It’s going to be hard for the Republicans to field a presidential candidate as enthusiastic about the H-1B visa as U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
Cruz, who announced his presidential bid this morning, once proposed an immediate increase in the base H-1B cap from 65,000 to 325,000. Cruz offered the H-1B increase as an amendment in 2013 to the Senate’s comprehensive immigration bill.
Cruz’s amendment was defeated by the Senate’s Judiciary Committee, which approved an 180,000 H-1B cap increase in the comprehensive immigration bill. The House never acted on this legislation.
Cruz’s H-1B amendment, however, proposed increasing H-1B fees from $1,500 to $2,500 for those with 25 employees or more. The money would be used to create block grants to promote STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education.
During the Senate committee debate, Cruz said imposing restrictions on the visa was unnecessary, but said he would support restrictions if the Judiciary Committee – then debating the bill – would agree to his cap recommendation. Among the restrictions in the Senate bill was a provision aimed at large offshore outsourcing providers that limited their use of H-1B or L-1 visa workers to 50% of their workforce.
Cruz is part of large group of politicians who will not acknowledge the H-1B’s visas use in offshore outsourcing or the reality of U.S. workers who are forced to train their visa-holding replacements. In defending this H-1B increase, Cruz cited a study by the American Enterprise Institute, which argued that visa workers create jobs. This organization primarily represents the views of large companies and asset management firms.
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