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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.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
8 mins ago - Health

Falling sperm counts could threaten the human race

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A new book makes the case that sperm counts have been falling for decades — and a major reason is chemicals in the environment that disrupt the body's hormonal system.

Why it matters: The ability to reproduce is fundamental to the viable future of any living thing. If certain chemicals are damaging our fertility over the long term, human beings could end up as an endangered species.

2 hours ago - Health

Black churches become vaccine hubs

A woman arrives at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic outside the Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church in southeast D.C. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Black pastors have a new job on their plates during COVID-19: encouraging skeptical congregants to get vaccinated.

Why it matters: “There’s distrust in our community. We can’t ignore that,” Rev. James Coleman of D.C.'s All Nations Baptist told AP.

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