Trump's Immigration Position Paper: A Nuanced Examination

Law360, New York (May 23, 2016, 3:29 PM EDT) -- As you may be aware, Donald Trump has written a position paper on immigration reform, available on his campaign website.[1] Much has been discussed about Trump's immigration views on deportation, "the wall," ending birthright citizenship and other matters outlined in this position paper, but I would like to focus on a more nuanced point. Trump states the following in response to the requirement that an H-1B worker be paid the "prevailing wage" for his or her occupation: Increas[ing] prevailing wage for H-1Bs ... will force companies to give these coveted entry-level jobs to the existing domestic pool of unemployed native and immigrant workers in the U.S., instead of flying in cheaper workers from overseas. This will improve the number of black, Hispanic and female workers in Silicon Valley who have been passed over in favor of the H-1B program ... The term "prevailing wage" is a very specific legal term, and is often misconstrued. While some think it represents the minimum wage that must be paid to an H-1B worker, prevailing wage actually indicates the "going rate" or "market rate" for an industry occupation in a given location. U.S. Department of Labor guidelines define prevailing wage as "the average wage paid to similarly employed workers in a specific occupation in the area of intended employment."[2] DOL regulations similarly define prevailing wage as "the arithmetic mean of the wages of workers similarly employed."[3] The aim of this requirement is to prevent employers from sourcing foreign H-1B talent at below market wages instead of locally-based workers....

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