If the report in Illinois Review is accurate, then we might have a real Senate race in which Sen. Durbin’s extreme views on immigration are challenged. As a member of the “Gang of Eight” that co-wrote the Senate immigration bill, Durbin speaks incessantly about the Dreamers and the “undocumented.” But the effects of more foreign workers are impossible to ignore.
Even Durbin acknowledged at a Senate committee this year that most H1-B visas go to Indian tech workers hired by outsourcing giants Infosys and Tata to enable foreigners to work as contract employees for Microsoft and other American firms. He deplored this, realizing that this deprives Americans of employment. Yet the Senate immigration bill increased the H-1B visa program from 65,000/year to 110,000/year and would allow that number to rise to 180,000 if employers “demand” more workers.
Of course, tech companies want more foreign workers at below-market wages. Senator Durbin cannot have it both ways. If he cares about the unemployed, then he should support fewer H-1B visas and oppose legalization of the undocumented. If there’s an economic argument for how the immigration bill would help American workers, he has not made it. Listening to his statements on this topic, one gets the impression he represents only the illegal population of the state.
What does Durbin have to offer the 12.9% of Illinois citizens who are high school educated and unemployed?I’d like to hear State Senator Jim Oberweis ask that question. Unlike the cheap labor Republicans who dominate the party here, Oberweis is right on immigration. He’s served on the board of Numbers USA, an immigration restriction group and actually understands economics. He’s the only Republican in the state I like right now.
Howard Foster is an immigration attorney located in Chicago.