The Department of Homeland Security has written a letter to congress, informing political leaders that The Walt Disney Company is currently under investigation in relation to possible abuse of the H-1B Visa system. Other employers are also being investigated for alleged abuse.
The acting director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), James McCament, wrote the letter to Senator Chuck Grassley, and explained how there are now multiple investigations taking place in order to see how the H-1B visas have been used by multiple companies. The letter confirmed that in addition to Disney, the University of California San Francisco and Eversource Energy are also being investigated.
Eversource Energy, which was formerly known as Northeast Utilities, recently saw controversy after laying off many of its American workers, who were then asked to train replacements who had been sourced from foreign countries. Craig Diangelo, a technology expert previously employed by the energy company, told Breitbart that he plans to run for Congress as a result of being laid off.
The Walt Disney Company also received backlash after it was announced they had laid off almost 250 American IT workers and replaced them with workers who had entered the United States on H-1B visas. 30 workers then went on to file a discrimination lawsuit against the company. A similar incident occurred at the University of California San Francisco, when the school suffered a lawsuit after replacing 50 full-time American workers, along with 30 contractors, with workers who had been sourced from an Indian company.
The letter from USCIS also explained that in accordance with the “Buy American, Hire American” executive order signed by President Donald Trump, the agency is looking to propose new laws surrounding H-1B visas. The agency will also be issuing new guidance to companies who are considering using the visa system to hire cheaper workers from abroad.
Increasing Pressure from President Trump
Sticking by his campaign promises, President Trump has placed increasing pressure on companies who use the H-1B visa to outsource workers. A White House briefing statement from April called out a number of companies who have been using H-1Bs to obtain cheaper workers. The statement specifically named Infosys, Cognizant, and Tata Consultancy Services as examples of what misuse of the system looks like.
The statement also explained how career employees – who have been working at these companies for as long as 20 years – are being laid off so that foreign workers can be used as a cheaper alternative. Trump’s administration noted that this is an issue that labor unions have been trying to tackle for many years.
Taking the Fight to Congress
Craig Diangelo, a 64-year-old former employee of Eversource Energy, is running for the Fifth Congressional District of Connecticut. The position is currently held by Elizabeth Esty, a pro-H-1B representative for the Democratic Party. Diangelo has been a staunch opponent of the H-1B visa system, after being replaced by cheaper foreign labor three years ago.
Diangelo has also appeared on an episode of 60 Minutes which discussed the visa controversy. On the show, he said that he and other American workers, who spent a decade or more working for a company, had previously put up a silent protest. However, in order to push his agenda forward, the tech specialist is attempting to beat Representative Esty. The election will take place in 2018, and Diangelo says that he intends to take Esty’s seat and begin representing the New Britain region, which was formerly a hotspot for industry.