Joe Guzzardi, 9/6/2018 [Archive]

Trillion-Dollar Apple Wants More Cheap Workers

Trillion-Dollar Apple Wants More Cheap Workers

By Joe Guzzardi

A telling Mercury News story pits high-tech industry leaders against the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and its Director Francis Cissna.

According to the story, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Salesforce co-CEO Marc Benioff are among the many tech industry executives pushing back against the Trump administration's efforts to tighten H-1B visa regulations and possibly cut their aggregate annual number. The visa allows U.S. companies to hire foreign nationals, and in the process denies job opportunities to Americans or displaces existing workers. Silicon Valley wants to increase the official 85,000 H-1B cap.

True to historical norm, a week after Cissna's speech, a 60-member strong lobbying group named the "Business Roundtable" wrote to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to express "serious concern about changes in immigration policy that are causing considerable anxiety for many thousands of our employees while threatening to disrupt company operations."

The Roundtable also plugged the H-4 visa that allows H-1B visa spouses to work, a 2015 executive action provision that Congress never approved. In addition to the aforementioned Apple and Salesforce, other Roundtable signatories included Cisco, IBM, JPMorgan Chase and outsourcing giant Cognizant.

Recently released federal data, however, belies the executives' strong inference that the bottom is falling out. In 2017, Facebook received 53 percent more H-1B visas than in 2016; Google, a 31 percent boost, and Apple, a 7 percent hike. In 2017, Google spent more on immigration lobbying than any other corporation.

In his address at the National Press Club, Cissna stated that "all these [visa] programs" are rife with "all sorts of fraud and abuse." People trying to "game" U.S. immigration laws is, Cissna said, an "eternal problem" for his agency.

To support his conviction that U.S. immigration is too easily manipulated, Cissna offered this hypothetical example. An individual comes to the U.S. as a tourist, then he changes status to student, and studies for four years. Next, he gets a master's degree, then changes status again to H-1B, stays for three more years with an automatic three-year extension. Finally, he can qualify for Optional Practical Training, and remain three more years. In all, Cissna noted, a foreign national arrives as a tourist, on a temporary nonimmigrant visa, but remains for up to a dozen years without ever having been interviewed by an immigration official. "Not prudent," said Cissna.

Cissna's solution is unthinkable to employers who have come to rely on not only the H-1B, but also the H-2A agricultural, the H-2B non-ag, and myriad other employment-based visas. Said Cissna: "I would really love it if Congress would just pass a one-sentence provision that would just prohibit American workers being replaced by H-1B workers."

The multi-billion-dollar corporations that rely on H-1Bs - trillion-dollar in Apple's case - and their billionaire executives who profit from cheap labor would rue the day that their pipeline to low-cost workers was cut off. But millions of unemployed and under-employed Americans would breathe a sigh of relief and ask what took so long.


Joe Guzzardi is a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at

Download Joe Guzzardi's color photo - Download Joe Guzzardi's black and white mug shot photo
Why not run a cartoon with the column? We recommend the cartoons below as a good compliment to Joe Guzzardi's topic.
Click on the thumbnail images to preview and download the cartoons.

Related Cartoons

Smart-ass Watch COLOR
By: Daryl Cagle
September 16, 2014

Smart-ass Watch
By: Daryl Cagle
September 15, 2014

Smart Watch
By: Jeff Koterba

September 14, 2014

Living the iLife Reposted
By: Nate Beeler

September 9, 2014

Living the iLife COLOR Reposted
By: Nate Beeler

September 9, 2014

We do not accept and will not review unsolicited submissions from cartoonists.
Sales & Information: (805) 969-2829
Billing Information: (805)
Technical Support:

FREE cartoons for your website if you're already a paying print subscriber!
Artwork and columns are copyrighted by each creator. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service