The union representing technical and professional engineers today announced its opposition to the immigration bill, S. 744, warning that it sells American workers and students "down the river."
In a letter to the Senate, the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) calls the bill "a cruel betrayal of American workers":
"IFPTE believes it is not appropriate or fair for politicians to trade the jobs of American workers - in this case STEM workers - in exchange for a path to citizenship. Such a scenario, which is what is reflected in S. 744, is akin to a cruel betrayal of American workers, and, absent the approval of amendments to improve Title IV, IFPTE urges you vote against this legislation in its current form."
The union says American workers have become a "bargaining chip" used "to gut the modest reforms" in the original version of the bill:
"[I]it has also become crystal clear to our union that the bargaining chip for the path to citizenship has become our nation's STEM workers and students.
"This was evident during the final days of the Judiciary Committee's mark-up last week when Senator Schumer - a leading member of the so-called "gang of eight" - reached a deal with Senator Hatch to successfully foster to passage an all-encompassing amendment to gut the modest reforms to the H-1B program included in Title IV of the underlying bill."
IFPTE says the amendment eliminates the requirement to prioritize hiring equally qualified American workers and "creates a loophole" to allow employers to fire American workers and replace them with lower-paid foreign workers.
Another loophole opens the door for the number of H-1B worker visas to more than triple to 230,000 - not the 180,000 limit stated in the bill, the letter says:
"When the base number of allotted Visas reaches 180,000 there is an escalator that kicks in if all of the visas are issued within the first 45 days."
"All total that is another 50,000 visas on top of the 180,000 H-1B Visas, not including the tens of thousands of exemptions already included in the bill."
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said today that "Congress should listen to the warning from the engineers' union about the Gang of Eight immigration bill."
"Whether the interests of the American people are answered in the coming days - or ignored - will be an important test of our Democracy," Sen. Sessions concluded.
IFPTE joins USCIS, the union representing 12,000 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services adjudications officers and staff, and the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Council in opposition to the immigration bill S. 744.