the intent of the regulation.
Speaking of Mr. Palmer, he is looking to raise funds to continue several of his campaigns to stop employment visa abuse. I know these are tough times for many. But if you can afford to send a little love his way, please visit his gofundme page.
Fourth of July
In closing, this Saturday, or PD + 12, is the Fourth of July. It is the day we commemorate our independence from Great Britain and renew our faith in our democratic principles and our right “to the pursuit of happiness.” The Declaration of Independence states:
- “… But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
Since the 1990s, workers of this country have suffered “a long train of abuses” at the hands of corporatists, globalists and neoliberals who in their zeal for power, profit and the destruction of the nation state have kicked the productive class to the curb. But things are beginning to change. We have agency, the duty and right to secure good paying employment for ourselves and financial security for our families through our labor and intellect.
Gains made as of Proclamation Day have come directly from the grassroot and populist actions of the tech worker community. I can’t wait to see what things will be like on Independence Day 2021!
A Happy Fourth of July to All!