‘Senator from Punjab’: How Hillary Clinton Masterminded a Global Scheme to Replace American Workers

  • Hillary Clinton co-founded the Senate India Caucus, which anti-offshoring advocates say champions “issues important to India, including outsourcing and H-1B and L-1 visas.”
  • Clinton in 2005: “I am delighted to be the Senator from Punjab as well as from New York.”
  • Clinton has called for nearly doubling the controversial H-1B guest worker program—suggesting that American workers lack the skills to fill American jobs. She has also defended the cheap labor practices of an Indian outsourcing firm, to which the Clinton Foundation has financial ties: “We are not against all outsourcing; we are not in favor of putting up fences,” she said.
  • Shortly after the CEO of HCL—the Indian firm that helped lay off 250 American Disney workers in Orlando— called American tech graduates “unemployable”, Bill Clinton delivered a speech to HCL to the tune of nearly a quarter of a million dollars at Disney World in Orlando.
  • Reports note that Clinton has repeatedly “telegraphed” her support for a globalized world to the Indian community. At a conference of 14,000 Indian Americans, Bill Clinton extolled the virtues of “open borders, easy travel, easy immigration”.
  • In 2007, Barack Obama slammed “Hillary Clinton (D-Punjab)’s personal, financial and political ties to India… It’s all about the money,” his campaign wrote.

At a 2006 fundraiser, Hillary Clinton jokingly told donors that she could “easily” see herself as the elected representative of foreign citizens in the Indian region of Punjab.

As Indian Abroad reported at the time: “At the fundraiser hosted by Dr Rajwant Singh at his Potomac, Maryland, home… Clinton began by joking that, ‘I can certainly run for the Senate seat in Punjab and win easily,’ after being introduced by Singh as the Senator not only from New York but also Punjab.”

It was apparently a line Clinton used more than once. The Sikh Council writes that at a 2005 event in the U.S. Senate, Clinton said: “I am delighted to be the Senator from Punjab as well as from New York.”

The statement prompted the campaign of her then-opponent Sen. Barack Obama to call the New York Senator “Hillary Clinton (D-Punjab)” in a memo circulated to reporters— implying that Clinton represents foreign nations and foreign citizens rather than her own American constituents.

The memo was titled, “HILLARY CLINTON (D-PUNJAB)’S PERSONAL FINANCIAL AND POLITICAL TIES TO INDIA,” and it extensively detailed Clinton’s willingness to put the needs and interests of foreign corporations and foreign workers in India ahead of the needs of the American people.

The Obama campaign wrote:

The Clintons have reaped significant financial rewards from their relationship with the Indian community, both in their personal finances and Hillary’s campaign fundraising. Hillary Clinton, who is the co-chair of the Senate India Caucus, has drawn criticism from anti-offshoring groups for her vocal support of Indian business and unwillingness to protect American jobs… Hillary Clinton has taken tens of thousands [of dollars] from companies that outsource jobs to India. Workers who have been laid off in upstate New York might not think that her recent joke that she could be elected to the Senate seat in Punjab is that funny.

Indeed, while these revelations have received scant to virtually-no coverage by corporate media this election cycle, Clinton has an astonishingly long record of promoting Indian corporations and foreign workers at the direct expense of American workers.

Most notably, Clinton has extensive ties to corporations responsible for some of the most egregious anti-American worker labor practices: namely, the India-based Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and HCL.

These India-based IT firms specialize in outsourcing and offshoring and are among the top H-1B and L-1 visa employers in the United States. Together HCL and Tata have stolen tens of thousands of U.S. jobs from American workers all across the country. HCL and Tata are responsible for the layoffs of workers from Disney, Southern California Edison, Northeast Utilities, Xerox, University of California, Siemens, and countless others.

A review of Clinton’s record shows that she has not only defended and enabled these corporations’ anti-American worker business model, but she has also pushed to expand it— calling for substantial increases to the number of low-wage workers admitted on guest worker visas and suggesting that American workers lack the requisite skills to fill U.S. jobs.

Interestingly, both companies have given money to the Clintons either via donations to the Clinton Foundation or paying Bill Clinton to deliver speeches.

As the Obama campaign wrote in 2007 about Clinton’s ties to India, “It’s all about the money.”

Tata

As the Washington Post has reported, Tata has given tens of thousands of dollars to the Clinton Foundation:

Although foreign nationals cannot contribute to U.S. campaigns, Clinton has won campaign support from the Indian American community, records show… Tata Consultancy Services contributed between $25,000 and $50,000 to the Clinton Foundation, and Ratan Tata, then chairman of the Tata Group, was a speaker at the Clinton Global Initiative conference in 2010.

Tata is also a participant in the Clinton Foundation’s STEM education program.

The Clinton’s ties to the Indian corporation extend back for over a decade.

In 2003, then-Senator Hillary Clinton was widely-credited for recruiting and helping Tata open a software development center in Buffalo, New York.

As a press release issued by Tata, announcing the opening, stated: “The deal was the brainchild of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.”

A year before the announcement, Clinton had courted executives from Tata and other Indian businesses—giving them a tour of the region. Clinton was so instrumental to the deal that the company even flew her to Buffalo to join Tata’s CEO, Subramaniam Ramadorai, for the announcement of the company’s opening.

Even at the time, Clinton’s decision was a controversial one.

Five days before Clinton and Tata announced the Buffalo opening, Tata came under fire for helping a Siemens unit in Lake Mary, Florida lay off its American workers and forced them to train their lower-wage foreign replacements brought in on guest worker visas.

As Bloomberg reported less than a week before the announcement of Tata’s Buffalo opening, “Siemens made no bones about the cost-cutting nature of the layoff.” Bloomberg noted that one of the foreign replacements, “who speaks halting English,” allegedly earned just one-third of the original American employee’s $98,000 a year salary.

Yet despite public outrage over Siemens and Tata’s anti-American worker business model, Clinton forged ahead with Tata’s opening in Buffalo.

“The event signaled that Clinton, who portrays herself as a fighter for American workers, had aligned herself with Indian American business leaders and Indian companies feared by the labor movement,” the Los Angeles Times reported in 2007.

Mike Emmons, one of the American Siemens workers who was axed and replaced by a foreign worker, said that he was in touch with Clinton’s staff as all of this was happening. Yet shortly after Emmons had reached out to Senator Clinton seeking representation and protection for his colleagues from Tata’s job theft, Emmons was forced to watch as Clinton celebrated Tata at its grand opening in Buffalo.

In July of 2016, Emmons decided to speak out in response to Clinton’s claim that she finds it “heartbreaking” when American workers are forced to train their foreign replacements. In an op-ed titled, “Don’t Believe Clinton’s Crocodile Tears Over Lost American Jobs,” Emmons denounced Clinton’s “preference for foreign guest workers over qualified Americans.” Emmons pointed specifically to Clinton’s long history of supporting expansions to the H-1B program and her support for legislation “that would have weakened the already laughably feeble ‘protections’ currently in place to prevent Americans from being displaced by guest workers.”

“For me, the issue is personal. I am a tech worker who was replaced by a foreign guest worker,” Emmons wrote. Emmons said that as he struggled to afford medical care for his handicapped daughter and as he watched his former colleagues struggle to make ends meet, he decided:

I could not remain silent… I reached out to elected office-holders across the country, including Hillary Clinton, who had been elected Senator from New York in 2000. Shortly after I reached out to Senator Clinton’s office, I saw that she attended the grand opening of a Tata regional office in Buffalo, New York… If Hillary Clinton truly was heartbroken about Americans being forced to train their foreign replacements, she had ample opportunity to do something about it when she was in office. I for one have good reason not to trust that she will do the right thing if elected [president].

“Tata has been responsible for destroying tens of thousands of American jobs and depressing the wages of countless more,” said IT labor expert and Howard University Professor Ron Hira, who was a professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology at the time of Tata’s opening in Buffalo.

Hira said that Clinton’s actions “enabled” Tata’s anti-American worker business model:

These guest workers are imported by Tata because they are cheaper than American workers. Over the ten-year period FY2005-14, Tata imported an incredible 27,193 H-1B guest workers. We don’t know how many L-1 workers it imported but it’s likely more than 10,000. That’s at least 27,193 jobs that American workers should have been hired for or in many cases were already doing (workers at Siemens, Northeast Utilities, and Southern California Edison) and got replaced by an H-1B worker. Those are high wage jobs that pay more than $85k to American workers… Why would anyone court a company whose business model is based upon destroying American jobs? It’s the height of irrationality to think that destroying American jobs is effective economic development policy… By giving Tata her repeated endorsements she enabled these very practices.

Indeed, in a 2004 interview with then-CNN host Lou Dobbs, Clinton defended Tata’s controversial practices, insisting that they brought jobs to Buffalo. “Well, of course I know that they outsource jobs, that they’ve actually brought jobs to Buffalo. They’ve created 10 jobs in Buffalo,” she said. “You know, outsourcing does work both ways.”

IT expert and UC Davis professor Norm Matloff mocked Clinton for her remarks. “Yeah, 10 whole jobs!” Matloff wrote at the time. “Tata imports thousands of H-1Bs, and offshores untold numbers of jobs, but hey, they created 10 new jobs in the U.S.!”

Matloff further pointed out that it was unknown whether those “10 whole jobs” were even given to American workers, noting that Tata may very well “have filled those 10 jobs with H-1Bs.”

Most remarkably, during her interview with Dobbs, Clinton declared, “We are not against all outsourcing; we are not in favor of putting up fences.” Her remarks were reported by the Times of India in an article titled, “Clinton Stands Up For Tata, Outsourcing”.

During a 2005 trip to India, Clinton again reportedly defended the Tata deal, insisting that it represented the type of cooperation that would “help prevent the kind of negative feelings that could be stirred up by” by critics of globalization. While on foreign soil, she called critics of the global marketplace, presumably American workers who have been victims of globalization, “short-sighted.”

Around the same time, Clinton was pushing policies that would expand the displacement of American workers. In 2006, Clinton backed Ted Kennedy’s immigration plan which would have nearly doubled the cap on H-1B visas per year. In 2007, Clinton specifically called for increasing the pool of foreign workers available to corporate employers. “I also want to reaffirm my commitment to the H-1B visa program and to increase the current cap,” Clinton reportedly told a conference of Indian workers in Silicon Valley, whom she addressed via satellite. “Foreign skilled workers contribute to greatly to our US technological development,” Clinton told the group.

In contrast to the “foreign skilled workers” Clinton said she wants to import to the U.S., Clinton suggested that Americans workers lack the necessary skills to fill U.S. jobs. Without citing any evidence to support her argument—and, indeed, disregarding all of the evidence that would prove her statement to be demonstrably false—Clinton suggested that American workers’ skills are not “in line with the jobs.”

“There’s no shortage of talented, hardworking people in the United States—we just need to get the skills more in line with the jobs,” Clinton said amid her call for increasing the importation of foreign workers.

This statement is remarkable given the fact that the American workers who Tata replaced—workers like Mike Emmons at Siemens—already had skills that were “in line” with the job they were filling. In fact, the American workers already filling those jobs were more skilled than their foreign replacements, as evidenced by the fact that the American workers had to spend weeks training their foreign lower-wage replacements.

Experts have shown that there’s actually a surplus of labor in the tech labor market and have explained that this the reason IT workers have not seen a pay raise since Bill Clinton’s administration. Despite these realities, Clinton chose to parrot the debunked talking point that there is a shortage of skilled laborers while addressing a conference of Silicon Valley employers in 2007. Clinton told the crowd that, if elected President, she would address the concerns of Silicon Valley CEOs, who want a larger pool of foreign workers.

“I have had countless meetings with people from the Silicon Valley and in Silicon Valley bemoaning the shortage in the skills that are needed,” Clinton said.

Clinton said that across the country there are jobs that American workers are not filling—not just tech jobs, but blue collar jobs as well. Clinton suggestedthat this is because workers do not have the skills for the jobs: “I hear that across the country. There are auto mechanic jobs we cannot fill today. Thousands of them, making 50, 60, 70 thousand dollars. There are airline mechanic jobs that we can’t fill — there are so many jobs that we can’t get the right mix between the person and the skill and the job.”

“We need to do more and we have to also recognize the shortage that exists now,” Clinton added. “So I am reaffirming my commitment to the H1B visa and increasing the current cap. Let’s just face the fact that foreign skilled workers contribute greatly to what we have to do in being innovators…Yes, increase the cap.”

Interestingly, despite the fact that Clinton has struggled to defend her controversial support for doubling H-1B visas in the past, Computer World’s Patrick Thibodeau notes that in this election, “the H-1B visa is not mentioned in her immigration platform, her tech policy platform or in the just-released draft platform for the Democratic party.”

HCL 

In addition to Tata, Clinton is also tied to HCL— the firm that helped Disney World in Orlando, Florida lay off 250 American tech workers and forced them to train their lesser-skilled foreign replacements brought in on H-1B visas.

Interestingly, Bob Iger, the Disney CEO who presided over the firing and replacement of hundreds of American workers, is also a Hillary Clinton supporter. In August, Iger hosted a big-ticket Hollywood fundraiser for Clinton at the home of billionaire entertainment mogul Haim Saban in Beverly Park, a gated community above Beverly Hills.

Iger serves as a co-chair of an open borders lobbying firm that has advocated for the type of expansions to the foreign worker H-1B program that Clinton has championed.

The Disney workers who suffered H-1B job theft are planning on filing a discrimination lawsuit against Disney based on the contract between Disney and HCL. The Disney workers’ attorney told Breitbart that they made discrimination claims under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The claims include discrimination based on national origin (the displaced workers were American/non-Indian, while their replacements were reportedly Indian nationals).

Indeed, in 2009, HCL caused a stir when its Chief Executive, Vineet Nayar, said that American tech grads are “unemployable”. As Daily Tech reported at the time:

Mr. Nayar, speaking before an audience of business partners in New York City, blasted American tech grads as ‘unemployable’.  He elaborated that he views American tech grads as inferior to those from India, China, and Brazil as the Americans only want to ‘get rich’ and dream up ‘the next big thing. He says students from countries like India, China, and Brazil are more willing to put the effort into ‘boring’ details of tech process and methodology… Mr. Nayar also complains about the cost of training Americans.  He says that most Americans are simply ‘too expensive’ to train.

The comments sparked outrage amongst the American tech community.

Yet just a few months after HCL’s then-CEO described American tech graduates as inferior to Indian tech grads, former President Bill Clinton accepted an invitation to speak at the company for a hefty fee. After Nayar’s anti-American tech worker comments, Clinton ultimately wound up delivering two paid speeches to HCL for a total of $375,000. The first speech was in April of 2010 and the second was in November of 2011.

Clinton delivered his November 2011 to HCL at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

Almost exactly three years later, 250 American workers at that very same location at Disney World in Orlando Florida were informed that they would be replaced with Indian workers that HCL had helped bring into the country on H-1B visas.

As one employee explained, the American workers were gathered together at a meeting with a top Disney executive. Many of the workers— who had been described as “top performers”— thought the meeting was to recognize their contributions to the company, or was about a potential promotion, or a bonus of some kind. Some employees even thought the company was throwing them a surprise party. Instead, the Disney executive reportedly informedthem, “all of you in this room will be losing your jobs in the next 90 days… Your jobs have been given over to a foreign workforce. In the meantime, you will be training your replacements until your jobs are 100 percent transferred over to them and if you don’t cooperate you will not receive any severance pay.” Tears streamed down employees faces, others completely broke down and were “crying out loud,” “one employee was murmuring ‘no, this can’t be’ as they were marched out of the room.”

Ninety days later, as one employee found himself living on unemployment payments, he spoke of the “sleepless nights” that accompanied the pressure of trying to provide for food and shelter for his family. He spoke of the feeling of alienation that accompanied the “huge influx’ of foreign workers whose presence transformed the composition of the company overnight. “A foreign language was suddenly being spoken throughout the building hallways,” the worker said. He said he felt “betrayed” and described the “humiliat[ing],” “disgraceful” and “demoralizing” experience as he had no choice but “to watch a foreign worker completely take over my job.”

“I’ve spoken to thousands of American families whose lives have been destroyed by this business model,” said the Disney workers’ attorney, Sara Blackwell, who runs an organization that represents high-skilled American workers who have been replaced by low-wage foreign guest workers.

“American workers tend to have a very emotional reaction to being forced to train their replacements,” Blackwell explained.

They know that they are being sold out. And they feel as though they are contributing to the death of the American tech workforce by training their replacements, but they’ve been forced to do it in order to get their severance pay, which they need so that they can pay their mortgage, and feed their families. Workers tell me that they feel physically sick as they’re forced to train their replacements. They go home and vomit; they cry every single night; they go into counseling; they’re admitted to hospitals; there are divorces; we’ve seen two suicides as a result of these cheap labor practices. And when the workers are officially let go and can’t find work, that kind of emotional distress drives a lot of them to homelessness, a lot of them move in with their older parents. It has single-handedly destroyed American families by the thousands.

“Hillary Clinton is by far the worst person we could have in the White House,” Blackwell added. “If Hillary wins, there will be no protections for these American workers. They will have no voice.”

India’s Favorite Senator

The Obama campaign memo hitting Clinton’s ties to India also emphasized that “in 2004, Clinton co-founded and became the co-chair of the Senate India Caucus which was coordinated by the U.S. India Political Action Committee (USINPAC).”

According to the Los Angeles Times, the USINPAC “cites the Tata deal as one of Clinton’s top three achievements as a senator– and evidence of a turnabout, in its view, from her past criticism of outsourcing. ‘Even though she was against outsourcing at the beginning of her political career,’ the USINPAC website says, ‘she has since changed her position and now maintains that offshoring brings as much economic value to the United States as to the country where services are outsourced, especially India.’”

Information Technology Professionals Association of America (ITPAA)— an anti-offshoring advocacy group that labeled Clinton a “weasel” in 2005 for her embrace of anti-American worker labor practices—described Clinton’s India caucus as “a group of senators that supports issues important to India, including outsourcing and H-1B and L-1 visas.”

A blog post on the CWA union’s website warned that Clinton’s India Caucus represents, “the first time in the history of the U.S. Senate that a country-focused caucus has been constituted.” The CWA post urged readers to “check if your U.S. Senator is a member of the caucus. If Yes, WRITE and object to the H-1B Visa Program and OFFSHORE OUTSOURCING OF AMERICAN JOBS!”

Indeed, as the Los Angeles Times reported, in her effort to “woo” wealthy Indian Americans donors, Clinton has repeatedly “telegraphed” her support for a globalized world, including the benefits of “open borders” and outsourcing.

Clinton is successfully wooing wealthy Indian Americans, many of them business leaders with close ties to their native country and an interest in protecting outsourcing laws and expanding access to worker visas. Her campaign has held three fundraisers in the Indian American community recently, one of which raised close to $3 million, its sponsor told an Indian news organization… Her campaign continues to telegraph — sometimes in front of Indian American audiences — that she sees benefits to a globalized world. Three weeks ago, her husband drew applause at a conference of 14,000 Indian Americans in Washington as he extolled the benefits of “open borders, easy travel, easy immigration.” He said the outsourcing debate bothered him because it failed to acknowledge the contributions of Indians who settled in the U.S. The same day, he headlined a fundraiser at the conference for his wife’s campaign.

While then-Senator Obama—who as President pushed policies to expand the displacement of American workers through large-scale foreign worker programs—eventually apologized for the memo’s “caustic tone,” his campaign’s message was unmistakably clear: a Hillary Clinton Presidency would not represent the interests of American workers, but would instead represent the desires of wealthy donors and foreign corporations.

While Clinton’s record on these issues were apparently a topic of discussion during the 2008 election, it is perhaps interesting that in the 2016 election—which has been so driven by the issues of trade, immigration, national sovereignty, and opposition to globalization— Clinton’s history on this issue has received so little attention. It remains to be seen whether Clinton will be asked about her controversial positions on these subjects during next week’s debate.

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