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Closing the Door: Irresponsible Changes in Immigration Policy

by Mar 2, 2009, 5:27 am ET

The recently passed “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009,” aka the stimulus bill, includes a provision that restricts companies receiving federal bailout funds from hiring immigrant workers on H-1B visas. This provision was added by senators Charles Grassley, from Iowa, and Bernie Sanders, from Vermont. Considering that engineers, scientists, and immigrants with advanced degrees are generally falling over themselves to get to those two hubs of technological innovation and economic growth, one can understand the motivations of these lawmakers. They clearly have an informed perspective that most others lack.

The Last Refuge of a Scoundrel

One would hope that the Messrs. Grassley and Sanders had done their homework, but that would be giving them too much credit.

Their basis for this provision is an Associated Press story that claimed that banks that had accepted federal bailout money had tried to hire thousands of workers from overseas, at a time when they were cutting U.S. workers. Stuff like this is like a red flag to a bull — especially when the bull might be looking at a tough reelection and has a need to burnish his pro-American credentials. Never mind that the story was grossly inaccurate or just flat-out wrong. The reporter counted up visa applications from a dozen banks and found more than 21,800 over six years. Trouble is, he never bothered to find out how many of the visas were approved, much less how many immigrant workers were ever hired.

Further investigation revealed that none of the 12 largest banks receiving bailout funds had actually hired substantial numbers of foreign workers. An analysis by the Kansas City Star revealed that one of the largest banks — Bank of America — hired just 66 such workers, of which 51 were for its global equities arm. With a workforce of 210,000 that represents 0.03 percent being immigrant workers. Details, details.

To give the two gentlemen their due — this was political grandstanding at its finest.

The measure was tabled as a separate motion and approved by a voice vote. It would take special courage for a senator to be caught on camera voting against a measure labeled “Employ American Workers Act.” The esteemed lawmakers and others of their ilk have been known to claim that it is intent that counts — that the banks and other employers, if allowed to do so, would hire as many immigrant workers as possible at low salaries, to save a buck.

There have been abuses of the H-1B program but there is no evidence that these are pervasive. Rest assured if there was even a hint of widespread abuse by any large employer or industry then some state attorney general or U.S. Attorney would be investigating it. Immigrant workers make up less than 3% of the professional labor force. Hiring one is cumbersome, expensive, and difficult. An employer that does so has usually exhausted other options. Anyone who thinks otherwise should file an H-1B petition themselves and experience the pleasures of dealing with the bureaucracy responsible for approving work visas.

Risking our Future

This highlights a fundamental problem that is developing in U.S. immigration policy. We are increasingly frustrating the efforts of highly qualified talent from reaching us. This may seem to be a contrarian view in the midst of a deep recession, but this type of legislation is incredibly short-sighted and can have serious negative consequences. There’s also the question of who exactly is supposed to benefit from it? The vast majority of immigrant talent that gets hired on an H-1B visa includes scientists and IT professionals. As of the end of January the Bureau of Labor statistics reports an unemployment rate of 4.8% for employees in those categories. That doesn’t quite show that there’s an abundance of talent available.

I’ve written about this in the past, but the point needs to be made again that our needs for talent will continue to grow, as will those of other countries that are not sitting idly. The White House’s just released economic forecast along with the budget predicts that the U.S. will see economic growth of 3.2% next year, climbing to 4% by 2013. To put that in perspective: for that to occur the economy will need to be adding over half a trillion dollars in GDP every year by 2013. Whether that actually happens remains to be seen, but the growth is not going to come from Vermont and Iowa. Last time I checked, milk and corn were not high-growth industries. Our centers of technology and innovation will suffer disproportionately from the reduction in visas.

One may think that domestic supply will easily make up the difference, but that would be the wrong conclusion to reach. There is not an abundant supply of talent — domestic or foreign — to fuel the development of new and high-growth industries such as bio-technology and alternative energy. If we put up barricades, then the talent will simply go elsewhere. If Intel founder Andy Grove or Yahoo founder Jerry Yang had not come here they could have built their companies in other countries — and increasingly there are plenty of other countries that would welcome them.

There is some recognition that sanity needs to prevail. Senator Chuck Schumer has publicly vowed to overturn the H-1B restrictions. Some cynical types have claimed that he was influenced by the fact that a lot of banks receiving bailout funds were contributors to his campaign war chest, but I’m sure the gentleman’s motivations are pure. To suggest otherwise is insulting to the man.

But the fundamental issue remains that our immigration policy is deeply flawed. It has not fundamentally changed since the 1950s and does nothing to attract high quality talent. The process to obtain a visa or green card is a convoluted mess, tangled up between various governmental agencies — none of whom has any view of the big picture or any incentive to make things better. While our legislators pass laws on transporting chimps (the primate safety act), other countries focus on streamlining immigration procedures and simplifying the requirements for professional talent to reach them. Without major changes we stand to lose our edge in innovation, and jeopardize our future.

This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to offer specific legal advice. You should consult your legal counsel regarding any threatened or pending litigation.

  • Alan Hodsdon

    While I agree with the jist of your comments, I am not sure that the ridicule of the people of Iowa or Vt. adds anything to the arguement, if you checked the rosters of the University sytems in both states I am sure that you would find a number of”technology” programs as well as a number of F-1 students attending.
    It is also narrow minded to think that the only “immigrints” trying for visa’s into the US are people with a strong technology background. To establish a system that would focus and allow only highly skilled technology folks to have H1B’s would be decriminatory and frankly un American.
    The over reaction and oversimplification of an issue to a problem by a politician shouldn’t be a surprise to any of us, but by saying it is becasuse they come from rural states is also an overreaction and weakens your arguement.

  • Raghav Singh

    The point of the article is precisely that we should make it easier for people with specialized skills to immigrate. Our immigration system is biased in favor of reuniting families and giving relatives preference. The Green Card system was created after the second world war for precisely this reason. Whatever value that might have had in the past, it does not serve our interests today. Since we’ve been “discriminating”in favor or relatives it’s long overdue that we favor talent and explicitly so. Things have changed and it is not “un-American” to do so. That’s a label that gets slapped on any activity that seems politically incorrect. Winston Churchill wrote that for countries there are no permanent values, principles, or friends – only permanent interests. That describes succinctly what the basis of our immigration policy needs to be.

  • Alan Hodsdon

    It is difficult to talk out of both sides of my mouth but on the one hand I agree that it is in the US best interest to continue to allow talented people to become permanent residents or citizens to provide us with the talent and help to keep the economy strong and keep our technological edge.
    On the other hand it may sound politically correct to say we have to use caution not to descrimniate but it is also one of the foundations of this country. When we start establisdhing systems to select only those who meet certain qualifications to be allowed to participate in our society I think we undermine some of our guiding principles on which this country was founded, naive, maybe but it is something that I beleive in.

  • Brandon Ebeling

    Raghav,

    I mean no disrespect, but the Kansas City Star piece you refer to, chastising the AP for incomplete reporting is disingenuous at best. Candidly, when it comes to bias on visa grandstanding, you must be given your due — this was opinion without supporting facts at its finest.

    Similarly, the KC Star reporter Mary Sanchez should apply her admonishment about bias and grandstanding to herself; and the readers of your opinion piece might be understandably outraged at the lack of supporting information in your missive; oversights I intend to demonstrate. Senators Grassley and Sanders may be scoundrels; but just not on this issue.

    As you will see in this response, using this KC Times missive, singling out American banks as context without looking at the gestalt of the flawed visa system, particularly H-1B is not credible. Citing 66 bank workers, 0.03 percent of its workforce of 210,000 is hardly representative of the foreign worker visa problem. Sadly, Ms. Sanchez and left slanting journalist of her ilk feed the American people with rewritten trip funneled to them, as will be apparent, by special interests. The objective is to create these fundamental misunderstanding of how and why the flawed visa program relates to the rest of the world; and its real impact on American labor.

    IMMIGRATION & VISA POLICY TIMELINE

    Your assertion “the fundamental issue remains that our immigration policy is deeply flawed. It has not fundamentally changed since the 1950s” is clearly in error. On the timeline of immigration policy change, your timeline analysis is way off by nearly two decades. Legal immigration, until the mid 1960’s, was limited to workforce replacement needs at a rate of about 170,000 per year; but now legal immigration flows at a staggering rate of one million per year. These increases and the practice of importing high numbers of technical and professionals via a myriad of visas, hiring foreign post-secondary masters and doctoral students, has reduced wages for both skilled and college educated American workers.

    Industrialist Henry Kaiser said “Bring me the bad news, good news weakens me”.

    We agree that the fundamental issue remains that our immigration policy is deeply flawed ! We simply have a different view of the problem and vision for resolving the inequities. Please allow me to offer some real facts against the backdrop of illusion that is the visa shell game:

    RISKING OUR FUTURE, here are the UNASSAILABLE FACTS

    You spoke of CAMPAIGN WAR CHEST.

    Yes there is such a thing, but not in the way you portrayed it.

    - In 2002, Nobel economics laureate Milton Friedman correctly identified the 1990 H-1B visa program as a “government subsidy” because it allows employers access to imported, highly skilled labor at below-market wages.

    - Former Microsoft lobbyist Jack Abramoff helped direct $100 million in political expenditures between 1995 and 2000, enabling Microsoft and other employers to procure employer-friendly changes to H-1B visa legislation in 1996, 1998 and 2000. As a result of this work force glut, real wages in STEM fields have remained flat since at least 2000.

    - It facilitates hiring discrimination against Americans. In the April 15, 2007, edition of the New York Times, Indian Commerce Minister Kamal Nath called H-1B the “outsourcing visa.”

    - The Chinese government’s aggression in both IP pirating and espionage is well known. The visa program also undermines national security, as 200,000 U.S. science and engineering jobs have already been lost to communist China. Fostering this in any way is, is un-American !

    U.S. LABOR SHORTAGE

    According to Randstad USA’s annual 2008 World of Work survey: Any future skilled worker shortage won’t result from a lack of manpower in the wake shifting workforce demographics. It will be the limited transfer of knowledge during the generational shift of 78.5 million retiring boomers to 79.8 million Gen Ys inheriting this workplace. The problem is that the current U.S. workforce, Gen X, Gen Y, Baby Boomers, and Matures, rarely interact with one another.

    THE REAL IMPACT OF OUTSOUCING ON THE U.S. WORKFORCE

    - According to a report on the MSNBC financial news, as many as 3 million or more domestic white collar jobs are at risk over the next decade.

    - Mainstream economist Alan Blinder, a former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve’s board, reports that 42 to 56 million American service-sector jobs are in jeopardy of being outsourced? over the next several years?

    - In either case, it’s not a positive scenario for our American youth wishing to pursue STEP careers after they and their parents have invested years and large sums of money in the pursuit of the AMERICAN DREAM. WHAT PART OF AMERICAN IS IT THAT PROMOTERS OF THE IMMIGRATION / VISA MYTH DON’T UNDERSTAND?

    - The H-1B and myriad other Visa programs were intended as temporary work programs. It hasn’t worked out that way. In 2007 the U.S. government allowed 1,118,138 temporary workers and trainees. The H-1B come to the U.S. to study, and then extend the stay for years using this canard wrapped in a conundrum that is the H-1B and myriad other visa programs.

    - Compensation levels are 30% to 45% less for a graduating U.S. student with a bachelorette than it is for a foreign student shifting to a visa from student status to a work visa?

    - American Scholar, CalTech Vice Provost David Goodstein pointed out that the American taxpayer is forced to support extremely expensive research universities whose main purpose is to train students from abroad who will stay here and take jobs that could have gone to Americans, or go home and take our knowledge and technology with them.

    - Rochester Institute of Technology, Ron Hira has studied the dark side of the H-1B program. He wrote an article “Immigrants Learn Jobs, Take Them Back Home“. The professor of public policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology notes that the top applicants for visas are outsourcing companies, such as Wipro Technologies of India and Bermuda-based Accenture. The companies bring recruits in from, say, India to learn about American business. After three years here, the workers go home better able to interact with their U.S. customers.

    With all due respect, your past writing on this topic lacked the rigor of balance in reporting on all the facts. Candidly, so does this missive. In fact, there’s no question on who exactly benefits from form the H-IB fraud. The relationship between the iceberg and the Titanic, which was deemed unsinkable, is analogous to the 4.8% Bureau of Labor statistics you reported and the ship that is American labor. There’s a lot more beneath the surface than meets the eye. So, in the interest of rigorous intellectual integrity let’s use the sonar of unassailable research by respected academics, institutes, and government agencies to examine the other 90% of the facts lying below the surface of the facade.

    WHO DID OR DIDN’T DO THEIR HOMEWORK ?

    Given the facts outlined above, if both you and reporter Sanchez had done your homework; the only logical conclusion would have been that U.S. immigration and visa systems are deeply flawed and indeed directly destroying the careers American workers past, present, and future; as well as costing them high paying jobs along with “fewer and smaller paychecks all around” This is not a good thing for those American families who have invested year and large financial outlays on advanced technical education.

    We certainly agree on the need for sanity to prevail; but for different reasons.

    To the informed reader, her spin on the visa topic and lack of journalistic integrity in researching and stating the broader issue of the serious flaws in the U.S. visa and legal immigration impacting American high-tech workers was boldly apparent. Also, I would ask this Sanchez, what’s wrong with “pro-American”? Should American’s, for some inexplicable reason feel ashamed of their heritage and patriotism? On this I defer to one of America’s greatest statesmen and heroes Teddy Roosevelt who admonished: “This is a nation — not a polyglot boarding house. There is not room in this country for any 50-50 American, nor can there be but one loyalty — to the Stars and Stripes… we can have no “50-50″ allegiance in this country. Either a man is an American and nothing else, or he is not an American at all.”

    Your OPINION and reporter Sanchez’ assertion that” hiring of foreign workers has actually been shown to increase the employment prospects of U.S. citizens” is another canard in the speech fraud covering up the real facts; just as is the fraud that foreign workers are sparking business and technological innovations that wouldn’t have otherwise come about. For instance you hold Yahoo founder Jerry Yang up as an example of virtue in the visa argument. Let’s examine that. First, Jerry both grew up and educated in America from the age of ten. No visa issue here. Secondly, you assert the value in the best and brightest; but isn’t it this same chief executive who resisted a takeover bid from Microsoft, costing investors hundreds of millions of dollars? And finally, from a technology perspective, what is the special innovation in a search engine; according to the experts…no much.

    The real story in the AP missive is that U.S. banks were breaking no laws; but instead taking advantage of a seriously flawed and corrupt system that has evolved since the mid-late 1960’s; at the expense of American workers; particularly in high-tech and for young, newly minted U.S. college graduates. Unlike the massive fraud, corruption, and crime associated the systemic illegal alien problem, there is very little fraud in the U.S. visa program. Like the titanic on a collision course with an iceberg, that doesn’t mean there is no corruption or problem. In fact the problem is insidious and is leading to catastrophic consequences. Because of the subtlety of the backroom dealings between special interest business groups and corrupt politicians (tell me it isn’t so) the visa programs in the U.S.A. in all their myriad forms are, from an ethics standpoint, just as dangerous; sinking American labor, just as those who break across our borders illegally destroy opportunity for America’s workers and families. The impact of U.S. visa programs is devastating to American’s pursuing careers in STEP fields; as I’ll clearly demonstrate below.

    I agree with reporter Mary Sanchez on one thing “it’s important to understand how the H-1B program works.” That however, is where the agreement ends. Her characterization that “there has been some abuse, such as employers’ hiding their job postings so U.S. job seekers don’t apply, or writing a job description so narrowly that a pre-selected immigrant was the only person “qualified” demonstrates her ignorance. This particular systemic practice of hiding jobs in plain sight is virulent in it effect on American citizens who are qualified for these hidden available job opportunities.

    Sadly, Kansas City Star reporter Sanchez substitutes real journalism containing honest reporting based on validated research with the hard to miss use of emotional inventive like rabid xenophobia, bloody shirt, misapplied zeal, fuming and stewing about “foreigners.”

    I look forward to your review and analysis of the H-1B and VISA issue in light of real facts.

  • Brandon Ebeling

    Raghav,

    While my previous posting offered a lot to chew on, this discussion wouldn’t be complete without this standalone work by Professor Norman Matloff; published December 2003, in a page 99 report titled “ON THE NEED FOR REFORM OF THE H-1B NON-IMMIGRANT WORK VISA IN COMPUTER-RELATED OCCUPATIONS”; posted on the UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN JOURNAL OF LAW REFORM Fall 2003, Vol. 36, Issue 4, 815-914:

    YOU CAN READ THE REPORT at: http://heather.cs.ucdavis.edu/Mich.pdf

    HERE’S MY SUMMARY ALONG WITH A COUPLE OF OPINIONS FOR TWO OF OUR GREATEST AMERICANS:

    The report breaks the myth built by self-serving special interest industry groups (powerful lobbyists)served by CORRUPT political allies who want H-1Bs in unlimited numbers as a source of cheap, feeding them with compliant workers who will gladly work 14-hour days.

    “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance”, Thomas Jefferson

    TEDDY ROOSEVELT, 26TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES ON WORKER EXPLOITATION AND IMMIGRATION

    The foreign-born population of this country must be an Americanized population – no other kind can fight the battles of America either in war or peace. It must talk the language of its native-born fellow-citizens, it must possess American citizenship and American ideals. It must stand firm by its oath of allegiance in word and deed and must show that in very fact it has renounced allegiance to every prince, potentate, or foreign government. It must be maintained on an American standard of living so as to prevent labor disturbances in important plants and at critical times. None of these objects can be secured as long as we have immigrant colonies, ghettos, and immigrant sections, and above all they cannot be assured so long as we consider the immigrant only as an industrial asset. The immigrant must not be allowed to drift or to be put at the mercy of the exploiter. Our object is to not to imitate one of the older racial types, but to maintain a new American type and then to secure loyalty to this type. We cannot secure such loyalty unless we make this a country where men shall feel that they have justice and also where they shall feel that they are required to perform the duties imposed upon them. The policy of “Let alone” which we have hitherto pursued is thoroughly vicious from two stand-points. By this policy we have permitted the immigrants, and too often the native-born laborers as well, to suffer injustice. Moreover, by this policy we have failed to impress upon the immigrant and upon the native-born as well that they are expected to do justice as well as to receive justice, that they are expected to be heartily and actively and single-mindedly loyal to the flag no less than to benefit by living under it.

    We cannot afford to continue to use hundreds of thousands of immigrants merely as industrial assets while they remain social outcasts and menaces any more than fifty years ago we could afford to keep the black man merely as an industrial asset and not as a human being. We cannot afford to build a big industrial plant and herd men and women about it without care for their welfare. We cannot afford to permit squalid overcrowding or the kind of living system which makes impossible the decencies and necessities of life. We cannot afford the low wage rates and the merely seasonal industries which mean the sacrifice of both individual and family life and morals to the industrial machinery. We cannot afford to leave American mines, munitions plants, and general resources in the hands of alien workmen, alien to America and even likely to be made hostile to America by machinations such as have recently been provided in the case of the two foreign embassies in Washington. We cannot afford to run the risk of having in time of war men working on our railways or working in our munition plants who would in the name of duty to their own foreign countries bring destruction to us. Recent events have shown us that incitements to sabotage and strikes are in the view of at least two of the great foreign powers of Europe within their definition of neutral practices. What would be done to us in the name of war if these things are done to us in the name of neutrality?

  • Melanie Bancroft

    If the numbers of immigrant workers are so low anyway, why all the hostility? My experience has been that unless there is really something substantial to be lost ($’s for recruiters?), people tend not to get so worked up that they begin calling names. It has also been my observation that people tend to look out for their own group’s special interests. If my bother, sister, cousin, niece, nephew needed a job I would certainly do what I could to help them out as well. Unfortunately, what drives the companies to hire immigrants is not loyalty, just the bottom line. If we let them try to convience us otherwise we are only fooling ourselves.

  • Raghav Singh

    In response to Brandon Ebeling

    What a lot of effort you must have put in to write a critique that was longer than the original. It’s great to find someone with the passion and energy to do so. Just a few minor points I’d like to make

    What are the “facts” that are supposedly being presented? The only items included here are conjectures, wild and improbable theories, and unprovable assertions. And some quotes that don’t appear to have any connection to the points being made.

    I don’t have the time to systematically refute everything written here, but to pick a few:

    “200,000 U.S. science and engineering jobs have already been lost to communist China”. According to whom? Is there perhaps a BLS report that can verify this or is it that big, round numbers sound good?

    The Randstad survey that attributes a shortage of skilled workers to a lack of interaction between generations. So by limiting H-1B visas we can foster interaction between generations?

    “Compensation levels are 30% to 45% less for a graduating U.S. student with a bachelorette than it is for a foreign student shifting to a visa from student status to a work visa?” – So an employer can hire a graduating US software engineer at a third or more less than a comparable foreign student on a work visa?

    “Mainstream economist Alan Blinder …reports that 42 to 56 million American service-sector jobs are in jeopardy of being outsourced? over the next several years?” Let’s see – there are currently about 140 million workers in the US. So a third or more of all jobs in the country will be outsourced?

    Since there’s a concern about rigor and balance, perhaps we can inject some here. Would we then like to see Honda, BMW, UBS, Nestle, and other European and Asian companies shutter their facilities here that have huge workforces in jobs that have been insourced? A research paper by the IMF concluded that the US insources more jobs than it outsources and the US is the single biggest beneficiary of business service insourcing. Some 5.3 million Americans work in jobs at US subsidiaries of foreign companies (http://www.ofii.org/insourcing-stats.htm). That is a “fact”.

    One last point concerning Prof Matloff – I believe the gentleman’s more interesting claims include 1) No education is required for any programming job; 2) Scientists and engineers are no more talented than persons in other fields; and 3) Studies show that programmers can become productive in a new software technology in a month or so.

  • Brandon Ebeling

    Melanie,

    On your point about profit motive, while many honorable people like Raghav are simply misinformed about the facts, every era in our countries history has had profiteers where money trumps everything. A good example is one of America’s first patriot heroes Benedict Arnold whose ego eventually lead to selling out. The U.S. southern border is currently a war zone as Mexico slips toward a failed state.

    But this era is unlike any other in the scale of the crimes and the scale of public apathy toward.

    Examples are legion. While arguably not directly related to the U.S. visa issue, a current example in the private sector is GE’s CEO, Jeffrey Immelt who until exposed by the media continued doing business with Iran; the enemy regime training and supplying insurgents with weapons used to kill and slaughtered our troupes. Does GE use contractors? As a veteran, I’m outraged.

    From the political spectrum directly related to bad visa policy the behavior is so outrageous and transparent one wonders how these people sleep at night. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi aggressively tried to kill the American Workers jobs amendment in the “Stimulus” bill. Their support for open borders and uncontrolled immigration, while Americans are being axed from jobs at a rate approaching a quarter of a million a week, is nauseating.

    While the House overwhelmingly voted to include E-Verify in the “Stimulus” bill; our Senate Democrats, the labor party killed it; allowing illegal aliens the opportunity to fill, not just jobs in agriculture, but in industries across the board. In case anyone would like to know exactly what industries those jobs are in, check out Public Policy Institute of California report, The Demography of California Immigrants, table title “Immigrants as a share of labor force by industry 1990” on page 19. Even this special interest industry lobby and apologist is open about the magnitude of the problem. Check out the PPIC report at http://www.ppic.org/content/pubs/op/OP_301HJOP.pdf .

    The evidence for the massive immigration visa fraud is endless.

  • Brandon Ebeling

    Raghav,

    That was a good catch regarding my comment on relative compensation between graduating U.S. student and foreign student shifting to a work visa. I had the context reversed. Compensation levels for a foreign student shifting to a work visa status ranges from 30% to 45% less than what it would be for U.S. student graduating with a baccalaureate degree?

    Also, more context on my part would have been appropriate in reference to mainstream (read somewhat liberal) economist and former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve’s board, reports that 42 to 56 million jobs were at risk. The timeframe was over 20 years, and he did say that while the U.S. may not lose that many jobs, the risk was very real. I wonder if you believe this experts analysis is somehow suspect in his motives?

    NOW WHAT ABOUT THE REST OF YOUR OBJECTIONS

    So, let me get this straight; a Nobel economics laureate writing about H-1B visa program has an agenda when claiming that highly skilled imported labor, at below-market wages, are a “government subsidy”?

    Are you suggesting that an American Scholar, CalTech Vice Provost has no credibility on the financial impact of training foreign students, people who nearly all leave for their homelands at some point as employers rotate the previous and increasingly expensive crop out?

    Are you suggesting that a Rochester Institute of Technology professor of public policy is uninformed when he says the top applicants for visas are from outsourcing companies from India and Bermuda?

    Are you suggesting that the U.S. government report of 1,118,138 temporary workers and trainees entering the U.S. job market (each year) via myriad visa programs, intended as temporary work programs, is an erroneous number?

    Are you suggesting that 5.3 million Americans work in jobs at US subsidiaries of foreign companies is an equitable comparison to the astonishing 1,118,138 temporary workers and trainees that entered the U.S. labor force in 2007; a rate that is about par for every previous year for the past decade or more. Is that balance?

    Are you suggesting MSNBC financial news, claiming as many as 3 million or more domestic white collar jobs are at risk over the next decade is less credible than commentary supported by a reporter from a city news desk?

    Are you suggesting the Indian Commerce Minister Kamal Nath DIDN’T call H-1B the “outsourcing visa”?

    Are you suggesting that Microsoft lobbyist Jack Abramoff DIDN’T direct $100 million in political expenditures between 1995 and 2000, to procure employer-friendly changes to H-1B visa legislation in 1996, 1998 and 2000?

    As for Honda, BMW, UBS, Nestle, and other European and Asian companies, I’m not an isolationist; and as for the IMF insourcing claim, I’ll take your word on it; but would ask if this single statistic offers a balanced picture of U.S. investments and outright gifts to developing third world countries?

    As for the Randstad attribution, many pundits have made a big deal about the impact from the loss of the Boomers. The reference has been to the generational size, where losing the Boomer would strain the ability of America to compete for lack of a trained and educated workforce of adequate size to meet the perceived demand. Well, the size of the, Gen X, Gen Y workforce is larger, younger, and better educated that previous generations. Does this spell shortage of skilled workers? Is it your claim that the 79.8 million Gen Ys , larger than the 78.5 million retiring Boomers & Matures, inheriting the American workplace are not at risk of lower wages or unemployment from EXCESSIVE importation of Government sponsored Corporate Welfare? The main point of the Randstad report was that interaction is need between American generations to foster a better transition between them. It’s a strategic imperative. Do you think that kind of strategic objective will be met by an ever growing and constantly shifting foreign workforce?

    On your last point concerning Prof Matloff – you are welcome to your opinion and to “believe” whatever you wish about the gentleman. This is after all America. Again, I mean no disrespect, but taking the comments of a highly regarded technology educator and noted high-tech expert out of context, without reading any part of the report or volumes of other information is disingenuous at best.

    Do you disagree with the CIA, DHS, and military and other intelligence agencies that the Chinese are NO THREAT to American national security?

    While you “don’t have the time to systematically refute” any of my challenges to your thesis with little more than additional rhetoric ”you had the time to write an entire article supported by one news paper reporters claims. Candidly, it takes a lot of effort to support ones work, and very little to dismiss others as “conjectures, wild and improbable theories”.

    Again, I mean no disrespect or offense; but I fail to see that you injected any analytical rigor or balance to the debate.

  • http://www.magicmethod.ning.com Maureen Sharib

    Not to throw gasoline on a fire (or maybe so) but I found the following interesting.

    As the debate over H-1B workers and skilled immigrants intensifies, we are losing sight of one important fact: The U.S. is no longer the only land of opportunity. If we don’t want the immigrants who have fueled our innovation and economic growth, they now have options elsewhere. Immigrants are returning home in greater numbers. And new research shows they are returning to enjoy a better quality of life, better career prospects, and the comfort of being close to family and friends. More here.

  • Pingback: The Outlook for Recruiting : ERE.net

  • Charles Cox

    Brandon – Nice writing and supportive facts.

    All -
    Everbody seems to be focused on the H-1B visas (and I assume the L-1 visas as well) and how companies seem to be releasing American employees, yet only hiring a small percentage of workers with visas. What I didn’t see in any of the reporting is the fact that, although these companies only engage a small percentage of visa workers after letting American resources go, they are filling the remaining positions with offshore resources at substantially reduced costs. I know this as fact, as we have done this in several companies I have worked for in the past and present.

    I agree the visa guidelines and regulations need to be overhauled, but the outsourcing process in general needs to be overhauled as well.

    With outsourcing the way it is, we are sending our Intellectual Property right out the door. Although we may have an agreement that says “work-for-hire” belongs to the company wanting the outsourcing, not the outsourcing vendor, we no longer retain the product knowledge for this “work-for-hire”. This affords the outsourcing company an opportunity to levearge this knowledge to our competitors. Of course, proving misuse and abuse of this in an international court is not an easy thing to do (especially in the IT sector), and is very costly and time consuming.

    As Maureen stated above, “The U.S. is no longer the only land of opportunity.” So many people are returning to their home country taking the knowledge we have provided with them.

    Unfortunately, the majority of the American people do not fully realize how big business, corporate America has taken our country and driven it to being the laughing stock of the world by the incesant greed, and how it will take a massive change in business process management to recover.

    We Americans have placed ourselves in this predicament by continuing as a “service economy”, where we want things to be provided for us, instead of being an “industrialized economy”, where we are pretty much self-sufficient as were our forefathers.

    If we go back to a model of helping ourselves first, then others, we would better serve the rest of the world. THEN, we can start opening the immigrant worker doors for specialized skills.

    OK, SO I HAVE A PIPE DREAM!!!

    It’s just all so frustrating in today’s economy.

  • Brandon Ebeling

    Thanks Charles;

    It never stops:

    A year ago Bill Gates cried they couldn’t find enough American talent…a lie, this past week Microsoft laid off 5,000 American professionals, across a range of functional areas; not just technical, but marketing , R&D, sales, etc.

    IBM is planning to lay off about 5,000 U.S. employees;

    HP is cutting another 25,000 due to EDS deal; about 9000 jobs will be outsourced

    The list is endless…

    As the cuts take place, those same jobs are being transferred to India

    when these “AMERICAN” companies, might pay an engineer in the U.S. $120,000 but only $25,000 in India, that’s a huge incentive.

    The Talent War, and a talent shortage of American workers has been a lie for years…simple.