New H-1B Bill Sadly “More of the Same”: Part I

So, turns out that “the usual suspects” have introduced a new H-1B reform bill, proudly announced in a press release last week. Let’s see…we have Grassley, Durbin, Pascrell etc., and the new kid on the block, Khanna. To understand the bill, one must first understand the views of these men. I’ll explain the background in this post, and then present my analysis of the bill in the next one.

Khanna displaced longtime Rep. Mike Honda, a Democrat, for the latter’s Silicon Valley seat in 2016, on his second try. As a Democrat himself, not yet 40 years old, Khanna would have under ordinary circumstances failed to unseat Honda. But Khanna had enormous support from the Silicon Valley moneyed and powerful. As Politico reported at the time,

The hottest new startup in Silicon Valley isn’t a tech company; it’s Ro Khanna… The 36-year old attorney and former Commerce Department official, who is challenging six-term incumbent Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) to represent Silicon Valley in Congress, has the overwhelming support of the deep-pocketed tech community’s CEOs and venture capitalists…Khanna’s donor rolls read like a who’s who of the Bay Area tech community: Google chairman Eric Schmidt, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, eBay CEO John Donahoe, and dozens of other tech or venture capital bigwigs…

Not surprisingly then, Khanna, with whom I had a formal public debate sponsored by the Voice of America in 2017, completely toes the Silicon Valley party line re H-1B:  “Intels Good, Infosyses Bad,” meaning that the mainstream firms who hire H-1Bs from the pools of foreign students at US universities, use the H-1B program responsibly, while the Indian outsourcing firms such as Infosys are the main abusers of the visa.  Note that the “Intels” include not only the household-name megafirms, but also smaller ones such as for instance the Bank of the West; the key defining property is hiring foreign students from US campuses.

(The above link is the last of four posts in which I reported on the debate and its aftermath. Follow the links if you are interested in more about Khanna.)

As I’ve explained in numerous blog posts (click here for a summary), the “Intels” are just as culpable as the “Infosyses,” actually even more so. So the “Intels Good, Infosyses Bad” is false and highly misleading. Yet, IT SELLS. The American people, and in particular Congress and the press, generally have a high opinion of the Intels. So when the latter say in unctuous tones, “Yes, H-1B is badly abused but not by us; it’s those Indian firms,” it sounds plausible. Again, it’s blatant scapegoating — I strongly suspect the industry PR people go out of their way to insert the word “Indian” — but the PR people know very well what sells. Sadly, even many of the H-1B critics have bought into IGIB.

So, what about those other authors of the new bill? In summary:

  • Grassley, a very decent, common sense person, was originally quite a critic of the visa, and at first was introducing good legislation (though it never got anywhere). However, at some point he “fell in with the bad kids,” and has had the IGIB view for some years now.
  • Durbin has always viewed the issue in IGIB terms.
  • Pascrell, though also an IGIBer, has also introduced some good, though also unsucessful legislation.

So — my gosh, what a surprise! — this new bill is all IGIB. In fact, in the above-linked press release, the quotes of ALL 7 POLITICIANS each boil down to IGIB.

Next post: My analysis of the bill itself, and what GOOD reform should look like.

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13 thoughts on “New H-1B Bill Sadly “More of the Same”: Part I

  1. Governments never did anything regarding restricting high-skilled immigration over the decades, and now that there is some pressure on them to do so because of the current economic situation, they have naturally chosen the metastable IGIB equilibrium point that has been carefully crafted over the last decade or so as an insurance policy for situations like these by the Intels.

    Some of the blame also does like with the various advocacy groups and individuals like US Techworkers, AmWorkCo, Michelle Malkin, PFIR, Sara Blackwell etc, and the dozens of Twitter accounts pushing the anti-S386 movement, who have focused more or less specifically on bashing Indians, thereby playing into the hands of the IGIBers all along.

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    • I’ve been following and living this topic for many many years.
      For the most part, I’ve witnessed this as a confrontation with the US Congress ( and not Indians at all ).

      I’ve also done some campaign work and knocked on many doors.
      Indians have invited me into their homes to talk about this H-1b Visa issue.
      And, I can tell you what they’ve told me first hand.
      They told me they they are sick of it.
      They are sick of this H-1b program and more and more and more H-1bs visas arriving on our shores.

      ( You are way way off on a tangeant, Willie. )

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      • The “sick of it” comments by Indian (and others who came as H1) kicks in when it wraps around to bite them in job/job opportunity loss. Many an H1 gets a pink slip with their green card, and upon citizenship are as shut out of the job market as every other American. All? No. But enough for them to notice the relationship. And, having participated in shunning US citizens, grow alarmed as their American kids start moving into adulthood. Specifically, what goes around, comes around. Indian hope jugaad saves them in the job market, even if it means becoming an outsourcer themselves – what Wall St calls “job creators” and entrepreneurs.

        Moynihan, Bank of America CEO, on Charlie Rose,
        “If we don’t grow the population, everything’s harder.”
        “Immigration … is a growth acquisition program”

        It’s not about skills, it’s about population numbers. And the downward spiral in all West/Westernized is, the more employment is unstable, the fewer and fewer people have kids.

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        • I feel the “growth acquisition program” is a legitimate idea. So, fine, plan things that way. Have an independent commission decide each year (or each 5 years, say) decide how many immigrants we need for general growth, how many refugees we want for humanitarian purposes, how many temporary workers we need for genuine labor shortages and so on. The American people have never been asked for their views on these things.

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          • “growth acquisition program”, as near as I can tell, is for sake of profit growth from easy sales and wage suppression from the labor glut.
            Native population in West/Westernized countries are shrinking, US, UK, Australia, Japan, etc. I happen to blame instability in the job market. And unless/until these are addressed, it’s a downward spiral migration only makes worse.
            We currently have approximately 1M green cards per year, which are allocated to family sponsored, refugees, employer sponsored, etc.. I believe illegal presence and visa’d programs have ballooned and exacerbate households’ economic instability due to glut in the job market. That these two paths of influx are damaging and need to be stopped.

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  2. US Labor Force Participation Rate . . .
    https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/labor-force-participation-rate

    It’s approaching 60%.

    This is a national disgrace.
    They may as well have shot and killed all of us.
    No jobs. No financial security. No families formed. No children. No culture. No borders.

    Will congress / homeland security suspend or delete the H-1b visa program ?

    Or is congress more corrupt and fraudulant than ever before ?

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    • “is congress more corrupt and fraudulant than ever before ?”
      The answer to that is no. The historians generally paint the US as having deep roots of racism and xenophobia. If you do your homework (and it takes a lot of work to do so), US has always imported foreign workers for sake of wage suppression. Slavery – free labor. Loud mention in our stereotypical school history books. Not in our stereotypical history books, the US started with indentured. England swept their streets of indigent and orphans and sent them to the colonies as indentured servants, which was an inherited status, as it could be a generation or two before the debt of shipping them was paid off. Lovely, eh? Next were immigrants, who were used to supplant US workers en masse, triggering such things as Chinese Exclusion Act, as the public protests over being fired grew louder. And nationality riots, in places like NYC as Irish took over the employment there (Tammany Hall), supplanting with the glut of Irish coming over.
      Congress has reverted to its former practices, migration for sake of busting the labor market.
      Documentation in Trilateral Commission’s 1970s The Crisis of Democracy outlines the international elites’ beef with the labor market, if you’re interested in what kicked of the current bout of anti-labor attacks.

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    • ps – “free labor” still occurring in the US, it’s just shape shifted: felonizing blacks for free prison labor, illegal labor and visa’d labor often the very targeted wage theft, and overall labor glut hostages all to vulnerable to wage theft – currently estimated at $40 billion annually. “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

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