A Bit More Revealed of theTrump “Reversal” on H-1B

What a remarkable, man-bites-dog article in The Hindu, a major Indian paper! Here we see Trump defending the H-1B visa program in 2015 to the man who would last week became his new campaign chief. Very interesting stuff, and it sheds a bit more light on what the press — and oddly, Trump himself — characterized as a reversal of his stance on H-1B in October 15.

To review: On August 16, 2015, Trump announced his platform on immigration. It was rather detailed, and was quite good on H-1B, from my point of view. Sadly, though, he “clarified” his position a couple of days later, saying

When foreigners attend our great colleges & want to stay in the U.S., they should not be thrown out of our country…I want talented people to come into this country—to work hard and to become citizens. Silicon Valley needs engineers, etc.

I took (and still take) this to mean that the candidate supports Staple a Green Card, a proposal under which automatic green cards would be granted to any foreign student earning a Master’s or PhD in STEM at a U.S. university. This would be an unwarranted policy that would do just as much damage as H-1B is doing today, so I was profoundly disappointed. I wrote, “Somebody got to him.”

Later, on March 3 of this year, Trump made news by stating in a Republican debate that he had revised his position on H-1B. But that wasn’t the case at all; he simply stated the position that he had staked out in his August 2015 clarification.

But the article in The Hindu reveals new details. Trump adopted the industry lobbyists’ favorite tack — cite a story of a foreign student whom the U.S. lost due to lack of a visa, in this case Kunal Bahl who founded a company called Snapdeal in India. These stories are usually misleading, and in Bahl’s case, based on a false premise; the lobbyists presented this as a “He could have founded the company here” story, when in fact the company’s success has been in India, catering to Indian tastes and market structure. Good for Bahl, but I believe it is fair to say he likely would not have been able to do this in the U.S.

At any rate, the article in The Hindu shows us more of how Trump was swayed to “clarify” his original stance. One can easily see the slick lobbyists painting a convincing picture for him on H-1B (and who knows, maybe Peter Thiel was in the mix too). And the fact that Trump had actually tried to convince the man who later would become his campaign manager about the value of H-1B is rather mind boggling.

I should say that there are some who disagree with my reading of Trump’s “clarification.” They point out that Trump uses language like that in the article, listing “Harvard or Princeton, Penn, Stanford,” suggesting that he only wants to accept the really top foreign students — just like I have advocated for years. But I really doubt this. Trump is using too much of the lobbyists’ favorite language (“find a way that they can stay here”) for it to be a coincidence. This is the usual Intels Yes, Infosyses No tech industry argument.

It is certainly unfair, though, that the press and the Democrats are making so much hay of the fact that over the years, Trump himself has hired H-1Bs. He has explained that, saying that as a businessman he had to take advantage of available options, but it is a bad program and he would fix it as president. Hillary Clinton, by contrast, has NOT repudiated her longtime coziness with the Infosyses, and seems to have no intention of switching as president. Yet it is Trump, not Clinton, who gets the bad press on this.

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30 thoughts on “A Bit More Revealed of theTrump “Reversal” on H-1B

  1. There are many good STEM graduates from other than the “elite” universities. Some of the best engineers I knew in the workplace even had “engineering technology” degrees, widely discounted by engineers from highly regarded research programs. Some of the engineers with elite degrees and high GPAs did not have the common sense of a doorknob much less a chicken.

    Many of the IT people and projects do not require the knowledge of a CS or CompE program. They are likely keeping the computers and networks working in your doctors’ offices. They are maintaining the databases and accounting systems at your local family owned businesses. There are endless examples of STEM workers that do not have degrees much less from Harvard and Yale without whom our lives would be very different.

    Some of the people whose technical expertise I respected the most had no degree at all just years of experience developing a new technology from inception to widespread use. Many who attended schools with little reputation could have been successful anywhere but were limited by funds and family obligations. They had an incredible work ethic and dedication to their jobs.

    Not everyone gets the opportunity to work at a well known company which claims to be unable to find qualified US graduates.. Part of this is that the people in power do not seek out talent from other than what they perceive to be the “best”. Check out where the Microsofts and Googles recruit. Many good people are passed over because they do not conform to the biases of the hiring manager – or HR recruiter..

    Most of us do not get to work on visionary products. We are busy making sure you have electricity, gasoline, roads, paper products, and the thousands of items that have given us a standard of living that is the envy of the world.

    “Top” foreign students – malarkey. If the “top” people were from elsewhere, why was it the US that put a man on the Moon, transited the North Pole under the ice, created the transistor, and

    Liked by 1 person

  2. for those that want the ability to browse the intels, ibm, cisco, microsoft, apple hunting license applications, I have developed custom reports using asp.net that you can view via the following link:

    http://h1bhuntinglicenses.com/Reports

    Trust me, as Mr. Matloff says time and time again.
    They are just as guilty as the Infosys type.
    And probably more so because they are American companies in America claiming to be patriots while doing so much destruction to the lives of the people that have spent their lives helping them get to where they are at.

    and yes, there are custom reports where you can search for any company, or state.

    Speaking of that.
    Enter your state name in that one report and look at how many colleges in your state are selling your children down the river.

    After all, when the colleges and government tell your kids that if they will just get a college degree, they will have a good paying job.

    And at the same time these same colleges are buying hunting licenses to purchase non-immigrant guest workers to take those jobs.

    And the government and businesses are doing the same, where does that leave your child except owing lots of student loans that they can’t possibly pay while being forced to live with you at a time when you yourself might be struggling because of the usage of these Hunting Licenses.

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    • Bad English, the repeated use of “global” and the fact that they show up at all the local career fairs implies they are up to something if they are not interviewing. Is there a law requiring that OPT/H1B employers pretend to advertise to Americans before hiring 100% non-Americans?

      This relates to the top thread that foreign grads might be setting up self-serving businesses that actually take away jobs from citizen IT grads.

      It is hard to believe, but my university is actually employing this company on their IT contracts rather than hire their own graduates. The state government also relies on similar companies and leaves its student internship slots vacant.

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  3. If all he does is improve background investigations of vida applicants and reduces illegal immigration, it would still be a big improvement over GHWBush et al.

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  4. Can I complain about OPTrecruiters?
    I live outside a university town that graduates almost 1000 computer science majors each year. There are a few “global” IT recruiters that are actually small shops that hire exclusively OPT students from the colleges.
    Many of my peers have applied to this firm, but no one has been interviewed.
    Only the international students get interviews.
    They post their ads every week on our college bulletin board system and their no hire policy confuses everyone.
    Here’s part of the ad:
    If you are a Bachelors/Masters in Computer Science or Management or Information Technology wanted to peruse career in as Java,.net, Sales Force & I-OS, Android, SAP HANA, Big data, Oracle DBA, & PL/SQL. Here is an opportunity for you.
    Send your updated resume to …
    Great Logics is a Global professional IT Services Company providing CRM Services, ecommerce Solutions, Internet Marketing, Customized Software Development and Staff Augmentation Solutions to business organizations Worldwide. Founded in 2012, Great Logics is a Global Services provider delivering technology-driven business solutions that meet the strategic objectives of our clients.

    This recruitment drive is a unique initiative where we are looking at directly employing qualified graduates as a programmer for full time employment.

    Qualification criteria:
    1. Bachelors/Masters in Computer Science or Management or Information Technology
    2. A minimum 0 –2 year of experience in any Technology.
    3. International students with a valid OPT may also apply (H1B visa & Green Card will be sponsored for all the qualified).

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  5. > It is certainly unfair, though, that the press and the Democrats are making so much hay of the fact that over the years, Trump himself has hired H-1Bs. He has explained that, saying that as a businessman he had to take advantage of available options, but it is a bad program and he would fix it as president.

    I agree. I thought it was an idiotic argument made by Forbes and others that “If Warren Buffett Wants to Pay More Taxes Why Doesn’t Warren Buffett Just Pay More Taxes?” (see http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2012/04/23/if-warren-buffett-wants-to-pay-more-taxes-why-doesnt-warren-buffett-just-pay-more-taxes/#109c180e5618 ). Having just one person pay higher taxes doesn’t accomplish much. In fact that person is essentially ceding power to those who refuse to pay higher taxes. Most laws only work if they apply to everyone. The same is true of H-1B law. Trump can be called out if it is shown that he plays legal games with the law perhaps, but not for simply following the law.

    > But the article in The Hindu reveals new details. Trump adopted the industry lobbyists’ favorite tack — cite a story of a foreign student whom the U.S. lost due to lack of a visa, in this case Kunal Bahl who founded a company called Snapdeal in India.

    > These stories are usually misleading, and in Bahl’s case, based on a false premise; the lobbyists presented this as a “He could have founded the company here” story, when in fact the company’s success has been in India, catering to Indian tastes and market structure. Good for Bahl, but I believe it is fair to say he likely would not have been able to do this in the U.S.

    I also seems strange that we bemoan the fact that an Indian achieved commercial success in his home country. Why do we insist that the U.S. get ALL the benefits from high tech? The argument only makes sense if India does not have the infrastructure to support his business and his being able to start it here keeps his talents from being wasted. That was obviously not true in this case. Also, I believe that we have the so-called “genius visa” for people with truly unique talents.

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    • >> we have the so-called “genius visa” for people with truly unique talents

      That so called genius visa (EB1) is also clogged for indians/chinese.. currently it’s retrogressed to 2010.

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        • >> I suspect that the Obama administration has quietly loosened the standards.

          Nope. On this particular category, the standards/law were already ‘loose enough’/watered down, which I have mentioned number of times on this blog itself. Obama admin, for once, didn’t have to do anything for this to happen. Just that employer woke up a bit late.

          EB1 has a little known flavor – EB-1C for ‘multi national managers’, which is being used by all the you-name-it ‘MNC’s to send in their ‘managers’ from india/china. Majority it from CTS (an indian company, ‘headquartered’ in the US)

          Imagine these folks get in so easily, where as the EB1A (the actual einsteins, if any) will have to “wait”.. All thanks to Morrison/Donnelly/Fragomen et al., back in ’92.

          Again, our favorite number crunchers/data analysts can’t get any insight on this since there is no DOL approval, hence no data to “crunch”. It’s almost a ‘greencard on arrival’.

          More status quo, more ‘indentured’ labor in the einstein category as well — And our ‘favorite’ senators/”low immigration”/media folks got our backs-or-so the story goes.

          For an “ignorant” onlooker (and the lobbyists trying to hike H-1 – the likes of fwd.us) it’s as if Einsteins are flocking to USA and there is a long wait, so we are so blessed ! 🙂

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          • >> Yes, this really should be investigated

            ..And both of us know very well what the outcome of that investigation would be. 🙂

            …… that every letter of law allows it be done and that there’s nothing fishy going on. case closed!

            That brings back us back to square one – status quo!

            Alas, all of my favorite elected representatives are ‘so frustrated’ at the status quo and they hate to budge from their positions and want the status quo to continue! They budge a wee bit, levees collapse and we are so drowned and its Armageddon … so true (or is it?)

            Much spoken ‘EB5’ is up for a ‘must’ renewal.. Let’s see what all go with it. And then, there’s the CR !!

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          • >>> No, I mean investigated by researchers and the press.

            These are as culpable as our congress, if not worse — at several levels — for one, the same researchers and press fail to focus on the ‘no-min-wage’ L-1 and get related stats – it’s much much worse than H-1; worse, it’s these folks that (mis) lead americans and congress alike…borjas vs peri, fwd.us vs cis, breitbart v bloomberg and so on..

            everyone is *now* aware of the problem — how deep and wide it is (although H-1 is what everyone focuses *only* on as there is LCA data available for it).. don’t see any “fixes”(a total “ban” sounds remotely unthinkable and blasphemic – more on this in next paragraph) *actually* going through now or in future..

            one of the presidential candidates who is thought to have brought subject of immigration mainstream supposedly backpedals (as recently as last night) that illegals could have a path to citizenship (all of this with who’s-who’s on his advisory list – Stephen Miller to start with).

            Sayonara, any-and-all (immigration) reform/fixes!

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          • >> I wonder if USCIS can possibly have the manpower to truly verify the requirements.

            If they(USCIS/DHS) cannot (or do not want to) dole out the so-called visas per year as stipulated, then, as has been the case in the past (and present), the visas go wasted making the the employer-attorney cartel more merrier.

            So much, that the subject of ‘recapture’ of wasted visas riles up the pro-american worker group(s) to put up a ‘no visas are wasted’ banner in no time. In their minds, ‘recapturing’ those wasted visas would just add up more ‘immigrant visas’ and they’d rather be happy with a status quo of greencard visa wastage that leads to more and more indentured workforce, which *does* affect the very americans they thump their chests to be having the backs of..[the assumption here is that it’s administration (DHS Ombudsman and the like) that has ‘complete’ knowledge of the ‘actual’ numbers and everyone else is just pulling numbers of thin air, regardless of what they claim/say]

            In my mind, these lobbyists should be proposing and supporting ‘total ban’ on alphabet visa bills by working with the legislators who they are cosy with, when instead, they are supporting ‘fixes’ to the current system with varying degrees of “alphabet soup” rating: A+ to Z- And the american worker seem to not challenge them with that koolaid being served. A total ban need to be the starting point from the ‘pro american worker’ side and see where the other side will compromise.. If the start point itself is a ‘fix’, by the time it gets the full dressing, it would have been watered down enough and gotten worse than what it is today.

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      • There is also the O1 visa which is becoming popular and has a cottage industry of immigration attorneys able to churn them out easily. As far as I can tell there isn’t much oversight and as long as the petitioner “says” they are important whoever the immigration official is reviewing the application doesn’t really have the time or resources to scrutinize.

        Between OPT, O1 and H1-B cap exempt employer arrangements it’s a game of well designed whack-a-mole.

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        • >>> There is also the O1 visa

          Yep and the best part it’s “cap” free and no LCA requirement (yay! => wont show up in anyone’s stats). and it’s more employer friendly (proof of burden on employer is *less* for applying a O-1 when compared to H-1).

          All of bollywood can land here in no time. Looks like they are slowly warming up to this visa. Apparently, it’s a job no american can do…

          Oops, L-1A has clogged the EB-1 queue already. Sorry bollywood!

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          • Actually, I kind of like Bollywood. 🙂 But yes, as I always say, a loophole has the same physics as a vacuum, quickly getting filled by anything and everything.

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      • How do the caps on the EB1 work and what does “retrogressed” mean? As with many of our visas, the rules are not very clear. At http://immigrationroad.com/visa-bulletin/immigrant-visa-annual-limit-and-cap.php , I see references to there being a 40,040 annual worldwide limit and a 2,803 annual per-country limit on EB-1 visas. However, Table V (Part 2) at https://travel.state.gov/content/dam/visas/Statistics/AnnualReports/FY2015AnnualReport/FY15AnnualReport-TableV-Part2.pdf seems to show 41,990, 12,253 and 6,239 EB-1 visas for worldwide, India, and mainland China, respectively.

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        • >> How do the caps on the EB1 work and what does “retrogressed” mean

          A recent report by CRS covers “retrogression” – https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/R42048.pdf

          In nutshell, retrogression is due to the “per country caps” in annual greencard quota – The same quota that is *supposed* to bring in diversity, is being used exactly for the opposite reason – of bringing in people from populous nations (eg., india) and create an ‘indentured workforce’ at the cost of american worker. Due to these country caps, this indentured workforce will be with the same employer for decades (or multiple lifetimes) — http://www.cato.org/blog/no-one-knows-how-long-legal-immigrants-will-have-wait

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          • Thanks, that clarifies things. The article at your second link states:

            “All we know is this: that somewhere between 230,000 and 2 million Indian workers are in the backlog, so they’ll be waiting somewhere between half a century and three and a half centuries.”

            What a mess!

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  6. there are 11 million illegal immigrants in the US and at least some of them are violent criminals; Put aside whether international students are the brightest or not the brightest,
    there are only around 1 million international students in US colleges who came legally and paid money for tuition. I do not see you spend time writing blog posts about illegal immigration.

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    • You also don’t see me writing about cancer, the zika virus, the poor showing of China in the Olympics, Ryan Lochte and so on. Don’t be silly.

      It’s very simple. I write about subjects that I know well.

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    • “I do not see you spend time writing blog posts about illegal immigration.”

      I think Yi means that you are unable to write about illegal immigration because international students are here legally. If international students where committing immigration fraud then you would be writing about it.

      There are international students in US colleges who come illegally by committing “application fraud”. There are “companies in China that help students contrive their entire college application – embellishing or ghostwriting application essays, doctoring letters of recommendation from high school teachers, and even advising kids to obtain fake high school transcripts.”

      “Admission officers say as many as one in 10 applications to U.S. colleges by Chinese students may include fraudulent material, including phony essays and high-school transcripts.”

      It is estimated that one-fourth of colleges use agents to recruit international students. “Why are American universities doing this? The answer is very simple: money …. Foreign students usually pay full nonresident tuition.”

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      • No, I am NOT interested in those things, Joe. On the contrary, I have said repeatedly that cases of fraud in H-1B and related issues (such as student visas) are DISTRACTIONS from the main issues.

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  7. I don’t see a lot of articles or public appearances by any candidate or any politician with a flock of “former scientists” and “former engineers”. That would be an interesting way to phrase the problem.

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  8. What are the chances that history will repeat itself with another Clinton signing a bill to increase the h1b cap to epic proportions (195000 in 2001 right before the dot com bubble) and then seeing a total collapse of the tech industry again?

    Like

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