In Kansas’ Third District, IT has a strong presence with Microsoft, Google and Amazon. Over time, since taking office in 2011, the district’s soon-to-be former representative, Kevin Yoder, fell in love with the H-1B employment-based visa.
This year Yoder sponsored H.R. 392 which would have removed country caps, or limits, on potential green card holders. Getting rid of county caps favors India and China, creates an endless stream of permanent competition for American science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workers, and puts pressure on Congress to raise the overall H-1B 85,000 visa cap so that workers from other countries might get green cards.
The Third District in Kansas has unemployed or underemployed IT workers who apparently either didn’t show up to vote for Republican Yoder or spitefully voted for the winning Democrat, Sharice Davids. Roughly 44 percent of people in Yoder’s district age 25 or older earned college degrees, and many may worry that more employment visas mean fewer jobs for them, especially well-paid jobs.
Yoder is gone. But Davids will be yet another roadblock to passing pro-American worker legislation, assuming such a bill would ever reach Congress. Davids wants to fix immigration, code for issuing more work permits. Given 30 years of losing ground to foreign-born workers, American tech workers are increasingly resigned to taking matters into their own hands to seek redress.
Recently, a class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of about 1,000 former Tata workers, all non-South Asians and mostly U.S. citizens. Daniel Kotchen, the plaintiffs’ lawyer, alleges that Tata gave assignments to Indian expatriates and Indian nationals who hold H-1B visas. Kotchen’s firm also is suing six other outsourcing firms on the same discrimination grounds.
According to court records, Kotchen told the jury Tata fired 12.6 percent of its non-South Asian workers in the U.S., but less than 1 percent of its South Asian employees. In what would be damning evidence, Kotchen plans to show statistical proof that there is less than a one in a billion chance that race and national origin are not part of Tata termination decisions. Tata’s U.S. workforce is 80 percent South Asian. Kotchen also claimed that Tata employees who report discrimination are threatened with retaliation, most likely dismissal.
A decision on the Tata case is expected later this month.
In the meantime, for American tech workers, business will reflect the predictable anti-American worker attitude, the same attitude that has prevailed for many years now. And as the 116th Congress convenes in January 2019, the total number of those elected who actually represent Americans and American workers remains small.
Joe Guzzardi is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research and the American Internet Baseball Writers Association. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.