Trump broke his H-1B promise. Now what?

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On the campaign trail, candidate Donald Trump was so determined to present himself as the solution to H-1B visa abuse – the kind that has American IT workers training their foreign replacements -- that he promised to launch an investigation of the program on day one of his administration. Not in due time, on day one.

Today is day 43. No investigation has been launched. No changes have been made to the H-1B program. And it’s not clear when or if any will be forthcoming.

That no one should be surprised does not mean no one has taken notice. From a Computerworld story:

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill), a long-time critic of the H-1B visa program and co-sponsor of a reform bill with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), accused Trump today of failing "to put American workers first by cracking down on H-1B visa abuse.

"I am disappointed that you have broken your campaign promise to take action on the first day of your Administration to reform foreign guest worker visas - especially the H-1B visa - to put American workers first," Durbin wrote in a letter to Trump sent Friday.

Meanwhile, a new bill filed by a longtime H-1B critic carries the potential for nudging President Trump back onto the path advocated by candidate Trump. Again, from Computerworld:

Since 2005, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) has been introducing H-1B reform legislation in the House and getting nowhere. But with the bill he introduced today, he might have struck gold.

Pascrell calls his bill bipartisan, but that doesn't quite do it justice. The co-sponsors of this bill, called the H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act of 2017, are about as far apart politically as you can get.

But they are ultimately unlikely to prevail without the support and signature of President Trump.

And where the president’s true position stands on this matter is unclear. Trump’s hotels and resorts depend upon visa programs to provide needed labor, a practice he has vigorously defended. The business community, particularly high-tech, argues the H-1B program is indispensable and that any limitations would hurt the U.S. economy.

At this point only one thing is certain: Trump is six weeks late and counting on delivering a key campaign promise.

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