Darrell Issa's H-1B Bill Does Nothing for U.S. Workers

By John Miano, September 7, 2016

I have analyzed provisions of other H-1B reform bills, But Rep. Darrell Issa's H.R. 5801 is the easiest yet to analyze: Issa's H-1B reform bill does absolutely nothing.

It does take a little effort to explain what is going on in the bill.

The H-1B program started in 1991. By 1994, companies were using loopholes in the law to replace American workers.

In 1998, Congress responded to Americans being replaced by H-1B workers by enacting a tangle of provisions that make the practice legal in nearly all cases. Michelle Malkin and I describe the sordid history of the 1998 bill in our book, Sold Out.

If you follow the indirection in the statutes and piece together the parts, you find that under current law it is perfectly legal to replace Americans with H-1B workers unless:

  1. The H-1B worker earns less than $60,000 a year; AND

  2. The H-1B worker does not have a graduate degree; AND

  3. The employer has more than 15 percent of its total U.S. workforce on H-1B visas (not counting those making more than $60,000 or having a graduate degree); AND

  4. The replacement takes place within 90 days of making the visa petition.

It would be simple to replace this tangle with a single sentence that bans replacing Americans with H-1B workers. Instead, Issa's bill says it is perfectly legal to replace Americans with H-1B workers unless:

  1. The H-1B worker earns less than $100,000 a year (with the $100,000 inflation adjusted); AND

  2. The employer has more than 15 percent of its total U.S. workforce on H-1B visas (not counting those making more than $100,000); AND

  3. The replacement takes place within 90 days of making the visa petition.

Nearly all H-1B visa petitions are made in April for visas that start in October, far more than 90 days later, so Issa's change has no practical effect whatsoever.

Issa claims this bill will "stop the outsourcing of American jobs by companies abusing the H1-B visa program." Hardly.

The reason hundreds of Americans at Southern California Edison and Disney have been replaced by foreign workers is that we have representatives like Darrell Issa who have fought hard to ensure such replacements remain perfectly legal.