I have long sought to explain to those interested in the H-1B issue that the common viewpoint,”Intels good, Infosyses bad” is (a) unwarranted, as the Intels abuse the system just as much as the Infosyses, and (b) dangerous, as it will lead to legislation that does NOT increase job opportunities for U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Again, by “Infosyses” I mean firms that “rent” H-1Bs to U.S. firms, while the “Intels” are companies that hire H-1Bs directly, typically as foreign students at U.S. universities.
The “Intels good, Infosyses bad” (IGIB) viewpoint, heavily promoted by the tech industry lobbyists and their allies such as the New York Times but naively adopted by many well-meaning analysts, badly misses the point in one aspect in particular: IGIB dwells on the fact that there have been many cases (only a few of which have been publicized) in which a company fires its Americans and REPLACES them by Infosyses-supplied H-1Bs. The key word is replace; let’s call that disease Infosysitis. The problem is that the Intels inflict an equally serious disease, Intelitis, by hiring H-1Bs INSTEAD OF Americans. Both diseases are of great concern, and even if Infosysitis were eradicated, Intelitis would take its place.
Thus today’s article by Neil Munro of Breitbart is huge, one of the few that tells the real story about Intelitis. Here Caterpillar is an Intel, in the sense that it is directly hiring H-1Bs. And it is not REPLACING Americans, at least not overtly. It appears to be hiring H-1Bs INSTEAD OF Americans.
In addition, the article’s speculation that these H-1Bs are largely, likely exclusively, foreign students is almost certainly accurate, based on my experience. One way to see that is, as researchers and advocates on both sides of the foreign tech worker issue agree, an aspect that sharply distinguishes the Intels from the Infosyses is that the former sponsor their H-1Bs for green cards. As I have explained before, I am NOT saying the Intels are less abusive because of that; on the contrary, they use the lengthy green card process to trap their foreign workers, an abuse of the foreign workers as well as a reason why the employers shun hiring Americans in favor of hiring the foreigners. Instead, my point is that Caterpillar does offer green card sponsorship (see table in the article), hence their “Intels” status. Indeed, Caterpillar’s motivation may well be that H-1Bs solve a “How do you keep them down in Mossville” problem (indirectly a money-saving issue, as it would have to pay Americans much more to stay).
H-1B is a highly complex issue. But if you take anything away from this posting, it is this: Hiring H-1Bs INSTEAD OF Americans is just as harmful as hiring H-1Bs to REPLACE Americans. Beware of any news article, research report or politician’s statement that dwells on the word replace. Don’t be fooled into barking up the wrong tree, as I have shown before with the example of Virgil Birschwale.