Once Again, Confusion on “Good” and “Bad” H-1B Employers

Sorry for my lack of blog posts recently, just too busy for it. But I must comment on two interesting Computerworld articles today, both with female protagonists. The first wonders whether Ted Cruz’s choice of Carly Fiorina to be his VP will result in a clash between the two of them regarding H-1B. The other reports that the fabulous Jennifer Wedel is still active in her speaking out against the visa.

Cruz introduced the strongest bill to date reigning in H-1B, while Fiorina, as former CEO of HP, would strongly favor the visa program. But I see no clash at all. If Cruz wins the presidency, he will do exactly what Donald Trump did — backpedal, saying that the H-1Bs hired as foreign students at U.S. universities are the “good” H-1Bs, while those imported directly from abroad, via the “rent a programmer” firms such as Infosys, are the “bad” ones. Fiorina’s old firm hires from the U.S. campuses. Hence no conflict.

The Computerworld article points out that HP also does some offshoring, but I believe that that is mostly to HP outposts abroad, rather than going through Infosyses. So, Cruz and Fiorina would announce support for a bill clamping down on the Infosyses, with business as usual for firms like HP. This would be highly misleading, but this is the pattern we’ve seen repeatedly in proposals to “reform” H-1B.

By the way, I was quite impressed by Fiorina during the earlier primary debates. As a Democrat, I disagree with her on lots of topics, maybe most, but Cruz made a good choice in her, I believe.

And Darin Wedel seems to have made an even better choice with Jennifer as his spouse. As the article reminds us, Mrs. Wedel thrilled many of us in 2012 by asking President Obama point blank why he supported H-1B when many qualified engineers such as her husband had trouble finding tech work. The look on Obama’s face when she told him that her husband was a semiconductor engineer was priceless, as was his reply, “We’re told that people like your husband should be able to find work right away.”

Judging from Obama’s expression, I’m sure that he really believes it. And why shouldn’t he? That’s what people keep saying. Texas Instruments, which also hires foreign students from American campuses, is one of the “good” employers of H-1Bs, the claim goes, and even many critics of H-1B believe it. The fact that TI laid Darin Wedel off, but hired H-1Bs (including some whose jobs he could have done), should cause some cognitive dissonance. But no, this artificial distinction between the foreign student H-1Bs and the directly imported H-1Bs is so entrenched that they just don’t see that TI is equally culpable as the Infosyses.

The Computerworld article falls into that trap too:

Although Darin Wedel didn’t train a foreign replacement and was laid off with other workers, Jennifer Wedel says Texas Instruments was lobbying for increasing visa use prior to the layoffs, and she sees a connection.

Of course there is a connection. Wedel was laid off by a company that hires H-1Bs, some of whose jobs I am sure Wedel could have done. So what if he didn’t have to train them? Wedel is just as much a victim as are those laid off by Disney, SCE etc.

Again, there is no way to straighten out the H-1B mess unless people truly understand the nature of the problem.

By the way, in 2012 Computerworld thought that the Wedel incident would become an election campaign issue, which of course it did not. It did briefly become an issue this year, thanks to Trump, but it quickly faded. It never arose once during the Democratic debates, even though Sanders and Clinton disagree on H-1B.




18 thoughts on “Once Again, Confusion on “Good” and “Bad” H-1B Employers

  1. I wonder if anyone knows how to contact an important player in the Sanders campaign. He is clearly not going to win. Time to roll the dice. Make the H-1B an issue in CA. There are millions of IT persons in CA who have been displaced by H-1Bs, Hillary’s favorite visa. Sanders should come out hard against the H-1B, and see what kind of response he would get. In SF, there is a huge number of arrogant tech-bros, who are raising rents and make the Bay City a crappy crappy place to live. The only ones in CA who like the H-1B are H-1Bs (can’t vote), immigration lawyers (not a huge number) and the owners of IT companies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul,

      There is no Silicon Valley without H1bs. Sanders already knows about the H1b and potential problems it can lead to for some citizens. Look at his immigration policy, he looks at the bigger picture. I request you to.



    • It would be good if a Dem takes up the H1B issue and give it more exposure.

      The problem with Bernie Sanders is that there is cognitive dissonance with his policy platform. On one hand he is for open borders and amnesty for the millions of illegal immigrants currently here, and on the other hand he is for the middle class and the American workers. It doesn’t square up. Open Borders != Pro-American Worker/Anti-H1B.

      Bottom line is that I think Sanders is going to be soft on the H1B issue. He has not mentioned it in any of his speeches nor in any of the debates. He showed up at a worker rally at the Carrier factory but I see that as pandering since he hasn’t mentioned this issue in any of his speeches while Trump has railed on Carrier in almost every rally speech for the past six months.


    • If Employers were required to look for and hire US citizens and legal residents BEFORE offering a job to a guest worker (H-1Bs or dependents or the other visas in the employment alphabet soup), the problem would also be solved.


    • the solution will be that google will give a phone call to facebook which gonna call yahoo, and then a week later al H1B would be hire at 10000$ a year 🙂

      We could think as a mix of both: for a cap of 65.000, take the 80.000 best offers, then lotery ?


    • Yi, there are a few issues I see with that approach:

      1) The STEM shortage is a myth, so the entire system isn’t needed. We have plenty of unemployed, underemployed, and proven trainable people already here.
      2) What is the wage level floor? And what keeps the industry from lobbying to lower the floor?
      3) It does nothing to address the OPT end run. It has been expanded and extended without debate and ultimately displaces US citizens from the classroom, in effect inducing a bona fide US citizen STEM shortage.


      • 1) There is no reason for US company to prefer foreigners over citizens if there is no wage advantage
        2) of course, the wage level floor should be high enough(10k or above) to have a 100% chance of h1b and if it is lower than 60k, zero chance.

        If you worry about lobbyists gaming the system, it is up to you to vote for someone with reasonable minds who actually care about the problem instead of using the problem for demagogue

        3) There will be no need for OPT if real reform of H1b is done


        • To most of the big employers, the advantage of hiring foreigners is their de facto indentured servitude, not their lower wages.

          The best way to set policy on all this would be to start from scratch — 0 H-1Bs, 0 employer-sponsored green cards and no OPT. Let the other side make their case from that starting point. You should do so too — why should we have any foreign workers at all?


          • >>> start from scratch — 0 H-1Bs, 0 employer-sponsored green cards and no OPT

            amen! i’d also add one more to that list – remove/deport *all* those that are not permanent residents. until a compromise with the other side is reached, following will happen, nevertheless…

            1) status quo (indentured servitude) will continue
            2) queues will get even longer with more and more foreign labor being stuffed (last 4 years the H-1 has been oversubscribed with nationals from 1 populous nation likely taking the lions share => EB queues will be backlogged
            3) more americans will be replaced

            other than that, i completely like the start from scratch idea.


  2. Thanks for your article on 4/28 Dr. Matloff. My husband is a semi-conductor, I.C. designer and has been displaced just like Darren Weddel. So many American E.E.’s are out of jobs because of this issue and they haven’t even had to train their replacements. Tech companies simply hire foreign nationals instead of Americans. This is happening because many of the hiring managers in America’s tech companies are foreign nationals and they prefer to hire people from their own ethnicity instead of Americans.

    Although I like Carly Fiorina as a person, I don’t think that she understands how many American engineers and their families are hurting because of this displacement issue. It’s a huge, huge issue.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ALL foreign workers working in USA are ILLEGAL if their working here “adversely affects the wages or working conditions of Americans similarly employed”



  4. Here are a couple of statements that Donald Trump said in his policy speech last week.

    “We will no longer surrender this country or its people to the false song of globalism.”

    “Under a Trump administration, no American citizen will ever again feel that their needs come second to the citizens of a foreign country.”

    The last time the H1B issue was addressed was at the GOP debate in Miami right before the Florida primaries back in March. In it, Trump stated that he is going to put the H1B program on hold for 1-2 years while it is investigated & fixed.


  5. Indian IT staffing company executives making bank while American IT workers are jobless, laid off & replaced by cheap foreign labor, and struggling to make ends meet.

    Caribbean Life Season 5 Episode – Soon-to-Be Empty Nesters Find Paradise on St. Maarten




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