A bipartisan group of 10 senators has called on the Obama administration to investigate reports that the H-1B visa program is being used to push foreign workers into jobs now held by Americans at companies like Southern California Edison.
In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Labor Secretary Tom Perez, the senators cited reports saying that power company and many others are using H-1B visas to permanently replace American workers. That goes against the intent of the program, which is bring in foreign workers that are needed because they have hard-to-find skills.
Attorney General Eric Holder and other top Obama administration officials have been asked by Republicans and Democrats to investigate reports that foreigners with H-1B visas are stealing jobs from Americans.
"A number of U.S. employers, including some large, well-known, publicly traded corporations, have reportedly laid off thousands of American workers and replaced them with H-1B visa holders," they wrote. "To add insult to injury, many of the replaced American employees report that they have been forced to train the foreign workers who are taking their jobs."
The letter said this practice appears to be catching on with companies, and raises several questions, including whether the government is doing enough to make sure the H-1B visa process isn't being abused.
"We respectfully request that you investigate the unacceptable replacement of American workers by H-1B workers to ascertain whether SCE or any other U.S. companies that have engaged in this practice, or the IT consulting companies supplying those companies with H-1B workers, have violated the law," they wrote.
While Republicans have been vocal critics about the Obama administration's lax enforcement of immigration laws, the letter was signed by those on the right and the left. Democrats Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Dick Durbin (Ill.) and Claire McCaskill (Mo.) joined Republicans like Sens. Jeff Sessions (Ala.) and Chuck Grassley (Iowa). Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), an independent who is functionally a Democrat, also signed the letter.
Read their letter here: