No Contradiction in Recent Clinton Statements on Foreign Tech Workers

A few days ago,as reported in Computerworld, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton spoke for the first time on the H-1B visa, giving hope to some critics of the visa program. Indeed, the article accompanying the interview of Clinton was titled, “The Tech Lobby Should Be Really Nervous about What Hillary Clinton Just Said.”

But just a week earlier she had announced her support of “staple a green card to their diplomas,” i.e. granting automatic U.S. permanent residency to STEM foreign graduate students at U.S. universities, and the latest article is titled, “Clinton Calms Silicon Valley’s Worries, Promises To Preserve High-Skill Visas.”

To the non-cognoscenti, it would appear that Clinton has contradicted herself, or at least has regretted and walked back her earlier criticism of H-1B. But she hasn’t; instead, she is taking what has become the standard political sleight-of-hand, sharply separating what readers of this blog have seen me warn of repeatedly — the Intels vs. Infosyses distinction. The “Infosyses,” rent-a-programmer firms such as Infosys, Tata, Wipro and so on are painted as the Bad Guys on H-1B, while the “Intels,” consisting of not only Intel, Google and the like, but basically any firm hiring H-1Bs directly, are viewed as glorious, highly deserving of the right to hire foreign tech workers.

In other words, Clinton supports giving visas to the Intels while placing restrictions on the usage of the program by the Infosyses. And lo and behold, this is exactly Donald Trump’s position as well. I’m not defending either of them, as I oppose Staple and contend that the Intels and the Infosyses are equally culpable regarding foreign tech workers, but the fact is that both of them are consistent in their views.

Clinton was a strong supporter of the Infosyses some years ago. And though the Disney and SCE cases, in which Americans were fired and forced to train their Infosyses-supplied H-1B replacements, makes for terrible publicity, one must suspect that a President Hillary Clinton would not be too harsh even on the Infosyses, let alone the Intels. This is especially true in view of the fact that the Infosyses have a lot of clout of their own. I learned today that Infosys has a sleek new building on prime Palo Alto business real estate; they obviously aren’t planning scaling back their U.S. operations.

I don’t doubt that Clinton has some sympathy for the laid-off Disney workers. But one of them, quoted in the Computerworld article, really hit the nail on the head in describing Clinton’s comments as amounting to dismissing those workers as “collateral damage.” Clinton, in other words, thinks the Disney and SCE cases were unfortunate, yet small relative to the bigger picture.

What bigger picture? The obvious one is that Clinton wants the monetary support of both the Intels and the Infosyses in her quest for the presidency. But the less obvious, and I believe equally important, reason is that Clinton, like most politicians, has “drunk the Kool-aid,” truly believing that the U.S. needs the foreign workers to keep its world lead in technology. She’s dead wrong on that — I’ve shown that the foreign worker programs are generally harmful regarding that goal — but I think she does believe it, and thus feels that U.S. tech workers must be sacrificed for the greater good.

Politically, all this has implications for Staple. It expands the pool of foreign tech workers, as opposed to merely rearranging it, as some current bills would do. That way, both the Intels and the Infosyses would be happy.

Someone asked me recently why the Intels would support Staple, as they would lose access to immobile workers, which they highly value now. I’m sure they would prefer to keep that access, but at least it would still give them a YOUNG foreign labor pool to hire from (cheaper than hiring older Americans, even after the foreigners become free agent). This is a major point, because the primary reason why employers save money through H-1B stems from the age aspect. Second, there is evidence that the employers fear that the foreign workers will simply stop coming to the U.S. in the first place, put off by the current long green card waits. And “the devil is in the details” with Staple anyway; the waiting time may still work out to a couple of years, which may be all that the firms want these workers for anyway.

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31 thoughts on “No Contradiction in Recent Clinton Statements on Foreign Tech Workers

  1. >>> there is evidence that the employers fear that the foreign workers will simply stop coming to the U.S. in the first place, put off by the current long green card waits

    that evidence (wadhwa’s?) does not simply tally up with the reality – # of OPTs/# of H-1 that are coming in each year especially from india, proves otherwise – employers/universities are will bring indians in hordes no matter what.. same is the case with multi-life wait periods for greencards for people from india.

    though i agree on your second point of wait time being couple of years, should the country caps go away, would benefit these firms in recouping their investments etc and get a fresh tide of young workers…

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    • Yes, as the saying goes, “There are many more where those came from.” But the ones of top quality are not so patient.

      Vivek’s “evidence” is non-evidence. His survey found that the ones returning home did so because of homesickness and the like, not because they could not tolerate the wait. But then he told the press otherwise.

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      • >>> ones of top quality are not so patient

        those ones [from india] are patient as well. look at ‘EB1’ queues https://www.theatlas.com/i/atlas_SkIW4pzD.png. As of today, that queue backlogged as well [for indians/chinese], which implies that more and more “Einsteins” (although its actually low level multi national managers masking as Einsteins) are being shoved into that queue and the folks are actually patient knowing that there are backlogs.

        On a related note, I recently stumbled upon few videos by an employer group called ITServe and their lawyer cartel (composed of all indians, i suppose) and how the lawyers boast the current situation “helps” their clients and how they can get a lobbyist to stop any and all “reforms” (they are being removed any and everywhere they are getting uploaded, may be due the nature and the language used in those videos by lawyers/employers) — If any one can get hold of these, do watch them at leisure [before they are gone due to ‘copyright’ issues] – dont know who posted them, but are certainly fun watching —
        https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0BzIeatqTz7voNUVueTRBamx4czA&usp=drive_web

        I hope one of our favorite “anti-immigration/pro-immigrant” groups sue these fellas for a change as well [atleast show these to the congressmen/senators and/or their staffers that they talk to]- Certainly looks like a lot shady and “illegal” to me. I am certainly doing it my congresman and my state’s senators, regardless of them being under the influence of “status quo is good” koolaid..

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        • Interesting content in that G drive link. I see in one of the slides in that Gdrive – ITServe’s “Grand Agenda” includes controlling of pay rates in IT and blacklisting of IT workers.

          https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/6M89QABTfTMuevTkNsdNqUyZFYBSLK4_Lfb-3xZAp_6CM2Za31xTrcnbvR0YNDH7E07jWg=w1315-h576

          There is an Indian industry organization called TiE – The Indus Entrepreneur. With a lot of Indians in upper level management, founders of companies and venture capital in Silicon Valley and in tech in general, they have a lot of industry and political/lobbying power. I’m not saying that they’re all bad but I know that ‘America First’ is not their mantra.

          I suspect their members are involved in a majority of the corruption & gaming of the H1B, from tech industry leaders to higher education to government. I say this from personal experience, having been a founder of a tech startup in SF and a couple of my VPs were Indians who were senior executives at large global firms. They would push for deals with fellow TiE members so I know there’s a lot of deal-making and ‘biz dev’ between members and at their conferences like TieCon.

          What really worries me is their global domination agenda: Indian ITSSFs like InfoSys and Tata are doing big business not only here in the US but also in Europe and Latin America.

          They try hard to look ‘clean’ – even their website (www.tie.org) doesn’t show any Indians. The home page has an image of an African American male, a Southeast Asian male, and a blonde woman. They have become quite powerful in the past decade or more that I’ve known about them. I see that they’ve gone into being incubators and investors and even have a TiE Talks events like TED.

          One can’t fault them for doing what they’re doing, but they’re running circles around patriotic Americans and working with unpatriotic Americans (sellouts like Hillary) who are helping them with their agenda.

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        • I’m watching the Repulican National Convention and a Sikh from California (Harmeet Dhillon) just did a prayer in the Sikh/Indian language in front of the entire delegate crowd. Then she injects some ‘bless all of you and bless America’ stuff in between her prayer phrases to try to get some crowd approval. She received a tepid response – some courteous light clapping.

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  2. Contradiction? Norm, did you read the article past the headline, or look at the comments? This is classic Clinton, Bubba or Hildabeast, as one of the comments says, “She feels your pain” but proposes NOTHING to address it.

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    • I believe my comments reflect that. They boil down to saying (a) Clinton would, at most, deal only with the Infosyses, not the Intels, and (b) she probably wouldn’t do much even about the Infosyses, as she regards it all as “collateral damage.”

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  3. > But the less obvious, and I believe equally important, reason is that Clinton, like most politicians, has “drunk the Kool-aid,” truly believing that the U.S. needs the foreign workers to keep its world lead in technology.

    Yes, and it’s sad to see that much of the Kool-aid is being repeated by the White House. As listed at http://econdataus.com/claim400k.htm , the White House web site repeated the claim of 1.4 million computer science jobs with only 400,000 computer science graduates to fill them on December 11, 2013. By the way, I found the sources for that claim and updated the analysis at that link. I’ll just repeat the summary:

    > Hence, it appears that the BLS did project nearly 1.4 million computer science-related jobs for the ten-year period of 2010 to 2020 but that projection has dropped for later 10-year periods. The 400,000 projection of computer science graduates appears to have come from extrapolating the 2010 figure and has proven to be significantly low. And, as just stated, the assumption that only computer science graduates can hold computer science-related jobs has never held in the past and there is no evidence that it will hold in the future.

    > Finally, it is seriously misleading to repeat a 4-year old projection and make no attempt to update it. For example, Clinton’s statement that “by 2020, there will be 1.4 million computer-science related jobs in America, with only 400,000 computer science graduates to fill them” makes it sound like we are facing a one-million STEM worker shortage in a mere 4 years. As mentioned, some of these projections have proven to be off. Also, right or wrong, we have brought in additional workers and have arguably resolved any shortfall that occurred from 2010 to now. Of course, it is possible that some of those additional workers were simply used to replace older and/or more expensive American workers. In any case, it is simply wrong to continue to discuss the originally projected shortfall as though it still exists.

    I also noticed that Clinton preceded that claim with another one – that “there were over half a million good-paying tech jobs unfilled last year”. As a source, she gives a statement posted by the U.S. Chief Technology Officer on the White House blog. That posting gives no source. As best as I can figure, it comes from the firm “Burning Glass Technologies” as explained by ComputerWorld at http://www.computerworld.com/article/2896517/behind-the-white-house-s-claim-of-545-000-unfilled-it-jobs.html . ComputerWorld explains that this number “doesn’t account for normal churn in the labor market”, “doesn’t tell you how many of these jobs are for contract or contingent workers”, and “doesn’t explain a decline in starting salaries for computer science bachelor degree graduates”. If anyone can verify the source for the 600,000 number, please post it.

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    • This shortage nonsense is everywhere. There is a truck driver shortage, restaurant worker shortage, landscaping worker shortage, welder shortage, hotel maid worker shortage, etc.

      “Three-quarters of landscaping companies say a lack of employees hinders their growth”. “Americans are simply not willing to work that hard for $7 to $8 per hour (year 2016)” Many landscaping guest workers (H-2B) earn less than minimum wage (six month “training wage”).

      If we can not put a stop to the H-2B low-wage worker program then what hope do we have of stopping the H-1B worker program?

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  4. Hillary and her large support staff did not “drunk the Kool-aid”. She wants you to think that she “drunk the Kool-aid”. She is faking it, “standard political sleight-of-hand”.

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  5. Contrast the educational background of many top Chinese leaders (engineering/science along with the usual propaganda requirements), with the background of most top U.S. political leaders (mostly lawyers or sociology/psych/etc. backgrounds). Yes, you’ll find a few medical doctors on The Hill, but H1-B has not been an issue for them (the AMA and other filters make sure). It’s almost as if nobody who makes decisions in D.C. has any family members or close friends in tech or the “hard sciences”, either.

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    • Back when Bob Dole ran for president, there was a rumor that his daughter had been replaced by an H-1B. More collateral damage from the pols’ point of view, I guess.

      On the other hand, I certainly would not like to have a government by engineers.

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    • “Yes, you’ll find a few medical doctors on The Hill, but H1-B has not been an issue for them (the AMA and other filters make sure).”

      Yep, 100% true. Becoming a medical doctor in the US requires attending a US school or completing a residency. The number of doctors allowed to practice in the US is determined by the medical community and not guest worker laws. The federal government will not grant a H1-B visa to a doctor without proof of the doctor having a license.

      I know of two engineers who became doctors due to a lack of work. One engineer’s father is a doctor. Gaps in their resume or advanced age do not affect them because they are self-employed.

      If you are concerned about your children’s future then have one sibling become a physician, attorney, or dentist. It is very common for these professionals to employ family members or to find them jobs at a colleague’s practice.

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      • >> The federal government will not grant a H1-B visa to a doctor without proof of the doctor having a license

        That to say that we cannot produce enough ‘doctors’ – Totally untrue. Doctors on H-1/J-1 are as indentured as their ‘engineer’ counterparts. I have seen several doctors [from populous nations, like, say, India] on H-1 being ‘exploited’ by hospitals and paying them 200-250k when their peers are getting 600-650k etc. [Indians] are preferred in that profession as well not because they are are smart or because a dude named Aryabhatta invented ‘0’, but because they can be with the ‘hospital’ [employer] for decades due to the multi life [no pun here] waits for their greencards.

        All of this, again, needless to say, at the cost of a “very high skilled” [medical] american worker..

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  6. Indians are increasingly getting into American politics. The speaker of the Virginia delegate at the candidate nomination today at the RNC was an Indian with a thick accent. I don’t know why of all the Virginia delegates, he was the one to speak for all the delegates. His name is Subba Rao Kolla.

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    • >> Indians are increasingly getting into American politics

      Are they “indians” or “indian-Americans” [Bobby Jindal hates hyphenating] or just Americans?

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      • Have you heard of the scandal regarding Jindal’s official portrait? It would seem that he is not proud of his heritage. I kind of liked the guy before I heard that.

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        • There are light skinned Indians, even with blue or green eyes. Mostly northern and mostly of the upper caste. I say that having traveled all over India from Delhi & Agra to Jaipur & Udaipur to Mumbai and down to the Malabar coast all the way to Trivandrum at the southern tip.

          I saw that portrait months ago. I’d find out who that ‘constituent’ was who ‘loaned’ Jindal that portrait. Just found out that Bobby Jindal is an anchor baby. From his wiki page:

          “He is the first of two sons of Raj (née Gupta) and Amar Jindal, from Punjab, India. They came to the US for his birth to ensure his citizenship. They both applied for immigration years later.”

          If he was truly ashamed of his dark skin color, he would be using whitening soap, which is a thing in India.

          http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/skin-whitening-soaps-available-in-india/

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      • Indian until proven otherwise. Are they in politics because they want what’s best for America and fellow Americans in their community or are they in it to gain power & influence in behalf of Indian companies or themselves? Do they mostly eat Indian food, speak an Indian language at home, and consort with mostly Indian family & friends?

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        • The vast majority of Americans “consort” only with people like them. That includes the so-called liberals and progressives (a group in which I count myself). This is very sad.

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          • I’m not so sure about this. I’d have to see the data. I think that in today’s American society, one would have to go out of one’s way to not interact with other ethnicities or cultures – at least in the mid to large cities.

            What activites do you define as ‘consorting’?

            For me, people interact with other people mostly in these four settings: Home/Family, School, Work, Church. There are family gatherings, having people over for dinner or cocktails, or talking to neighbors. Most of peoples’ inner circles are comprised of family & friends from school (grade school/high school & college). American schools in general are very multi-ethnic. So are American workplaces. Neighborhoods/communities too. Church varies.

            Then there are clubs and organizations one belongs to (IEEE, Toastmasters, etc). In general are very multi-ethnic.

            Then there are public settings like eating out, going to business conferences, etc. Absolutely very multi-ethnic.

            There’s so much inter-cultural interaction that one would have to actively make an effort to not integrate into American society. Even in enclaves like Chinatown, Little Italy or Little Odessa you’ll find mutiple ethnicities & cultures.

            What you said may apply to the so-called ‘limosine liberals’ of Atherton, Blackhawk, Beverly Hills and Pacific Palisades hiding in their gated communities. I wonder what they would say to proposals of building an inner-city youth center or relocating refugees into their community.

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          • I submit that most Americans of any race/ethnicity have never had someone outside their race/ethnicity to their homes for dinner, or had a serious conversation lasting more than a few minutes with them.

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          • You cherry-picked the most intimate ‘consorting’ activity of the bunch. Are you talking from personal experience or can you post link to surveys/polls of much larger samples?

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          • You said “vast majority of Americans” and “most Americans”. These are not personal or anecdotal statements but rather should have a sample or population numbers behind it.

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