WASHINGTON – Senators Chuck Grassley and Dick Durbin today pressed Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, for answers to long-standing problems in the H-1B visa program. Grassley is the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Durbin, the Assistant Senate Majority Leader, is a senior member of the committee, which has jurisdiction over immigration policy.
The letter comes on the heels of a recently released Government Accountability Office report that details the processes by which employers bring in foreign workers and describes the shortcomings in administrative oversight to make sure the program is not abused.
“The H-1B visa program is riddled with loopholes and is in need of serious reform. It’s time to put integrity back into the program, and ensure that the program works for American workers and businesses,” Grassley said. “Senator Durbin and I have been highlighting fraud and abuse within the H-1B program for years, and this report reiterates those concerns. It’s time we get the program back to its original intent where employers use H-1B visas only to shore-up employment in areas where there is a lack of qualified American workers.”
“Congress created the H-1B visa program so an employer could hire a foreign guest-worker when a qualified American worker could not be found. We’ve long argued that the H-1B visa program is plagued with fraud and abuse and is a vehicle for outsourcing American jobs. This report backs us up. Especially at a time when millions of Americans are unemployed, the H-1B visa program should complement the U.S. workforce, not replace it.”
Grassley and Durbin have long argued that American workers should be given first consideration by companies looking to import foreign workers. They said that companies should not use the H-1B program to replace qualified American workers. The Senators said the program lacks sufficient controls to ensure that employers are abiding by the rules set forth in the program and that the program oversight is fragmented and restricted.
Grassley and Durbin have led the effort to close loopholes and enact reform in the H-1B visa program. They have introduced legislation in previous Congresses to reform the H-1B and L visa programs and are planning on reintroducing their bill again in the 112th Congress.
Here’s a copy of the letter to Napolitano.