Computerworld reports on a new H-1B reform bill introduced by Rep. Darrell Issa. As is de rigueur these days, the bill focuses on the market sector I call the Infosyses, the rent-a-programmer companies. The bill’s highlight is apparently to raise the current wage floor that must be paid by H-1B dependent employers, increasing it from $60,000 to $100,000. The article’s quote of Prof. Ron Hira is spot on.
In response to Issa’s bill, Hira said it “will do nothing to eliminate the abuse of the H-1B program. It simply shuffles the deck chairs on the Titanic. Instead of losing their jobs to Tata or Infosys H-1Bs, the Southern California Edison workers would be training their cheaper H-1B replacements employed by IBM or Accenture.”
Nevertheless, the quote and the article as whole somehow miss a question that a 10-year-old would ask: If wages below $100,000 constitute underpayment, why would the requirement be imposed only on a subgroup of H-1B employers? Why is it considered OK for a non-H-1B employer to cheat his workers?
And why would this question be obvious to our hypothetical 10-year-old but not to the adults in Congress, in the press and so on? The answer is that the kid hasn’t been subjected to constant indoctrination that the adults have been bombarded by, with a false message that the Intels (by which I mean the firms that directly employ H-1Bs rather than renting them from the Infosyses) use the visa program responsibly while the Infosyses abuse it.
The article also mentions the recently-introduced Pascrell bill. I am a little surprised that none of the many articles I’ve read on that bill have mentioned that it is identical to the Senate bill by Grassley and Durbin, introduced last November. I have been quite critical of that bill; Pascrell should have done much better.
Finally, an instructive note about Rep. Dana Rohrbacher, coauthor of the Pascrell bill: A reader comment on one of my blog posts states:
Incidentally, I must mention that Dana Rohrabacher (R – Orange County) who has “faced off” with Loretta Sanchez in the past, used to have a great grade with NumbersUSA on the foreign visa category. His grade is now a D-. His area (after redistricting) now includes Irvine and Newport Beach which has tech companies that profit greatly from low cost foreign workers. I was informed that the Lincoln Club of Orange County, who has members that profit from the visa dynamic have threatened Dana. They said they would find someone to run against him should he not support foreign visas. It is amazing to me how these corporate “elites” can get away with this. They need to be exposed.
Those who pressured Rohrbacher presumably were the Intels. If so, you can see why almost all of the bills introduced in the last couple of years limit their “reform” to the Infosyses.