Roy Beck raised an interesting question today on his NumbersUSA blog.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's reaction to a limited set of stricter rules for banks hiring foreign workers answers a bar debate that long has raged. The question has always been whether if we had another Great Depression would the Chamber still continue to lobby for more foreign workers on the basis of worker shortages. This week, the debate is settled. YES, THEY WOULD! "It's Official — U.S. Chamber Would Lobby for Foreign Workers During a Depression"
Beck raised this question because the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Immigration Lawyers Association haven't finished with Senate Amendment 306 in the Stimulus bill. As explained in my previous newsletter, SA306 was watered down at the urging of AILA lobbyists who got it to the point that it will save at most 1,000 jobs. You would think the greedsters wouldn't care to shoot it down again, but they do. [Groups fight stimulus limit on workers with H-1B visas,By Chris Strohm, CongressDaily 02/10/2009]
The big question is why?
After the Senate voice vote to amend SA306 (which watered the bill down) it would stand to reason that the USCoC and AILA would let dead dogs lie, but they aren't. In order to understand why let's look at what SA306 will and won't do.
What SA306 will do:
1) Give us a symbolic victory that could be used as a marker in the future to fight H-1B.
2) Banks that receive TARP money will have a slightly bigger hassle getting H-1B visas because now they will automatically be declared H-1B dependent. Companies that are H-1B dependent never fail to get the H-1Bs they want but there is slightly more paperwork that has to be filed. Before SA306 was modified the banks wouldn't have been allowed to hire any H-1Bs for a year, which would have been a much bigger victory for us.
What SA306 won't do:
1) Prevent banks from hiring foreigners by using H-1B, L-1, or TN visas.
2) Prevent banks from using bodyshops like Tata or Infosys that use nothing but H-1Bs or L-1s.
3) Prevent offshoring of bank functions or services.
4) Save jobs for Americans.
There are some dynamics going on that show that groups with slightly conflicting interests are willing to work together to gang up on SA306. The USCoC loses a little if SA306 stands as is because H-1B dependency is a hassle that businesses don't want. On the other hand, AILA represents immigration lawyers that stand to gain slightly since companies would have to pay lawyers more to process the H-1B visas and for the additional legal advice that would be required to replace American workers. Apparently these organizations are so obsessed with total victory in all things immigration they are willing to put aside minor differences in order to deny us a miniscule symbolic victory.
The corporatists and the sharks have obviously decided to spend resources in order to wipe SA306 off the face of the Earth. From my observations many labor and immigration groups are confused about what is going on, and therefore divided. So far the odds of SA306 getting through Congress seem to be quite bad unless opposition gets their act together quickly.
Be sure to read the US Chamber Of Commerce letter to the Senate here.