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H-1B: connecting the dots



The mainstream media was exceptionally quiet this week about immigration reform.  Summaries last Friday and over the weekend about immigration reform by the usual talking heads conveniently omitted any discussion of high skill visas (H-1B).  Usually, they at least included a sentence about how H-1B visas are necessary to growing our economy, omitting any supporting evidence.   For example, they do not talk to The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) which generally supports a path to citizenship, but opposes some of the H-1B proposals that could import non-citizens comparable to 10% of the US engineering workforce.

Recently,  US Senator Amy Klobuchar chaired hearings on long-term unemployment for which she received well deserved respect.  Yet, she is the same senator who first introduced the provision to greatly increase the number of H-1B visas which compete with existing US workers for jobs.  Any discussion of immigration reform before this proposal was about DREAM Act Youth and poor Mexicans crossing the Arizona desert.  The competition from H-1B visas for good middle-class jobs is especially noticeable for older workers over 50 years old, but even for those 35 years old in Silicon Valley.   There was recent news coverage about the sharp increase in rates of long-term unemployment and rates of suicide among those over 50 years old.

The situation is a lot like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership which promise jobs, but mostly deliver hardship and more corporate control.  It’s unfortunate that celebrated progressives like US Senators Amy Klobuchar, Tammy Baldwin, and Patty Murray are all advocates of more H-1B visas and more austerity in government (bipartisan debt reduction).  Is that what Emily’s List means now?  As posted before:  “Dear Left, Enjoy Your Pot and Gay Marriage Because That’s All You’re Getting

Photo from Marcus Povey licensed under Creative Commons

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