A Congressional Candidate for Real Reform

Ryan Detert, a programmer, is running for Congress, in California’s third congressional district primary election. His opponent, John Garamendi, is one of the most well-known, insider, powerful pols in the state. One of Ryan’s main issues is the H-1B work visa, which he believes badly needs scaling back.

As I mentioned recently, I don’t endorse candidates for office in this blog. I will say, though, that Garamendi refused to meet with me when he represented my district. I usually don’t contact officeholders, but I did feel a responsibility to discuss H-1B with my own congressperson. Sadly, this didn’t happen, nor did it with Ellen Tauscher, who preceded Garamendi; her husband was a tech executive. I did meet with my current congressman, Mark DeSaulnier, who showed a good grasp of the issues (if not a willingness to vote against expansion of the program).

19 thoughts on “A Congressional Candidate for Real Reform

  1. Immigration Voice is an active group of foreign nationals trying to influence legislation in the US. Those who have not checked their website should do so. Some members feel that they should be able to dictate immigration policy to benefit them no matter the consequences on the US. They lobby US legislators while the people most adversely affected by the legislation are silent.

    It is not just STEM workers who are affected by H-1B and legal residency laws and riules. We need a voice as well.


  2. It might have been a bit more informative if you (Norm) had at least mentioned what party’s ticket this guy is running on.

    It might have been a bit more helpful also if he himself bothered to mention it, you know, like on the home page of his own web site… which he doesn’t.

    I ended up having to drill down into his web site to find the answer (Republican). Not that I personally really care much about the label, one way or the other.

    It’s kind of a sad commentary on politics in California that it has apparently become necessary to be discreet if one is running as anything other than a Democrat in this state. Sigh. Oh well.


    • The incumbent, who is a Democrat, and my other GOP challenger don’t list parties. I’m actually the most explicit. Like many in this district, I’m fed up with both parties. A sizable number of disenchanted voters have switched to independent. I stayed in the GOP because of Trump.

      Realisically, nobody will get elected as an independent. One reason is because they are technically listed here as “No Party Preference” (NPP). Not enough people know what that means.


      • “I stayed in the GOP because of Trump.”

        I’d keep that kind of information to myself if I were in your shoes. (You just absolutely and positively lost my vote, for one. I wouldn’t touch anybody who even has the occasional kind word for the guy with a ten foot pole, regardless of their positions on this issues, because at best, any such people have extremely poor judgement, and at worst, they are certifiable lunatics. I hope for your sake that you are a member only of the former category.)

        ““No Party Preference” (NPP). Not enough people know what that means.”

        Apparently not:




        • Trump is far from perfect and he needs to tone it down on Twitter, but we must give credit where it’s due. Both this blog and my platform focus largely on work visas and outsourcing. If it weren’t for Trump, these would still be side issues. Love him or hate him, he has done us all a huge service in shaking up the system.


          • That’s a pretty spectacular bit of revisionist history there. It wasn’t The Donald who first raised the H-1B issue. Far from it. According to this Computerworld article, Sanders was already “lambasting” tech companies over the H-1B issue all the way back in 2013:


            Where was Trump on the issue in 2013? Apparently he was busy TURNING DOWN 94% OF AMERICAN JOB APPLICANTS in favor of foreign workers:


            As clearly spelled out in the above-cited National Review article, Trump, as usual, likes to have it both way by talking out of both sides of his mouth on essentially every issue, H-1B included. The above article is a must-read for anyone who wants to know Trump’s *real* position on importing workers (legal and otherwise) to undermine American jobs.

            A quote:

            “Conservative voters who believe that a President Trump will enforce and strengthen our immigration laws, will prosecute those who violate them, and will put the interest of American workers first are deluding themselves. Donald Trump’s professional history is one of undermining American workers — by exploiting the law wherever possible and, when that’s not enough, breaking it outright. Donald Trump is not looking out for American workers. He is looking out for his own pocketbook. That’s not going to change by putting him in the White House.”

            P.s. Regarding the possibility of him ever “toning it down on Twitter” I’m sure he’ll get around to doing that the same day as decides to stop wearing that ludicrous spray tan and takes off that ridiculous wig. (I honestly don’t know why he’s never appeared anywhere also wearing a red rubber ball on his nose, you know, in order to complete the look.)


          • That’s not really true, Ron.

            Yes, a number of politicians have on occasion made negative comments on H-1B. Grassley and Durbin, obviously, and Bernie did sponsor one piece of legislation with Grassley. Going further back, even the late Sen. Kennedy made negative comments at some times (while supporting H-1B the other times).

            But Trump was the one who forced the issue into the presidential election. To my knowledge, H-1B was NEVER brought up in a presidential debate before Trump did. Not even once! So, yes, absolutely, Trump must be given credit for that.

            Don’t you think it is very telling that H-1B has never come up in this year’s Democratic debates?


          • I don’t know how specific topics (e.g. H-1B) do or do not get raised in either Democratic or Republican debates, but it seems to me that if it wasn’t mentioned in the Democratic debates that this fault should really be laid at the feet of the “moderators” who were asking the questions (or, more accurately, the companies who employ them) rather than the candidates.

            In any case, even if Trump was first to mention it during a formal debate in this election cycle, I must still refer you back to his actual *record* of screwing workers and importing workers… “documented” or otherwise… as laid out in some detail (and so far not even challanged, as far as I know, by Trump or his campaign) in the National Review article I provided a link to. (And for those who don’t know, National Review is not some pinko gentlemanly version of The Daily Worker. It’s one of the most, if not THE most conservative publications in the country. And their article wasn’t merely an opinion piece. They cited quite a lot of factual evidence about the actual history of The Donald with respect to screwing workers.)

            Trump was, once upon a time, pro-choice. Now he’s found it convenient to tell everyone that he’s actually pro-life. Today he may tell everyone that he’s anti-H1B, but the historical record suggests otherwise. I’ve already said that the moment she gets elected, Hillary will flip once again and become pro-TPP. But she doesn’t have a monopoly on duplicity. If he gets elected, Trump will instantly flip back to being pro-H1B. If anyone presses him about his prior public statements on the matter, he’ll just say that his earlier anti-H1B comments were only his “initial negotiating position”:



          • I don’t want to get into the topic of Trump’s various flip-flops. As I’ve said, he is obviously unpredictable. I won’t repeat what I’ve said before. Instead, the question at hand was whether Trump’s participation is the cause of H-1B finally making it into the presidential debates, after all these years, and the answer is clearly yes. It started with his platform on H-1B and other immigration issues, which drew attention to the issue.

            Conversely, why hasn’t it come up in the Democratic debates. I suspect that it is because Bernie and Hillary have asked the moderators not to bring it up. It may also be because the moderators view H-1B as a “Trump issue,” which would be unfortunate but again would make the point that without Trump, it would not be in the debates of either party.


          • Ron,

            People change views as we get older. We’re all human. When I was in my teens and 20s, I leaned Democrat, liberal and pro-choice. Now I’m conservative, Republican and pro-Life.

            I too was concerned about Trump’s record on hiring H1Bs or H2Bs for his Mar-a-Lago resort, but he’s the only candidate even proposing to fix or do away with the abuse & corruption of the visa programs. Secondly, he is working closely with Senator Jeff Sessions on his policies. I truly think that most of Trump’s platform policy is influenced heavily by Senator Sessions.

            If Trump chooses Sessions as his VP, this is confirmation that he (Trump) and they both intend to implement Trump’s stated policies.



  3. Click to access AEA_POSITION_Workforce.pdf

    E-mail: aea@aea.org, Web. http://www.aea.org
    POSITION STATEMENT of the American Engineering Association, (9/23/06) Rev. 11/01/09
    We believe the public policy of the United States should be to rely primarily upon U.S. workers for our supply of engineers and scientists. This Position is in response to false claims that America faces shortages of Engineers, Programmers and high tech professionals and companies must resort to importing foreign workers to meet demands.
    In order to improve the utilization of American Engineers, Scientists, Programmers, Mathematicians and high tech (STEM) professionals we must first provide them with jobs and the opportunity to enhance their skills.1 To accomplish this we need a balance between the supply and demand of our skilled professionals.
    AEA strongly opposes the importation of foreign Engineers, Scientists Programmers, Mathematicians and high tech (STEM) professionals. Evidence clearly shows foreign workers (H-1B, L1 etc.) are imported for the purpose of reducing labor costs and offer no skill advantages over our American professionals. In many cases American Engineers and Programmers have been directed to train their foreign replacements under penalty of losing their severance packages.2.
    For more than 20 years the Congress, American public, parents and students have been misinformed and inundated with reports of Engineer, Scientist, Programmer and high tech worker shortages. None of these reports have been true nor can their shortage claims be validated. The shortages never materialized. Nor do shortages of these American professionals exist today.
    We believe, and symptoms indicate, the United States of America has a surplus of Engineers, Scientists, Programmers and high tech professionals. When properly utilized we have more than enough to maintain and increase America’s leadership at the forefront of technology.
    The surplus of these professionals, and importation of more, has so devastated the professions that current members advise their children against entering the colleges to study for these careers.
    We have a history of shortage propaganda from the National Science Foundation, (NSF), the American Electronics Association (AeA), the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA), Corporate America and our Colleges. One can also include the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) that direct their efforts to misleading students and parents of high school students about the demand for these professions.3, 4. None of the


  4. Hey Ryan,

    If I recall correctly, you were the one who asked Trump at his Reno rally about the H1B visa and hiring Americans first. I hope you plan to have an encore if/when Trump has a rally in NorCal, hopefully sometime this Month of before June 7.

    I applaud your effort. What do you need to win and what are your chances or winning?

    We need more people like you. One vote in the Senate or the House is not going to make much of a difference. We need to actively replace pro-H1B senators and congressmen with people who are pro-American worker.



    • Hey TechPro,

      Yes, I was the one who asked the question at the Trump rally back in October. I went again in January (even waited outside in the snow for several hours) however he did not take questions from the audience. As he was walking through the crowd I was able to ask him another question on our high legal immigration rates. The next day I flew to South Carolina to ask Cruz the same question, which I did, but also not on camera. In the last debate the question was actually asked to both of them (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nq8tFLncOE 18:45). I’ll be at any rally in NorCal. I didn’t fully commit to running until February.

      Right now I’m focused on getting past the primary. There are 3 people total and top 2 advance. I have a reasonable chance of that, however I’m out funded by a huge margin by both candidates. I’m almost entirely self-funding my campaign and not endorsed by the GOP. It will be a big deal if I advance.

      Right now I’m in the process of putting up signs along the freeway. They are expensive so any donations for that would help me out (https://secure.detert2016.com/donate). I’ve also been meeting with voters and giving out cards, which has been very helpful. I’m happy to mail a stack out to anyone who would be willing to pass them out.

      Winning the general election will be difficult and any candidate will face an uphill battle. I’m running against Garamendi, who is one of the most ingrained and well-known politicians in CA.

      You’re right, I would only be one vote, but it starts with one person. People are generally shocked (liberals and conservatives alike) when I tell them about our guest worker programs and overall immigration rates. If anything, I hope to push the discussion in the right direction, both in my district and neighboring districts, and break the taboo surrounding these issues. In the end, people have to start becoming more involved, even at the local level, no matter who the president is. I go to some of these GOP committee meetings and 15 people showing up is considered a great turnout.


      • Ryan,

        Kudos to you for being active, speaking up for us and asking these questions. I wonder how many other displaced (or at least disenfranchised) IT workers are here in California – I know of the workers at Southern California Edison that were laid off but don’t know of any others. I remember seeing the Disney workers who were laid off and their lawyer speak at Trump rallies both in Orlando and in Alabama. I wonder if the SCE workers have reached out to Trump or if Senator Jeff Sessions has had contact with them, and if they are planning on speaking on stage at a Trump rally here in California.

        I also wonder if the number of displaced or disenfranchised IT workers is higher or lower in the Bay Area/Silicon Valley itself. Maybe lower because if they’re in Silicon Valley, then they made the cut and are happily employed..who knows.

        That GOP debate in Miami was the high point in the H1B issue and in Trump’s position on the issue. I remember Trump stating that he will put the H1B program on hold for “at least one year, probably two” while it is investigated & fixed.

        Going up against an entrenched player like Garamendi is an uphill battle. He has deep & long term relationships with influential & powerful people in the district. Looking at his Wikipedia page, I see that he has a long history in California politics, some solid accomplishments in the public sector and a solid education.

        You’re right that it starts at the local level. What level of support (polls or anecdotal evidence) does Trump have in your CD? Or how much dissatisfaction or anger is there for the rampant use/abuse of work visas (H1, H2) and outsourcing? Is there a sizable population of IT workers in your CD and have you approached them for support or at least feedback on the issues?

        Maybe you can set up some LinkedIn groups and Meetups (meetup.com) to get some local traction. Or LinkedIn ads. I’ve set up ads on LinkedIn that cost $2 per 1000 views/CPM, targeted to specific cities, job titles, industry, etc.




  5. With Trump as nominee, the “Trump Train” will have an effect on voting down-ballot, specifically with Senate and House seats that are up for re-election this year.

    This will mean a higher chance of incumbents who are pro-H1B getting “Cantored” especially if a pro-American Workers First candidate (like Ryan above) runs against them. Garamendi refusing to meet with you to talk about H1B issues is reason for him to go.

    We should encourage more pro-American Workers First people like Ryan to run.


  6. I just saw on the news that Peter Thiel has announced that he is now a delegate for Trump. Seems suspicious: the guys is a noted Libertarian who donated to Fiorina and Ted Cruz’s campaigns. Plus the fact that his many companies are heavy users of H1Bs.

    Is he doing this to pretend to be a Trump delegate then flip to someone else on the second ballot?


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