A reader called my attention to Softletter.com’s post on the H-1B work visa, with this intriguing passage (emphasis added):
At Disney and SoCal, the laid off workers trained their foreign replacements under threat of losing their severance pay, making a mockery of the claim that the H-1B program was filling technology holes at either company. Rather, the clear goal in both cases was to replace highly skilled American workers with more cheaply paid foreigners. From a PR standpoint, both initiatives were disasters, with the Trump campaign focusing attention on the plight of the laid of workers in certain venues, while the Clinton and Sanders forces were largely silent on the issue. Sources we have within the RNC have told us H-1B was a significant contributor to Trump’s narrow victory in Florida.
I’m rather skeptical of this. In spite of all the publicity given to the Disney case and Disney victims such as Leo Perrero courageously choosing to speak out, most voters simply do not keep abreast of daily news.
But I will say that if voters really knew the true story of H-1B — especially the fact that virtually every employer abuses the program — and if they knew about Hillary’s “Let them eat cake” view of H-1B, tons more voters would have turned against her. Her near-100% support from the tech industry would have been just as toxic to her as her enriching herself by giving speeches to Wall Street whose transcripts she refused to make public.
In a Vox interview during the election campaign, Hillary (a) exhibited a real understanding of the H-1B problem but (b) said H-1B is good for nation even though American techies are harmed. Point (b) is especially galling in light of (a). She says
I think it’s because everybody with six degrees of separation either knows or thinks they know someone who knows somebody who lost a job to an undocumented worker or to a worker brought over on a visa to do their job. There’s just a lot of churn that suggests this is a real problem.
but speaks of
…the immigrants who fill jobs we need, particularly high-value jobs…
Of course, this is just the deliberately fallacious “Intels Good, Infosyses Bad” yet again, and, upon close inspection, the same as what Trump has said consistently since August 2015. But Trump brought up the issue himself and railed against H-1B, whereas, to my knowledge, Hillary never once mentioned the issue; she only addressed it in that interview because she was asked about it. And even then, in essence she dismissed people like Perrero, as one reader put it, as collateral damage.
Perrero, of course, is a rare exception. Two more are a victim of Cisco and one of Texas Instruments. But again, very rare. Would you speak out in their situations, and risk blacklisting by employers? One man who challenged Sun Microsystems (later acquired by Oracle) soon found himself working in retail sales (non-tech-related).
I recently was invited to speak at the San Francisco branch of the EEOC. While there, I asked them about this huge obstacle; what should victims do? One of the more senior EEOC people replied:
Filing an EEOC case requires a strong backbone and a strong stomach. Anyone considering it should first check their backbone and then check their stomach.
In other words, even the EEOC concedes that the system is stacked against the victims. Hillary’s Intels Good, Infosyses Bad comments vividly reinforce that point.
Ironically, and once again illustrating the high complexity of political campaigns, an anti-Hillary ad during the campaign pointed out that Hillary has been quite cozy with the Infosyses for years. Barack Obama ran a similar ad in the 2008 primary election, but withdrew it and apologized, not wanting to appear anti-Indian. The ad last year also seems to have been quietly dropped, likely for the same reason.
If only voters knew…