President Trump tells Apple CEO Cook that U.S. needs comprehensive immigration reform

“Apple’s top executive asked President Donald Trump to show more compassion in his immigration policy and reassure immigrant workers in the technology community that they are welcome in the U.S.,” Will Racke reports for The Daily Caller. “Tim Cook, visiting the White House Monday along with fellow Silicon Valley power players, told Trump that the technology sector is “nervous” about the administration’s tough stance on immigration enforcement, CNBC reported.”

“Cook reportedly brought up the administration’s proposed travel ban, which he said could affect the families of some Apple employees, and the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the temporary amnesty for the children of illegal immigrants that Trump promised to cancel but has thus far kept in place,” Racke reports. “Between scheduled discussions over cloud computing and procurement systems, Cook implored Trump to soften his rhetoric on immigration issues.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook (left) and U.S. President Donal Trump at  American Technology Council meeting on June 19, 2017 (photo:  Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty)
Apple CEO Tim Cook (left) and U.S. President Donal Trump at American Technology Council meeting on June 19, 2017 (photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty)

 
Racke reports, “[Cook] said technology employees need a ‘clear signal’ that they won’t be targeted by the administration’s immigration policies, New York Times White House Correspondent Maggie Haberman reported late Monday night”

Cook “has also publicly supported the continuation of the DACA, which Trump has maintained despite repeated promises to rescind program,” Racke reports. “Technology industry executives are also concerned with the future of the H-1B visa program, which allows American companies to hire foreign guest workers with advanced skills if they can’t find them domestically. Trump has called out firms that bring in foreign labor at lower salaries to replace U.S. employees, and in April he ordered the Departments of State, Justice, and Labor to suggest reforms to the H-1B system that will prevent the displacement of American workers.”

“Though Trump didn’t specifically address the H-1B visa program Monday, he did reassure the technology executives he wants to make sure that the U.S. immigration system benefits American technology companies,” Racke reports. “Trump echoed in those comments in his one-on-one asides with Cook, saying that Congress needs to work on “comprehensive” immigration reform.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: President Trump’s Executive Order on Buy American and Hire American, signed on April 18, 2017, can be read in full here.

The following editorial was published by The New York Times‘ Editorial Board, June 16, 2016, five months prior to the U.S. Presidential election:

Visa Abuses Harm American Workers

There is no doubt that H-1B visas — temporary work permits for specially talented foreign professionals — are instead being used by American employers to replace American workers with cheaper foreign labor. Abbott Laboratories, the health care conglomerate based in Illinois, recently became the latest large American company to use the visas in this way, following the lead of other employers, including Southern California Edison, Northeast Utilities (now Eversource Energy), Disney, Toys “R” Us and New York Life.

The visas are supposed to be used only to hire college-educated foreigners in “specialty occupations” requiring “highly specialized knowledge,” and only when such hiring will not depress prevailing wages. But in many cases, laid-off American workers have been required to train their lower-paid replacements.

Lawmakers from both parties have denounced the visa abuse, but it is increasingly widespread, mainly because of loopholes in the law. For example, in most instances, companies that hire H-1B workers are not required to recruit Americans before hiring from overseas. Similarly, companies are able to skirt the rules for using H-1B workers by outsourcing the actual hiring of those workers to Tata, Infosys and other temporary staffing firms, mostly based in India.

Criticism of the visa process has been muted, and reform has moved slowly, partly because laid-off American workers — mostly tech employees replaced by Indian guest workers — have not loudly protested. Their reticence does not mean acceptance or even resignation. As explained in The Times on Sunday by Julia Preston, most of the displaced workers had to sign agreements prohibiting them from criticizing their former employers as a condition of receiving severance pay. The gag orders have largely silenced the laid-off employees, while allowing the employers to publicly defend their actions as legal, which is technically accurate, given the loopholes in the law.

The conversation, however, is changing. Fourteen former tech workers at Abbott, including one who forfeited a chunk of severance pay rather than sign a so-called nondisparagement agreement, have filed federal claims with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission saying they were discriminated against because of their ages and American citizenship. Tech workers from Disney have filed federal lawsuits accusing the company and two global outsourcing firms of colluding to supplant Americans with H-1B workers. Former employees of Eversource Energy have also begun to challenge their severance-related gag orders by publicly discussing their dismissals and replacement by foreign workers on H-1B and other visas.

Congressional leaders of both parties have questioned the nondisparagement agreements. Bipartisan legislation in the Senate would revise visa laws to allow former employees to protest their layoffs. Beyond that, what Congress really needs to do is close the loopholes that allow H-1B abuses.

The New York Times‘ Editorial Board, June 16, 2016

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65 Comments

  1. US companies including Apple are too lazy to train US workers and instead pilfer workers already trained by other nations but who settle for Android type of of low wage salaries that replace well paid salaries which is an injustice.

    1. Companies don’t train people. Schools and universities do. You don’t go to Apple to learn C++ or Objective C, or Swift. You get yourself a university degree in computer science, where you take courses in these languages.

      Apple, Netflix, Facebook, Uber, they don’t pay people to learn. They pay people to write code and develop software (or hardware). In order to get a job at Apple, you must already know how to write code.

      And this is where other America tends to fail. There aren’t enough people who are truly committed to the specific STEM fields that are needed by the American tech companies. Meanwhile, Russia, China, Pakistan, and especially India, are rapidly churning out very strongly trained and sharply focused engineers with the specific skill sets that are precisely what American IT companies need to stay competitive.

      Let us not forget; these countries, together, have population that dwarfs that of the US. From that combined population, only a very small fraction of the most skilled, best trained engineers end up trying to get jobs in the US. While that number may be a fraction of their engineering population, it is a fairly large number, compared to the engineers that US produces.

      In other words, China, India, Russia are spending their own resources to train engineers, and the tiny sliver of the best of the best end up taking their skills and bringing them to the US.

      There is only one way that these engineers may be affecting the labour market for this type of work in the US. By the nature of the demand and supply, the availability of competitively trained engineers for a specific kind of IT work in Northern California can reduce the grossly inflated compensation packages that these companies had to start offering in order to attract extremely scarce talent. When we compare engineering pay across various engineering fields, we quickly discover that a specific type of software development ends up disproportionately higher paid than any other engineering job (electrical, construction, automotive, biochemical, civil…).

      Foreign workers are simply meeting the demands that the national market is unable to satisfy.

  2. What’s real and what’s propaganda, regarding ANYTHING The Trump says, the Republican Party says, the Democrat Party says…

    The effort is to hide reality behind rhetoric. If the USA is going to become an intelligent country with qualified technology workers, this propaganda crap has got to end.

    Witness China: Massive investment in ‘education’ with extremely little to show for it. Their propaganda driven ‘communist’ government offers no incentive. Therefore, citizens turn to the incentive of crime. Is that what we want to happen in the USA? That’s what we’re going to get.

    1. I’d love to be able to agree with you, and partly I do, but the comparison with China leaves me quite perplexed.

      China’s ‘education’ has little to show for it? Their academic achievement seems significantly ahead of OECD countries, and even further ahead from US, in all categories (math, reading, science), with averages above 600 for math and just a bit below 600 for reading and science, vs. well below 500 in all three in the USA. As for crime, in vast majority of categories, US crime rates per capita are significantly higher than in China (many 3x, 5x, 10x higher). The few categories where China leads are copyright infringement, software piracy and similar well-known intellectual property issues.

      There are quite many things where US would benefit from following China. Education and crime are actually both good examples.

      1. I entirely agree that, setting aside their negative reinforcement discipline system, that China is WAY ahead of the USA in ‘STEM’ education. Their problem is creativity.

        Totalitarian systems are known for their lack of incentive for creativity, most particularly the so-called ‘Communist’ systems. If everything of mine is also your’s, incentive to create is essentially D E A D . And that’s exactly what occurs in China. Instead, it’s crime that provides incentive. Thus China-the-copy-cat-culture remains standard over there.

        Thankfully, there are some excellent exceptions. A couple examples that I appreciate are KENTLI, who is the first company to provide rechargable 1.5 volt AA and AAA Lithium polymer batteries. I also like the Lepow brand of batteries for USB device charging. These two companies are exceptional amidst the wash of me-to crud for which China is currently famous.

        BTW: I’m not comparing any country’s crime rates. I’m also not discussing jail. I’m discussing ripping off pre-existing IP as common in China. I’m talking about their vast black market. I’m talking about the inevitability that any so-called ‘communist’ system will rapidly collapse into a criminal nation, as viewed from creative countries, such as the USA. (I hope we stay that way!)

        And NO, emulating China’s hard core, negative reinforcement education system OR it’s crime-oriented culture are the OPPOSITE of what would benefit the USA.

        I can chatter on about the subject, but I think I’m made my points. I simply hope you comprehend the ingrained, stolid negativity that is inherent in the current Chinese culture. The examples are plentiful. Watch what’s going on in Hong Kong right now, where stupid China is oppressing their creativity and demands for freedom. Witness what remains of the Tibetan culture. It’s sick and horrifying IMHO.

        “The Great Firewall of China” must come down.

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