By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Wednesday, July 8, US Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) issued a statement in response to Microsoft’s latest announcement of layoffs. Despite the fact that Microsoft already has more workers than it needs the company continues to push for I-Squared and other legislation to drastically increase the number of H-1B visa-holders. Sen. Sessions said, “There is no shortage of talented Americans, only a shortage of politicians willing to stand up to special interests demanding low-wage guest workers to hire in their place.”
Senator Sessions said, “Microsoft has just announced it is laying off another 7,800 workers, on top of the 18,000 layoffs it has already announced. This means Microsoft has shed roughly 1/5th of its workforce in the past couple years. And yet Microsoft, perhaps more than any other major US company, has claimed it suffers from a shortage of American workers and must therefore import more H-1B foreign guest workers.”
Sen. Sessions continued, “In arguing for an expansion to the H-1B program, Microsoft’s general counsel declared that “the skill gap is one of the biggest problems Microsoft faces,” and that this labor shortage was “approaching the dimensions of a genuine crisis.” Microsoft has endorsed the so-called I-Squared bill to triple H-1B visas, declaring that “it’s critical that America address the shortage of workers with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills,” adding “there are high-skilled, high-paying jobs being created by American businesses across the country that are being left unfilled because of this gap.” Mr. Gates himself testified before Congress that “our higher education system doesn’t produce enough top scientists and engineers to meet the needs of the U.S. economy,” and has suggested as a remedy that we allow corporations to hire an “infinite” number of H-1B workers. Last year, Mr. Gates coauthored an op-ed admonishing members of Congress who resisted his push for more guest worker labor.”
Sen. Sessions continued, “Microsoft even signed a letter urging passage of the I-Squared H-1B increase, asserting that “there are tens of thousands of unfilled jobs requiring highly skilled individuals. Four high-tech companies alone – IBM, Intel, Microsoft and Oracle – have combined 10,000 openings in the United States.” But consulting firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas recently noted that “employers in the computer industry saw the heaviest downsizing of the year, announcing a total of 59,528 planned layoffs. That is 69 percent more than a year ago.” Perhaps these companies, instead of lobbying for H-1B workers, should hire some of the thousands of tech workers who are being laid off?”
The conservative Senator from Alabama concluded, “As Microsoft’s layoffs show, there is a surplus—not a shortage—of skilled, talented, and qualified Americans seeking STEM employment. Each year, universities graduate twice as many students with STEM degrees as find STEM jobs. According to the Census Bureau, more than 11 million Americans with STEM degrees are not employed in STEM jobs—or 3 in 4 STEM degree holders. Among recent graduates, about 35 percent of science students, 55 percent of technology students, 20 percent of engineering students, and 30 percent of math students are now working in jobs that don’t require any four-year college degree—let alone their area of specialty. The truth is that, as Professor Ron Hira testified, “the H-1B visa has become a highly lucrative business model of bringing in cheaper H-1B workers to substitute for Americans… Most of the H-1B program is now being used to import cheaper foreign guestworkers, replacing American workers, and undercutting their wages.” Any increase to the H-1B visa would only quash the dreams of more talented Americans, glut the labor market and keep pay low, and push more of our own homegrown best and brightest students out of work. There is no shortage of talented Americans, only a shortage of politicians willing to stand up to special interests demanding low-wage guest workers to hire in their place.”
Sen. Sessions is that Chairman of the Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest and has been widely critical of Obama Administration plans to ramp up immigration levels despite declining labor force participation, slow economic growth, and stagnant wages.
New Jersey businessman Donald Trump has vaulted into second place in recent polls of the crowded Republican Primary field by making immigration a highlight of his campaign.
Trump who has emphasized the need to curtail immigration from the southern border and criticized Mexican immigrants for “bringing crime” and being “rapists” said, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” the Republican presidential candidate said in June. “They’re sending people that have lots of problems … they’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
Trump has been widely condemned for his comments on immigration, but said Saturday, “It seems like I’m sort of the whipping post because I bring it up. And I don’t understand whether you are liberal or whether you are conservative or whether you are Republican, Democrat — why wouldn’t you talk about a problem? The crime is raging. It’s violent, and people don’t want to even talk about it. If you talk about it, you are a racist. I don’t understand it.”
Trump has called comprehensive immigration reform a “suicide mission” for Republicans.
Sen. Sessions has been the leader for years on opposing expanding legal immigration and giving amnesty to an estimated 11 million illegal aliens already living here in this country.