Jeremy Beck's picture

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  by  Jeremy Beck

An ad campaign for H-1B reform in San Francisco's BART train stations became a minor national story last week, but to get the reaction of the ad's target audience (American tech workers), you have to skip the news reports and look in the comments.

Here is the ad from Progressives for Immigration Reform:

USTechWorkers_29Mar18.jpg

According to news reports, the ad has shocked and appalled a good many people (BART representatives practically apologized for allowing the ads to go up). The coverage was less about the substance of the ad than the reaction to it from non-tech workers. Thankfully, American tech workers found a way to weigh in ... in the comments.

Comments on San Francisco Chronicle:

I used to run large tech projects. Whenever we hired a H1B visa worker we did it to reduce the cost of a project. ALWAYS. We could hire 3 H1B visa holders for every 2 US born workers.
As a former tech who was let go after my job was sent to India. I can appreciate the sentiment of the ad.
Outsourcing, H1B's, ageism, racism, gender bias: it's all connected.
Why not name names of companies who hire H1B'ers and fire Americans with equal or better skills in order to save money? They're doing this especially to older, higher paid, and highly skilled, experienced employees.

I'll start with one: Charles Schwab. Seen with my own eyes and wallet.
H-1b is hurting citizens and even workers that were previously H-1b that became citizens. I know because I see and talk to them everyday. Long time H-1b holders cannot find full-time positions and others born here have left the industry permanently due to the massive influx of cheap labor.
Thank you
My job is about to be outsourced
Because no one makes a stand anymore
15+ years ago I was ordered to train my foreign replacements; TATA India employees, holders of L-1b visas. I had 3 trainees, each learned a different facet of my job. Once trained the well-educated American employees were given a small severance and a pink slip while foreigners lived and worked in Lake Mary, FL.

In 1995, Dan Rather, 48 Hours reported "Slamming the Door, Denying the Dream". AIG Ins replaced 250+ Americans with H-1bs. you can find the video on youtube.

Immigration lawyers even teach ways to "NOT find a qualified and interested American worker". search youtube for "PERM Fake Job Ads defraud Americans to secure green cards"

Today, the abuse is rampant. Corporations know to play the game and more importantly, they know the US govt is in their back pocket.

Your congress cares more for the corporations lining their pockets than the livelihoods of their constituents.
As an engineering manager, I've had to lay off Americans but keep their newer H1B peers....When layoffs come, older Americans are out, younger cheaper "temporary foreign workers" are in, every year. Most don't have "advanced skills", they're BS level CS workers. It's amount the money.
Comments on Mercury News:
There is a large number of H1Bs that are basically low tech operators doing pretty mundane simple jobs that these companies could train intelligent high school graduates to do. Why don't they? because they if they did, they would likely jump to another company after a few years while an H1B is pretty heavily tied to the company they are working at until they get their green card (usually 5 years). ... Having worked in high tech for over 30 years, every single H1B hired at the companies I worked at were new college graduates or very recent college grads. All required a huge amount of training as you would expect for a new college grad. Why would you hire them? They were cheap and there is a ton of crappy work to do when you are designing a new semiconductor chip.
Last October my company had a big layoff. Just about ALL of the layoffs in engineering were U.S. positions (not Bangalore positions) and as I saw who was laid off, 95% of them were U.S. citizens NOT H1-B's. These were good, intelligent, experienced middle-aged workers. ... So why does my company need so many H1-Bs? Its obvious were are able to find Americans to do the jobs as we HAD them.
I just trained 2 offshore l1 to replace me - everyone is being laid off - UHG and cargill are now almost completely taken over and will not hire American
I would agree with some others here that the while H1-B visas have been abused, the L1A and L1B visas need to be looked into. A lot of people have NO IDEA of how much abuse goes on in the cover of "internal transfer from overseas offices", the premise of L-1 visas. There is NO WAGE REGULATION for L-1s, no annual limits at all.
Comments on Buzzfeed News:
I am an Indian American replaced by H1B multiple times, even when I market for jobs, always H1B employees undercut me for cost reaons, I am planning to sue or meet any senators, H1B minimum salary kept same as 65,000 for last 30 years but value of dollar isn't the same because of inflation, Senators are more concerned about foreigners than Citizens because of the pressure they get from companies so that companies get cheap labor.
I had to train Infosys and Wipro guys twice to loose my job. And next day they say American are not qualified or willing to do the job.

The ad's "ask" is for Congress to "fix H-1B law so companies must seek and hire U.S. workers." Many Americans would be surprised to learn that under current law, "H-1Bworkers may be hired even when a qualified U.S. worker wants the job, and a U.S. worker can be displaced from the job in favor of the foreign worker."

As for companies treating U.S. tech workers as "expensive, undeserving & expendable" - there is anecdotal and statistical evidence to support that as well.

Expensive: The CEO of Infosys admitted in 2016 that there was no shortage of U.S tech workers but they were more expensive than foreign guest workers. The H-1B program expands the supply of younger workers (75% of H-1B petitions are for workers) under 35, who typically earn less than older, more experienced workers. Reporters should understand the concept. When the Washington Post layed off dozens of experienced employees in 2013, a source within the company said that was the point: "Get rid of experienced people to save money, under the garb of streamlining is the new trend inside the Post."

Undeserving: Mark Zuckerberg's lobbying group Fwd.us told Bloomberg TV that American tech workers who were being laid off by companies (who were simultaneously lobbying for more H-1B workers) were "just sort of ok."One of Fwd.us contributors has tried to explain that American workers who are forced to train their foreign replacements are the ones lacking skills and work ethic, saying "Nobody's going to hold you up and carry you around ... If you're not going to work hard enough to be qualified to get the job ... well then, you don't deserve the job." Sadly, this view is widely held in the media as well. Just this week, syndicated columnist Ruben Navarrette scoffed at an engineer who called in to his radio show to share how the H-1B program was endangering his livelihood. The engineer said the problem is the guest workers "will work for lower wages" (fact). Navarrett said the foreign worker was probably more deserving: "Americans are afraid that they themselves might not measure up. So they want to eliminate the competition."

Expendable: In a 2014 conference call with media, Scot Corley, executive director of Compete America, claimed that there is "less value" in retraining older workers than there is in replacing them with foreign guest workers. "Older" translates to "over 35."

For a brief period, between the high-profile case of Disney forcing its IT workers to train their replacements and the 2016 election, the H-1B program became a national issue and - for the first time ever - a presidential campaign issue. Public attention to American tech workers probably peaked during the summer of 2016. Donald Trump put American tech workers on stage at his rallies; Hillary Clinton said it was "heartbreaking" that companies were using H-1B as a "cost-cutting measure to be able to pay people less than you would pay an American worker." But the candidate with the longest record supporting H-1B reforms, Bernie Sanders, was effectively silenced after Fwd.us and its media allies attacked him for

There is always a temptation in the media to forget that H-1B policy is about American workers. For a week, at least, you had to read the comments to be reminded.



JEREMY BECK is the Director of the Media Standards Program for NumbersUSA

Updated: Thu, Apr 12th 2018 @ 3:15pm EDT

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