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If Immigration Reform Is Dead, So Is Raising the H-1B Cap 341

Posted by Soulskill
from the congress-members-shouting-at-one-another dept.
dcblogs writes: In a speech Wednesday on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) declared immigration reform dead. He chastised and baited Republicans in Congress for blocking reform, and declared that winning the White House without the support of a growing Hispanic population will become mathematically impossible. "The Republican Presidential nominee, whoever he or she may be, will enter the race with an electoral college deficit they cannot make up," said Gutierrez. If he's right, and comprehensive immigration reform is indeed dead, then so too is the tech industry's effort to raise the cap on H-1B visas. Immigration reform advocates have successfully blocked any effort to take up the immigration issue in piecemeal fashion, lest business support for comprehensive reform peel away. Next year may create an entirely new set of problems for tech. If the Republicans take control of the Senate, the tech industry will face this obstacle: Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee could become its next chairman. He has been a consistent critic of the H-1B program through the years. "The H-1B program is so popular that it's now replacing the U.S. labor force," said Grassley, at one point.
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If Immigration Reform Is Dead, So Is Raising the H-1B Cap

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  • by i kan reed (749298) on Friday June 27, 2014 @04:19PM (#47335887) Homepage Journal

    H1B is merging with the us labor force, not replacing. The overwhelming H1B workers I know have either become citizens or are eager to do so.

  • by mcolgin (818580) on Friday June 27, 2014 @04:23PM (#47335921) Homepage
    It's surprising to be that the R's support lower H1B caps. I've never really heard a position from the Dem's on this. I'm not exactly educated on this issue, but it seems that H1B directly compete with my ability to be a programmer; and large companies are the ones mostly vying for the talent H1B brings in. With barriers to competition being as low as a cost of a computer, why would we want increased H1B? I know they say there's not enough US workers for the tech industry.. but do they really mean, there's not enough CHEAP tech workers? What's the Dem's position on this?
  • Immigration reform (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 27, 2014 @04:28PM (#47335977)

    So a Democrat is so concerned about the possibility that the Republicans won't take over the Senate, or won't get into the White House; that he, out of the goodness of his heart, tells the Republicans what they need to do to win.

    Reminds me of the phrase, "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts".

    To have someone in the Senate that sees the H1B program as replacing the American workers, would be a refreshing change from the current leadership that looks for every opportunity to raise the H1B cap, for their K street buddies.

  • by gurps_npc (621217) on Friday June 27, 2014 @04:35PM (#47336037) Homepage
    Basically the argument is thus:

    Employers: There is a shortage of good tech qorkers. Give us more H1 visas so we can get the work done.

    Employees: These darn foreigners are taking our jobs! They work for much less than us people born in Amerika! (studys show about $13,000 less http://www.workpermit.com/news... [workpermit.com] )

    The simplest solution is of course to offer unlimited H1 Visas - at the cost of $15,000, paid by the corporation, before the employee is hired.. (with inflation adjustments so this doesn't become abused).

    This solves all real claims of not enough tech workers, it reduces the US budget, and gets rid of the financial incentive to refuse to hire perfectly good American tech workers.

  • by TechyImmigrant (175943) on Friday June 27, 2014 @04:39PM (#47336057) Journal

    You interest in having employment opportunities as a programmer is served by having a large programming industry in your locality.

    Anything that makes it easy for people to move to where the programming jobs are entrenches that place as being where the programmers and the programming jobs will be.

    If you aren't competing with immigrants, you aren't going to be competing for any jobs, because they'll be elsewhere.

  • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Friday June 27, 2014 @04:58PM (#47336229)

    No, immigrants are replacing native workers.

    This is the Lump of Labor Fallacy [wikipedia.org]. There is not a fixed number of jobs in an economy. The number of jobs tends to expand when more workers are available. Liberal immigration policies are correlated with lower unemployment. When Poland joined the EU, most current members blocked immigration. The exceptions were Britain and Sweden, which subsequently had the lowest unemployment rates in Europe as Poles moved in, set up households, paid rent, bought furniture, and created plenty of secondary jobs.

    The Center For Immigration Studies just released a report showing that all employment growth since 2000 has gone to immigrants

    Just because A=B does not mean that A caused B. The number of jobs created would have almost certainly been even lower without immigration.

    There is no general labor shortage.

    Who said there was? But there are shortages in many areas. For instance, there is a big shortage of non-immigrant farm labor. Do you really believe that an unemployed white guy is going to pick lettuce?

  • by NormalVisual (565491) on Friday June 27, 2014 @06:41PM (#47337233)
    If we were talking about metallurgists you'd have a point but most programmers I don't think size of local industry is their main obstacle to employment nor do I think the availability of workers is a driver for the size of the industry.

    It isn't always, but depending on the kind of skills/work needed it can be. For instance, if you're primarily an embedded or industial automation developer, you're going to have an easier time finding work in an area that already does a lot of similar work, if for no other reason than there are non-trivial costs to running an embedded shop beyond just the software tools.
  • He's speaking for me (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rsilvergun (571051) on Friday June 27, 2014 @07:16PM (#47337487)
    At least if we mean Republican Politicians, which is implied by the context. There's several cases where Republican leadership got caught saying they want to crash the economy so that people will blame the democrats. There's several (mostly on the Tea Party fringes) who believe the democrats policies are so damaging to the country that it'd be better to wreak the economy than to risk those policies.

    So yeah, Grandparent's kinda trolling, but compared to what the Repubs are doing it's small potatoes.
  • by riverat1 (1048260) on Saturday June 28, 2014 @01:08AM (#47338933)

    What you say is largely true. If somehow you could deport all of the people in the country illegally tomorrow it would plunge us into a massive depression from the drop in economic activity.

  • by Arethan (223197) on Saturday June 28, 2014 @02:46AM (#47339159) Journal

    The reality is that immigrants, particularly illegals, are the ones performing jobs that others don't want. Hard to believe that not everyone grows up hoping to become the guy that scrubs the toilets and changes the paper towels at an office complex, or installing a new roof in 98 degree heat, but apparently these jobs are always looking for more people even in poor economic times.

    That said, H1B was never designed to provide an alternate citizenship avenue. It was meant to allow the US to brain drain the rest of the world for our own benefit. Let the geniuses have a stay in our country for a while, get them to like the amenities, and then they will want to become residents. What it's turned into, however, is an alternate path to general citizenship for the unwashed masses. We already have an avenue for that. People should stop trying to game the system. Too many H1B's are lackluster and need to go home, yet continue to fuck up our economy with their poor job execution and language barriers. The latest is the recent college grad foreign exchange student, that tries to land some job where their mediocrity can get by just long enough to become the one guy in the company that knows how to do X, and then suddenly they become "critical" with "irreplaceable knowledge", as defined by lazy managers.

    I specifically avoid hiring the average performing H1B's and foreign exchange students for this very reason. If I'm blown away by their abilities, then great, welcome to 'Merika. If not, then fuck them. Finding a local monkey is easy, and they generate far less paperwork for HR and don't drain on the economy.

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