In a July 3 post, “California Legislature Discovers H-1B,” I wrote,
There is no state that is politically more pro-immigration than my state of California, especially as we grow more and more Latino demographically. And yet our Assembly has now passed a resolution calling for an investigation of the H-1B work visa. Indeed, even the list of sponsors of the bill is striking in terms of surnames: Two of the authors are named Garcia and Hernandez, and the coauthors include many legislators from immigrant-dominated Latino, Asian and other communities, such as Chiu, Garcia, Gonzalez, Alejo, Bonilla, Bonta, Calderon, Campos, Chau, Chu, Gomez, Lopez, Medina, Nazarian, Rodriguez, Salas, Santiago and Ting.
I cautioned, though, though, that the bill, and its companion bill regarding outsourcing of jobs at utilities, would likely be political nonstarters: “Count on Democratic Governor Jerry Brown to veto Hernandez’s bill too, if it’s not quashed earlier in the legislative process.” And now exactly that appears to have occurred, as a Computerworld article reports that both bills have been sidelined. Though the bills are technically still eligible for consideration in January, it’s a safe bet that this won’t happen.
Why the change of heart? Of course, it might not be a change of heart at all — maybe it was just political posturing — but my guess is that it was explained to the Democrats, especially the Latino ones, that H-1B is the bargaining chip the Democrats have in Congress in hope of gaining amnesty for the unauthorized immigrants.
Readers may also recall that although I had earlier praised Donald Trump’s position on H-1B on August 16, a couple of days later I wrote an outraged blog piece reporting that Trump had “clarified” his position, in that he thinks those who are hired as foreign students at U.S. universities are the “good” H-1Bs. He apparently reiterated his support for giving work visas to foreign students yesterday, as Jon Feere of CIS (@JonFeere) tweeted
Not much applause for @realDonaldTrump’s suggestion that foreign students be allowed to stay when their visa expires. #immigration
I don’t know what caused Trump’s U-turn, but I suspect it is a combination of threats from the tech industry, the “Intel Good, Infosys Bad” viewpoint prevalent among some in the H-1B reform movement, and the attitude I have mentioned before in DC, along the lines of “Let’s steal China’s engineers.”