Trump floats 'path to citizenship' for H-1B visa-holders
Donald Trump tweeted yesterday that "changes are soon coming" to the H-1B visa program that could give a "path to citizenship" for some.
"H1-B holders in the United States can rest assured that changes are soon coming which will bring both simplicity and certainty to your stay, including a potential path to citizenship," Mr. Trump tweeted. "We want to encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue career options in the U.S."
There is nothing new in Trump's desire to bring the best of the world to work in the U.S. He has repeatedly said so over the years. This debunks the notion that Trump is "anti-immigrant." He wants to reform the H-1B program, but only after the border is secured.
Mr. Trump has expressed openness to a broader immigration overhaul, but has insisted that he first wants funding for a concrete or steel wall or barrier, along with funding for technology and personnel to handle the situation at the border. It's unclear what prompted Mr. Trump's tweet.
During the campaign, Mr. Trump proposed increasing the prevailing wage paid to H-1B visa holders in an effort to force companies to give entry-level jobs to an existing pool of unemployed workers in the U.S., instead of bringing in cheaper workers from overseas.
"This will improve the number of black, Hispanic and female workers in Silicon Valley who have been passed over in favor of the H-1B program," the Trump campaign wrote in an August 2015 immigration platform.
The H-1B visa program was created to bring highly skilled and educated workers to the U.S. to be employed by tech firms and labs. But the program has been abused by some businesses, who bring over entry-level workers who will work for less than Americans. Consequently, Americans have been fired from some jobs to accommodate the lower paid foreign workers.
As a businessman, Trump has a unique perspective among politicians on the H-1B visa program. He has already tried to address some of the abuses of the program with uneven success.
This is an issue that Congress needs to get involved in. But with immigration politics all tied up in knots because of the fight over the border wall, it won't happen anytime soon.