CBS’ KPIX 5 station has reported that new, controversial ads are popping up in the San Francisco Bay Area targeting the H-1B visa program.
Altogether more than 200 ads were put up over the weekend at the Civic Center BART station, the 19th Street Oakland BART station and on the BART train cars that read “U.S tech workers, your companies think you are expensive, undeserving and expendable. Congress, fix H-1B laws so companies must seek and hire U.S. workers.”
According to KPIX 5, the ads were put up to protest the current H-1B visa system that allows employers to bring in about 65,000 foreign workers every year, most of them being Indian, and were paid for by the Progressives for Immigration Reform (PFIR), designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “anti-immigrant.”
The Executive Director of PFIR Kevin Lynn told KPIX 5 that they paid $80,000 for the ads because they just want regulations for the H-1B visa program that he claims is broken.
“Going back to 1990, the idea was to attract, it was called the genius visa at the time and when you see who is coming over, these folks are really quite ordinary in many ways. 26 percent have only an Associate’s degree,” he said, adding that employers are using the program to bring in foreign labor because it’s cheaper.
In an interview with 60 Minutes, Leo Perrero, an American worker who was replaced by an H-1B visa worker said “never in my life did I imagine until this happened at Disney that I could be sitting at my desk and somebody would be flown in from another country … sit at my same desk and chair and take over what I was doing. It was the most humiliating and demoralizing thing I’ve ever gone through in my life.”
Flynn said his group wants new laws making it harder for employers to bring in workers from other countries, but the problem is that both Republicans and Democrats like the current system.
Even Russell Hancock, President & CEO of Joint Venture Silicon Valley who likes the current H-1B program told KPIX 5 last year: “Silicon Valley is mostly people who are not from Silicon Valley. They’re from other parts of the world. 50 percent of our population is coming from some other place in the workforce so when you shut that down you shut down Silicon Valley.”
Lynn said he has been receiving phone calls from displaced workers thanking him after the signs were put up in the area and will remain there until April 1, when the application process for the H-1B visa begins.
According to a recent PTI report, The U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Services announced that they will be suspending the premium processing of all H-1B petitions which are subject to the annual caps while petitions for the H-1B visa will continue to be accepted from April 2.