World Trump and Sessions plan to restrict highly skilled foreign workers. Hyderabad says bring it on.
Trump taps top aides to RNC, Sessions for key White House roles
President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday rewarded top aides to some of his closest confidants with key positions in the White House as he builds out a team that is heavy on veterans from the Republican National Committee (RNC) and the office of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). Trump's team announced the hiring of Katie Walsh, the former finance director and chief of staff at the RNC, as deputy chief of staff at the White House.Wa lsh will be going back to work for her old boss, former RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, who will be Trump's chief of staff.
Hyderabad says bring it on . The inside track on Washington politics. In this 2014 photograph, Indian pedestrians access the internet on their mobile phones using a wi-fi hotspot on Mahatma Gandhi Road in Bangalore. If the United States limits H1B visas for highly skilled workers , Bangalore and Hyderabad may reap the benefits. Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images (Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images).
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HYDERABAD, India — The ritual goes like this: If you’re approaching the god Balaji with an appeal, walk in a circle around the temple 11 times and leave an offering of tulsi leaves at his feet. Should your wish be granted, come back and do it 108 times.
“We call him Visa Balaji,” said Madhu Vadlamani, 25. “He is famous for granting visas.”
Madhu and her husband of just three days, Revanth Chilakamarri, 29, were but two of thousands of worshipers orbiting the “Visa Balaji” temple near here one recent morning. Years ago, the incarnation of Vishnu had blessed them both with student visas to the United States. Though they had grown up just seven lanes apart, they met in America and fell in love.
In Historic Move, Sen. Booker to Testify Against Sessions
Booker's office said the Senate historian was unable to find any previous instance of a sitting senator's testifying against a fellow sitting senator.Booker's office said Monday that the Senate historian had been unable to find any previous instance of a sitting senator's testifying against a fellow sitting senator nominated for a Cabinet position.
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The two software developers had returned to the temple that morning to appeal to Balaji, in hopes of renewing their American sojourn with a new visa — the H-1B.
For the new political order taking shape in Washington, however, H-1Bs aren’t quite welcome. Amid promises of sweeping changes to immigration policy, President-elect Donald Trump and his choice for attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), have tabbed the program for a major overhaul, or even scrapping it altogether. In the House, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is on the same wavelength.
The visas bring nearly 100,000 “highly skilled” contract workers, mostly in tech and mostly from India, to the United States every year. Most stay for multiple years, and some eventually get green cards. According to federal guidelines, H-1Bs are intended to fill positions for which American workers with the requisite skills can’t be found. Whether the program always does that is intensely debated by industry lobbyists and politicians, and companies are not legally required to ensure that is the case.
Studies Find Higher Minimum Wage May Have Losers
As more cities and states raise their minimum wages, researchers question how much difference the changes will make for the working poor.But that conclusion may gloss over some significant responses to minimum-wage increases by individual employers, according to two new studies. And those reactions may, in turn, raise questions about the effectiveness of the minimum wage in helping certain workers.
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Trump has described H-1Bs as a “cheap labor program” subject to “widespread, rampant” abuse. Sessions co-sponsored legislation last year with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to effectively gut the program; Issa, a congressman with Trump’s ear, released aWednesday saying he was reintroducing similar legislation called the Protect and Grow American Jobs Act.
Sessions will likely give a least a glimpse of his plans regarding the program at his confirmation hearing Tuesday.
Sessions and Issa’s legislation primarily target large outsourcing companies such as Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services that receive the vast majority of H-1B visas and use them to deploy workers to American companies seeking to cut costs. In 2015, the top 10 recipients of H-1B visas were all outsourcing firms. As recently as 2013, the Justice Department, which Sessions stands to take over, settled with Infosys for $34 million in a visa fraud case.
Trump's Labor pick to face protests from own workers
Fast food workers at Labor Secretary nominee Andrew Puzder's own restaurants on Thursday will protest his Senate confirmation hearing.The protests will take place outside CKE Restaurant's Carl's Jr. and Hardees restaurants in more than two dozen cities, pro-labor group Fight for $15 told The Hill. They were planned to overlap with Puzder's Senate confirmation hearing, which was originally scheduled for Thursday, but has since been delayed.Thousands of CKE's cooks and cashiers plan to participate.
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“Logically speaking, I’m worried,” said Vadlamani, who until recently worked for Deloitte in Orlando. “But being Indian, I believe that if it is in my karma, then I will get the visa. If not, there are more and more jobs these days at good companies here.”
But if Vadlamani is circumspect about her prospects should the visa program be restricted, politicians and business executives in her hometown are bullish. Not only is employment booming in Hyderabad, they say, but should the United States move against H-1Bs, their economy stands to gain.
The H-1B program provides American companies with cheap, temporary contractors who often work longer hours than Americans and take on the monotonous programming jobs Americans scorn. Proponents of the program argue that foreign workers increase innovation at American companies as well as contribute to local economies. A few Indians who came on work visas have even gone on to become heads of important American companies.
Meanwhile, India’s growth as a global tech hub has been hampered as tens of thousands of workers leave.
GOP rep: Sessions attacks part of ‘war on whites’
"The Democrats are not shy about lying," Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) said."It's really about political power and racial division and what I refer to, on occasion, as the 'war on whites,'" he said on WBHP 800 Alabama radio, as first reported by CNN Wednesday. "And the Democrats are not shy about lying in order to achieve their political goals.
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TRUMP BROUGHT DOWN THE HOUSE Last Night
Over the past decade, though, cities like Hyderabad and Bangalore have slowly but surely gained prominence. At first it was mostly a base for outsourcing companies servicing American clients, but now Hyderabad is home to the biggest offices outside the United States of Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook. Amazon, Dell, Uber and others have major operations there. All have huge campuses in a part of the city officially known as Cyberabad.
Cyberabad’s existence is the result of investments in education and infrastructure made by N. Chandrababu Naidu, the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, where Hyderabad was located until the state was bifurcated in 2014. A network of dozens of information technology institutes trained a generation of engineers and software developers to work back-end jobs for American companies.
For that generation, getting an H-1B was the holy grail. Even though the work in America could be dull, being there provided a chance to engage with an invigorating culture of innovation that just wasn’t present in India yet. And of course, working abroad meant a huge increase in income and prestige.
But the H-1B cap meant that the bulk of Indian tech workers stayed back. The current cap — not just from India — is 65,000, plus another 20,000 who have graduated from American universities with advanced degrees, down from almost double that at the beginning of the 2000s.
John Lewis: Trump isn't a legitimate president
Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) said he doesn't believe Donald Trump is a legitimate President in an interview on NBC News "Meet The Press With Chuck Todd." "You know, I believe in forgiveness. I believe in trying to work with people. It will be hard. It's going to be very difficult. I don't see this president-elect as a legitimate president," Lewis said when asked if he would "forge a relationship" with the president-elect.When pressed o n why he believes Trump's presidency is illegitimate, Lewis pointed to intelligence reports of Russian interference in the election."I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected.
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Among those who do get them, most ultimately return to settle and work in India. In Hyderabad, many of those returnees are confident that their city can compete with Silicon Valley for India’s brightest young minds.
K.T. Rama Rao, the son of the current chief minister, was one of them. Now he’s the minister for information technology in his father’s government. He pointed to Apple as an example of how Hyderabad could absorb the thousands of workers in a potential future with far fewer H-1Bs — or without them altogether.
“Apple is already moving their maps division here, and they’re doing that because we’re producing more G.I.S. talent than anyone else in the world,” he claimed in an interview, referring to geographic information systems. “Ideally, a president of the United States would have a balanced perspective on business, but if he wants tech firms to stay, he should create better job readiness in the U.S.”
Rao said that legislation targeting big Indian outsourcing companies would wean them away from their dependency on servicing American companies. Without the visa program, they would have to engage in new lines of work that created value in Hyderabad and not abroad, he said.
Amit Jain, now the president of Uber India, is another returnee who used to be on an H-1B. He said that the influx of American companies, as well as a growing indigenous start-up culture, could offer what Indians used to seek in the United States closer to home.
“We definitely have a more robust ecosystem here now,” said Jain. “We’re seeing plenty of hiring in the future.”
6 state AGs urge rejection of Sessions for attorney general .
<p>Attorneys generals from six states, including New York's Eric Schneiderman, have sent a letter urging the Senate Judiciary Committee to reject the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general.</p>In the letter dated Jan. 17, the prosecutors said they had "grave concern" that Session would "diligently and fairly enforce all laws protective of civil rights, public safety, health and welfare.
Trump and Sessions plan to restrict highly skilled foreign workers Hyderabad says to bring it on
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