Imperative Modi speaks to Obama on immigration reform – before it becomes law

India’s IT in danger of being torpedoed if Obama goes in for executive action this Fall.

By Sujeet Rajan

Sujeet RajanNEW YORK: Even as India and the US try to firm diplomatic relations following the tumble-down from the Devyani Khobragade fiasco, and are creating platforms for collaborations in different sectors of the economy, create more business and jobs, there is a factor that could unravel a lot of the good will being created, force them to confront each other more aggressively: immigration reform.

A plethora of reports say that President Barack Obama will go in for executive action this Fall on comprehensive immigration reform, as the Democrats and the Republicans have not been able to see eye to eye with each other on it, both in the House and the Senate.

Both parties, however, acknowledge that a solution has to be found on the issue of illegal immigrants flooding the country’s borders.

Piecemeal legislation that the Republicans favored, starting with border enforcement, has seen little headway with Democrats waving it aside as a gimmick and party ploy. Both parties circle warily around the issue of illegal immigrants, unsure of how a reaction on granting legalization to more than 11 million of them and tens of thousands pouring in more each month from Central America, would impact the party as a whole in the upcoming November elections. Both parties are weighing the possibility of securing Latino votes versus losing mainstream votes.

On legal immigration, while multinationals favor more skilled workers being allowed to work in the US, and reducing the wait time for legal workers and STEM graduates to get permanent residency, growing resentment by anti-immigration groups, who condemn the proposed action as foolhardiness, given the delicate economy and tens of millions of Americans still out of work, has created friction on Capitol Hill.

But for India, comprehensive immigration reform has more to do with how it would impact their economy, rather than get a few of their citizens living in the US illegally resident status.

A dire warning now comes from a group called the Indian American Advisory Council (IAAC) of House Republican Conference of US Parliament, founded by maverick GOP and BJP supporter Shalabh Kumar.

According to a study by the group, the Indian economy could lose $30 billion annually with the Information Technology industry being the hardest hit if the immigration bill under consideration in the US Congress becomes law.

The IAAC, according to a report by the Press Trust of India, based its study on the negative impact the bill’s provisions has on India’s IT industry, including the impact it would have on hiring H-1B and L1 workers, which over a period of time would be cut down dramatically.

“If the bill becomes a law, then India’s GDP gets reduced by about $30 billion a year. On top of that, employment situation will be badly hit. Direct impact will be 10 million Indian IT professionals will no longer have any work and 500,000 in the US,” Kumar was quoted as saying.

He also says that hundreds of small IT related companies founded by Indian Americans would be forced to close shop, as they would have no choice but to hire locally, and find it hard to survive financially.

The proposed bills in both the Congress and the Senate, bans outplacement of H1 or L1 visa holders if they form more than 15 per cent of a firm’s US workforce. It also limits the proportion of H1B and L1 visa workers relative to a firm’s total US employees to 50 per cent by financial year 2017, starting October 2016.

“About 98 per cent bill is focused on providing relief to 20 million Hispanic Americans. Democrats wants them to give citizenship that will give them huge vote bank. If Democrats get that part of the bill passed, they will gain at least 10 senate seats and take control of the house,” Kumar said.

He said the clause that adversely impacts India’s interest was added in the bill following complaints by some American corporations and a poll campaign slogan ‘Say No to Bangalore and Yes to Buffalo’ used by Barack Obama in 2009, PTI reported.

Kumar added: “For US Parliamentarians, India related issues are small. There are about 2 million eligible Indian origin people that can vote but hardly we have seen more than 30 per cent of them voting. India has no time now. It has to make its voice heard.”

If Obama indeed decides to go for executive action on immigration reform by next month, the issue could be the biggest talking point when the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi comes to town. But maybe, by then the damage would have been done, it would be too late to discuss the issue.

The time to talk about the issue is right now. If India manages to convey its fears and sway Obama’s decision in its favor, it would be a diplomatic coup for India.

(Sujeet Rajan is the Editor-in-Chief of The American Bazaar)


  1. RKsharma2012

    Republicans should shift discussion on immigration related to jobs. Carefully see on one hand all white collars jobs are going to immigrants, look at IT industry in USA, all jobs are being controlled by South Indians who don’t hire anybody except one of their own kind (nepotism, corruption and large scale bribery is going on), end result largest technical genocide on Americans in White collars Jobs.


    I am sure democrats and women also need jobs, no matter how feminist she can be, there must be someone in her home whether father, brother, son, cousin who doesn’t have a job, a job which has gone to South Indian or Chinese because company won’t train the American. In IT industry one can look around and see 2-3 Americans in whole department. It is all South Indians.

    Coming to illegal immigration, again democrats will get one party government for ever, if this legalization of 11-14 million illegals is done by giving them citizenship. Just give them life long work permit and no citizenship, no right to vote, make it mandatory if they take healthcare and public welfare, there work permits will be revoked along with deportation, make e-verify mandatory, punish employers who hire illegals. I am sure democrats may not understand congested roads, burden on schools, healthcare and burden on natural resources like water, but they will understand increase in crime (since it is difficult to track illegal Mexicans and Central Americans) and loss of jobs. Again someone in democrat home must have lost job in construction industry, maintenance industry like lawn mowing etc. Bottom-line is administration can’t run America on few burger flipping jobs and by just giving speeches, also who will pay for welfare once all of them are on welfare.

  2. Donna Bradley

    All India has are IT body shop companies and they should be torpedoed

    • FindingAtlantis

      The IT body shops make up a small amount of the economy. And they represent illiterate IT “professionals” who would be picking trash otherwise. You Americans are hiring our trash, way to go :)

  3. time to end H1b, and time for all H1B job robbers to head back home to india. Work your magic in your own country, you’ve worn out your welcome in America job robbers

  4. Regarding below comments…
    We have the understanding that low wage, less skilled IT workers are what H1B holders are. Yes I agree on majority of case. So why for heavens sake, a 20-25 year experienced person, would want to compete with 5 year experienced guy for same position, demanding a much higher wage! Isn’t it a freebie what you are asking for? Why a Business Corp. would not want to see their oldies with enormous experience to grow their business. And allow them to hire more freshers,allow them, employment rate and economy as well to grow. Isn’t it a fault in wanting to be at bottom of pyramid even with vast experience.

    And abt. about Globalization.. did India or any other 3rd world country came at your shores demanding to open your economies? Rich companies became richer after globalization, you didn’t complain then, why now. Why you want to steal away the benefits only. You are getting what you asked for back then.

    • To answer your question, “did India or any other 3rd world country came at your shores demanding to open your economies?” , NO WE DID OPEN and WE ARE GONNA CLOSE IT JUST THE SAME

    • Donna Bradley

      The premise of the lie is the corporations can’t find the skills. Meaning they need someone that already has work experience. A fresher from India does not have work experience.

    • Donna Bradley

      The premise of the lie is the corporations can’t find the skills. Meaning they need someone that already has work experience. A fresher from India does not have work experience.

  5. Most H-1b visas are taken by Offshore Outsourcing companies, with the sole purpose of removing jobs from the United States.

    The reason why we ran out of H-1b visas this year (and all years prior), was because Offshore Outsourcing companies game the system by stuffing the box with H-1b applications. If Offshore Outsourcing companies were barred from using the H-1b U.S. Federal Government program, we would never have seen a year, since inception, where we ran out of H-1b visas.

    H-1b is the ideal Offshoring visa because it allows Offshoring companies to completely avoid consideration of existing employees and local workers. Indeed, in numerous documented cases, the better qualified local worker is forced to train their H-1b replacement. And this process is repeated until the whole department can be moved overseas.

    3 out 4 U.S. citizen U.S. citizen STEM graduates are unable to find a job in a STEM field. This represents an enormous waste of human potential by private industry. And still we have industry shills stating that there is some sort of a need for more job destroying H-1b visas.

    H-1b is the source of our anemic recovery.

    We don’t need a Federal Government program that enables massive job destruction in the United States at the hands of Offshore Outsourcing companies.

  6. Brian Williams

    The US has a surplus of US citizen IT professionals….how would India like it if their workforce was flooded with low wage IT workers?

    • SUCH A SITUATION WILL NEVER HAPPEN IN INDIA. That is why they go to hell holes like Liberia and Sierra Leone , Libya etc. looking for any damn job. They love America but atl the same time bad mouth America, which allows them to do any damn thing they like with the US dollars

      • Well Mr. Brian and Mr. Joseph that shows the talent of the Indians around the world. we are so talented that we can go to any country and still prosper irrespective of the culture and race. Indians are the best but we respect everyone unlike you guys and that is what our culture teach us which you guys can never understand. Anyways best of luck to everyone.

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