My friend Cyrus Mehta reports on a disturbing incident that occurred last week at Newark's international airport. Apparently CBP officers got hold of the new Neufeld memorandum on H-1B workers at third party work sites and decided to start applying it on their own. Aside from being contrary to established procedures for revoking visas, CBP officers made inappropriate comments and issued threats that cry out for some form of disciplinary action by DHS:
It is then no surprise that the outrageous singling out of Indians since the New Year waiting in the line at Newark and other airports by CBP officials is the result of the NeufeldCBP officialdom but not the public until January 13, 2010. On one fateful day, January 11, 2010, when Continental Airlines Flight 49 landed in Newark from Mumbai, India, we know that CBP officer Matt McGirr and his colleagues, hunted through the lines for Indian H-1B workers even before they showed up for primary inspection. Their minds were made up. No detailed questions were asked. The moment they found Indian H-1B workers who uttered that they were working at a client site in the IT field, their fates were sealed. They were subjected to expedited removal orders and sent back to India. Some were luckier and escaped the ER order, but still had to withdraw their applications for admission to the U.S. Nevertheless, they were all coerced into making statements under threat of being detained. CBP officials also made remarks as to why the H-1B workers, singled out for deportation, earned more than U.S. workers and should not be paid so much. The consequence of expedited removal is a 5 year bar from entering the U.S. It is hoped that higher and saner officials within CBP will realize that these ER orders were unwarranted and trampled upon the civil rights of Indian workers, erase them and allow them to continue to contribute their skills and expertise, which in turn benefit U.S. corporations.
The dumbest comment made by CBP, however, is the one where the officer complained that Indian IT workers were paid so much more than US workers. Anti-H-1B types (who will no doubt post obnoxious comments after I publish this) regularly argue that H-1Bs are underpaid compared to their American counterparts. That's like when antis claim in one breath that immigrants steal jobs from Americans and then in the next complain that they come here to mooch off the Welfare system.