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How High-Tech Workers Fit Into Immigration Reform

The high-tech end of immigration reform. Silicon Valley is buying a lot of access on Capitol Hill.  They want to welcome more foreign engineers.  We’ll look at why.

The Senate immigration bill includes a provision that favors temporary work visas for computer specialists. (Bill Selak/Flickr)

The Senate immigration bill includes a provision that favors temporary work visas for computer specialists. (Bill Selak/Flickr)

The iconic figure in the immigration debate in Washington right now is the sun-baked pilgrim from Mexico, ready for rough work in the United States.

But there is another figure. Another end of the debate. Over the high-tech engineer, highly-educated, out of India or China maybe, ready to jump right into Silicon Valley.

American high-tech titans like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are pushing hard right now for immigration reform to bring in many more high-tech workers. Some Americans in the field are saying “hold on.”

Up next On Point: the high-tech end of the immigration debate.

–Tom Ashbrook


Eric Lipton, reporter for The New York Times, covering Capitol Hill. (@EricLiptonNYT)

Somini Sengupta, reporter for The New York Times, covering technology. (@SominiSengupta)

Matthew Slaughter, faculty director at the Center for Global Business and Government at Dartmouth College.

Ron Hira, associate professor of public policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology whose research focuses on the high-tech sector and its hiring of foreign workers.

Tweets From During The Show


The group Americans for a Conservative Direction is part of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s fwd.us.  The group started running ads in April featuring Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, one of the the Senate “Gang of Eight” who are behind the reform bill calling for immigration reform.  You don’t hear any mention of the expansion of visas for Silicon Valley jobs, but it’s in there:

At a Senate hearing on immigration in 2009, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates was asked by how many more H-1B visas the United States should award. Gates’ answer was “an infinite number.” Here spoke with CNN Money earlier this year, saying “We [the United States] have been a magnet for talent…and yet our immigration system makes it very hard for those people to come in.”

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times: Latest Product From Tech Firms: An Immigration Bill — “[Technology companies and their executives] have managed to secure much of what they want in the landmark immigration bill now pending in Congress, provisions that would allow them to fill thousands of vacant jobs with foreign engineers. At the same time, they have openly encouraged lawmakers to make it harder for consulting companies in India and elsewhere to provide foreign workers temporarily to this country.”

The New York Times: Tech Lobby Pushes For Tweaks To Immigration Bill — “The Senate bill…would allow Silicon Valley companies to bring in many more foreign computer specialists on temporary work visas through a program known as H-1B. The bill also places restrictions on how companies can hire and fire employees, which the industry’s representatives in Washington are trying to massage.”

Science: Letting In More Skilled Foreign Workers Could Discourage U.S. Talent, Report Argues – “The United States is already training more technical talent than the job market can absorb, says a new report, and immigration policies that encourage an inflow of high-skilled foreign workers are likely only to make matters worse.”

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  • 2Gary2

    We need to round up the illegal aliens and send them home regardless of the cost.  What part of illegal do you not get???   There is not enough jobs for Americans and it is insane to import more labor, especially low skill labor.  There is no shortage of Americans who will do any job.  They will not do it for poverty wages so the scum bag business can get rich by exploiting them.  We need to have the corporate death penalty for companies who keep hiring illegals.

    We already have way too many people in America–simply try to drive anywhere, we need way less people not more.

    We need to have the border with third world Mexico/Central America like the border between north and south Korea.

    And yes I am a very liberal progressive democrat and I say send the f-ing illegals home now.  NO AMNESTY, NO REFORM.  Send the M-F home now.  There are way more progressive dems that feel like I do then you think. We know the right agrees with my sentiment. There will be NO reform. Send them home now end of story.

    • Shag_Wevera

      Neither political party agrees with you, and that is the reality.  Righties want the cheap labor, lefties want the demographic.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      I agree that much of this is about increasing the labor pool by any means necessary, and making workers disposable.

      But you would do well to remember that the issue of immigration and working in America involves two distinct classes of employer/employee relationships, and this show is on the other version.

    • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

      Societal stress indicators on the rise… Not enough bread, too many circuses… think dairy farm: the beatings will continue and rations will be reduced until milk production goes up or the cows revolt.

      No sane farmer would use this business model… But the societally ignorant financial elite have no problem with it. They are slowly dismantling our system like termites with their slash and burn strategies. No clue of the significance of ‘sustainable’.

      Termites are smarter… They don’t eat viable, living wood.

  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    No ! We need to hire our own citizens. Some of these foreign engineers need to stay home and fix the many problems in their own countries. As is the case in India, where people are forced to defecate in the street due to a lack of a toilet !

    Ted talk :

    Rose George: “Let’s talk crap. Seriously.’


    Train our people, hire our people and PAY our people ! Enough already !

    • Wm_James_from_Missouri

      Mr. Ashbrook,

      I am very off topic with this comment but am so upset with the story of the 3 girls that were abducted in Cleveland that I just had to say something. I am asking that NPR do a program on the pathology of these abductors, such as the ones that held these young girls. We need to be more aware of how to spot these people and MUST do something about these terrible crimes ! I am still reeling over the Austrian man Josef Fritzl, who was found in 2008 in Austria, to have imprisoned his own daughter and fathered 7 of her children.


      I will not sleep well tonight, knowing that I can’t get my hands around the necks of these monsters !

    • AC

      therein lies the rub – my engineering program started out with over 40 people. of those, only 12 of us graduated. most dropped out by sophmore year to major in economics or business instead. main complaint? WORK.
      it’s a lot of work…..
      it takes time to train, what should the companies do in the meanwhile? (I’m assuming these foreign workers only get temp visas, but i don’t really know how it works…)

  • Frank TheUnderemployedProfessi

    Businesses that want to hire foreign workers should be made to pay an annual, non-tax deductible fee of $40,000/year for each foreign worker.  Surely that’s a bargain price for hiring “indispensable” people who are so special and talented that Americans are unavailable.

  • Yar

    Didn’t On Point do a show like this about a year ago?  All you are doing is fanning the flames of polarization, again.  We reap what we sow, us against the world is wrong, exploitative and fatalistic.  It leads to war, terrorism, fear and economic isolation.  As @2Gary2:disqus says below, a fence will make us like North Korea.(It is sad that is what he seems to want.)

    I have a different approach; offer citizenship to any worker who does an American job.  Then we can pay a living wage, offer healthcare and make new friends. (We should do that for all citizens as well.) What is wrong with my approach?  Is it that we like exploiting the person who picks our food, serves us our meal, and programs our computer?  We don’t have too many people, we have too many people who don’t do productive work, this is not the fault of the worker, it is the fault of our society and it is because we have an “us against the world” view.  The best way to destroy an enemy is to make a friend.  In the News this morning is a story about how China stealing our ideas.  Guess what, ideas are meant to be shared, just think how the world benefits when we learn from each other. The world is about to pass us by and we won’t even know it as move toward the ideology of North Korea.  When does a fence no longer keep enemies out but only serves to keep an oppressed people in.  We need immigration to keep America strong.  We are an aging unhealthy society.  It is time to tell the other side of this story.  I am sure there are a few native Americans who wish we would all just go home.  We can’t talk fair immigration in a corrupt system.  The proposed path to citizenship is rife for exploitation.  This is wrong for the immigrant and is wrong for our citizens who are forced to compete with exploited workers.  Our problem is that we don’t want fair!

    • Shag_Wevera

      You lost about half the population when you said “living wage”, unfortunately.

      • Gregg Smith

        You got that right. “Living wage” is a meaningless, emotional, horrible idea.

        • Yar

          Yes, you would rather pay least cost, and defend your rights at the point of a gun!  Which is more economical? A living wage or to die at the hands of those you exploit?

          • Gregg Smith

            Please don’t tell me what I think. Wages should be earned not invented.

          • Yar

            I am only asking you to think. Why should a person work for less than the cost of living? We have a society on the verge of collapse because we have 10,000 people turning 65 every day and not enough workers to support their retirement.  How do we trade work over time without building the next generation in which to trade.  Money is the invention, work is real.  You seem to confuse cause and effect.  There is no such thing as debt when you die.

            Read the parable of the harvest.  Each worker was paid a day’s wage regardless of when they entered the field.  Sounds silly when looked at from the perspective of the worker who worked all day, but the wise farmer had a fed workforce for the next day. To expect people to die for your profit is selfish. Pay a living wage!

          • Shag_Wevera

            Bravo, Yar.

          • Gregg Smith

            I took it as telling what I think but maybe I’m sensitive.

            “Yes, you would rather pay least cost, and defend your rights at the point of a gun! “

            How does one get to be 65 without nurturing  enough skills or attributes to be worth more than an arbitrary number?

        • Shag_Wevera

          Greggg is part of (representative of?) the half of the population I referred to.

    • 2Gary2

       I am sorry my friend but you are incorrect.  I do not want a North Korea fence to keep Americans in but to keep the third world masses out.  All you need to do is look at the huge number of unemployed Americans–(the rate is much higher than the gov reported rate)  to see that we probably have too many people already we do not need more.  have you ever driven in rush hour traffic? Or gone to a amusement park and had to wait in line for hours?  Your ideas may make you feel all warm and fuzzy but they are not realistic period.

  • Shag_Wevera

    Wahtever it takes for businesses to pay as little as possible for labor, right?  An engineer from Mumbai surely costs less than one from Miami.

    I garden to supplement food costs for my family.  If my employer figures out how to pay me much less, I may begin to eat my neighbors.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    A new report tabulates the NET cost of the gang of 8 immigration reform at up to $9.4T.  Stick a fork in the country if this thing passes.

    • babbankulni

      This is not a new report. It is the same report that was used to sabotage the immigration reform proposal in 2007. Same poison pill, under a new name.

      • 2Gary2

         We need to do everything to make sure immigration reform of any type fails.  Send the Mother F___ers home.

  • Gregg Smith

    Anything but Benghazi.

    • Ray in VT

      Fox is already doing enough to try to make that issue into some sort of world shaking, administration destroying scandal.

      • Shag_Wevera

        Not even as good as the Lewinski scandal…

        • Ray in VT

          I don’t know, maybe we can finally bring to light how Obama had the goods on Patraeus’ affair and used it to force him to cover up stuff about Benghazi and then resign:


          Maybe the President even set the general up.  Deep questions here that need answering.

          Maybe we can also investigate the scandal regarding how a late season snow storm proves that global warming isn’t happening.

      • Gregg Smith

        Nothing fit the narrative. They couldn’t beef up security. Obama has decimated Al Qaeda, the narrative must be maintained until after the election. So they told available help to stand down. The didn’t put assets in motion. Assets that could have been there before the second attack. Hillary was AWOL. No one knows where Obama was after 5PM, I have my own thoughts. Our Ambassador and heros coming to their aid, despite the orders, died. They made up the video meme and lied. They sent Susan Rice to lie. Two weeks after the attack Obama was still lying. And you Ray are excusing it. It’s not about Fox.

        • Ray in VT

          Thanks for repeating all of the standard right wing talking points.  It’s not just about Fox, but they’re doing a good job of pushing misinformation.  For instance, I believe that Bret Baier recently showed a graphic that said something like “Obama didn’t call it a terrorist attack for 10 days.”

          “They made up the video meme”  Good one.  Are there any conspiracy theories that get pushed by people like Beck that you don’t believe in?  Fast and Furious was probably an attempt to destroy the 2nd Amendment too, right?

          I’m not excusing anything.  I’m trying to stick to the facts, not pushing rabid, partisan speculation.  There’s a pretty good record around here of some people excusing far worse than the errors that led to the deaths in Benghazi.

          • Gregg Smith

            I must have missed Baier and I don’t read Media MAtters but that sounds about right. Surely you don’t believe Obama told us it was terrorist in the Rose Garden, do you?? That dragon was slayed long ago despite Candy Crowley’s best effort. Obama was repeating the video meme two weeks later. And this isn’t just some conspiracy theory from Beck. Where do you get this stuff? And you are excusing it. 

          • Ray in VT

            So “acts of terror” aren’t “terrorist attacks”?  That sounds an awful lot like you are using the sorts of semantics that you so often decry.  That’s about as laborious a stretch as the whole “you didn’t build that” b.s. that got pushed.  Two weeks, eh?  Do you have a specific quote from a specific date?  And was that after video evidence from the consulate disproved the protest line of intelligence, or before?

            I guess that it isn’t just from Beck.  I should also give credit to Rush and Fox and all of the other trolls trying to make political hay, or “hoping for a cover up” as I believe John Bolton put it, out of a truly terrible situation that occurred in a dangerous part of the world.

            Also, kindly do not tell me what I am doing when I cleary am not.  It’s not like I’m still pushing Iraq falsehoods years after the fact.

          • Gregg Smith

            He didn’t say it was an act of terror either. He was careful and the message pounded home for two weeks was clear. It’s beyond ridiculous to say otherwise, if you believe it you are on the fringe.

            I don’t have any idea what you are talking about with the Fox/Rush/Beck monster. Any news device that is sweeping this under the rug is derelict and should not be trusted. Even Bob Schieffer is outraged.  And sorry you are defending the hell out of it. You just are. You are attempting to rewrite history.

            And regarding F&F, you once told me birthers were racist because “what else could out be”? What else could F&F be but an effort to undermine the 2nd Amendment?  I don’t think you can concoct a scenario. 

          • Ray in VT

            I’m on the fringe.  Right.  If I am, then there’s also been no global warming for 20 years. 

            The President’s comments in the Rose Garden were pretty measured.  He described it as an attack carried out by killers.  He talked at length about the attack, and then he said “No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation”, but he was probably referring to something else.

            The pathetic attempt to push long discredited myths about the attack by the right wing media and blogosphere surely gets plenty of rah-rahing in Tea Party Country, you know, the real America where the President is an enemy of America.  Any news source that runs with the GOP’s talking points, as well as the people who believe them, ought to have their heads examined.

            I am not attempting to rewrite history.  Rewriting history would be saying that there was no intelligence early on of a protest and that that was all made up as part of an election year cover up.  Such ahistorical and contrived nonsense is pretty typical from a fringe movement that more than half of Americans surveyed have an unfavorable view of and which only 8% of people identify as being a part of.

            Well, I don’t see the birthers hounding Ted Cruz yet, and he was not actually born in the United States, unlike the President.  Maybe we can see down the road whether they hound him as well.  It would certainly be interesting if they didn’t.  You also told me that the NAACP was the racist arm of the Democratic Party and that you didn’t know why it wasn’t regarded in the same light as the Klan.  I’m still waiting for a response regarding when the NAACP conducted a campaign of domestic terror or promoted racial superiority.

    • Shag_Wevera

      It just isn’t gonna stick, Homey.  Maybe the next inflated crisis, but not this one.  

    • William

       It is a interesting to compare how the media covered the Abu Ghraib prison mess vs the Muslim terrorist attack on our embassy in Benghazi.

    • jefe68

      You are a hoot. You forgot to mention all those Muslims that are infiltrating the government trying to invoke sharia law on the land. 

      The level of desperation on the right about Benghazi has entered the realm of churning, right-wing myth making.
      The narrative feeds off of itself not unlike that elementary school game played by kids on the playground, the telephone game. 

      • WorriedfortheCountry

         You clearly have very little understanding of the Benghazi scandal.  People died.  Some are still in the hospital recovering.

        • jefe68

          Oh I do, but I’m not looking for the level of scandal you right wingers are. Mistakes were made, and people died, that’s tragic but it was also part of their job, the risk of working in countries such as Libya.

          More people are dying from firearms everyday and yet this does not seem to be an issue. Unless it fits your agenda, such as the violence in Chicago.

      • William

         Is it that the very successful Muslim terrorist attack that happened on 9-11 was “so long ago” or “what does it matter” how those 4 Americans got killed?

        • jefe68

          Oh for the love myth making…

          • William

             Remember..it was that video….

      • Gregg Smith

        Don’t condone the cover up.

    • 2Gary2

       I do not give a shit about benghazi–That ship sailed.  Move on.

      • Gregg Smith

        Obama has you right where he wants you. 

  • Jasoturner

    In many foreign countries, great value is placed upon knowledge.  In America, great value is placed upon money.  Therefore, we’re awash with business majors and lawyers (oops, the pot of gold disappeared) whereas hard science majors are a distinct, nerdy minority. 

    Though I must say, if many of the non-engineers I know had somehow gotten through college with an engineering degree, I’d be pretty worried about bridges collapsing, cars exploding and planes falling out of the sky.

    I’m really surprised that Science says we’re training more technical talent in America than the market can absorb.  Is this just for IT / programming type stuff?  Or does that include physicists, engineers and scientists?

    • AC

      i agree w/you. they talk about STEM as if it only means IT…& the comment about every 2 STEM majors, 1 doesn’t go into a STEM field – they should break that down & see where they do end up. I remember in 2006, our biggest recruiters were financial companies….

  • http://www.facebook.com/gary.kay.7777 Gary Kay

    Immigration is all about forcing down the pay scales. Might as well lower the pay scales for high-tech workers as well. The aristocracy loves it!

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Exactly. The entire agenda is to redistribute wealth to the top. In every proposal or bill, you have to follow the money. If it keeps the wealth flowing upward, our bought legislators will be for it. Offshore the jobs or import the labor, the result is the same.

      Gawd forbid the ultra-rich corporations might spend a little to train Americans, huh? That wd be SO 1960s.
      “American” corporations are in fact trans-national entities with zero loyalty to the USA. Ditto for their executives.

      Look for a ridiculous 1984-ish name to be put on the bill, like “American competiveness act” or maybe they’ll have the nerve to call it “Jobs creation” – I mean why not tell a pure lie?

      Class warfare is raging, keep your helmet on.

    • Yar

      I get angry at the notion that farm workers are not high talent workers.  They have skills to get the job done, the reason farmers don’t want to hire Americans is they can’t do the work.  We look down on them to justify low wages.  Any job in America can be done cheaper and most likely better by someone from another country.  We don’t allow that to protect some workers, why are we selective on who we protect?  We have more apartheid than South Africa. 

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        “The reason farmers don’t want to hire Americans is they can’t do the work” …at the wages the employers want to pay. It’s an important distinction that doesn’t get made, even by thoughtful folks like you.

        But my main point: There’s something almost Serlingesque in how farm workers have almost no “trail”, by design, because that’s how one survives, and the H1B workers have more “trail” than you or I do.

        • Yar

          The depressed wages only serve to keep Americans from developing the skills to do the work.  They tried to get unemployed workers to do these jobs, they did not have the stamina to do it.  It will take higher wages and more physical activity in our schools to build a farm workforce.  I want two years of public service for all high school graduates.  Farm labor could be part of that.  It might make us more thankful for what we eat.

  • ToyYoda

    This reminds me of a joke.

    Four programmers are on a deck of a ship, taking a cruise.  Their nationalities are American, Russian, Cuban, and Indian.
    The Russian programmer goes to the edge of the deck and takes a swig of vodka and throws it off the deck and into the ocean.

    The others nearby cry “No, how could you do that to such a fine bottle of Russian vodka?”  The Russian dismisses their plea and say, “In my country, they are a dime a dozen.”

    A few moments later, the Cuban programmer goes to the edge of the deck takes a few puffs from his cigar and throws the cigar off the deck and into the ocean.  The others cry, “How could you do that to such fine quality Cuban cigars?”  The Cuban explains, “In my country, they are a dime a dozen.”

    Later, the American programmer goes to the edge of the deck and throws the Indian programmer off the deck.  And explains to the others, “In my country they are a dime a dozen.”

  • William

    I would not mind a “wealth tax” on the wealthy high tech people like Bill Gates to fund engineering degrees for American citizens. Let us say, Bill, you pay a 1 percent tax on your wealth, including any so called non-profit foundation you have set up to avoid paying tax and go from there?

  • DrewInGeorgia

    I was reminded recently that the issue I feel has been sorely overlooked by On Point for the past seven years only affects around ten percent of the population. Ten percent has also been demonstrated to be an extremely conservative estimate. It really doesn’t matter what the issue is, the fact that it impacts at minimum twenty plus million people annually is all that is relevant. How many OP shows have there been in the past seven years on immigration? How many in the past seven months? Seven weeks?

    Off Point

    • WorriedfortheCountry

       The $6.3T net cost of this immigration reform effects everyone.

      • Mike_Card

        If you consider the AEI an honest broker.  Pardon me while I throw up in my mouth.

  • donniethebrasco

    It is so much easier to have someone with an H1B visa.

    It is like having an indentured servant.  They can’t work for another company.  If I don’t like them, I send them home.

    If they don’t work 70 hours a week, I don’t like them.  They don’t have family with them, so no “family leave”.

    I can also pay them 50% of what a “legal” citizen costs.

    Don’t stop the H1B program or else I will give money to your opponent.

  • rich4321

    I don’t understand why they lump every thing together. Seems make more sense to sort out the 11 million already in the country before even considering importing more people.

  • Jim

    No, it can’t and should not be done. i am in this industry and i want to stand for the american people. Companies need to be responsible and stop taking short cuts, ie. not training their existing employees.

    The saving does not go to the shareholders or to the company’s employees… it goes to the top executives of the firm. that is the bottom point.

  • babbankulni

    This bill is all about providing legal status to illegals. I am a legal immigrant myself and affected by the long wait for permanent residency and read the 800+ pages of the proposal. This proposal will help people like me very minimally if anything. The requirements for the Employment based category of the green card process is so stringent that sometimes I wonder it might be better to become an illegal immigrant and get the benefits through a reform bill like this.

  • ToyYoda

    As a programmer, I welcome working with immigrants.  Immigration will fill in the vacancy of grunt work programming, but beyond that, companies are fooling themselves thinking that immigrants will solve the lack of skilled laborers.  Companies want “Goldilock Matches” where the job requires a dozen skills to an exacting number of years.  You can have all the required skills but if you are off by one year, you can be skipped!

    Often times, you can do the work, and if a programmer saw your resume, they would know you can, but the problem is the person evaluating whether you can do the work is an HR employee who doesn’t have the experience to make that judgement and is simply doing a text matching.

    • J__o__h__n

      outsource HR

  • creaker

    American businesses get cheaper labor that they can shop the best in the world for.

    And US students and workers are welcome to spend huge amounts on degrees they will likely never use.

    The bottom line is businesses have gone as far as they go outsourcing – so now they are insourcing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/BGHooke Bruce Hooke

    I’m fine with more green cards for high tech workers. More skilled workers living PERMANENTLY here in the US are, in my opinion, ultimately job creators. But we need to shut down the charade of high tech companies using the H1B process to bring in “temporary” workers from India who get paid a tiny fraction of what US workers get paid, and then taking more work back to India. I’ve seen this first hand, at a company I used to work for. Workers from India would be brought in to take jobs that there were US workers available to do. By US standards the Indian workers were getting paid, literally, poverty-level wages to do work that US workers would get paid $50 – $80K/year to do. They would then take even more work back to India where the wages were even lower. The high tech companies are lying about the need for more H1B visas for high tech workers. They just want cheap labor.

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    Tens of thousands of educated, experienced engineers and programmers have been laid off. Hire them rather than spending millions lobbying for more H1B visas. This is just another method of off-shoring jobs. 

    And sure, we ALL believe that the oversight of companies demanding more H1Bs have tried extremely hard to fill the jobs with American workers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

    At what point will this bottom-line focused corporate trend amount to reverse discriminatian against native born Americans? When it does, will any young Americans be educated enough to see it for what it is & have the co-operative power to fix it? 

  • mairelena

    Interesting that the proponents of this bill are now saying we should try to keep these university students from abroad here.  I remember back in the 1980′s and 90′s that the USAID in particular, and the government in general, made rules that said foreign students coming here for advanced training should be required to go back home and use their skills to advance their own countries progress, rather than stay here and get rich off the usually free education that their governments and the US were paying for.

    • S_Mangion

      Good point.
      I do remember a time (1960′s?) when a “brain drain” from Europe, especially the UK, to the US was a hot topic.  At that time the Europeans were concerned that they were losing their best and brightest. 
      Encouraging foreign students to remain here presents a bit of an ethical issue – for me at least. 

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    For years industry has been importing foreign workers to displace more expensive American engineers… I have seen this in three high tech corporations over the past 20 years… What they got was generally incompetent and substantially slower workers that looked great on the balance sheets making the options of the CEOs all that more valuable but consistently drove down product and service quality. It looks like it’s more about shareholder value than profit sharing with the employees who make the widgets that are ever more profitable to the elite investor class.

    Sounds like a boatload of ulterior motives to me… Give me some real evidence that I have not personally witnessed for over two decades.

  • Fred_in_Newton_MA

    From the Hindustan Times, April 17: “In case
    the employer has 50 or more employees and more than 50 per cent of
    these workers are H-1B or L-1 employees who do not have a green card
    petition pending, then the companies will have to pay a $10,000 fee per
    additional worker in either of these two statuses.As such, large Indian IT companies like TCS, Wipro and Infosys will
    have to pay $10,000 for each additional H-1B employee they would be

    Because the IT outsource firms are displacing, wholesale, American workers.  It has been in NYTimes, Wash Post – whole departments are laid off, then cut-rate, freshly minted Indian programmers are brought in. 

    Indispensable, my a$$.

  • Grav22

    Let’s not forget that these companies will also be able to hire workers with experience from abroad for about the same cost as hiring U.S. graduates right out of college who need more training.

    Which would you hire given the choice?

    • M S

      I’d hire the American, how else is he supposed to get experience? I’ve been there and I’d return the favor.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    Hey, isn’t “we don’t have the numbers” another way of saying “there’s a labor shortage”?

    Excuse me for a few minutes while I look up what happens to wages in a labor shortage.

  • AC

    why do they keep saying “STEM’? this entire focus seems to be on programming/IT…..

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

      It’s code for permanent “entry level” status.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=144800253 Joanna Mercedes

    Why don’t these high tech companies invest in the improvement and development of the American education system, then?

    • Kyle

      its American educated foreign individuals they want.  Our post secondary education is still the best in the world.  The biggest problem we have is in primary and secondary education where we have to encourage STEM more.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

      Not their job. Here’s where the collusion of government & industry come in. Both entities are empowered by disempowering future workers.

  • ian berry

    Since cyberattacks from abroad are in the news now, what’s the percentage of foreign workers stay to live here in the US compared to those who return home after learning from some of the best in the computer arts here in the States?

  • creaker

    The sad thing is that by the time folks figure out this sucks the life and money out of Main Street, America, American workers will not have the skills or experience to take these jobs back.

    The US (at least economically) is going to become a third world nation.

  • Human898

    So how is giving jobs to people from other nations improving employment and the American economy? I can see how it improves the income of some companies and the incomes of a small number of Americans, but for most of America, things have be stagnant and it is reflected in our sluggish economy.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

      It doesn’t. That’s the whole idea. Deliberately manufactured job insecurity is a tremendously potent leveraging tool for totalitarian capitalists. Keep American kids down & out & you’ve got ‘em by the short n’ curlies for life.

  • DrewInGeorgia

    Won’t many of these individuals come equipped with educations that were either publicly provided or obtained at FAR lower costs than an equivalent American education? The self-asphyxiation continues.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

    Redundancy & repetition is in order at this time: Cheap disposable labor. Cheap disposable labor. Cheap disposable labor…Do we get it, yet? Repeat the phrase until you do.

    It’s all about flooding the nation with cheap, disposable laborers who won’t make a peep about their exploitation & remain at the mercy of greedy authoritarian employers until the next wave of imported slaves displaces them.

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    They are talking layoffs where I work. Lots of IT and engineering people. Have these “we need H1Bs” companies send reps to interview.

    • DrewInGeorgia

      Speaking of “layoffs” I read a blip in the news yesterday about an Alabama plant that is “laying off” over two hundred workers. A contract that the company normally receives every year is now going to be handled by Federal Prisoners.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        Is that telephone order-taking work, as has been documented in the past?

        I know there’s nobody I’d rather read my credit card number to while placing a phone order than someone already in prison.

        • DrewInGeorgia

          It was physical manufacturing work, textile based I think. The only thing better than a cheap laborer is a free one, right? Except that Federal Prisoners “expenses” are not free at all. Nothing better than having labor that is bought and payed for through public “funding”. I was so struck by the story because it blew right past indentured servitude and wound up in publicly funded slavery land. All at the expense of the very workers who support the “laborers” that are “taking” their jobs.


    Few immigration programs suffer from as much bad mythology as the H-1B visa. Granted, the H-1B visa has been abused by outsourcing companies in recent years. HOWEVER, qualifying for an H-1B in fact requires a so-called “prevailing wage,” which means it is NOT true that H-1B employees get paid lower wages when the system works. Moreover, several studies have shown that the only group that may have gotten hurt by importing foreign engineers (mostly young) is OLDER engineers who command high salaries but are not necessarily more efficient or on top of their game. Also, just take a look at the number of STEM graduates and the quality of education in Asia; WAY BETTER than what the US is currently producing. I could go on and on…

    • http://www.facebook.com/BGHooke Bruce Hooke

       “When the system works” is the key phrase here. When I was in the business it was common knowledge that the Indian workers were getting paid way, way below the prevailing wage in the US for the work they were doing (as in less then half of what US workers were getting paid). If the companies were actually FORCED to pay truly comparable wages, with penalties that would cause real pain in the board rooms and on stockholders bottom line if they failed to do so, then I’d have some faith in the system.


        Okay Bruce. What this means is that there is a need for better enforcement. What baffles me, however, is that people who complain about the “prevailing wage” problem (always on an anecdotal basis–never on a statistical basis) never seem to do so through the channels provided for this purpose by the Departments of Labor, Justice and Homeland Security. In fact, each of these agencies have regulations for sanctioning companies that fail to pay the prevailing wage.

  • Fred_in_Newton_MA

    There are plenty of over-50 engineers who have stopped looking for work – unfortunately, I know several.
    As long as it is less costly to hire foreigners, they will not work again in STEM. 

  • Venky

    Green card processing time (5 yrs?) should be such that they have time to understand our culture and blend in. Hopefully, it is not too long or too short. Giving away too quickly might undermine its value and the usage.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matthew-Herzog/1581337775 Matthew Herzog

      Assimilation is a dirty word. Very politically incorrect. Keep it coming!

  • tabitha nash

    Let’s not let these folks in unless their home countries reciprocate and let’s US citizen immigrate to their countries for work.  Equality should be the goal.  We let them in to work, they let us in.  Should be a requirement.

    • Mirza Borogovac

      do you really want to work 12 hour days in china for $2 a day? 

      • tabitha nash

        I worked in Brazil and Argentina for years, earned a healthy salary in banking.  Thanks for your concern, but you lack imagination.  Abroad, we could start businesses and work in high tech, finance, medicine, etc.  They pay folks from the US higher than locals because we transfer technology, culture, ideas, etc.

        • Mirza Borogovac

          Other countries do lure american workers when it’s profitable for them to do so. Problem is with work where other countries have cheaper labor than US workers. 

    • Mo_1981

      US citizens go to work in India and China quite often, of course, not in the same proportion as those workers coming here.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    All this rightwing rage over illegal workers picking tomatoes and grapes: jobs that ‘Americans’ traditionally shun… Yet where is the outrage over legally facilitating outsourcing middle class jobs?

    Shame on the dems supporting this shell game as well!!!

    It’s good to see that idieological differences don’t stand in the way of corporate profits.

  • creaker

    Each H1B hired for “skills they can’t find in US” is someone in the US that will never be trained or get experience in these skills. Which can be compensated for only by hiring more H1B’s. It’s a vicious cycle that’s only getting worse.

    So the companies that complain they can’t find local talent are largely the ones responsible for that. But why would they change that when as a reward they get to higher more cheaper, imported labor?

  • Kyle

    There should be a minimum stay requirement for H-1B employers.  If they relocate their employees before the required time period there should be fines attached and it should impact their future ability to get these visas approved.

  • Human898

    I believe if one looks at the disparities in national economies around the world and the drive to use labor as a means to increase profit margins, one can find at least one of the keys to what ails our economy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dane.wolf.3 Dane Wolf

    But what, after all, is the fundamental reason that American citizens are not qualified to fill these high-tech positions?  I think it has something to do with the reason that the majority of Americans believe more in the existence of angels as opposed to evolution by way of natural selection.  As long as so many people choose to put stock in their hyper-religious view of the world, they will inevitably remain against science and math — evidence-based disciplines, which, by their very nature, go against the grain of faith, or belief in authority.  In other words, religiosity is directly proportional to anti-intellectualism.  To fix our problems in education, we must start depending more on data, facts, science, which are really the only way to acquire an accurate understanding of the mechanics of concrete reality.  

  • Fred_in_Newton_MA

    Tom – Please ask your guests about including tax breaks/subsidies for companies which hire, full-time, older STEM workers and provide training in current technologies. Older people can learn just fine – I do it every day in my engineering job.  And every dollar paid to an American or green card holder stays in America, not sent elsewhere.  Thanks.

  • M S

    So where is the “social safety net” part of the immigration reform bill? And with all of the cash these companies have parked overseas, are they really willing to support the safety net? Doubt it. Now that’s “Dynamism”.

  • kokkonobi

    I would like to second the comments here.  When an industry says it can’t get enough American workers, red flags go up.  Look at what happened to the construction industry.  Good wages for skilled and semi-skilled high school graduates.  Then the real estate industry in the last two decades builds more houses for the boom.  They hire a bunch of people with dubious immigration status.  Lower wages and no benefits, because where these people come from, this is an improvement for them.  American workers displaced.  Then you hear, “They do jobs Americans don’t want to do.”

    This just looks like another way to lower wages and benefits to the advantage of corporate profits.  Another knife to the dying middle class.

    I also agree with the other commenters.  If it is true that they can’t find engineers and high tech workers, scientists, etc., why don’t they use the mountain of cash they are sitting on to coordinate with the educational system in this country?  Are they providing scholarships for people to go to college and major in science and engineering?

  • Fred_in_Newton_MA

    Compare AGE DISTRIBUTION among H1-B recipients,  U.S. workers.  Teaching faculty at Tuck ARE NOT typical of STEM workers.  H1-B is an AGE DISCRIMINATION facilitator.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matthew-Herzog/1581337775 Matthew Herzog

    This is not about talent. It’s 100% about lowering labor costs.

    I am a systems administrator who learned my craft without going to college for tech. I’m sitting next to Indian H1B workers (college grads) doing the same (not programming) work. If these were talented people, they would be programming, not doing systems administration.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matthew-Herzog/1581337775 Matthew Herzog

      Or put another way, nobody in my department is creating anything new. Zero innovation in this line of work. We’re just the plumbers.

  • Elizabeth_in_RI

    Finally the discussion gets to the point – the problem isn’t that there aren’t enough people graduating from the STEM fields. The problem is that the jobs aren’t paying people enough and there is an incredible bias against older folks. 

    If there really weren’t enough workers, salaries would be going up. But the only salaries that are climbing are upper management. Maybe we need H1-N1 visas for all those foreign-born Wharton and Harvard business school educated grads since clearly there must be a shortage in that field. But somehow we never hear that call…

    When is corporate America going to realize that this race to the bottom is going to catch up with the 1%???

  • perihelion22

    on you—- These H-1B visa promoters routinely bemoan the shortage
    of US technical talent while hundreds of thousands of engineers and technically
    talented people here can’t find employment. Maybe we can get some hard-working
    smart Indian businessman to replace you.


    daddy used to say that there isn’t any labor shortage if the price is right.
    The real problem is that businesses don’t want to pay, and then they have to
    work the government to scam the system. Maybe you haven’t heard of the
    marketplace? If you offer attractive wages to people for hard-to-fill
    positions…VOILA as if by magic the positions get filled. Asking the
    government to allow importing more low-paid wage slaves is how conservatives
    socialize the risk and privatize the reward.


    insane is it to bring in foreign engineers on the cheap and then complain that
    US science and technology talent is in short supply? Better to bring in the
    talented foreign CEO’s and entrepreneurs who don’t demand million-dollar
    bonuses for mediocre management performance—then they could hire American
    scientists and engineers. No H-1B’s needed.


    recently worked for a company who brought in a Chinese software engineer (who
    was the son of a foreign distributor they dealt with…and who was a worthless
    engineer.) by sham-interviewing twenty US engineers to show due diligence—“Gosh
    we just couldn’t find anyone here to do the job!” —then they fumbled
    some detail in the H-1B paperwork and had to do it all over again.


    Market? You don’t ever understand the meaning of the word.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    Layed-off employees are too often given a choice: a severance package or the right to file a complaint… So tougher penalties will deter abuse? When pigs grow wings!!!

  • DrewInGeorgia

    “The motivation is cheap indentured labor”
    Your guest just laid out this one hour show in one brief sentence.

  • Human898

    Differences in what people can make in the nations they come from and what they can make here.


  • J__o__h__n

    Why not require companies to spend a certain amount on training before they are allowed to hire via H1B visas?

    • DrewInGeorgia

      Require companies to spend on training?…
      BAhahhhahhahaaa, good one John.
      They don’t train, they drain.

  • Mo_1981

    Hey it’s capitalism…something we Americans are always promoting. The companies hiring cheap labor from overseas are practicing exactly that! So whom do we complain to?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

      Quit buying their stuff. Don’t complain, ACT !

      • kcrowell

        the most powerful economic force on plant earth is  still (for now ) the American middle class consumer…like Mari said , ACT…with your wallet

    • VinceD2

       This isn’t’ capitalism, it’s cannibalism!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

    Wow, what Sarah just said about her daughter’s teacher’s comment is REALLY depressing. How can our kids ever feel that they have any hope at all under these circumstances?

    • VinceD2

       Unfortunately, her teacher is correct. She needs to take her daughter to see her senator and explain this to him/her. This bill kills the American worker, the 1% are already partying.

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    Most of the Database Administrators for the site I work at are in Mexico City. How much do you suppose they are paid compared to someone in the USA? 

    • Mirza Borogovac

      Why not do away with databases altogether and give jobs back to filing clerks? 

  • J__o__h__n

    Incented?  ick

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    Martin is hitting the nail on the head: I’ve witnessed this with my own eyes: vanilla skill sets paid fast food manager wages to replace truly skilled, adaptable, experienced, eager and COMMITTED older workers.

  • rightfromwrong

    Let’s make one thing clear:  talent and trained workers are NOT the same thing.  Bill Gates is talented (innovation anyone?) he is NOT “trained”.  Likewise, we are importing a TRAINED workforce, and these are not the TALENT that will fuel our innovation-driven growth.  This slight of tongue makes all the difference in the merits of this argument.  This is about $$$ – cheaper labor in a global market.  Period.

  • AC

    heck no that teacher should be fired!!

    the problem is getting US kids to major in engineering and STAY in it – only 12 of us in my engineering program graduated out of 40!!!! too much work, by sophmore/junior year, they all switch majors

    • J P Fitzsimmons

       Offer better pay and working conditions

      • AC

        my working conditions and pay are fantastic? i also get to keep all my travel miles (which are a lot)

        i think the problem is selling a 20 year old that painfully studying for ~20hrs a day will pay off later….it was a lot of work, and it wasn’t easy on top of that…

  • Mirza Borogovac

    The Irony is that if you work in tech industry than your job was to make someone else’s job obsolete. E-commerce made brick and mortar stores obsolete, databases made filing clerks obsolete, etc.

  • Yangbu

    Your tech industry mouthpiece’s argument amounts to the same old corporate shell game: privatize bloated profits obtained through outsourcing and suppressed wages and socialize losses, i.e., domestic unemployment and low wages by looking to the “social safety net” that his corporate paymasters starve by tax dodges and offshore profits.

  • creaker

    I get tired of the “American” label. Multinational corporations who manufacture elsewhere and hire H1B’s here, are not “American” just because their corporate offices are in this country.

    Watch for later this century as China and India become too expensive, industry looks to get the “best and brightest” from places like Africa where the “best and brightest” are also willing to work for $15K/year.

  • MaximF

    One of the most eye-opening sequences in the 2012 documentary Heist: Who Stole the American Dream? is the undercover footage of immigration attorneys advising corporate HR managers on ways to create an appearance of compliance with US law as they find excuses to set aside piles of applications from qualified US workers and go straight for resumes from workers from low-wage foreign countries. You have to see it to believe it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

      I saw something similar in play - on a much smaller scale- while I had a temp retail job 2 years ago. Although there were no job openings left after the first day of hiring, the management kept the “Help Wanted” sign in the window & made us give everybody who asked an application & a pen.

      Personal data has value, too. It’s collected for free & sold for pure profit. As well, it kept us minimum wage workers on our toes, diverting us from the job we were hired to do (retail sales) and throwing the fear of easy replacement into us, simultaneously. Only 10 jobs were available, seasonal & part-time. 10,000 applications were acquired during those 12 weeks. Do the math.

      • zzowee

        Your boss was using psychological warfare to abuse his workforce. It may not be illegal but that was totally unethical.

        • VinceD2

           Oh yes, the workplace is full of psychological warfare. That’s what HR does these days.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

            Most of us were thrilled to have a legit W-2 job again, overqualified & underpaid as we were. At that time the company was receiving a tax break ( a bounty ) for every person it hired who had been collecting unemployment benefits due to a prior layoff by any previous employer.  

            The more applications the corporation collected, the greater facility they had to hire, fire & bring in the next sucker through the ever revolving door. 

            Uncle Sam guaranteed a few free bucks on the quarterly balance sheet for each new hire. Thus, the data could be easily used to “double-dip”.

            Ironically, the few people who managed to hang on until the bitter end (many dropped out because they couldn’t afford to work so cheaply) got a 50 dollar bonus 2 months after the store closed. So, anyway they cut the pie, their money was already in hand & making more profits while we might as well have starved to death waiting for our meager crumbs to trickle down. Guess there’s a profit to be made in that, somewhere, too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/linda.marshall.9847 Linda Marshall


    Bill gates wants more government collusion with corporations..

    That’s 1920 italian Fascism

    • brettearle

      If you wish to read Totalitarian Ideology into everything, then you will see it in dog owners who grab bones away from their dogs or you will see it in parents who often keep candy away from their children. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=2804922 Leah Read

    I’d like to respond to the caller with the daughter in middle school who likes math. I’m a 27-year old female structural engineer, and I think that the daughter’s teacher is flat-out wrong. If your daughter is interested in engineering and mathematics at such a young age (which I think is AWESOME!) then she should be encouraged in every way possible. It shouldn’t matter what the visa/outsourcing situation is, if a child shows interest in a logic-driven, technical topic such as math they should be encouraged in every way possible. They should not be discouraged from learning what they naturally love, especially not by a person who is supposed to be nurturing their educational and personal growth.

    • brettearle

      `He who does work without passion increases the chances for Failure’

      • DrewInGeorgia

        If you don’t do what you love you wind up loathing what you do.

        • brettearle

          Did I write a confusing sentence?

          Maybe I did.

          You sound like you are agreeing with me.

          I certainly agree with what you wrote.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            Your sentence wasn’t confusing at all, I was just expounding on its premise. I completely agree with your statement as well.

          • brettearle

            Remember Joseph Campbell’s Maxim?:

            “Follow Your Bliss”

        • Gregg Smith

          If you do what you love you never work a day.

    • VinceD2

       Great post Leah! But that caller should take her daughter to her senator’s office and explain what this bill means to her future.

      I’m a 50+ former electrical engineer with quite a few patents and experienced the H1B nightmare. Until the system is fixed, I could not advise ANY young person to even consider a STEM career. Such a shame, but the corporate goons have rigged the system.

    • glorkohl

      I believe the teacher was being very honest, forthright and fair and that children deserve to be confronted with realistic points of view.  This country has sold itself out and is rapidly decreasing the possibility of this young girl
      succeeding at her ambition; while the teacher did not discourage her from pursuing math, she did explain to her that it is unrealistic to anticipate that those jobs will be there for her generation. Same thing we tell English or Philosophy majors in college. Sure you can learn it but will it pay off?   No harm in teaching the real world version of life at all.

  • Joel Wietelmann

    Why, if we are going to reform immigration, aren’t we talking about expediting green cards for knowledge workers instead of disingenuously bringing them in under a temporary worker program? That would deliver on H1B proponents’ promises far more effectively than the H1B program does. H1B ties an immigrants’ status in this country to the mercy of their employer. Of *course* that’s going to result in non-competitive wages. It makes immigrants far less able to negotiate compensation. And it makes them less able to put down roots here because their entire fate in this country is tied to a single employer. Get laid off? You have to go back to your home country. How can that possibly be the most appropriate way to increase our supply of knowledge workers in a long-term and healthy way? It clearly isn’t, and H1B proponents clearly aren’t being honest.

    I come from both sides of this. I’m a software engineer who co-owns his business. It would be wonderful if I could hire whoever I wanted regardless of their nationality, but that is not what H1B is for. H1B’s most traditional use is for the big firms to temporarily import a lot of mediocre labor at below market rates, then ship them home when their value has been tapped out.

    How about it, H1B proponents? If you want what you say you want, why not help skilled immigrants come to the U.S., stay, and be able to compete for compensation in the American labor market?

  • GregInMA

    If there is a shortage of scientists and engineers, then the price should go up.  However, according to the American Chemical Society, the median wage of a PhD-level chemist, adjusted for inflation, has gone down over the last ten years.  So where’s the shortage?

    • Mirza Borogovac

      How does that compare to salaries in other fields?

    • TomK_in_Boston

      The price doesn’t go up because of the cheap imports, and the plutocrats want to make sure that continues.

    • AC

      how much do you think annie dukan made?

  • TomK_in_Boston

    On a slightly different but related topic,  I am never going to buy another crap appliance made in mexico or malaysia by an “American” company, notably GE. I hate these offshorers.

    BTW the GoP senate candidate in MA, Gomez, has a career in “private equity” (translation = con games) where he helped clothing mfgr Lululemon move their production from canada to china.

    • Wm_James_from_Missouri

      A few years back we purchased a so called “energy saving”, “water saving” washing machine. About 4 months after purchasing, I loaded it up one night and went to bed. I woke up to find it still on the “fill” cycle. This happened 4 times in one month ! Now, during that billing cycle we used some, 57,000 gallons of water ! ! Every so called gallon of water this unit was “engineered” to save was used up within these 4 months ! Junk made by junk corporations, engineered by junk filled minds, which I am forced to pay for ! These corporations lie !

      • TomK_in_Boston

        Dam right. I had a GE microwave die after abt 2 yrs because of the logic board – costs as much as a new microwave to replace. GE dishwasher has bad heating element and is made so cheaply you will bend the metal if you’re not real careful and gasket is hanging loose. GE range also very cheaply made. The microwave is mfg in malaysia. I’m not sure now where others are made but not USA.

        I’m now getting new dishwasher (Miele-germany), microwave (Viking-USA) and washer-dryer (Speed Queen – USA). I will never buy GE garbage again and I will never buy an offshored “American” product.

        • VinceD2

           Won’t buy a GE light bulb, they company went evil with Jack Welch.

      • StilllHere

        Easy solution, make your own washing machine (I’m sure it would be perfect) or do it the old fashioned way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/russell.ludwick Russell Ludwick

    First you outsource the manufacturing, now you outsource the engineering and research.  Even getting paid a salary considered low in america can be twice as much  as their native country so they are chomping at the bit to get one.  This increased competition drives american salaries down.  I have a hard time believing that there is not enough talent here.  Every job posting out there is bombarded with applicants.   The tech companies are pissed because they are paying programmers 200k a year in silicon valley, once they get these H1B’s they will have to pay the programmers less and everyone else across the board gets a flood of foreign competition and all pay drop across the board.  It’s about keeping labor costs low.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Well, almost all pay. The lower labor costs increase profits, and that goes straight into the pockets of the elite.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bob.landau.7 Bob Landau

    I work as an engineering contractor for a very large telecommunications provider in NJ. As an American working in the IT field for over 30 years, I can give you my anecdotal point of view that both outsourcing and H1 immigrants have certainly suppressed my salary and ability to stay employed in this industry. I’ve managed to do OK, but it’s been a struggle. I was recently working as a contractor for the Army, and if you look at those rates (which requiring security clearance don’t allow a lot of H1s or outsourcing), an engineer can make substantially more. In my case, I took about 30% pay cut to come back to private industry in my current job, and it’s one I feel fairly lucky to have gotten.

    In my current, immediate group of 30 people, more than 80% are non-US citizens, and about a third of those work in outsourced offices in India. Almost every contracting firm I was asked to apply through has such offices and outsourcing capabilities in India. And these people don’t have very specialized skills that can’t be found in the U.S., which supposedly is part of the entrance criteria. They are simply cheaper, and there’s an easy pipeline supply that these contracting firms provide to the big firms. And at very high levels in this company now, there are Indian managers, who are obviously very friendly to bringing in more Indian workers, if not directly benefitting from that.

    And this is not just my group, just walking around this large facility one finds that Indian and Asian workers are clearly in the majority. I’m sure these are generally good people and I have nothing against them personally, but it’s simply a fact that the easy supply of cheaper foreign workers makes it harder for people like me to stay employed in my field and lowers my middle class wages. This is really an issue about corporate greed, not need.

    I also believe that most of those who come here from places like India take or send most of their income home, out of the U.S., and probably in about 99% of their cases they buy foreign cars while here. So in a way whether outsourced or brought to the U.S., these workers are a drain on the U.S. economy.

    Thank you for the forum.

  • Trond33

    I think the press places too much emphasis on Silicon Valley.  It is but one industrial field.  While it is an important field, Silicon Valley will not on its own “save” the US.  The USA needs to renew its commitment to foster basic research as a way to attract the best and the brightest.  Something that it has lost out on in the past decade.

    Other industries need highly skilled workers more than Silicon Valley.  It is easy to overlook the realities of manufacturing.  The US is neck-to-neck with China in terms of being the worlds largest manufacturer.  While a lot of manufacturing has left the US, what has stayed is of a higher value added – China does a lot of low skilled manufacturing.  In the past five years, manufacturers have taken the opportunity to retool and become world class manufacturers.  I argue that only Germany is recognized as producing higher quality than the USA.  Germany is also the world powerhouse in exporting, something US manufacturers lack expertise in.  Estimates are that only 1/4 of small- and medium size companies in the US who could export, actually do export. Furthermore, of those that do export, 3/4 export to the “wrong” markets.  Following others to markets where they have major competitors or trying to export everywhere.  

    • ExcellentNews

      Germany is an industrial powerhouse because (a) it has strong barriers against imports, (b) industry and government work together on a long-term “strategic plan” basis, (c) high-taxes on windfall profits allow for investment and public infrastructure development, (d) a publicly funded education system is focused on technical excellence, not sports, (e) Germans have a bit of genuine patriotism and do not spread their legs for a 10% cost reduction. That is totally unlike us, who wave the Stars and Stripes at church, and then go shopping at WalMart.

      The only reason high-value manufacturing is still here is because it gets invented here. As soon as a technology becomes established, our red-white-and-blue MBAs “create” the jobs abroad. The result – a growing underclass here at home, with nothing to do. In the “old days”, these people had jobs, paid taxes, and provided a solid consumer foundation for the economy.

  • TomK_in_Boston

    Don’t loose sight of the big picture. Corporate profits are soaring, executive pay is soaring, inequality is soaring, the corporations are not paying taxes, and….they want more cheap labor!? Do some voters still not realize they’re being slaughtered in a class war?


  • TomK_in_Boston

    You’re right. Every sector is being corporatized and financialized, with endless bs about everything but the actual job. Age discrimination is part of the package. Young people see it and head to B-school, where they can create more bs instead of being productive. 

    As GregInMA said, if the market was working, a shortage of tech workers wd lead to a rise in wages and kids wd flock to the sector, which wd be very good for the USA. However the plutocrats want to import more cheap labor instead, so it ain’t gonna happen.

  • dan alsay

    Not buying it this time
    Bil G.!

    As a software engineer I
    view this as a thinly veiled attempt to dilute the bargaining power of engineer
    who have been forced to accept contractual roles rather than permanent


  • dan alsay

    Not buying it this time Bill

    As a software engineer I
    view this as a thinly veiled attempt to dilute the bargaining power of engineer
    who have been forced to accept contractual roles rather than permanent

  • zzowee

    This discussion doesn’t really reflect the definition of the H-1B visa: by design the employer has to pay the H-1B employee the prevailing wage, and what’s more, has to advertise for the position and not have any qualified US workers respond to their ad. It’s a visa for employees of normal qualification when the labor market fails to provide comparable American workers.

    It’s the O visa that is designed for exceptionally talented foreign workers (although laughably, the category also includes fashion models :-)

    • VinceD2

       Except that’s not how it really works.

      My former employer “leased” employees form Wipro and Tata. These poor folks were worked 70 hours a week, one said he was making $20k. This was exploitation, nothing more.

      Meanwhile, well qualified Americans were passed over for foreign grad students who had inferior qualifications. They did better in the pay department, but were also worked abusively.

      And during all of this, Americans were being let go, mostly 40+ year olds that didn’t fill a diversity quota.

      This whole lie about not enough technical workers is simply a ploy to justify more immigration for wage depression.

      • ExcellentNews

        Right on the mark. Leasing and sub-contracting are not subject to any restrictions because it is done on a corporation-to-corporation basis. That is how employers bypass an immigration system that is obsolete and non-functional in the 21 century. Any job that is “run of the mill” , such as IT, is already being outsourced to Asia through such practices. The proposed immigration reform will not change or stop that.

        This being said, there IS a shortage of top talent, the one that cannot be sub-contracted or locally hired. We will be better off having these folks here, paying taxes in the US, as opposed to working over these, paying taxes and building expertise in their countries.

        • VinceD2

           And for those truly exceptional people who “cannot” be found or developed here, let’s issue a very limited number of H1B visas, auction them off to the American corporations who will be sooooo willing to pay for these exceptional folks.

          And to prevent abuse, these highly skilled people must be paid at lease 125% of prevailing wage for comparable position, and their hours must be limited to say 45 hours per week.

          Since these few are sooo exceptional, corporations should be quite willing to pay them what they’re worth and treat them fairly right?

          Wonder how far that proposal would go with the Slaughters of the world… It seems people like him simply want to slaughter American workers.

      • zzowee

        Sure, but this means the discussion we should actually be having is how to reform H1-B rules to prevent companies from gaming the system and exploiting foreign workers, and then looking at demand and quotas.

        As it is, we’re discussing a misrepresentation of the law based on its being misused for purposes other than what it was designed to do. It’s an important layer that we’re not looking at.

  • Joseph_Wisconsin

    As a related matter to this topic, the quest for American companies to obtain the lowest cost and most compliant labor possible, is On Point going to do a show on the issues related to the recent tragedy in Bangladesh?  This seems to have already faded from the news cycle all together, and there was never any real coverage of those really responsible, American companies seeking cheap labor that will not be able to agitate for living wages or safe working conditions.  These companies are of course too clever to have an on the record knowledge of the labor conditions that they benefit from.  Making sure that there are plenty of buffers.

    Quote from the film The Godfather Part II

     Senator Pat Geary: Mr. Cici, was there always a buffer involved?

    Willi Cici: A what?

    Senator Pat Geary: A buffer. Someone in between you and your possible superiors who passed on to you the actual order to kill someone.

    Willi Cici: Oh yeah, a buffer. The family had a lot of buffers!

    I have noticed a disturbing trend at NPR, and at On Point, over the last few years to toe the line as far as any real criticism of corporate sponsors.  Are the implications of the Bangladesh story just to toxic to even touch? 

  • VinceD2

    Well it is encouraging to see so many comments against this nonsense. Please join NumbersUSA and help defeat this awful bill. 

  • Deb B

    There are thousands of American engineers who have lost their jobs since the mid-1990′s through downsizing, outsourcing & off-shoring. If we are so short of tech talent why hasn’t anyone looked at that population? Engineers in their 40′s & 50′s are out of jobs, or working out of field. How about retraining them in the new coding languages?
    We have a Motorola plant in our backyard and years ago they laid off almost all the American engineers and replaced them with foreign workers. Why not? They use the workers until their visa expires, and then bring new ones. The overall HCM costs are lower – lower medical benefits, less seniority, etc.I have a son with a small start-up company in Silicon Valley who has expressed that he has a hard time locating good talent for his needs.However, the companies taking advantage of the visas are not small start-up companies.

  • http://twitter.com/ltm6942 Lucas

    We should end this system of exploitation…

    Re invent capitalism to it’s higher form… Socialism

    People before profits….

    • Gregg Smith

      Thank you.

    • dust truck

      Honestly, it’s not even a problem with Capitalism.  Capitalism is based on people getting paid what they’re worth and fair negotiation of salaries.  When the government gets involved to give unfair advantages to certain groups, it becomes impossible to negotiate fairly.

      The problem is corruption which would plague a socialist society just as much as a capitalist society.  Our congresscritters are bought and paid-for by the 1%.

    • ExcellentNews

      Capitalism…socialism… just labels thrown around by Pox News to divide the voters. We have neither. America is slowly becoming another banana republic, ran by the oligarchy for the oligarchy. BTW, there is nothing wrong with profit, as long as it goes to the ones who worked for it.

  • http://www.CayerComputing.com/ Melissa A. Cayer

     “If the market moves there then we go where the market is.” -J. White
    Perhaps, it is a strategy to defend against emigration.

  • 2Gary2

    $11 Billion to $22 billion is spent on welfare

    to illegal aliens each year by state governments.

    at: http://www.fairus.org/site/PageServer?pagename=iic_immigrationissuecenters7fd8

    $22 Billion dollars a year is spent on food

    assistance programs such as food stamps,

    WIC, and free school lunches for illegal aliens.


    at: http://www.cis.org/articles/2004/fiscalexec.HTML

    $2.5 Billion dollars a year is spent on

    Medicaid for illegal aliens. 

    Verify at: 

    $12 Billion dollars a year is spent on

    primary and secondary school education

    for children here illegally and they

    cannot speak a word of English!
    at: http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANscriptS/0604/01/ldt….0.HTML

    $17 Billion dollars a year is spent for

    education for the American-born

    children of illegal aliens, known as

    anchor babies.
    at http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANscriptS/0604/01/ldt.01.HTML

    $3 Million Dollars a DAY is spent to

    incarcerate illegal aliens. 

    Verify at: 

    30% percent of all Federal Prison

    inmates are illegal aliens.
    Verify at:


    $90 Billion Dollars a year is spent on

    illegal aliens for Welfare & social

    services by the American taxpayers.
    at: http://premium.cnn..com/TRANSCIPTS/0610/29/ldt.01..HTML

    $200 Billion dollars a year in suppressed

    American wages are caused by the illegal

    at: http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRI

    In 2006, Illegal aliens sent home

    $45 BILLION in remittances to their

    countries of origin.


    The Dark Side of Illegal Immigration:

    Nearly One million sex crimes committed

    by Illegal Immigrants In The United States ..
    at:http: // www.drdsk.com/articleshtml


    The total cost is a whopping









    Are we THAT Stupid?






    • Steve__T

       On the other hand take a look at this.

      Shooting across the border killing innocents.

      A joint investigation by the Washington Monthly and the Investigative
      Fund at The Nation Institute has found over the past five years U.S.
      border agents have shot across the border at least 10 times, killing a
      total of six Mexicans on Mexican soil. The killings have gone unpunished
      after a court ruled the Mexican victims have no standing to sue in U.S.
      courts since they died on their own soil. Investigative reporter John
      Carlos Frey writes: “The picture that emerges from this investigation is
      of an agency operating with thousands of poorly trained rookies and
      failing to provide the kind of transparency, accountability, and clear
      rules of engagement that Americans routinely expect of law enforcement
      agencies.” Frey joins us to discuss the shootings and why he fears that
      the current immigration consensus in Washington on “border security”
      could increase Mexico’s civilian toll.

      Juan González: Immigration Debate “A Battle Over What America Will Look Like in 21st Century”

    • dust truck

      Next time can you think for yourself rather than copy/pasting what someone told you to think?  Kthanksbye

      • 2Gary2

         You are 100% correct–I almost never do copy/paste from another source but the info seemed very applicable.

  • Tyranipocrit

    just one more way to pay us less–cheap labor.  To hell with zuckerburg and Gates!

    Its not enough we have to outsource all labor–now lets insource all creative labor.  So to hell with all americans!

    Open up your eyes!  Please!  The 1% are treacherous treasonous a-holes and we need to take them down and put them in thier place. 

    You can guarantee half those chinese will be PRC sponsored to spy and corrupt and steal technology.  Just a fact.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Dam right! Currently the kids are abandoning tech and basic research. They know that if they stay in the productive sector they will be at the mercy of the financial manipulators, so they head to B-school, where they can be well compensated for producing nothing.

      Gates et al should be raising salaries and offering bonuses for the jobs they want. They should be visiting colleges and bidding for the best students, which they can easily afford. It would be no strain for them to offer packages that would lure kids away from a life of financial scamming. But no, all they want is cheap imports. They are extremely unpatriotic – not exactly surprising for trans-national oligarchs. They have more in common with Putin than with us. To hell with them.

  • vickirov

    Missed part of the show, but I’m guessing this didn’t get covered:

    The world would be a healthier and safer place if resources and wealth were more evenly distributed. By aggressively recruiting foreign workers, we’re helping to magnify a brain drain in the countries they come from. These workers could be helping to build the economy in their own countries, making them more stable and less likely for their citizens to hold a grudge against us.

    For this reason I do not root for the New York Yankees.

  • TedTab

    While I support increasing the number of H1B visas available each year, our tech companies need to fully utilize the STEM talent available in the USA, in particular, they need to hire and effectively employee the highly trained, very experienced STEM workers who are over 55 years old. While companies are willing to invest in training new college graduates to learn the company’s technology and, most importantly, how to work effectively and efficiently, very few companies are willing to invest in training or re-training older workers in what might be the new technologies that the companies utilize. While these older workers might not be as inventive as some new college graduates (although I think even that is debatable), most older STEM workers know how to work and to produce technical products and services. However, once many workers reach 55, they are frequently viewed as being over-the-hill and unable to be creative and innovative and to deliver new products and services. What many tech companies don’t realize is that these senior contributors frequently are able to work smarter and to work longer hours because their families are maturing.
    I challenge companies like Facebook and Google who are well-know for hiring new college graduates to publish their hiring statistics for STEM workers for all age and experience groups, especially for workers who are over 55 years old. I would also challenge all technical companies to explain and compare how they recruit and retrain senior contributors and new college graduates.

    • ExcellentNews

      Anyone over 50 is now virtually unemployable in the US because of healthcare costs (unless you have managed to backstab your way to senior management…). Until we reform our healthcare system to single payer, older workers will be shed – regardless of their experience, and we will be less competitive relative to the rest of the world (where healthcare is almost universally single payer, or non-existent…).

  • Tyranipocrit

    Cheap labor or not (and it is about cheap labor) why replace american jobs with foreigners when americans are screaming for jobs?  Why?  Why? Why?  Enough BS.  

    • ExcellentNews

      Why? See my comment above.

  • ExcellentNews

    There are two possible options:

    A) We open our doors so that the best STEM workers can immigrate here from abroad. These people will pay taxes in the US, and become American citizens in about 5 years. Net result: Lower wages, high-tech jobs and expertise stay in America, tax revenues stay in America, the gene pool improves.

    B) We keep our doors closed (that is the current policy). Our beloved corporate leaders outsource the jobs abroad. Net result: Much lower wages, jobs and tech expertise LEAVE America, tax revenues go to enrich foreign governments and built up their industries.

    I do not know which option you prefer, but I choose the one that is best for America, not India or China. And that would be Option A. Open the door for technically competent workers to come HERE instead of working THERE. And let’s count ourselves lucky that foreigners still want to come to America.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      C) We The People, ie the Government, regulate the corporations so they can’t get away with their class warfare and they have no option but to pay Americans whatever it takes in the free market to attract the workers to do the jobs.

      • ExcellentNews

        In another universe, where enlightened people elect an enlightened government, that’s indeed how it would be done – e.g. put an import duty that is indexed to wages, human rights, and environmental protection standards.

        In this universe, where 50% of Americans have trouble with basic reading and writing, and baboons like Rush Limbaugh shape public policy, there is no chance in hell for Option C).

        But we do have two practical options – export high-wage jobs, or import low-wage jobs. The latter is better for the US than the former.

  • cbsmith

    These shows that quote extremely low unemployoment rates among scientists and engineers, drive me crazy.

    NSF’s numbers:

    Show that of the 21 million scientists and engineers in the US, only 5 million are employed in science and engineering positions (table 1, column 1). So yes, scientists and engineers make great employees, but we simply do not have enough actual S&E jobs for all of them.  Thats 76% working outside their chosen field.

    Just zooming in to Engineers, (table 2 + table 1) we see that only 1.5 million of our 3 million engineers are employed as actual engineers.

    It is extremely difficult to get a job as a scientist or engineer. These people are brilliant and we as a country can’t take advantage of them.

    • bikengr

      Wow, I never knew those numbers! Thank you. It kind of matches my experience, that wonderfully qualified and credentialed and experienced engineers often can’t get jobs. So I am always dubious about the “STEM Shortage”, I figure any real shortage will resolve itself if the free market is allowed to work.

  • The_Truth_Seeker

    On Point now gives some coverage to this topic, but in over two years it hasn’t mentioned the recently enacted AIA (so called, “America Invents Act”) even once! On March 16 the U.S. adopted essentially the European and Japanese rules for patent protection, that gives those who are the first to get to the patent office (and be able to afford to file a patent) priority over those who may have actually invented a new technology. This will all but kill any incentive for Americans to invent anything (since it will now be able to be stolen by large corporations even more easily). It will be particularly bad for young inventors who first have to pay off their student debts before trying to come up with $15K to be able to file even one patent applications. This will also be very bad for most small start-ups (which is exactly what the large multinationals wanted). Large corporations won’t have any problems because they file patents every week anyway. When Canada adopted these same changes, 30% of their venture capital investments went “poof”. Besides these new rules must be unconstitutional, since the Founders clearly wanted the “authors” of new works to get protection (regardless of income level) and not those “first to file” – the Founders NEVER said ANYTHING about “filing” for patent protection. 

    I predict innovation in American will now decline by 10%-25% as a result of the AIA. How stupid was this and why didn’t the media cover it at all???!!! Why hasn’t On Point covered it (even now)? Do a Google search and see how many news organizations covered this quietly passed bill, that was equally silently signed by Obama.

    More bad news for both American workers and American innovators.

  • The_Truth_Seeker

    The U.S. is becoming as corrupt and favorable to big business and large multinationals as it became in the 1920s. Back then Henry Ford didn’t even let his workers talk and referred to them only by number. It’s going to be “deja vuos all over again” in America! Pretty soon, only 5% of the people will be able to live here anymore and all the rungs of the ladder will be removed (see my further comments below).

  • Regular_Listener

    This was an interesting show in that the two main guests could not have been further apart in their views.  It certainly left me wondering which of them could have been closer to the truth.  I am inclined to believe though that a big tech company would probably see some advantages to hiring a recent immigrant at a modest wage (which would still be many times more than what they would make for a similar job back home) rather than an American with similar credentials. 

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