Friday, April 28, 2017

News and Commentary: Linden Lab Among Tech Companies Filing Brief Against Trump's Executive Order On Skilled Worker Visas

By Bixyl Shuftan

In early February, Linden Lab issued a statement concerning President Trump's executive order at the time concerning several Middle Eastern countries. Branded a "Muslim Ban," eventually a judge blocked part of the order and eventually Trump dropped in in favor of a slightly different executive order later on. Recently the White House has found a new target: the H-1B visa program that allows skilled foreign workers to come to America. Linden Lab was among over 150 tech companies to sign a brief sent to the US District Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, calling for the executive order to be blocked.

Congress in 1965 prohibited discrimination in immigration decisions on the basis of national origin precisely so that the Nation could not shut its doors to immigrants based on where they come from — but the Order does just that. Moreover, the President’s authority under the immigration laws must be exercised reasonably, and is limited by the detailed standards enacted by Congress to address a variety of issues, including preventing entry of terrorists into our country. The Order overrides those standards without sufficient justification. Finally, the President lacks authority to impose sweeping, long-term changes on the entire system governing eligibility for entry into the United States by immigrants and non-immigrants; such changes require notice-and-comment procedures conducted by one or all of the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of Homeland Security.

The brief would also refer to calls on restrictions on immigration in the past, such as a quote by Woodrow Wilson whom criticized immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe saying the people had "neither skill nor energy nor any initiative of quick intelligence." And on laws based to restrict it which were mainly based on prejudice on these people in addition to Asians, Jews, and other groups, such as the Immigration Acts of 1917 and 1924. It branded Trump's new executive order as an abandonment of "the principles that have undergirded U.S. immigration policy for more than half a century," "unlawful," and "substantively unreasonable."

Although some such as Hamlet Au call the order part of the "Muslim ban," the country that benefits most from the program is India, which has a mainly Hindu population. Plus the H-1B visa program has been criticized for quite some time on the grounds of allowing companies to allow businesses to lay off native-born workers in favor of cheaper foreign workers. The most notable recent example of this was when Disney told 250 of it's workers they would soon be laid off and their last assignment would be to train their replacements.

Linden Lab's stake in the H-1B visa program is obvious, being able to attract foreign talent to work with them in the United States. But considering how Islam is so often linked to terrorism, such as the attacks France has suffered in the past few years, and an attack in Fresno California by a convert, those against Trump's executive order may want to pursue a different strategy in persuasion than link it to his effort to limit immigration from certain countries in the Middle East.

Sources: Yahoo News, New York Times, New World Notes, Business Insider, Redcode   

Bixyl Shuftan

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