Americans – those who voted for Donald Trump – have a reason to rejoice because the President-elect has announced that he won’t let American jobs landing into the hands of non-Americans.
“We will fight to protect every last American life,” Trump announced to cheering thousands in Iowa on Thursday.
His statement was in reference to the recent cases of Disney World and US companies accused of hiring cheap labour from foreign countries instead of offering those to Americans.
“During the campaign I also spent time with American workers who were laid off and forced to train. The foreign workers brought in to replace them. We won’t let this happen anymore,” Trump vowed amidst cheers and applause from the audience.
The case that triggered an outrage among the working class in America was of Disney World, which was sued for “conspiring” to displace American workers with cheap foreign labour.
The federal lawsuit was filed by two of the company’s former technology workers who accused it of colluding with outsourcing companies HCL and Cognizant for hiring immigrants on temporary H-1B visas for the jobs the Americans held.
Their lawsuit came after Disney World dismissed around 250 workers – all Americans. Those who were hired in their place were mostly from India.
The two individuals, Leo Perrero and Dena Moore, who filed the lawsuit, were not objecting to hiring of immigrants but the firing especially after they were asked to train the immigrants to perform their roles.
“It was so humiliating to train somebody else to take over your job. I still can’t grasp it,” an employee had said in June 2015 after he was served the notice of dismissal.
“Can you believe that? You get laid off and then they won’t give you your severance pay unless you train the people that are replacing you. I mean, that’s actually demeaning maybe more than anything else,” Trump said.
Trump’s announcement, should he follow through with it in letter and spirit, could have the biggest impact on Indian H-1B visa holders because they form the largest chunk of the skilled foreign workforce. A 2014 data reveals that 86 per cent of those holding the visa came from India.
During his campaign, Trump strongly promoted “buy American, hire American” idea, and he has also been dead against illegal immigration.
But at the same time, Trump is not against immigrants in US altogether. He welcomed hundreds of thousands of immigrants working or living in the US provided they come via the legal route. Since the H-1B visa route is as legal as it gets, it is yet to be seen how Trump balances his statements.