It’s Primary Season…Are the Candidates Listening to Us?

Founder’s Corner

Dear All,

If you’re like me, your mailbox, email inbox, and text messaging apps are probably flooded with candidate statements. We are in the throes of primary elections and in some states that season will linger as late as August!

While we can’t endorse candidates; we can discuss how they stack up on the issues we care about, notably employment visas such as H-1B, L-1 and Optional Practical Training (OPT). So, here goes!

J.D. Vance (Republican) Ohio Senatorial Candidate
Vance is vying to replace retiring Senator Rob Portman. In our opinion, Portman has generally been on the wrong side of the H-1B visa program. NumbersUSA, an immigration advocacy organization that seeks to reduce both legal and illegal immigration to the U.S., gave him an overall grade of “C” for his voting record on immigration-related legislation. An establishment-type Republican, Portman has generally favored increasing legal immigration. We view that as a negative and as giving in to Big Business and their relentless demands to secure more sources of cheap labor.

Vance is the antithesis of Portman in that he believes immigration policy is mostly used to favor the interests of Big Business at the expense of American workers. Specific to H-1B visas, Vance has stated, “I believe the H1B visa is abused, because too many companies take advantage of them to undercut the wages of American workers. I’ve never encouraged the companies I’ve invested in to use the program.”

Blake Masters (Republican) Arizona Senatorial Candidate
A graduate of Stanford Law school, Masters spent eight years working with billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel, before entering politics. They co-wrote Zero to One described as a business book for entrepreneurs, which attacks globalization “as the enemy of innovation.” We’ve long held the belief that globalization, the accompanying cult of neoliberalism, and the uninhibited movement of people and capital across international borders, stymies both innovation and overall productivity.

On H-1B visas, Masters has said, “I’m open to suspending it entirely. I think the H-1B system is totally abused. I think we probably should suspend it until we can kind of figure out what’s going on.”

Joe Kent (Republican) Washington – 3rd Congressional District
Kent is running to unseat Republican Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler. For the most part, Beutler has sidestepped the topic of immigration and, in particular, employment visas. Kent, a Gold Star husband and retired Special Forces officer, has been vocal on immigration, specifically calling for an immigration moratorium.

He has also criticized the H-1B visa and the OPT work authorization program for international students. Kent has met with former Intel employees fired from their jobs and replaced by H-1B workers and has rallied for outright elimination of the guest worker visa program.

Mo Brooks (Republican) Alabama Senatorial Candidate 
Dubbed as Jeff Sessions 2.0, Representative Mo Brooks currently serves Alabama’s fifth district and is in the race for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Richard Shelby.

Brooks understands the problems with the various guest worker visa programs and has sponsored legislation to eliminate the OPT program and reform the H-1B program so it’s less predatory to American workers. NumbersUSA has given him a grade of “A+” for his voting record on immigration-related bills.

Katie Britt (Republican) Alabama Senatorial Candidate
Also looking to claim Shelby’s U.S. Senate seat is Katie Britt, a lawyer and businesswoman who previously worked as his Chief of Staff. She doesn’t have a legislative record to run on but recently stated she would “stop Big Tech’s exploitation of the United States’ immigration system.”

As someone who was once a registered Democrat and a delegate to the Executive Board of the California Democratic Party, I wish I could tell you there’s a California candidate running who aligns with our views. But there isn’t.

In closing, Robert (Bob) Heath, a stalwart activist who created the database for H-1B Facts and who has won several complaints against firms that discriminate against American workers, has been diagnosed with advanced bone cancer. Bob is one of the brightest, most stubborn, and hardheaded men I’ve had the pleasure to work with. And while I’m sure his stubbornness will prevail, I ask you to keep him in your thoughts and take a moment to pray for his recovery.

In solidarity.

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