When did becoming an Indentured Servant become unlawful (or did it ever?)

I was making the point that the military has its own justice system and punishments. Something no other employer in the US has. Anybody can get up from their desk, grab their coat and leave a job anytime they want. A local Alaska reporter quit last year in the middle of a live shot.

The Military must have been given exemptions to the 13 Amendment. It’s one of the few remaining types of employment that can deal out punishment, operate its own courts etc. IIRC they even suspend some basic rights that are granted to all Americans.

If by “essentially a form of” you mean “does not resemble at all,” then fine. H1B employees are free to quit their jobs at any time and return to their home countries. They are also free to move to another employer with no interruption in their visa status.

So does each of the 50 states. Yet each of them, as well as the military, operate under the Constitution. You’re arbitrarily setting the military apart, but you’re wrong in doing so.

At what point did the USA start trying to limit people from just wandering in and settling?

Ellis Island was working in 1892, and for 35 years before that state officials apparently processed immigrants.

Although, I suppose having a contract that showed the person would be housed and fed was better than the situation many immigrants arrived into before WWI.

The military is the only employer that can convict you of a crime for quitting. That is not an arbitrary distinction. It’s a fundamental one in this context.

In any other job, they can sue you for fulfillment of a contract, but it’s a civil matter, and even if they win, they can’t actually force you to work for them.

I quote again, “a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” The military is constrained by law and the Constitution, just like every private employer and like every other governmental employer. That’s the fundamental point. Obviously, there will be a variety of crimes and a variety of punishments among the hugely varied groups in America. Why is this meaningful as long as every single one is subject to the identical in principle process of trial and conviction?

And how many employers will hire an H1B?

The ones I am was talking about were IT contractors - the employers provide the corporate framework for independent consultants and H1B’s.

The client (who would be the most likely to want to hire the H1B) has a business to run, and is not set up to deal with INS.

Maybe a competing consulting house would hire them - but they don’t generally like to poach employees, and would not pay any better than the current one.

“You are free to do something” is meaningless if that “something” will never occur.

Lots. More than 120,000 H1B visas are issued every year. Most of them work for large technology companies, universities, and research labs, not subcontractors. These organizations are well-equipped to handle the paperwork and do so every day. USCIS processes thousands of H1B employer transfer requests every year. And H1B workers may apply for permanent residency after a period of time as well, if they want.

H1B workers are generally highly-skilled and educated workers who make it through a very competitive process to get here. Comparing them to indentured servants is really rather insulting.

Mapcase, you haven’t answered the question. If you’ve got something to say, iamthewalrus and I would both be interested to read it.

You may find it insulting, but it is exactly the same situation - work for us for X years and we’ll get you into the US.

I’ve worked with dozens of H1B in the IT world. All of them were brought in by consulting houses for IT work.

Apparently, the employer has to certify that they have offered the job to Americans but couldn’t find any.
I learned about that when I noticed a “Help Wanted” ad - on the inside of the break room door (which was never closed, so the ad was not seen). But it WAS posted!

Depends on the conditions and type of Visa. In my case what the company that pulled that kind of shit was doing was hold back the documents we needed in order to be able to renew our visas (according to my immigration lawyer “it was best for all parties concerned” - this party disagreed and went back home); on one hand that same company was firing people left and right, but on the other if an employee said he was leaving, the threat was to suddenly discover you’d been working illegally and call Immigration.

Note that this was generally not H1Bs, though.

I can’t say anything until you answer my question. Why is the military - working under the exact same system of trial and conviction, as prescribed by the Constitution - meaningfully different from every other system of law in the country? You keep saying that it has a crime unique to it. But so what? That’s a procedural difference and there are probably a zillion arcane branches of law with unique crimes and/or procedures. Yet the Constitution, and specifically the 13th Amendment, applies equally to them all.

I’ve made my case clear. Whatever your point might aspire to be still is mysterious and opaque to me. If you want to continue an actual discussion, seems to me that you’re the one who has to say more.

The topic of the OP is Indentured Servitude.

It’s entirely germane to the discussion to point out that the military is unique among employers because it has a still-legal indentured servitude.

The facts that different jurisdictions have a different laws, and that the military’s ability to have indentured servants are all within the 13th amendment are not in dispute, as far as I can tell.

The only thing we appear to disagree on is that the legal specificities in this case are relevant and non-arbitrary to the discussion at hand.

This is self-contradictory nonsense. If it’s legal, it’s not indentured servitude. And then there’s nothing to argue about.

No. In 1867 Congress passed implementing legislation for the Thirteenth Amendment called the Anti-Peonage Act, which provided:

The proximate motivation behind the act was to eliminate debt peonage–holding a person to labor until a debt is paid–in New Mexico Territory, where it persisted as a holdover from Mexican rule. But, the wording (any debt or obligation) was broad enough to outlaw holding a person to indentured servitude as well.

I hasten to add, the law had nothing to do with actually ending indentured servitude. The practice had died of its own accord before the Civil War. But per your question, if someone had attempted to revive it in 1910 or 1930 or 1950, it would have been illegal.

As noted above forms of servitude did persist for children. Apprenticeship was considered an appropriate form of foster care for orphaned children, or children removed from the custody of their parents, until the Twentieth Century.

I’m not even sure what we’re arguing about any more. The definition of indentured servitude? Mine is below. Perhaps you can provide yours and we can go from there.

“Indentured servitude” is an arrangement by which someone receives an up-front benefit in exchange for an enforceable agreement to work for a given employer.

That arrangement might be legal or illegal, depending on the circumstances and the legal system in play. Obviously, it was legal in many contexts in the past, and it’s generally still legal in the US currently, but only if the employer is the military, because the military is the only employer that operates under a legal system that makes failing to work for them after agreeing to do so a criminal offense, the punishment for which can be… being forced to work for them.

Hi! I’m a grad student.

As I understand it “indentured” simply means contracted. It’s just that the term “indentured servant” came to refer to a specific form of contracted labour in the case of immigrants to North America in the 1600’s to 1800’s.

But yes, military service is the one place where you can be compelled to perform and legally punished with criminal penalties for failure to perform as contracted/ordered. So it is “indentured servitude” as we commonly understand it. In any other case, failure to perform is a civil case with possible financial repercussions only.

(I suppose technically, if you abandon some work in the middle, you can be charged - i.e. walk away from an open patient during an operation, or abandon a school bus full of kids, and you could be charged with criminal negligence. But this relates to circumstances, not simple performance, and a very limited timeline.)

I understood that an H1B was tied to the employer who brought them in. (Since it’s based on a demonstration that the employer needs that person’s skill and cannot find a match locally) Can they in fact change employers once in? Can they work in a different field?

I don’t know about different fields, but H1B employees who wish to switch employers may do so by filing a transfer request (which is essentially a new H1B visa petition, but not subject to the H1B cap, and the waiting time for approval is generally waived.)

Employees who are laid off/terminated can also apply for temporary extensions while they seek new employment in the US.

I guess the key concept here is unalienable. An unalienable right can’t neither be taken away from you, nor can you sign it away voluntarily. Your personal freedom can’t be taken away from you, no matter how much debt you have accumulated or what contractual obligations you have. You always have the option to get out of Dodge (or shuffle off to Buffalo, whatever the case may be).

BTW, how about child support? Can’t they force a deadbeat dad to pay child support, or otherwise send him to prison?