The specific purpose of L-1 visas is to allow multinational companies to transfer managers and specialists within the company for a limited time. The high number now issued annually indicates that the multinationals are abusing L-1s as a back door to bring in lower-paid workers, not for a legitimate rotation of managers and specialized employees.
Tata Consultancy, for example, obtained 4,887 L-1s in fiscal 2006. Tata refused to answer questions from the tech journal InfoWorld, which called the H-1B/L-1 racket the fifth-most-underreported tech story of 2007.
Neither the H-1B nor the L-1 foreigners are expected to take permanent jobs or to get residency in the United States. But no one keeps track of whether or not they go home when their visas expire.
We can thank YouTube for posting on the Web a portion of a conference at which immigration lawyers train employers on how to sidestep immigration law. The blunt advice dished out by Lawrence Lebowitz of Cohen & Grigsby was: "Our goal is clearly not to find a qualified U.S. worker. ... Our objective is to get this person a green card."
Lebowitz also advised employers to find a place to advertise for U.S. workers where you will be "complying with the law" but hoping "not to find qualified and interested worker applicants."
Jobs losses are also caused by unfair trade agreements signed by our government that encourage corporations to close U.S. plants and move their production overseas. Chinese laborers, working under slave-labor conditions, can be hired for 30 cents an hour.
In addition to the advantage of cheap labor, our trade agreements permit massive product discrimination against us. Foreign governments are allowed to subsidize the goods they export to us, but are also allowed to impose heavy taxes on goods they import from us.
Free trade was supposed to result in a mutual reduction of tariffs so goods can move freely around the world. It didn't work out that way because our trade agreements do not require a level playing field.
The United States cut our tariffs, but foreign countries substituted border taxes that are just as high as the tariffs they supposedly eliminated. They hide these border taxes under the moniker "value added tax," and it adds up to playing us for Uncle Sucker.
Now that millions of Americans have lost the good jobs they thought had put them on the path to living the American dream, the voters are waking up. Presidential candidates beware: We want to know what you will do to protect American jobs.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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