When thinking about and analyzing the wages of farmworkers, it’s of the utmost importance to consider what they’re actually paid—not what they would earn if they worked full-time, since very few of them do.
Basic information published by the U.S. government shows that hundreds of thousands of new nonimmigrant visas authorizing employment are issued each year; it also shows the average aggregate size of the population of persons who hold nonimmigrant visas in the United States. However, the U.S. government does not have an adequate, reliable estimate for the total number of temporary foreign workers who are authorized to be employed in the U.S. labor market in the main nonimmigrant visa classifications that authorize employment. This report seeks to add to the limited existing literature on the size and makeup of temporary foreign worker programs in the United States by reviewing and assessing the available data in the main nonimmigrant visa classifications that authorize employment. It estimates that 1.42 million temporary foreign workers were employed in the United States with nonimmigrant visas in fiscal 2013. This number is approximately equal to 1 percent of the U.S. labor force.
Senator Tom Cotton’s (R-Ark.) recent NY Times op-ed on immigration—“Fix Immigration. It’s What Voters Want.”—gets a few things right, but the ultimate analysis is off the mark.
Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, issued a statement regarding her official visit to the United States to assess the country’s state of affairs on human trafficking
EPI’s Daniel Costa delivered the following testimony before the Indiana Senate’s Select Committee on Immigration Issues on Wednesday, September 21, 2016, at 1:00 p.m.
We will probably never get a final answer on this, but the situation raises a more important issue: there is a severe and troubling lack of government regulation, oversight, and enforcement when it comes to U.S. temporary (also known as “nonimmigrant”) visa programs.
On Monday, Vox.com published an in-depth interview with presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. A wide range of topics were discussed, but of particular interest were Sec. Clinton’s positions on immigration regarding the impact of immigration on the labor market and the major flaws inherent in America’s temporary foreign worker programs.
A panel of immigration and public policy experts discussed the impact that immigration has on employment and wages. The discussion was based on a report from the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Immigration Policy Project.
This morning the Supreme Court of the United States issued its decision in United States v. Texas, the State of Texas’s challenge to the most significant of the executive immigration actions—known as the DAPA and DACA+ initiatives—which were announced by President Obama on November 20, 2014.
The following is an excerpt from my congressional testimony on the H-2B program, which has been updated and edited for clarity; it explains in detail what you need to know about the H-2B riders.
All labor migration to the United States should be managed in a way that adds value to the labor market—by adding needed skills and education, and to fill labor shortages. The H-2B program fails on all counts. It also fails both American workers and migrant workers.
Through the H-2B visa program, employers can temporarily bring foreign workers to the United States to perform low-wage work such as landscaping, forestry, housekeeping, and construction. Because the visas are sponsored by employers, H-2B guestworkers cannot switch employers if they are abused, meaning these workers often toil for low wages in poor conditions.
The Visa Transparency Anti-Trafficking Act would go a long way to bringing a much-needed dose of transparency to our immigration system and drastically improve the quality of public debates surrounding temporary foreign worker programs.
President Obama could open up 100,000 jobs for young Americans today for free by simply eliminating the State Department’s J-1 visa Summer Work Travel (SWT) program.
EPI’s Director of Immigration Law and Policy Research Daniel Costa joined Dissent Magazine’s Belabored Podcast to discuss the H-1B guestworker program.
Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), a Tea Party favorite, and Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), a progressive stalwart, rarely agree on immigration policy. But last week, they did. What’s the issue they agree on? The need to reform two temporary work visas, the H-1B and L-1, because corporations use them to keep wages low and indenture foreign guestworkers—and replace U.S. workers in the technology sector with those lower-paid indentured foreign workers.
Daniel Costa, EPI’s Director of Immigration Law and Policy Research, discussed H-2B visas with Radio Bilingue.
A recent story from NPR’s Dan Charles titled “Guest Workers, Legal Yet Not Quite Free, Pick Florida’s Oranges,” provides a crucial glimpse into what it’s like being a guestworker in the United States. As the title suggests, it’s not pretty. The headline is probably using the word “free” as a double entendre: guestworkers are not free in the sense of the free market, nor in the sense of someone who has personal freedom and agency; i.e., is not a slave.
The Supreme Court is reviewing President Obama's decision to defer the deportation of unauthorized immigrants who are the parents of children who are either U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents, have resided in the United States for at least five years, and are not a DHS enforcement priority for deportation and update and expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative, which to date has provided deferred action to over 660,000 persons who entered the country as young people without authorization. Combined, over five million persons could be eligible for deferments out of a total unauthorized immigrant population of 11 million.
Stagnant or declining wages and persistently high unemployment in the top H-2B temporary foreign worker occupations belie lobbyists claims that a shortage of semi-skilled and unskilled labor calls for expanding the program.
Expanding and deregulating the H-2B visa program (a temporary foreign worker program that allows U.S. employers to hire low-wage guestworkers from abroad temporarily for seasonal, non-agricultural jobs, mostly in landscaping, forestry, seafood processing, and hospitality) has been a top goal for business groups including the U.S.
EPI’s Daniel Costa discussed immigration visas with Southern California Public Radio and BuzzFeed.
For decades, the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program has permitted foreign graduates of U.S. universities, who visit the United States to study through the F-1 nonimmigrant visa program, to be employed in the United States for up to 12 months immediately after graduation.
Last week the New York Times reported the latest innovation from employers who use the H-2B visa temporary foreign worker program to hire workers to staff traveling carnivals (think your local county or state fair): an employer-created union that collectively bargains with employers on behalf of workers to keep wages artificially low.
The reality is that what Sanders supports on immigration is careful and nuanced, and it’s the correct path forward for American immigration policy. In a nutshell, Sanders is strongly in favor of legalization and citizenship for the current unauthorized immigrant population, which will raise wages and lift labor standards for all workers, and he’s against expanding U.S. temporary foreign worker programs, which allow employers to exploit and underpay so-called guestworkers.
On World Refugee Day, The Hill published a Contributors piece by the libertarian Cato Institute’s immigration policy analyst, Alex Nowrasteh, headlined, “The US should be a home for refugees.” In it, he offers a brief history of refugee policy and flows into the United States over the past century and suggests that the United States “should … allow more to settle here.” That’s a noble sentiment, but the headline is misleading because it leaves out the substance of what Nowrasteh proposes in order to help make this happen.
The decision by Disney executives to reverse the layoff of 35 IT employees does nothing for the 250 workers who have already lost their jobs to workers they were forced to train and who will earn roughly $40,000 less for doing the same job.
This piece was originally published in the New York Times “Room for Debate” section on May 12, 2015.
The true costs of goods and services is a secondary issue to stagnant and exploitative wages: The cost of certain goods might go up, but more people would be able to afford them with better compensation.
Corporate lobbyists have convinced legislators of both parties that America needs more guest workers in high-tech jobs. Leading the charge in Congress to do their bidding is Utah Sen.
Discussing the use of skilled foreign workers in the U.S. with Daniel Costa of the Economic Policy Institute.