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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Last month President Trump fired two Tennessee Valley Authority board members after the federally owned energy corporation replaced employees with foreign workers.

Why it matters: It was the latest example of big corporations — including AT&T, Disney and Southern California Edison — using H-1B visas for cheaper labor, and sometimes forcing Americans to first train their foreign replacements.

Conservative immigration advocates and others critical of the H-1B program say Trump has done too little to prevent this kind of abuse, despite explicit campaign promises in 2016. Record U.S. unemployment has exacerbated the concern.

  • "He hasn’t really taken any steps to make any of the real fixes" to the H-1B program, Economic Policy Institute's Daniel Costa said. "A lot of it has been somewhat symbolic."
  • Current and former administration officials told Axios they felt Trump was never serious about protecting American jobs from misuse of foreign worker programs, as evidenced by the administration’s failure to end such abuses.
  • “He talked a lot of talk,” they said.

There are few comprehensive studies on the scope of the phenomenon because contracts and outsourcing processes are typically kept quiet.

  • Conversations with workers and attorneys paint a picture of a fine-tuned process. U.S. workers are often assured their job will not change when they are "rebadged" to work for a contractor.
  • "The sad reality is you’ve just been terminated without your severance," one AT&T worker told Axios in December.

Go deeper

Amy Harder, author of Generate
Jul 20, 2020 - Energy & Environment
Column / Harder Line

Biden's climate plan tries to bring unions into clean energy

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden’s latest climate change and clean energy plan mentions the word union more than it does the climate itself.

Why it matters: Wind and solar energy have grown immensely across America over the last decade, but associated union jobs have not. The Democrats’ presumptive presidential nominee is trying to change that, which politicians and others say is key to tackling climate change.

CCP releases two jailed Canadians after Huawei CFO deal with DOJ

Photo: Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Two Canadians imprisoned by the Chinese government for over 1,000 days have been released and are expected to arrive in Canada on Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.

Why it matters: Their release comes hours after Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou reached a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice that resolves the criminal charges against her and could pave the way for her to return to China.

Updated 22 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona GOP's private recount of 2020 election confirms Biden's win

Contractors working on behalf of the GOP examine and recount 2020 ballots at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix in May. Photo: Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

In an odd coda to the 2020 election, private contractors conducting a GOP-commissioned recount in Arizona confirmed President Biden’s win in Maricopa County.

Why it matters: The unofficial, party-driven recount has been heavily covered on cable news as part of former President Trump's continued effort to sow doubt about the election result.

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