A new Computerworld article is really non-news, but will be highly relevant to a Senate hearing to be held on February 25.
Last year, a storm of controversy erupted after it was revealed that Southern California Edison, Disney and others had fired American IT workers, replacing them with foreign workers and forcing the Americans to train their foreign replacements. Since these firms obtained the foreign workers from the Indian outsourcing giant Infosys, a number of people concluded (falsely, as discussed below) that the “Infosyses” — not just that firm, but also including Tata Consulting Services, Wipro and so on — are the main abusers of the H-1B work visa. Calls for federal investigations ensued.
The Dept. of Justice has just finished its investigation of SCE, and found that the firm had complied with the law. In my blog title here, I characterize this finding as “non-news.” I’m sure that many reading this will think I mean something along the lines of “Our corrupt government has once again ignored the law and sided with Big Business.” Well, the word “corrupt” is correct here, but the conclusion is wrong; the fact is that SCE truly was in compliance with the law, as I’ve stated all along. Thus the DOJ finding is non-news.
Instead the real corruption is in Congress, for enacting such an industry-favorable statute in the first place, back in 1990 — and for continuing to do the industry’s bidding ever since.
Case in point: A hearing to be held by the Senate Immigration Subcommittee next Thursday titled “The Impact of High-Skilled Immigration on U.S. Workers.”
I’ve heard only rumors, but it’s a good bet that this hearing will be a kangaroo court that excoriates the Infosyses but implicitly (maybe even explicitly) gives the “Intels” (mainstream U.S. firms) a free pass. No doubt the committee will point to the DOL finding and state the loopholes in H-1B law need to be plugged, and offer the Durbin-Grassley bill as the remedy. If this is indeed how the hearing indeed unfolds, it will mislead the American people into thinking that the bill would plug the loopholes when it in fact would do very little to help American tech workers, even making things worse. This way, the Senate will protect its industry patrons while assuring Americans that its action will help them. Downright Machiavellian, I’d say.
Even more Machiavellian is the fact that I’ve heard the IEEE-USA — a leader in the Intels Good, Infosyses Bad movement — has been recruiting American tech workers to testify at this hearing, or at least submit written statements. Like the title of the hearing, this sounds great, but actually it will likely be a move to present the Americans as supporting the bill — a bill that they won’t realize will NOT help them.
Granted, the Infosyses are no angels, but the Intels are in fact just as culpable as the Infosyses, in some senses even more so. Moreover, even if Congress were to legislate the Infosyses out of business entirely, the SCEs and Disneys would still enjoy business as usual in terms of hiring foreign workers.
Watch the hearing. The senators will begin with speeches, each of which will mention the word replace repeatedly, itself egregiously misleading, a sure tipoff of what is to come. As cases of congressional deception go, this one will be hard to beat.