PHILADELPHIA — Sen. Tim Kaine, who told Telemundo in Spanish that he and Hillary Clinton would push legalize 12 million illegals in their first 100 days in the White House, is also a proponent of bringing up to 1.8 million more foreign workers sought by U.S. outsourcing companies.
Kaine, who on Wednesday is expected to win the nomination as the Democratic vice presidential candidate here, was one of several co-sponsors of S. 169, the so-called I-Squared Act, that would have boosted visas for high-tech workers from 65,000 to 300,000 a year.
The visas have become controversial because many big firms who apply for the visas are replacing higher-wage American workers with cheaper foreign help.
Companies are supposed to guarantee that they aren't replacing American workers with foreign workers but, according to a New York Times analysis, there is a loophole that many fall through.
"Under federal rules, employers like TCS, Infosys and Wipro that have large numbers of H-1B workers in the United States are required to declare that they will not displace American workers. But the companies are exempt from that requirement if the H-1B workers are paid at least $60,000 a year. H-1B workers at outsourcing firms often receive wages at or slightly above $60,000, below what skilled American technology professionals tend to earn, so those firms can offer services to American companies at a lower cost, undercutting American workers," said the Times.
The legislation, which did not pass and has been revived in the current Congress, would have forced companies to pay a fee for the workers, and that money would have gone to for STEM education.
Kaine cheered immigration reform as a plan to help companies like those in high-tech rich Northern Virginia find workers. In a 2013 trip to Oracle, he said, "Immigration is fundamentally a talent issue. How do we attract and train the most talented people in the world to come to Virginia and help grow our economy?" He added: "I am encouraged by the bipartisan proposal laid out by a group of senators that recognizes the need for a comprehensive solution to an immigration system that hasn't been seriously reformed in more than 25 years."
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org