Silicon Valley isn’t known for its protests, but the government’s proposed crackdown on H-1B visas have caused the tech capital to mobilize.
H-1B visas allow companies to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations, such as science and engineering. Tech companies rely on the visas to recruit talent from around the world, but the potential changes wouldn’t consider computer programmer a specialty skill.
While the program has been criticized for allowing firms to pay workers lower wages, the Trump administration is trying to make getting an H-1B visa in the first place more difficult. Now, instead of aiming for jobs at Google or in academia, many foreign students are thinking of leaving the U.S.
“Silicon Valley is a story of immigration and immigrants,” Brad Taylor, an organizer for the protest said. “It would be extremely detrimental to our industry if things like the H-1B visas were taken away.”
This segment originally aired April 13, 2017, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.