Employers’ Guide to Working Around the Durbin/Grassley Bill

Dear employers who rely on IT workers supplied by Infosys and similar rent-a-programmer firms:

You may have heard that the recently introduced Durbin/Grassley H-1B/L-1 reform bill will end business as we know it for the Infosyses. But really, you have nothing to worry about.

First, even if the bill were enacted, it would first be greatly watered down during the legislative process, as happened with previous incarnations of the bill, due to pressure from the lobbyists. The latter would also achieve further emasculation of the bill when the Dept. of Labor would set up the regulations to implement the bill. Keep in mind that Senator Rubio’s main immigration adviser is from the giant Fragomen immigration law firm, which represents Infosyses.

But, just for the sake of argument, suppose the bill stays completely intact. In that scenario, you still have excellent options!

One solution would be to shift from an Indian Infosys to IBM, Cognizant or Accenture (or many other firms that will open rent-a-programmer departments to cash in on the clipping of the Infosyses’ wings). There may be a slight wage increase, but basically it will be business as usual.

The bill does subject all employers, including those mentioned above, to requirement that American workers be given hiring priority, but this requirement, long in place for the Infosyses and for the green card process, is notoriously easy to circumvent. No worries here.

Second, the bill gives work visa issuance priority to foreign students at U.S. colleges and universities. The Googles and Facebooks will grab the MIT grads, of course, but you’ll have plenty of students left to choose from who are of quality equal to or better than the H-1Bs you currently use from Indian schools. If you are a company like SCE in southern California, for instance, there are no fewer than TEN CSU campuses nearby, and lots more just a day’s drive away, easy to bring in for interviews.

The Infosyses will be hiring the foreign students too, either as OPTs or in a separate bill Congress will enact later, Staple-a-Green Card, so the firms won’t violate the 50% H-1B/L-1 limit in the Durbin/Grassley bill.

Remember, although the Infosyses are quite skilled at cost cutting, the main reason they’re currently able to supply you with cheap workers is that those workers are YOUNG.  The new foreign student grads will almost all be young, so again, business as usual.

All is good.

 

 

 

 

New NACE Data: Slight Dip in CS Salaries

I often refer to data from NACE, the National Association of Colleges and Employers, which works with college placement offices to collect data on trends in starting salaries, by field.

The figures for computer science, though higher than for most other majors, as has been the case over the years, have never shown a sharp upward trend indicating a labor shortage. The CS figure in the current survey, Fall 2015, at $65,004, is nearly 4% below the one reported last fall, when the figure was $67,500. (These numbers are specific to CS; read the text part rather than the charts.) This is particularly interesting in that salaries overall rose 5.2%.

Also interesting are the results for petroleum engineering, often cited by researchers such as Hal Salzman of Rutgers as evidence that, rather than bringing in foreign workers, national policy should just let the market work. There was a sudden demand for petroleum engineers, so enrollment in such majors went up accordingly. Now, as we know, the boom has turned to bust, and sure enough, the average starting salary plummeted from $86,255 to $72,063. Still high, but the effect of market forces is clear.

All this is especially important in view of the “staple a green card” proposals in Congress, which would give fast-track green cards to foreign Master’s and PhD students in U.S. STEM programs. These workers become permanent fixtures in the labor market, which hardly justifies bringing them in to remedy “shortages,” which are typically not real and are short-lived even when they are real.

 

Malkin/Miano Book Exposes the H-1B PR Machine

As many of you know,  prominent journalist Michelle Malkin and long-time H-1B activist John Miano have a new book out, Sold Out: How High-Tech Billionaires and Bipartisan Beltway Crapweasels Are Screwing America’s Best and Brightest Workers. I highly recommend it.

Some may object to the book’s title as being too in-your-face, and not sufficiently staid. “Is ‘crapweasel’ even a slang word,” I asked myself (the answer is yes).

Malkin just rubs some people the wrong way. Yesterday a reader on my e-mail list (where I announce blog postings) angrily demanded that I remove his name from the list, due to my having spoken positively of Malkin. I remember vividly a friend telling me, circa 1999, “She’s drop-dead gorgeous — but her views are laughable.” I’m a liberal, and I strongly disagree with a lot of what she has said over the years, but she’s very smart, takes no guff from the vested interests, and has collaborated with John to produce an outstanding book.

This morning I was shocked and saddened to receive another angry e-mail request to remove the e-mail writer’s name from my mailing list. The writer is a Hill staffer, whom I’ve known and admired for a number of years, but who took great offense at one recent blog post of mine, and presumably at another as well. I must reluctantly take this as possible confirmation of my recent speculation that both major parties are worried that the H-1B issue could mushroom in next year’s election campaign, with the Malkin/Miano book playing a part. Passage of the Durbin/Grassley bill would solve that “problem,” and we’d never hear about H-1B from Trump, Rubio, Cruz and Huckabee again. Yet, the hiring of foreign workers would continue unabated, and likely increased in the coming year or so.

If the book’s strident, muckraking style bothers you, then you really don’t get it about H-1B. People are getting hurt and the national interest is being harmed, so you shouldn’t let the book’s very personal ravaging of specific “crapweasels” worry you.

The material in pp.66-72 alone would make the book well worth reading. Some of it appears on Malkin’s Web page, concerning the oft-cited finding by economist Madeleine Zavodny that each H-1B hired creates 2.62 new jobs for the nation. I’ll close with an excerpt:

NFAP’s Zavodny study was published by the American Enterprise Institute, sponsored by open-borders billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Partnership for a New American Economy…

Zavodny’s study initially examined data from the years 2000 to 2010. She hypothesized that states with more foreign-born workers would have higher rates of employment among native-born Americans. Initially, she was unable to find a significant effect of foreign-born workers on U.S. jobs.

So what changed? In correspondence with John Miano, co-author of our new book “Sold Out” on the foreign guest-worker racket, and I, Zavodny revealed that when she showed her initial results to the study sponsor, the backers came up with the idea of discarding the last three years of data — ostensibly to eliminate the effects of the economic recession — and trying again…

Voila! After re-crunching the numbers at the sponsor’s request, Zavodny found the effect the study sponsor was hoping to find.

To her credit, Zavodny provided her data to a curious software developer in Silicon Valley who was interested in immigration policy. The blogger, R. Davis, discovered a number of serious methodological deficiencies in Zavodny’s work.

Most importantly, he documented that Zavodny’s results are highly sensitive to the date range selected. When she studied the years 2000-2007, she found 100 foreign-born workers in STEM fields with advanced degrees from U.S. universities were associated with 262 additional jobs for native-born Americans. But change the date range a little bit to 2002-2008, and the exact same regression model shows the destruction of 110 jobs for natives, according to the independent researcher.

 

More Disagreement with Me over ‘Intels vs. Infosyses’

I’ve been harping on the “Intels vs. Infosyses” issue for a long time. I maintain that the Intels, i.e. the mainstream U.S. firms, are just as culpable in abusing foreign tech worker program as are the Infosyses, the largely Indian and Indian-American rent-a-programmer firms. (IBM is an “Infosys” too.) I’ve also argued that the distinction between the two types of firms not only is inaccurate, but will lead to legislation that leaves American programmers and engineers in even worse circumstances than they are in presently.

Alas, this is a hard sell, partly because the Intels and their allies (e.g. universities who want lots of foreign students) are pushing the “Intels Good, Infosyses Bad” idea in expert PR actions. But the larger reason I’ve had trouble in getting this point across is that the abuses of the Infosyses are much more visible. Recently, these misdeeds have been highly visible, due to firms like Disney and SCE laying off American ITers and replacing them by foreign workers. Another way the Infosyses are so visible is that many U.S. programmers have had the bitter experience of walking into a job interview, finding that the interviewers are all Indian and getting the feeling that only Indian foreign nationals need apply. (Indian-American applicants have no chance either.)

Take this comment on my blog by Roy Lawson:

…there is evidence that foreign outplacement firms have been the most egregious of abusers. We have identified key harms as being underpayment, replacement of qualified Americans, and age/gender discrimination. American and Indian firms alike have done all of those things. The data indicates foreign staffing firms pay the least and discriminate the most against Americans.

But the problem is that there is NO such evidence, because the Intels’ actions are hidden. They don’t overtly use foreign workers to REPLACE Americans, but they hire foreign workers INSTEAD OF Americans. Even a 10-year-old could see that the net adverse impact is the same.

My research on the Intels does show underpayment of the foreign workers. Please read my papers.

As to age/gender discrimination, all the lawsuits I know of against tech companies have been against the Intels, not the Infosyses. Indeed, the book Inside Intel documents how a management consultant hired by Intel advised the firm to jettison its older workers and henceforth hire mainly young ones. Intel has formal job categories called New College Graduate and Recent College Graduate, and earmarks jobs accordingly. I’ve shown similar job ads from time to time here from other “Intels,” e.g. Facebook. HP even invented a bizarre new job title, Junior Software Engineer. And guess which new grads the employers prefer?

In terms of discrimination against Americans, I’ve explained that the Intels are actually worse than the Infosyses, because a major goal of the Intels in hiring H-1Bs is to obtain immobile labor through the green card process — a process that the Infosyses almost never participate in. And the result is that the Intels prefer foreign workers over equally-qualified Americans.

If you are not familiar with the case of David Huber, who naively applied for a job at Cisco that turned out to be reserved for foreign workers, or if you haven’t watched the “Tubegate” videos, or if you haven’t read the presentation by immigration lawyer David Swaim (who designed Texas Instruments’ immigration policy) urging employers to hire foreign students instead of Americans because of immoblity — all of which involve the Intels and not the Infosyses — then you don’t know anything about H-1B.

The only claim Roy makes above that’s correct is that the Infosyses tend to pay at Level I in the prevailing wage system, while the Intels tend to hire somewhat more sophisticated workers, paying at Level II. But they are both underpaying at their respective levels. And by that underpayment, an American of a given level will always be less attractive to employers than the equally-qualified foreign applicant. This is the bottom line, folks — the American loses the job to the foreign worker. The fact that it doesn’t happen via overt replacement is irrelevent. Again, even our hypothetical 10-year-old observer could see that.

And it matters — a LOT. I’ve been predicting that upshot of this Intels vs. Infosyses distraction is that a bill will be enacted that (at least cosmetically) punishes the Infosyses while rewarding the Intels, with the result that there are NO net job opportunity increases for U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Congress will then declare victory over H-1B abuse, and move on to other issues. If the new Durbin/Grassley bill passes, all those Republican presidential candidates clamoring for H-1B “reform” will suddenly clam up, problem solved.

Remember, the Intels include firms like SCE and Disney too. Even if Congress were to completely ban the Infosyses — it won’t happen, as they have political clout too — SCE for instance would have its pick of foreign students, in the numerous colleges right there in its back yard, Southern California — 10 CSU campuses, just to give a quick example. Google may not want to hire them but SCE will. And SCE will hire from the higher-level local schools too, such as hiring a foreign student majoring in Geography at UCLA who has had some IT classes. (I’ve seen this happen a lot.)

Again, the Infosyses as Bogeymen

Bruce Morrison is a congressperson-turned-high-priced lobbyist representing IEEE-USA, an electrical engineering organization that had been quite critical of the H-1B visa program in the 1990s but which made a U-turn in 2000, apparently after heavy pressure from the corporate-dominated IEEE parent organization. He has long held that the business model of the “Infosyses” — primarily Indian and Indian-American rent-a-programmer firms that gobble up a big chunk of the H-1B visa cap — is counter to the aims of the H-1B law, which he helped enact 25 years ago. He is now even claiming that the Infosyses’ use of the program is illegal. He also defends the use of H-1B by the “Intels,” the big mainstream U.S. firms.

Of course, the real intent in establishing the H-1B program was to provide the Intels cheap foreign labor, so any talk about the original aims of the law is a bit silly. But the ostensible reason for H-1B is to remedy labor shortages, and it is worthwhile to ask whether the Infosyses fit that aim.

I’ve addressed this before. If there were a real tech labor shortage, there would be nothing wrong with renting out H-1Bs to third-party employers. If company X can’t find the workers it needs, what is so terrible about X going to an agent, such as Infosys, to acquire such workers? Infosys would still be remedying a labor shortage in that scenario.

But, you say, the Infosyses REPLACE American workers, and thus are not remedying a shortage. Fine, but (a) most of what the Infosyses do amounts to facilitate the hiring of foreign workers INSTEAD OF Americans, rather than using the foreigners to DIRECTLY REPLACE Americans, and (b) all the big mainstream firms do exactly what the Infosyses do in the sense of (a).

In other words, Morrison is setting up a red herring.

But now Morrison is bringing up a new issue, or at least in a new vein: In the scenario with company X above, X should be considered the real employer of the H-1B. If the government were to agree with Morrison in this regard — which it won’t, and shouldn’t in my opinion — the Infosyses will celebrate, as they suddenly would be freed from the various constraints that “H-1B-dependent employer” status imposes on them.

In related news, I’m told that a close associate of Morrison played a role in authoring the new Durbin-Grassley bill, about which I was so negative for its rewarding of the “Intels.” Yep, lobbyists, writing bills to benefit their clients; did you really think earnest congressional staffers did this work?

Conspiracy Theories

Over the years of my writing this blog and before that an e-newsletter, I’ve received mail from a number of techies claiming conspiracies of one sort or another. They are convinced, for instance, that the reason the press has not properly covered the H-1B/green card issue is that reporters are stifled by the corporate interests that run the print and electronic media.

I’ve generally disagreed with such claims. I think most journalists (and their editors) are sincere people, trying to report the news accurately as they see it. The problem is that latter qualifier; their views of the problem are distorted by the extremely efficient tech industry propaganda machine. I might fault them for lack of full due diligence in tracking down the industry’s claims, but no, I don’t think they are being censored.

However, as the old joke goes, “Sometimes a person is paranoid because someone is out to get him.” It is rather mind boggling that mainstream, “insider” Republican presidential candidates Rubio, Cruz and Huckabee are suddenly speaking out against H-1B.  Marco Rubio a critic of H-1B? Who knew? 🙂 And that suggests, yes, a possible conspiracy of a sort, as I will explain shortly.

I’ve mentioned many times that the Disney and SCE incidents have distorted the discussion on H-1B and green cards, but I’ve also noted that at least now there IS a discussion. Donald Trump may still be rather hazy on the matter himself, but he did force it into the forefront. So now suddenly, it has become a presidential campaign issue.

As I’ve noted before, except for Bernie Sanders, the Democrats have been mum on this issue. On the contrary, even the Democrats who spoke out against H-1B in the past have clammed up in the last couple of years. But now that the Republicans are talking about it, the Democrats will have to face the issue, especially because Hillary Clinton has a terrible record on H-1B, being quite cozy with the Infosyses, truly awful stuff.

Accordingly, I believe that it may be possible that both parties agree to keep the H-1B visa issue OUT of next year’s election campaign. Thus there may actually be action on the Grassley bill, which was announced yesterday and which I strongly criticized. The Democrats have been holding H-1B hostage to secure amnesty for the unauthorized immigrants, but they surely don’t want to see Republican TV commercials next year showing Clinton telling an Indian-American group that she is the “senator from Punjab.” And now there is this pesky new book by H-1B activist John Miano and prominent journalist Michelle Malkin. Better to nip this H-1B thing in the bud, the two parties may agree.

“But,” you say, “didn’t new House Speaker Paul Ryan say there would be no legislation on immigration until 2017?” Yup. But remember, the pols have an out — H-1B is officially termed a nonimmigrant visa. Gotcha. So, H-1B “reform” now, plus the Obama expansion of OPT, and then look for the coup de grace in 2017, staple-a-green-card legislation for foreign students.

Grassley Bill Disappointing

No one has more admiration for Senator Chuck Grassley than I, but I must say I am deeply disappointed with his new bill.

I have endorsed Grassley’s previous bills — but only because I found one particular feature useful: The bills would redefine the official prevailing wage to be the median in the given occupation and region, overall, not broken down according to experience levels. The remainder of the Grassley provisions applied to the “Infosyses,” and as I have said so often, the “Intels” are just as culpable. I’ve warned repeatedly that if there is any real clampdown on the Infosyses in the end (doubtful), the offshoring work will simply shift to American outsourcing firms like IBM — i.e. NO shift to hiring Americans.

Unfortunately, the new bill suffers from exactly the same problems, and indeed makes things worse, in my opinion. Granted, the old prevailing wage redefinition provision is still there, BUT that provision was the first one to be emasculated in negotiations in the old Grassley bills. I’m sure it would not survive in the current one either.

I was stunned by a feature in the new bill that prioritizes the doling out of visas. Actually, I have endorsed proposals made by others to prioritize in the order of offered salary, but this new bill doesn’t do that. Instead, it places foreign students as top priority — a blatant gift to the Intels. Workers who really do have a high salary offer (defined as the top of the 4 levels in the current prevailing wage system) would only get second priority. This makes no sense at all, especially in light of documented evidence that the foreign students are of lower average quality than the Americans. Presumably this was a move to make the bill palatable to the industry, but it’s just wrong.

The bill does have an Internet posting requirement, and this would be somewhat helpful, especially in combination with the bill’s provision for better opportunities for spurned American applicants to complain. However, as the Cohen and Grigsby videos show, the current green card process, which (unlike H-1B) already requires recruitment of American workers, is easily circumvented. This will get even worse if the current White House proposal to expand OPT is approved, as the foreign students will acquire experience in the job supposedly posted on the Internet as open to all, thus rendering the foreign students “more qualified” than the Americans. (Alas, the bill does nothing about OPT.)

I won’t go into the various provisions that target the Infosyses here, but instead will address the bottom-line question: Would this bill help American STEM workers?

I’ve already mentioned above that the bill would make it EASIER for the Intels to hire foreign workers. What about the Infosyses? In other words, would this bill have prevented the Disney and SCE fiascos, in which Infosys provided foreign workers to replace existing American workers? The answer is, not really. As I’ve mentioned before, for instance, there has been too much emphasis in the recent H-1B debate on the word replace, and the bill also focuses on this word. I’ve explained also that even in the Disney and SCE cases, the employers could make a good argument that the fired American workers were not actually replaced. And again, even if the Infosyses were outright banned, Disney and SCE could hire from IBM, and — mark my words — would also turn to hiring the foreign students.

One longtime activist against the H-1B program suggested recently that I am being too picky, that I am insisting on perfect legislation, dismissing legislation that would be helpful if imperfect. But I countered that the test should always be the bottom line — would a bill help Americans? I submit that the answer, sadly, is no for this new Grassley bill.

It’s so sad that the H-1B/green card issue has been badly distorted by the artificial Intels/Infosyses distinction, which by the way the New York Times has so enthusiastically signed on to that I am beginning to suspect it is deliberate, rather than stemming from ignorance.

TPP: Yep, the Old Fingers-Crossed-Behind-the-Back Trick

Back in May, I posted here about the TPP trade agreement, then so secret that even those allowed to view it were not allowed to take notes (this in our so-called “open” society in the U.S.). Inter alia, I sad:

number of people have charged that TPP could be used to sidestep Congress in setting immigration policy. TPP proponents dismiss that as an “urban legend,” but none of them has categorically denied the possibility, and guess what! Even if TPP were not to have any power over immigration at all (which is not clear), the pro-TPP pols have a surefire fingers-crossed-behind-the-back way to lie about TPP and H-1B: The latter is officially a nonimmigrant visa.

By coincidence, I recently mentioned an incident in which a reporter for one of the nation’s very top newspapers had dismissed this “nonimmigrant visa” terminology. She wrote to me,

I am aware that the term of law for foreign workers on temporary visas is “non-immigrant.” But it is legal jargon that we avoid [at this MSM outlet], in no small part because its tone is insulting to the foreigners. (From non-immigrant to non-person is not a long way.)

My point at the time was not whether the press should get very technical in terms of legalisms, but rather that this reporter and her newspaper considered the term nonimmigrant insulting, which I thought was ludicrous. Nevertheless some readers missed my point and defended the notion of avoiding overly legalistic terminology.

Yet, as I warned in that post in May, such legalisms could give the politicians a perfect way out in TPP. They could insert very liberal terms concerning H-1B into TPP, all while assuring the public, “Don’t worry, there is nothing about immigration in TPP.”

And that indeed appears to have come true, according to an article by Neil Munro in — yes, again — Breitbart.  Here is an excerpt:

House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), plus Michael Froman, the chief U.S. trade negotiator, and many other officials, have deceptively claimed that the TPP trade deal makes no changes to the nation’s immigration laws, Jenks said. “It is the sleight-of-hand that is so typical of Washington,” she said.

“It is technically true… [that] TPP would not require us, up front, to change our immigration laws,” she said, if it is approved by the House and Senate next year. But it would create an huge new market for service companies to use existing laws to hire foreign service professionals for jobs in the United States, and it creates a new international committee that can make immigration changes, she said.

But guess what! The author of that section of the document forgot to avoid mentioning the forbidden I-word, as we see in another Breitbart report:

“The way we wrote TPP, it deals strictly with trade and not immigration,” Ryan told Newsmax six months ago, adding that the idea the TPP consists of immigration reform is “the latest urban legend.”

However, in Chapter 12 of the TPP titled “Temporary Entry for Business Persons,” the word “immigration” is mentioned nearly 10 times.

This is stuff that even Orwell — or should I say Kafka? — couldn’t imagine.

Urban Inst. Study — Textbook Case of Fallacious Reasoning by the Highly Educated

Universities go through a lot of hand wringing in setting “general education requirements,” designed to produce well-rounded graduates who are capable of rigorous intellectual reasoning, and thus able to be productive in society and the economy beyond their areas of technical specialization. Well, easier said than done. In my experience, there are many college graduates — good grades at “good” schools — who are innumerate (quantitative analog of the term illiterate), and who either fall victim to fallacious quantitative arguments or, worse, make such arguments themselves.

This is seen again and again in discussions of immigration policy. In July I described an example of this involving the tragic murder of a young woman in San Francisco — a so-called “sanctuary city” — by an unauthorized immigrant. The innumeracy issue of course paled in comparison to the tragedy itself, but I felt compelled to point out the pathetic situation in which the community activist defending SF’s policy could not tell the difference between rates and absolute numbers. The issue of sanctuary cities, not to mention illegal/alegal immigration in general, is complicated enough without the discussion being ruined by the quantitative incompetence of its advocates.

Another example is the pitch frequently made by advocates of expansive immigration policies that, rather than displacing U.S. citizen/permanent resident workers, immigrants take jobs that are complementary to those held by Americans. Such is the theme of this new Urban Institute study., by Maria Enchautegui, whose findings are summarized in this National Journal headline:

Immigrants Aren’t Stealing American Jobs

More evidence surfaces that low-skilled native workers pursue different jobs than their immigrant counterparts.

Of course, they’ve got it backwards. A typical pattern is that immigrants flood a certain sector of the job market, then either suppressing wages and thus making this job category unattractive to natives or downright blocking the Americans from entering the sector. Yes, in that scenario the Americans and immigrants wind up doing complementary jobs, but to say that no displacement occurred is sheer folly.

I’ve mentioned examples before. For instance, there is my “Hamburger Theory”: In California, the workers at McDonald’s stores are mainly immigrants, whereas they used to largely consist of native teenagers in their first jobs. (And in the In ‘N Out chain, which pays more, that is still the case today.) Native teenagers used to deliver newspapers, but now it’s the job of adult immigrants.

An especially sad example occurred after Hurricane Katrina (emphasis added):

The August 29 press conference included a video presentation of the story of some 70 American workers from Mobile, Alabama, who had traveled to Biloxi, Mississippi, to take reconstruction jobs. After about ten days on the job these mainly black workers were told by their employer that their services were no longer required, because “The Mexicans are here.” The panel of CBA representatives, headlined by nationally syndicated radio talk show host Armstrong Williams, discussed how many American citizens who desperately need those jobs to restore not only their homes, but their livelihoods, are being systematically discriminated against with the approval of the government.

So those Mexicans did do work that is technically complementary to the Americans, but not in the happy setting the Urban Institute people would have you envision.

At the high-skilled level, I often cite a 1989 NSF internal report that stated (and advocated) that bringing in a large number of STEM graduate students would have the effect of holding down PhD wages, and would thus dissuade American students from studying for a doctoral degree. That is of course is what happened, and now more than 50% of U.S. PhDs in computer science are earned by foreign students. The congressionally-commissioned NRC study found that pursuing a PhD results in a lifetime loss in earnings for domestic students. So again, there is complementarity — the immigrants earn graduate degrees while the Americans don’t — but it did indeed come from displacement, contrary to what the Urban Institute’s Enchautegui implies.

Some analysts admit the displacement but say the presence of the immigrants “frees” the Americans to do better jobs. General Wesley Clark, a presidential candidate in 2004 (who was supported by Bill and Hillary Clinton), called computer programming “mind numbing,” and said, apparently because H-1B is used to facilitate offshoring, “Let them do the software in India. We’ll do other things in this country.”

So don’t worry about the fact that that 1989 NSF forecast about STEM PhDs came true. It freed Americans from doing mind-numbing work — such as being professors.

Breitbart Becomes a Major Player in H-1B Coverage

I must say that I had never even heard of the Breitbart news site until a few months ago. And my first impression was amusement more than anything else, especially when they referred to me as a “top Democrat.” (They did get the Democrat part right, but…) Yet, I’m coming to respect them more and more, as they are doing a great job of covering a topic the mainstream media (MSM) is reluctant to investigate properly — the H-1B work visa and related topics such as OPT. (Of course, Computerworld does an excellent job, but as a trade paper it is not MSM.)

Just in the last few days alone, Breitbart has run interesting articles on Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee, plus an analysis by Professor Ron Hira of Marco Rubio’s views on H-1B, and one on Rubio’s deep pockets tech funders. We all know the huge role that money plays in politics, but that last article is pretty scary.

Many of my readers think the MSM is horribly biased on H-1B issues. I’ve generally defended the MSM, saying they are merely ignorant, victims of the tech industry’s relentless PR campaigns to implant in the American consciousness the ideas that we have a STEM labor shortage, that the foreign STEM students are all geniuses, etc. But I must say that even I was taken aback by something a reporter from a top MSM outlet recently said to me in an e-mail exchange. I had corrected her terming H-1B visa holders as “immigrants” (many hope to immigrate, but H-1B is simply a temporary work visa), she replied,

I am aware that the term of law for foreign workers on temporary visas is “non-immigrant.” But it is legal jargon that we avoid [at this MSM outlet], in no small part because its tone is insulting to the foreigners. (From non-immigrant to non-person is not a long way.)

I had written here before on the manipulation of language by the industry PR people, but “insulting”? “Non-person”? Really? The above statements by a journalist at a major newspaper are really laughable — and pathetic. It is this sense of things spinning out of control in the country that are making the “outsiders” so attractive to many voters these days.

Bloomberg BusinessWeek recently ran a piece on Breitbart, fascinating background.