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US drive against job migration intensifies

T V Parasuram in Washington | August 13, 2003 19:51 IST

American politicians and trade unions have increased their efforts to end outsourcing of jobs and the 'import' of professionals, which is likely to affect Indians the most.

Congressman Tom Tancredo has authored a bill to end H-1 B visas, used extensively by Indian software engineers to enter the US.

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"Hundreds of thousands of Americans are losing their jobs to immigrants, both legal and illegal," he said.

While Senator Cristopher Dodd has moved a Bill to monitor the situation, the latest at the state level to seek legislation against migration of American jobs is Michigan State Democratic legislator Steve Bieda.

His Bill provides that "state agencies shall not enter into a contract for the purchase of services under this Act unless that contract provides that only citizens of the United States, legal resident aliens and individuals with a valid visa shall perform the services under that contract or any subcontract under that contract."

Trade unions are also stepping up efforts to protect American jobs.

Chairman of the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Council, Daniel P Burnham, said he has received a letter from a member, Steve Tisza, requesting an immediate investigation of telecom giant AT&T's training of foreign nationals from India for its contingency work in the event of a strike by US unions, including the Communicatons Workers of America.

The unions have charged the members of the India Caucus of caring more about India's interests than those of American workers.

A proposed Free Trade Agreement between India and Singapore is also being assailed as a threat to American workers, for the US has a free trade agreement with Singapore.

"Singapore could be an economic extension of India into East Asia," said a NSTAC newsletter, implying that would be at the expense of American jobs.

"Congressman Tancredo" it said, "worries about the innumerable US jobs he says have been wiped out by immigration. He outspokenly faults the Bush Administration for its open border policy, which Tancredo believes not only has put Americans out of work but also suppressed their wages."

"For decades, Americans watched as manufacturing plants set up shop overseas to capitalise on cheap labour. Now, a growing number of US firms are sending coveted high-tech and service jobs 'offshore' in a move that is reviving a debate about the future of the American workforce," the newsletter said.

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