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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 Anonymous Coward on Friday June 27, 2014 @04:20PM (#47335899)

    That's a euphemism for "Let the illegal immigrants (criminals) stay in the country".

  • by TheNastyInThePasty ( 2382648 ) on Friday June 27, 2014 @04:23PM (#47335927)

    Next year may create an entirely new set of problems for tech.

    Problems like how to treat their employees like human beings rather than disposable trash?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 27, 2014 @04:24PM (#47335937)

    Now maybe the IT jobs will pay a little better and people over 40 can get a IT job.

    Just say no to a cheaper, but less productive H-B1 visa holder

  • by lawnboy5-O ( 772026 ) on Friday June 27, 2014 @04:26PM (#47335949)
    Exactly - there are plenty of workers here in America that can fill that void - employers are just reluctant to pay the proper price for it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 27, 2014 @04:31PM (#47335999)

    google cognizant. Lots of forum posts by their employees complaining that the company won't sponsor for a greencard. When you don't sponsor they have to leave. Company I work for refused to spend money on an h1b to continue sponsoring him , but brought in contractors who were L-2 visa holders at an india company instead. they don't want greencard holders. sponsorship costs a little money and once they get a greencard they can get market wages and will quit.

    look if companies have been h1b dependent for this long its because the ones they sponsor are not getting converted to greencard and/or quitting when they do because the job sucked. they just want lower wages with worse terms. its so obvious.

    rather odd that a guy from Iowa is the one guy seeing it. But go Grassley. If you just give them all greencards to start with.. then you will see the real demand for immigrant workers. cause they can quit.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 27, 2014 @04:34PM (#47336023)

    My personal problem with all this talk of immigration reform has been the consistent desire by both parties to making the expansion of E-Verify [] a requirement of any bill. To sum it up, E-Verify is a way for the executive branch to block the employment of anyone that the database flags. Or more colloquially, you have to get permission from the president in order to feed and house your family.

    One of the biggest problems with e-verify is the false negative rate. Even if you assume absolutely no malice, [] you can easily end up on the "no work list" by accident. [] Note, that's not a false positive - giving people permission to work when they aren't permitted, it is stopping people who have done nothing wrong in the slightest.

    Requiring government permission to work is absolutely unacceptable policy in a free society. E-verify is a case where the cure is worse than the disease.

  • by sycodon ( 149926 ) on Friday June 27, 2014 @04:34PM (#47336025)

    I think I probably speak for many on Slashdot when I say, Fuck You

  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Friday June 27, 2014 @04:43PM (#47336103) Homepage Journal

    Nonsense. I support eliminating the H1-B program entirely. Poof, gone. I also support streamlining the legal immigration program. Supporters of H1-B don't mind letting "them" do the dirty work, but god forbid "that kind" should move in!

    So who is the racist, the guy that welcomes actual immigrants or the guy who wants to churn 'em and burn 'em?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 27, 2014 @04:48PM (#47336145)

    You are a fucking idiot. You want to come here, like my grandparents and everyone before them:
    1. Go to your home country
    2. Go to your embassy
    3. Fill out a form
    4. If you are smart or rich, you can come
    5. When you get here, we will make sure you have no communicative diseases (i.e. Ellis Island)
    6. If you are clean, welcome, you are free to compete
    7. If you are sick, GOTO #1

    That is basic immigration.

    Here is H1 logic:
    1. Company needs to hire somebody
    2. Oops, there is no one with that skill
    3. Unfortunately, here is where a government program may help... They contact them with the appropriate skill needed. If there is a an American with that skill, anywhere in the FUCKING country. You don't get an H1. For example, asteroid mining experience. I am fine with an H1. Therefore, go look at the list of people who have applied at their local embassy, but haven't gotten here yet.

    All in all, for everyone who disagrees with this FUCK YOU!

  • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Friday June 27, 2014 @04:48PM (#47336155)

    >It's a federal civil infraction, legally less serious than minor copyright infringement.

    No, it's a crime. Just like copyright infringement.

    If the MAFIAA can continue to say that copyright infringement is a crime, then we need to do the same for all civil infractions.

  • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Friday June 27, 2014 @04:51PM (#47336179)

    > In order to be H-1B eligible a position has to pay at least the prevailing wage for the job title in the region that the job is located. .

    That's not really enforced.

    The big problem with H1Bs is that they're basically indentured servants (as you note), and it's very difficult for them to change jobs. So the companies can pressure them for more work, via unpaid overtime.

    They need to change the system so that H1Bs can switch jobs at any time, with no penalty. If companies are really THAT desperate for workers, they'll pay the filing costs and legal fees anyway, even if there's a chance the employee will leave. If they don't want to, then they're really not that desperate for workers are they?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 27, 2014 @04:55PM (#47336205)

    Let me spell this out for you since you still don't seem to understand Left-Right politics thing:
    The oligarchy in charge introduces a bill that does 2 things:
      - raise legal immigration
      - pathway for citizenship for illegal immigrants.

    Then R's complain the that the D's want to import new voters from people who came here illegally (and continuing to screw people who follow your ridiculous legal immigration procedures).
    The D's then argue that the R's are xenophobic, hate immigrants, are heartless, and are hurting business by not allowing them access to the workers they need.

    The truths are:
    - R's are not opposed to legal immigration, and for the most part, would be happy to raise the legal caps. Often, the sensible ones at least, would support legalizing the people who are already here as long as it could be guaranteed that no more are going to come in illegally.
    - D's are being realistic that it's unfeasible to send all the illegals back to wherever the hell they came from (the PR from doing anything else would be a nightmare).
    - It's becomes a wedge issue which polarizes the politic base, and makes them get behind their team - either 'D' or 'R'. Nothing on the issue ever gets done that actually solves the problem, because the issue itself is far too useful to manipulate public opinion at large. Instead the issue is used as a rallying cry to gain support, get donations and votes, so they can continue to cram stuff that everyone hates down our throats - like NSA surveillance. It is no coincidence that the very next week after the Snowden revelations came out a year ago, was when the immigration bill was introduced and put on a fast track (it was used to distract the public from the fact you no longer have the 4th amendment).

    Other similarly misunderstood issues which behave the same way include (but are not limited to):
    - the environment
    - climate change
    - gay marriage
    - flag burning amendments
    - gun rights
    - creationism
    - terrorism/national security
    - family values

    Now, hopefully, you understand politics 101 a little better.

  • by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Friday June 27, 2014 @04:56PM (#47336211)

    Those of you who believe that an H-1B worker is paid less than a domestic worker don't know anything about the requirements of the program. In order to be H-1B eligible a position has to pay at least the prevailing wage for the job title in the region that the job is located.

    Not if the "prevailing wage" has already been artificially lowered by the presence of so many H1-B workers. An a regular American work can also do things like quit if the job sucks and ask for raises.

  • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Friday June 27, 2014 @05:17PM (#47336479)

    Why does the US need a population infusion? All the new manufacturing in the US is heavily automated; in fact, the big fear now is that increasing automation is going to render many lower and middle-class jobs obsolete. We aren't going to need taxi drivers pretty soon, for instance, because of driver-less cars. The economy's in the shitter (except for the 1%), and good-paying jobs are drying up. So why again do we need a population infusion?

    Are you advocating that we start treating workers the way they do in China, where they live in company barracks as virtual slaves and there's no minimum wage? This seems to be what the open-borders advocates are advocating these days: bringing in a giant number of easily-exploited laborers so that corporate profits can be increased.

    I thought the Republicans were supposed to be the ones in the pockets of Big Business, but these days it seems that the Democrats are the ones more guilty of that.

  • by MondoGordo ( 2277808 ) on Friday June 27, 2014 @05:23PM (#47336541)
    Minimal is not free ... and please provide a cite supporting your statement that "H-1B workers routinely get paid less than their American counterparts" In my (personal) experience I can truthfully say that I started at a salary comparable to my American peers, got regular raises and talked back a fair bit. (full disclosure ... I came down from the frozen north, not India or Mexico, so my cultural baggage was not typical and it may have influenced the way I was treated, but I never saw my Indian counterparts treated any differently.
  • by melchoir55 ( 218842 ) on Friday June 27, 2014 @05:27PM (#47336585)

    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?

    If the wages available to him weren't un-livably low because he would compete with people who don't pay taxes while taking advantages of social programs...? Yes. The unemployed white guy would pick lettuce. A similar effect is strongly depressing wages in the tech sector.

    Being white has nothing to do with willingness to work. Economic realities do, though.

  • by alexander_686 ( 957440 ) on Friday June 27, 2014 @05:42PM (#47336709)

    I am for increasing immigration and immigration reform but this remark is off base.

    Most illegal immigrants are drawn to America for its economic opportunities and are not seeking asylum due to prosecution from back home (political, religious, etc.).

  • by Kagato ( 116051 ) on Friday June 27, 2014 @06:11PM (#47337001)

    What it's done is placed a carrot out there to bring on H1-B programmers instead of college hires.

    With an H1-B the employer has a lot of power over the employee. They can't move jobs with out sponsorship. It's very easy to knock them out of the country. You can easily classify them in a lower pay band because they have very little recourse. These employees usually get little to know employee development (i.e. money).

    With a college hire the employee can change jobs at will. You as the employer are expected to put money into employee development. And in the end they are likely to leave after a couple years to seek greener pastures.

    So yes, the H1-B program has done tremendous harm to our country. I consult with many large companies and I haven't seen a intern in a programming department in half a decade. College hires are few and far between. It's a radical change from how things were when I started in the 90s. Simply put business have put their money into short term H1-B and Offshore workers. They stopped putting money into college hires. Now they whine they can't find qualifies workers because they stopped investing in Junior programmers a decade ago.

  • by Stan92057 ( 737634 ) on Friday June 27, 2014 @06:46PM (#47337269)
    Yes we all were, BUT my grandfather did not cross a border illegally he didn't game the system to get access. He and millions became an American through legal means. Mexicans are gaming the system illegally crossing the borders they are gaming the politicians with bleeding heart stories and they are sad stories but if they didn't game the system in the first place then they wouldn't have a sad story to tell. I do not fell sorry for 1 person who illegally came across the border that is being forced to go back. Do it legally and there will be no sad stories only happy ones.
  • by bADlOGIN ( 133391 ) on Friday June 27, 2014 @06:48PM (#47337277) Homepage

    Familiar with the Dreyfus model of skills acquisition? []

    Sure you are. It goes like this: Want to be an expert? First you need to to be proficient. Want to be proficient? First you need to have been competent. Want to be competent? First you need to have been an advanced beginner? Want to be an advanced beginner? First you'll need to be a novice. Want to be a novice? Great! Just get started learning by following the rules and doing what people around you do. Experience will let you unwind the stack.

    Every profession maps to this. It's a type of career ladder. And what do H1-B's do? They seriously knock out the chances of getting a position on the lower rungs of the ladder. H1-B aren't taking me and other Gen-Xers jobs, they're taking the millennial's jobs. And the Baby Boomers who pissed & shit in the punch bowl that used to hold the American dream don't care enough to do anything about it. They started setting the tone for all this bullshit over 10 years ago and just like everything else, now we're left holding the bag.

    Fuck class warfare. I think there's some serious generational knuckle dusting that needs to be applied to those in power in BOTH political parties regarding what's happened on their watch to whole notion of careers they've been selling to the rest of us.

  • by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Friday June 27, 2014 @07:02PM (#47337383) Journal

    Most immigrants are not H1B.

  • by DamnOregonian ( 963763 ) on Friday June 27, 2014 @07:20PM (#47337515)
    Fuck you with a soldering iron, seriously.

    You took a serious concern about importing indentured servants and turned it into a stereotype of a racial stereotyper?

    I have no problem with immigration, and I have no problem with corporate sponsored visas to that end. The problem I, and many have, is that an H1-B visa allows you to pull someone in with highly theoretical rights. Given legislation that already makes it so programmers in general are commonly subjected to a de-facto requirement of uncompensated 20-30 hours past 40, you cannot tell me there is a shortage of actual labor. Only a shortage of cheap labor. And in an industry that has cash spewing out of its pores, that's a pile of bullshit. At least right now though, I can use my extra hours to justify a wage significantly above "prevailing". Every person they pull in from a culture that is more used to their people being corporate slaves increases the economic pressure for me to behave like one.

    The H1-B needs fixing. If they want to import labor due to an actual labor shortage, import them without caveat. That labor shortage doesn't really exist though.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 28, 2014 @01:24AM (#47338987)

    Immigrants, even poor ones, pay more than their share of social services. Mostly because they use such services much less.

    Whites and Blacks disproportionately use these services because it's easier for them to navigate the systems, which are byzantine. Plus, if you get all your income in the grey labor market without a paper trail, good luck getting approved for welfare benefits.

    The only plausible issue is with schools. It's hard to dispute that schools are struggling to educate immigrant students. But this is overshadowed by their struggle to teach the poor in general. In dollar terms it's nothing what people think it is.

  • by techhead79 ( 1517299 ) on Saturday June 28, 2014 @04:46AM (#47339359)

    Simply put business have put their money into short term H1-B and Offshore workers.

    Which is a symptom of a problem that started many years before 2000. The race to the bottom line really has no limits.

    With a college hire the employee can change jobs at will. You as the employer are expected to put money into employee development.

    What I've found impressive with the H1-B visa holders I've worked with is the network they have to train them. Some of their resumes are fluff, but you'd never know it because what they don't know they don't just have google there for them but a network of other H1-B visa holders to answer questions and basically provide that "on the job" training they supposedly don't need. That's what college kids also have to compete with, not just low pay and the inability to hop jobs...but a training network.

    In order for CS college grads to compete with H1-B visa holders they would need an additional year or so training just for language and technologies they will be using in one specific job (a few java classes on basics doesn't train you in j2ee, php doesn't teach you about phar files or frameworks, a few JavaScript classes doesn't teach you anything close to the insanity business users request front ends to do with it)...then they would need to sign a contract with the employer that states they will not change jobs again for at least X number of years....or get a raise for that long either....or have any benefits....then they would be on par with H1-B visa holders.

    They can't compete so they will not get hired. The only way to win this (yes, I have a side because I too used to be a fresh out of college kid and it took me a decade doing odd free jobs to gain the experience you need to get a job now. Today I spend my days teaching H1-B visa holders how to write clean code and solve basically everything they can't figure out.) is to give H1-B visa holders more rights just as any employee would have. Give them the right to play the market just as US employees can. It might seem ass backwards, but fighting change that large corporations profit from almost never works in an oligarchy owned by them. I'll give them that I've yet to meet one that isn't a hard worker (granted they got here for a reason), but in terms of technical ability they are no better or worse than a college grad...and I think we can at least agree there are plenty of them without a job?

    Of the college interns I've worked with I was very impressed and they were far far more independent than any H1-B visa holder I've ever met. Granted the interns at my company would have already been at the top of their class though.

Pascal is not a high-level language. -- Steven Feiner