As many of you know, the Obama administration, and the Bush one before them, have tried to ease the immigration standoff in Congress by becoming their own mini-Congress, in effect making their own laws via executive order. The best known case involved giving work rights to the spouses of H-1B visa holders.
Recently, the Obama people tried the same approach to ease the long wait for a green card, among employer-sponsored workers. That has now backfired, as reported in this Minneapolis Star-Tribune article. The administration, in an attempt to give the green card waiters more mobility before their immigrant visa comes through, apparently miscalculated. As a result, it first promised lots of people that they would be mobile soon under the new rules, but then reversed their decision. The H-1B advocacy group Immigrant Voice is up in arms.
On the one hand, I can sympathize. I’ve long stated that those waiting for a green card are de facto indentured servants — and that many employers like it that way. But I must say that these foreign workers, in complaining about their woes, seem to have no inkling of the woes they cause many Americans, when employers hire them over equally-qualified Americans. And, as is common among the former foreign students now working in the U.S., we see an unwarranted sense of entitlement.
What is also interesting about the article is that it shows, once again, how the H-1Bs hired as foreign students at U.S. universities are mostly ordinary people doing ordinary work — NOT “the best and the brightest,” as claimed by the industry lobbyists.
The foreign worker highlighted in the lead paragraph, Haifeng Xiao, attended a non-elite university in China, and a non-elite university in the U.S. She is doing work that many Americans could do. As I said, ordinary people doing ordinary work.
The other main profile in the article is Srikanth Peddireddy. He has an MBA from a top school, but his job title is Performance Excellence Manager. Really, are there no qualified Americans available for that position?
So, why did the government reverse itself? One expert I consulted thinks the government simply added up its figures incorrectly. It’s also possible they are afraid of another lawsuit by the American workers. Or, it could just be that the tech industry quietly explained to DOS that it WANTS those workers to be immobile.