Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is the latest target for Donald Trump’s war of words on U.S. immigration policies.
Zuckerberg is one of the most important tech executives who have called for a more accommodative immigration strategy. In particular, he has been loudly pushing to make more H-1B visas accessible for tech organizations so they can hire experienced foreign workers.
Trump announced that he intends to ask organization to pay H-1B employees much more in salaries, which he believes would put off companies from employing them and improve employment opportunities for American citizens.
He also intends to have tech jobs given to jobless American citizens before they can be taken by employees with H-1B visas.
Writing in his immigration plan, Trump said, "This will improve the number of black, Hispanic and female workers in Silicon Valley who have been passed over in favor of the H-1B program. Mark Zuckerberg's personal Senator, Marco Rubio, has a bill to triple H-1Bs that would decimate women and minorities."
Rubio is also in pursuit of the Republican selection for president.
Zuckerberg launched a lobby group, Fwd.us, to fight for relaxed immigration policies that would benefit Silicon Valley companies yet likely disadvantage American workers.
The Facebook billionaire is lobbying along with Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
Neither Fwd.us nor Facebook would comment on Trump's condemnation of Zuckerberg.
Trump believes that there are a lot of graduates holding university degrees in technology, science, math and engineering, known as STEM, to fill the relevant tech jobs. That means that organizations do not need H-1B visas to take up the jobs, and are using them as an alternative to keep salaries low.
Organizations are expected to pay a market rate wage to anybody employed under H-1B visa.
Yet studies have found that employees on these visas are normally paid 20 to 45% less than the American workers who they are regularly replacing, said a Howard University public policy professor, Ron Hira, who has widely researched the visa's pay scale.
Speaking on the matter, Hira said, "I don't think you should eliminate the H1-B program. The problem is it's being abused and it's a source of very cheap labor."
According to the Census Bureau 74% of people with a STEM university degrees have are holding jobs outside of those areas.
Many of them are employed in other better rewarding areas, such as accounting, law, finance, and health care. College graduates holding a STEM qualification earn a median salary of between $69,700 and $92,900, varying according to their field of specialization. Other college graduates fall between $51,000 and $70,300. The report given by Census Bureau worked with the most current data available - 2012 figures.
According to the Census report, the joblessness rate for STEM degree holders was about 3% in 2012 – the year when the general joblessness rate was 8%.