Sen. Grassley: Reform the U.S. Visa System to Give American Graduates More
Wednesday, March 21, 2012, 4:43 PM EDT
Senator Chuck Grassley
Senator Chuck Grassley
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary
Committee, wrote an op-ed that was published in The Daily Iowan calling for
fixes to the nation's visa system that would help make it easier for
American college graduates to find jobs this spring.
Sen. Grassley discussed his past legislative accomplishments, including
reforms that protect high-skilled American workers and graduates who
struggle to find good-paying jobs. Sen. Grassley specfically discussed his H
-1B visa reform bill that would require good faith recruitment of American
workers by companies seeking foreign workers, change wage requirements so
visa holders are not undercutting American workers, give the Department of
Labor authority to investigate fraud allegations, prohibit employers from
advertising only to H-1B visa holders, and increase penalties for those who
violate the terms of the H-1B visa program.
Grassley states that the U.S. visa system should not undermine the American
workers' chances of landing a good-paying job.
Read Chairman Grassley's op-ed in The Daily Iowan.
With spring just around the corner, many Iowans look forward to seasonal
rites of passage this time of year. Farmers are itching to get in the
fields. Home gardeners anticipate the first shoots of peas and lettuce.
Spring cleaning tops the to-do list for many families. School students give
thanks for spring break. And soon-to-be-college graduates have their sights
set on landing a job.
It's no secret the Class of 2012 needs to break into a job market
struggling to rebound from Wall Street's financial meltdown and the mortgage
-industry mess. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the unemployment
rate is idling at 8.3 percent. This year's crop of graduates also will
compete with more than 5 million jobless Americans who have looked for work
for longer than six months.
Yet, the Obama administration has proposed federal rules to "attract and
retain highly skilled immigrants" that arguably increase the competition
for Americans who are looking for work.
Is this really the administration's idea of priming the employment pump?
In Iowa, civic and business leaders work together in their communities
to grease the wheels for economic development. From Council Bluffs to Keokuk
, local economic-development leaders search for ways to attract and keep
businesses. They go to bat for their towns because they know their labor
pool is ready and willing to work.
So flooding the employment market with foreign workers when high-skilled
Americans are seeking jobs at unprecedented levels, just doesn't square
with improving the home-team advantage, let alone fostering a level playing
From my leadership position on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, I
have championed reforms to the nation's immigration and visa laws to better
protect the pool of highly skilled, unemployed U.S. workers and graduates
who struggle to find good-paying jobs here at home.
For example, the H1B visa program was created in 1990 as a temporary
measure to help companies in America find high-technology workers —
assuming specialized workers aren't available in the United States to fill
these jobs. After more than two decades on the books, the program needs
better controls and stronger oversight that will prevent qualified American
workers from being passed over for good-paying jobs.
That's why over the last several years I've introduced an H1B visa
reform bill that would require a good faith recruitment of American workers
by all companies seeking to bring in foreign workers, change the wage
requirements to ensure that visa holders are not undercutting American
workers, give more authority to the Department of Labor to investigate
allegations of fraud, prohibit employers from advertising only to H1B visa
holders, and increase penalties for those who violate the terms of the H1B
Out-of-work Americans and graduates of the Class of 2012 have enough
hurdles to overcome. The nation's visa system should not undermine their
chances of landing a good-paying job.
Sen. Chuck Grassley,