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Government United States Technology Politics

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

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 ulatekh ( 775985 ) on Friday June 27, 2014 @04:29PM (#47335981) 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.

    No, immigrants are replacing native workers. The Center For Immigration Studies just released a report [] showing that all employment growth since 2000 has gone to immigrants, legal and illegal. There is no general labor shortage.

  • by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Friday June 27, 2014 @04:36PM (#47336041) Homepage Journal

    You say "no", but even if we accept the study by a hyper-partisan group with a specific objective of removing immigrants as valid, what you posted doesn't actually contradict what I said.

    Now, we can argue to hell and back what constitutes "taking jobs", but the fact that they're trying as hard as possible to be Americans is an important one.

  • by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Friday June 27, 2014 @05:18PM (#47336487)

    There may be legal requirements but that does not mean it is being followed in practice or that the spirit of the law is being blatantly broken.

    So just hire a senior H-1B worker for an entry level job title. Job titles are meaningless and not standardized.

    The real fiction is when companies lie and say that they can not find local qualified workers in order to justify hiring H-1B workers.

  • by LetterRip ( 30937 ) on Friday June 27, 2014 @05:22PM (#47336533)

    "There is not a fixed number of jobs in an economy."

    There is demand elasticity for labor, but it is not related to availability of labor it is related to demand for goods and services, not availability of labor. The demand for labor is essentially fixed or decreasing without some sort of driver for demand. Immigration can be a source of demand, but it isn't necessarily a source of demand. Since most immigrants send much of their income to their home country they tend to be a net reduction in demand.

    The reason unemployment is correlated to immigration is that countries relax immigration requirements when there is a shortage of labor.

  • by NormalVisual ( 565491 ) on Friday June 27, 2014 @06:31PM (#47337145)
    Where I work now, we have two H-1Bs in our dev group of 12. Both are outstanding workers, and "legitimate" in that the company made a good-faith effort to fill the positions with Americans, but wasn't able to find people with the needed skills. Both are also paid at what I would consider to be an appropriate wage comparable to ours, and HR takes good care of them and makes a real effort to abide by both the letter and spirit of the law. This is how it's supposed to work.

    Having said that, I've also worked at places that brought in H-1Bs in preference to American workers, even when the domestic workers were more qualified for the position. The reason? Money. At one place I worked (dev group of 14 with 4 domestic workers), the highest paid of that group was at about my experience and competence level, yet was paid less than 2/3 of my salary, and the company made it very clear to all of them that if they didn't toe the line, they were welcome to go right back to the five different nations they came from. Of course, personal experience doesn't mean it happens everywhere, but I've seen it enough to believe that there are a non-trivial number of employers that are in fact abusing the program.

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.