U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) made the following statement regarding recent actions by the Departments of Labor and Homeland Security to address abuses in the high-skilled guest worker program that has been used to displace American workers with low-paid foreign labor.
“I applaud the actions taken by the Department of Labor and the Department of Homeland Security to crack down on widespread abuses within the H-1B guest worker program. I have long expressed concern that the H-1B program, as it currently operates, undermines the wages and job opportunities of American workers and contains inadequate protections for American and immigrant workers alike.
“I’m happy that some of the changes made by these new rules closely align with the H-1B reforms I’ve advocated for over a decade as part of my bipartisan H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act (S. 3770), which I reintroduced earlier this year with my colleagues Senators Durbin, Blumenthal, Brown, and Sanders.
“Instead of being used to fill legitimate gaps in the labor force, the H-1B program is often abused to simply replace American workers with cheap guest worker labor. That abuse needs to stop, and I strongly support the efforts of the Departments of Labor and Homeland Security to do something about it,” Grassley said.
Grassley has long led the bipartisan effort in the Senate to tackle abuses in the H-1B visa program and return it to its original intent of supplementing the U.S. labor market when the supply of American workers for certain skilled jobs falls short of labor demands. The program has been used as means to replace skilled American workers with foreign labor, who are often paid well below market levels, placing downward pressure on compensation for American workers in the same industry. Earlier this year, Grassley re-introduced the bipartisan H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act, which contains provisions to crack down on some of the same abuses as those addressed in the Trump Administration’s new rules.