As many of you know, the Obama administration issued an executive order decreeing that spouses of some H-1B visa holders be granted work permission in the U.S. The Trump administration has announced plans to reverse that order.
To me, the solution is exceedingly simple: Allow the spouses to work, but count them towards the yearly H-1B cap. This would deal with the humanity issue — many spouses are highly educated and feel frustrated by their lack of ability to do so — but would also recognize the reality that many of these spouses take jobs that qualified and interested Americans would fill.
In other words, I do indeed sympathize with the H-1B spouses — except for this one quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle. The article notes,
For immigrant families in the Bay Area, where housing is rarely affordable on a single salary, the work permit has helped them make ends meet.
Sivarajan, who worked for several years in India before coming to the U.S., said she would have never bought a bigger house in Fremont a few years ago if she knew she could lose her right to work.
I find this highly offensive, typical of the unwarranted sense of entitlement common among the H-1Bs (“We are contributing so much to the U.S.”). Ms. Sivarajan buys her dream house, due to benefiting from a legally questionable executive order, and now publicly expresses outrage that she may no longer be able to afford it? What is the Hindi word for chutzpah?!
The fact is that the REASON Bay Area real estate is so expensive is that Silicon Valley employers have hired so many foreign workers, swelling the pool of home buyers. Sivarajan is the CAUSE of the very problem she is decrying.
Look, I have family and friends in Fremont who are benefiting from the steep rise in housing prices, since they bought their properties long ago. Good for them, but the fact is that many Americans — native and immigrant alike — are frozen OUT of the real estate market as a result of tech employers’ love of cheap, indentured labor.
I hope the Trump people don’t cave on this one.