Ads Against H-1B Visa in Bay Area Result of One-Year Strategy, Says U.S. Group

The anti-H-1B visa posters plastered across the Bay Area for a month have been put up by Washington DC-based group Progressives for Immigration Reform (PFIR).


The anti-H-1B visa ads plastered across Bay Area Rapid Transport (BART) stations last week are the result of a year-long process, the organization behind the posters has said. The campaign involved “more than a year of thinking about the effects of immigration and hearing from U.S tech workers who could not find employment,” Progressives for Immigration Reform (PFIR) told Firstpost.

The budget for the ads, worth a whopping $80,000, was confirmed by the organisation. “Yeah, that’s about right, say $80,000. We get grants, donations..we’ve been around for 10 years, you see,” executive director Kevin Lynn of the Washington DC-based group told the Indian news website.

The ads incite American workers against H-1B workers, saying, “Your companies think you are expensive, undeserving & expendable.” The PFIR bought 250 panel ads and 100 smaller in-train ads. The spaces have been bought for a month.

The ads come ahead of the beginning of the H-1 B visa filing season for the 2019 fiscal year, which begins on April 2, and during a climate when the Trump administration is doubling down against the “abuse of immigration laws.”

According to PFIR, the placement of ads spread across BART is just the beginning for a “political solution” to the issue. “We’ll get U.S tech workers together, we will organize and we need to have a political solution to this. We are going there to speak with U.S tech workers who have found us through the ad,” Lynn told the website as he was leaving for California.

Lynn also confirmed that the reason the ads were put up in the Bay area is that the location is at the heart of Silicon Valley, where workers benefited by H-1 B visa reside.

The PFIR has connections with John Tanton, “the architect of modern anti-immigration movement,” the report said, citing Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit legal advocacy organization.

“He (Tanton) created a network of organizations – the Federation for American Immigration Reform , the Center for Immigration Studies and NumbersUSA – that have profoundly shaped the immigration debate in the United States,” the organization said.

Meanwhile, more than a quarter of California’s members of Congress, including Indian American U.S. Republican representative Ro Khanna, have written to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security regarding work eligibility of H-1B visa holders’ spouses. The letter aims at stopping the administration’s attempts to roll back the Obama-era rule that granted work permits for the spouses of those who come to country on H-1B visa.

The letter says: “Over 10 million Californians are foreign born, and without them we would not have companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Qualcomm which have made California’s economy the sixth largest in the world. In many areas where these high-tech professionals live, such as Silicon Valley, it is nearly impossible for a family to live on one income.”

A delegation of Massachusetts representatives had sent a letter invoking a similar argument to the department in January, showing the first signs of support for H-4 work authorization.

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