H1B(S)

Posted by DP | 4/02/2008 12:07:00 PM

I don't know about you, but I have a problem with this: High-tech firms playing visa lottery.

On Tuesday, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services opened the five-day application period for the H1-B program for the 2008-09 fiscal year. ...The program is designed to import educated and skilled workers for jobs that American companies cannot fill. The visas are generally issued for three years, and renewable for another three.

Nothing against workers from anywhere, but someone please tell me that if this country is importing literally hundreds of thousands of technology workers, engineers, nurses, and teachers from around the world to fill in "gaps," why are there basically no efforts underway to increase the numbers of graduates in those specific fields from within U.S. high schools, universities, and colleges? Apparently I'm not the only one who feels this way.

Some white-collar American workers have protested the proposed expansion of H1-B. John Miano, a 45-year-old programmer who owns a New Jersey software consulting company, testified in Congress in March 2006 that the program lets companies replace Americans with foreign workers at lower wages.

"The H1-B statutes are the best legislation money can buy," he said in an interview Tuesday. "This law has been deliberately written to allow abuse to go on with impunity. This program is a cheap labor program. It contains loopholes that allow employers to legally pay H1-B workers ... significantly less than U.S. workers."

Really? No wonder so many of the major U.S. companies are all for it then. But while their profits soar, we're writing off American kids who should be more than capable of filling these jobs with the right education and training. Obviously, that's not the case. Not to mention that the end result of this process will eventually simply push more and more U.S. jobs and companies overseas, further limiting the options for our kids futures.

There are worthy programs that prepare young people for employment in the technology workforce that are basically being starved to death due to lack of funding. For those students that do things the right way and complete their educations, what assurances do they have that the industries in which they plan to work will hire them if the abundance of cheaper talent from overseas continues to be offered as basically a government subsidized alternative?

I'd sure like for someone to tell me how this ultimately benefits the American economy.
The day may soon arrive when workers from this country will have to emigrate in large numbers to other places in order to sustain their families at home, much like what's happening here now.

Talk about the flipping the script.


6 comments
  1. Francis L. Holland Blog April 3, 2008 at 8:30 AM  

    I think this is the problem: The United States does a terrible job of educating its students, most glaringly in the sciences. HALF of students are dropping out of high school in big cities, so they certainly aren't leaving school with knowledge of physics, chemistry and calculus. In all likelihood, most of them will NEVER be prepared to participate as engineers in technology fields.

    Even among the kids who graduate from high school, they have the lowest academic attainment of most children in the developed world.

    So, businesses that want to make money realize that they're better off hiring technology engineers from countries that take grade school and high school education more seriously.

    A significant number of the PhD's in engineering that are granted at United States universities each year go to people who are attending school on student visas. Without H1B visas available, these students will go back to their home countries and create industries that will compete and win against US industries.

    In many cases, the H1B visa is not importing a fresh worker but allowing a student educated in the United States to work here. At that point, those students are like fruit that has ripened on our vines, and we would send it overseas for free and instead of profiting from it here?

    Immigrants aren't the reason that Blacks are having trouble in the US economy. Systemic color-aroused denigration, subjugation and exploitation of Blacks is a much more significant force in our lives.

    Ask yourselves this: If every immigrant in America went home, would white people suddenly treat Blacks as if our skin was white? HAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!

    Our trouble is the white supremacy paradigm, not immigrants.

  2. DP April 3, 2008 at 9:21 AM  

    Francis,

    I agree immigrants are not the problem, nor was that the intention I was trying to convey in my post.

    My point is that industry is seemingly not concerned with the American education system. Otherwise, there would be more of an effort to improve the travesty that is the American educational system, instead of applying the band-aid solution of hiring foreign workers. That would mean directing some of their political and lobbying contributions towards candidates who advocate for the reconfiguration of the public school system so that it begins to again turn out the types of graduates needed to sustain this society and economy. And by reconfiguration, I do NOT mean the sham voucher system or more tweaks to the disaster known as No Child Left Behind.

    By hiring students sent to attend American universities from overseas, industry is also exacerbating the "brain drain" from those countries that have for the most part invested sizable amounts of money in them, most likely hoping that they will return home and build up their home countries economic base and capacity. That's not happening when so many are siphoned off by our companies.

    Bottom line is that immigrants aren't the enemy, we are, due to shortsightedness on behalf of industry, politicians, and the public.

  3. Eddie G. Griffin April 3, 2008 at 3:37 PM  

    We must take the initiative to put the skills into the hands of our children, so that they can compete.

  4. DP April 3, 2008 at 10:07 PM  

    How should we do that though Eddie? I agree with you, our children need to be put into a position where they at least have the opportunity to compete. But the decay of the public school system has been a decades long process, and without effective schools, competitiveness over the long term is pretty much out of the question.

  5. Villager April 4, 2008 at 5:57 PM  

    I served as national president of an association of African American IT professionals and we ended up taking a political stance against increasing the number of HI-B visas offered each year. It was a unique position to be in because we had scores of corporate sponsors who needed the talent to deliver their products and services and we had members who were unemployed or underemployed.

    I wish that we placed more emphasis on technical, science and math education within our community...

    peace, Villager

  6. DP April 4, 2008 at 7:51 PM  

    I wish that we placed more emphasis on technical, science and math education within our community...

    Villager, I agree completely. It is an absolute must that we do, and your work is helping to make that happen.