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Community Comment

Banks used bailout money to hire foreign workers?

Good evening, Netizens…

In this Sept. 26, 2007, file photo Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, talks to reporters in his Capitol Hill office in Washington. U.S. banks that are collecting billions of dollars in taxpayer loans to stay afloat sought government permission to import thousands of foreign workers for high-paying jobs in the United States, an Associated Press investigation has found. The job losses anger lawmakers like Sen. Charles Grassley, who is pushing legislation to make employers recruit American workers first, along with other reforms to the visa program. Photo Credit: (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson, File)

Had I not read this live off the Associated Press Wires, and then confirmed it several other ways, I would have not believed it possible. Major U.S. banks sought government permission to bring thousands of foreign workers into the country for high-paying jobs even as the system was melting down last year and Americans were getting laid off. The dozen or so banks now receiving taxpayer bailouts totaling more than $150 billion, requesting visas for more than 21,800 foreign workers over the past six years. These were not, by any means, entry-level positions, but senior vice presidents, corporate lawyers, junior investment analysts and human resources specialists according to the AP article.

The article then went on to state as factual that “as the economic collapse worsened last year — with huge numbers of bank employees laid off — the numbers of visas sought by the dozen banks in AP’s analysis increased by nearly one-third, from 3,258 in the 2007 budget year to 4,163 in fiscal 2008.”

It appears unknown how many foreign employees were actually hired, nor how many of the recently-hired foreign workers were laid off once the big layoffs in banking began.

Additional investigation by the Associated Press discovered that none of the banks that have received federal bailouts would comment publicly on their foreign hiring policies, nor would they state for the record how many foreign workers they still employed. There were several instances cited by the Associated Press where Americans were laid off, only to be replaced by the foreign workers under the US Department of Labor’s H-1B program which allows foreign workers to obtain visas.

Although several people, including the Senior Republican on the House Finance Committee were angered, the old adage about closing the barn door after the cattle have all fled seems apt. Suddenly, upon reviewing several sources of information, the previous comments made about “oversight” on how the bailout money is spent seem vacuous, empty and devoid of any purpose other than for appearance’s sake.

The banks were using our taxpayer money to hire foreign workers while Americans were laid off. Will this be allowed to continue under President Barack Obama’s first 100 days? That remains to be seen.


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