Immigration

Donald Trump Finally Sees the Light On Foreign Techies

After maligning Rubio, he now says they are economic assets and shouldn't be sent packing.

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During the presidential debate Wednesday night, Trump was caught in a flat-out lie when he denied that he'd ever accused Sen. Marco Rubio of being Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg's personal senator by pushing visas for foreign-born techies. In fact, Trump had said that very thing—and not in an unguarded moment to an interviewer, but in his own white paper on immigration (along with promising to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants and

Donald Trump
Gage Skidmore / Foter / CC BY-SA

their American-born children).

Trump's paper also noted that "we graduate two times more Americans with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) degrees each year than can find jobs"—implying that there was no need for the U.S. government to hand out more H-1B visas to foreign workers in these fields. Yet there he was at the debate claiming that he never had any disagreement with Zuckerberg, and was totally on board with letting talented foreign techies stay and work in Silicon Valley.

Credit Trump for this, I suppose: He has lied and flip-flopped his way into the correct position. Because his previous view was based on nothing but restrictionist nonsense.

Restrictionists have long claimed that Zuckerberg and the Silicon Valley crowd, who lobby for more tech workers to be let into the U.S., are doing so not to alleviate any "shortage" of technical talent, but to shore up profits by driving down native wages. But the notion that without foreign techies native wages would rise is a complete fantasy based on rather crude notions of supply and demand. The truth, actually, is the opposite.

Now, in a strict sense, there is no "shortage" of foreign tech workers in America. But that's because "shortages" rarely exist in a market economy with a nominally functioning price mechanism where private business activity can expand or contract or in other ways adapt to the available factors of production.

The lack of "shortages," however, doesn't mean that the high-tech labor market isn't tight, or that there is no cost to forcing companies to deal with an artificial "tightness" in foregone opportunities. But restrictionists deny even that. As proof they make three claims—all false or highly misleading.

FALSE: STEM graduates can't find STEM jobs.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Congress' leading restrictionist, claims that 74 percent of the 11 million Americans with STEM degrees work in non-STEM jobs. This implies that some eight million qualified Americans can't find jobs in STEM-related fields at appealing wages. These statistics are based on the Census Bureau's screwy job categorization that counts a physics professor as an educator not a STEM worker, and a computer engineer who has moved into the management side of an IT company as non-STEM. This data, notes the National Foundation for American Policy (a pro-immigration think tank), "would exclude every American recipient of the Nobel Prize in the past 100 years who worked as a professor, which would be classified as a post-secondary teacher, and the CEO of Apple, since management positions typically do not count as a STEM occupation under government classification."

In contrast to Sen. Sessions' claims, the National Science Foundation found that only 5 percent of Americans with bachelor's degrees in engineering, computing, or math were involuntarily working outside their field in 2010.

FALSE: Wages in STEM fields are stagnant

Restrictionists claim that if the STEM labor market were genuinely tight, wages in the industry would rise, but instead, they have been stagnant. The Center for Immigration Studies, an ultra-restrictionist outfit, claims that real hourly wages in STEM fields grew just 0.7 percent a year from 2000 to 2012, on average. But Cato Institute's Alex Nowrasteh points out that those gains look weak only if you forget that overall wages in all occupations during the same time period actually fell by 0.94 percent. Indeed, despite an influx of STEM workers, wages in the field increased even during a recession—showing that there is no "surplus" of foreign tech workers, contrary to CIS claims.

What's more, overall wages in STEM fields, even for native-born workers, are going up, not down. Since 2007, wages in computer-related occupations, the largest H-1B category, grew by 2.7 percent each year for those with bachelor's degrees.

FALSE: Silicon Valley prefers foreign-born tech workers because they are cheap, not because they are gifted

The pro-labor Economic Policy Institute has been at the forefront of popularizing the claim that America gets not the world's best and brightest, but its mediocre. Hence, instead of commanding a premium in the labor market, these ho-hum foreign workers undercut native wages.

A 2013 Brookings Institute study found that foreign tech workers are paid about $9,000 more than Americans with STEM bachelor's degrees in the same occupation and with the same level of experience. Why? Likely because they "provide hard-to-find skills."

What all of this shows is that foreign workers don't threaten American jobs or diminish American wages. By boosting the productivity and growth of American companies, they do the opposite. Indeed, if these workers couldn't come to America, these companies would likely relocate to where these foreign workers are just to remain globally competitive. And if they couldn't do that, they'd shut down or scale back or automate or never take off in the first place. None of this would protect American jobs or wages.

That restrictionists don't get this is one thing. That a business tycoon like Trump took so long to come around on the issue doesn't exactly inspire confidence in his business savvy—his paeans to himself notwithstanding.

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  1. I give him 3 days before he changes his mind again.

    1. Nick — So fucking what if he changes his mind? I guess you prefer these politicians who rehearse their speeches until they get it word perfect in front of their handlers and pollsters and then comes in front of the cameras and like a tape recorder, plays it back to their audience exactly like their managers taught them? Just like a trained seal.

      Really? That’s how you like your politicians? You’re EXACTLY what the fuck is wrong with the country today and why socialism is steamrolling over us.

      I give you 3 days after Putin takes over the USA before you’re duck-walking like one of Hitler’s puppets.

      1. You really prefer politicians who lie every time they open their mouth?

        1. There is some comfort in consistency.

        2. Nick — Actually Trump is probably the only politician who doesn’t lie. He might not have thought something all the way through before giving an answer before he changes his mind but I prefer that to the well-rehearsed ass holes who make up EVERY other candidate in the race.

          And if you’re not for Trump, who the hell are you for? Don’t worry. I won’t embarrass you too badly on national social media here. But I will let you embarrass yourself.

          1. Really? You don’t think trump lies? So what’s your expansion for his claim during the debate that he never criticized Rubio over visas during the debate?

            1. Nick — I already gave you that explanation.

              And why won’t you tell us who you want as the nominee?

              Please. I want to see you embarrass yourself.

              1. I did, you didn’t. Claiming he didn’t think through something when he denied saying he very clearly did said is a BS excuse.

                1. Nick — Give me a quote from Trump instead of this gibberish you’re throwing out there. Do you even know what a quote is?

                  And please learn proper grammar. Trying to comprehend your nonsense gets tiring.

      2. Yea, there are so many jobs available, maybe that’s why Disney forced some of their current workforce to train incoming foreign workers. Maybe it was because they wanted to pay the new workers more and fired those who make too little? Anyone actually think Zuckerburg wants more H1B visas so he can pay more? or that there’s too many jobs that he has that can’t be fulfilled by citizen workers?

        1. You think the actions of one obsolete media company speaks to the entire high tech industry? Have you asked why is it American engineers are so expensive? I’ll give you a hint. It’s not the case that the country is full of unemployed nerds.

  2. If there is no difference in labor costs, then why are some companies doing wholesale replacement of dozens of citizen employees with foreign born, non-immigrant employees? Not incremental hires, not on the margin, but wholesale?

    H-1B visas are subject to employer sponsorship, which can (in theory) be withdrawn at any time. This “handcuffing” of employee to employer has been criticized by pro-immigration groups as involuntary servitude, which results in lower, unfair wages for the employee.

    Then there is the STEM OPT extension where foreign born, non-immigrant graduates are covered by their existing student visas for an additional 3 years. The problem with this program is it treats the full-time employee as a non-resident alien student, with no requirement for the employer or the student to pay FICA taxes. That means a STEM OPT new hire has a 13.3% cheaper labor cost than a citizen or resident alien new hire. That is before the value of employer sponsorship is considered.

    The PG&E and Disney moves were done via outsourcing, which allows a legal avoidance of firing to replace workers with lower cost H-1B workers. In the past, often outsourcing contractors took over the employment of existing IT staff.

    When unskilled, but highly educated H-1B visa employees are replacing on premises, middle-class, non-degree required, trade-school technical jobs (information technology system and network administrators), we have a serious problem.

    1. As someone who is in a high demand field (software engineering) I can assure you that all claims that foreign born engineers driving natives into the unemployment lines are greatly exaggerated. I’m not actively looking for a job and haven’t had a resume on a job board for over two years now, yet still get several emails from recruiters every week (ok, a lot are clearly the recruiter version of spammers, but some appear legit as well). The fact remains skilled (emphasis on skilled, I don’t mean your cousin who slept through a couple night classes on Ruby on Rails development) software engineers are in high demand.

      Yes, the fact that employee sponsorship of H-1B workers basically reduces them to indentured servants can be a problem, but one that can be easily fixed by adjusting the law to give them more time (or, hell, unlimited time) to find a new job after getting laid off. And any advantage that gives H-1B employees (assuming you consider be treated as an indentured servant as an advantage) is offset by the fact that you have to go through a ton of bureaucracy to hire them.

      1. As someone who is in a high demand field (software engineering) I can assure you that all claims that foreign born engineers driving natives into the unemployment lines are greatly exaggerated. I’m not actively looking for a job and haven’t had a resume on a job board for over two years now, yet still get several emails from recruiters every week (ok, a lot are clearly the recruiter version of spammers, but some appear legit as well).

        My circumstances are pretty much identical to yours. Last I looked, the unemployment rate for software engineers was less than 1%.

        1. I am in the same field, and have an operational background with an even scarcer skill than software engineering. While you might be right about H1B not sending domestic STEM workers to the unemployment lines, it is impacting their freedom to find work and definitely impacts wages.

          I think it is possible to be libertarian and still have a problem with the crony-capitalist implementation of an immigration program such as H1B, which has definitely been manipulated by large corporations with a huge lobbying presence. If we truly had free and open borders, there would be no limitations on who could come here (as long as they went through legal channels). The problem with this program is it’s restrictiveness – not everyone can take part – and it’s control and manipulation by the larger employers which impacts wages and limits worker freedom.

  3. Does Reason really expect me to believe that a politician who signed the Republican Party Pledge not to run as fake independent would deliberately lie to the American people?

  4. That a business tycoon like Trump took so long to come around on the issue doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in his business savvy

    How many times has he declared bankruptcy? I never bought the myth that he was some kind of business genius. He’s a cronyist and a snake oil salesman, nothing more.

    1. Had he just invested what he inherited from his daddy in the stock market he would probably be worth more today than he actually is.

    2. Loki — You say, “How many times has he declared bankruptcy?”

      The answer is 4.

      I have to assume you think Babe Ruth was a real slacker and loser since he didn’t hit anywhere near 1000.

      Name me any other potential presidential candidate who is as successful, a better deal maker, a bigger winner and who is not owned by ANYONE like ALL of these other “cronyist” candidates. Let me save you some time?YOU CAN”T!

      1. Unless you define success as inheriting millions from daddy, pretty much all of them qualify.

        1. Nick — You seem to be a little slow on the uptake so here it is again:

          “Name me any other potential presidential candidate who is as successful, a better deal maker, a bigger winner and who is not owned by ANYONE like ALL of these other “cronyist” candidates. Let me save you some time?YOU CAN’T”

          Which ones have turned their inheritance into 100 times the amount of that inheritance ?

          Which ones have become bestselling authors?

          Which ones had a hit TV show?

          Which ones have made deals that have netted them billions of dollars internationally?

          Which ones have been leading in the polls since entering the race?

          And which ones are SELF-FUNDING their own presidential candidacy?

          Again, YOU CAN”T tell me!

          Better yet, you won’t tell us who YOU want for president.

          1. First of all, anyone with access to the stock market could have done as well with his inheritance as Trump.
            Many presidential candidates are best selling authors, there is a whole weird marketplace for cappy books written by politicians. And no, Trumps claim that his book is the best selling business book of all time is a fat lie.
            I don’t want to know why you think being a reality tv star makes you qualified to be president…
            Again, Trump only made billion dollar deals because he inherited a billion dollar company from his daddy.
            No candidate has been leading in the polls since they entered the race. The current leader is Carson, and he had been down in the polls at times. And that’s perfectly normal this early in the race.
            I don’t care if a candidate is self funding their candidacy, but trumps candidacy has basically been funded by the media who give his extra attention because they think he’s funny.

            As for who I want to be president? Well there is no candidate I find perfect, though I suppose Paul is the best available at the moment. But he’s never been on reality tv so I guess you wouldn’t like him.

            1. Nick — You are hilarious. You make the stock market sound like a piece of cake to play. How many millions have you made in it, ha, ha.

              You should really get your so-called facts correct if you’re going to throw out numbers. Trump inherited approximately 100 MILLION, not billions as you claim.

              Wrong again. I LOVE Rand Paul, as I do his father, the man responsible for bringing me into the Libertarian Party in 1988. But the time is now for saving our country. If Hillary wins, she gets 2 or 3 supreme court justices and we are a full fledged socialist country for the next 75 years, at least. The country is not ready for a libertarian-lite candidate such as Rand and his chances of winning the nomination are near zero. His chances of beating Hillary are less than zero.

              1. In today’s dollars his father was worth $1 billion. And yes, the stock market is easy to play over the course of 50 years. $100 million invested in the S&P in 1970 would be around 9 billion today. Trump is maybe worth 5 billion. So this “market genius” has performed at 50% of what the typical investor would do.

            2. Nick — You say, “I don’t care if a candidate is self funding their candidacy, but trumps candidacy has basically been funded by the media who give his extra attention because they think he’s funny.”

              So I assume you prefer your candidates to fund their campaigns with money from big corporations so that they essentially own the candidate.

              And yes you are correct. Trump is smart enough to rope the media into funding his campaign. He is fortunate in that he is the ONLY candidate who has charisma in this campaign. Actually he is the only candidate in our lifetime to have this amount of charisma.

    3. I agree, we need to keep voting republican. It has been working out so well for us so far.

  5. Most H-1b visas are used by the Offshore Outsourcing companies.

    The truth is, our domestic tech originating companies barely use one third of the available H-1b visas.

    The reason why your company can’t get reliable access to the H-1b visa, is because the Offshore Outsourcing companies are deliberately oversubscribing to the H-1b system, in order to force a lottery.

    Offshore Outsourcing companies don’t care about the H-1b lottery, because if candidate A or B doesn’t make it in, C will do just fine, because they are all just liaison trainees anyway.

    The primary usage of the H-1b visa is to force better qualified, more experienced U.S. citizens to train their foreign worker replacement. You can’t deny that or refute it, since more than half of the freely (unrestricted by business type) H-1b visas are used by Offshore Outsourcing companies, then it is a FACT that most H-1b visas are being used to displace U.S. citizens from jobs on U.S. soil.

    Offshore Outsourcing companies will not hire an American if they can find a worker in India first. And proxy-displacement of American workers by workers on an H-1b, Is Still Displacement of Workers Via The H-1b System.

    Any increase in the number of H-1b visas will simply be taken up by the Offshore Outsourcing companies, that is the absolute idiocy of the H-1b system as it stands today.

    1. Uh, I don’t think you know what offshoring is.
      If a company is offshorin their work is hiring Indians in India,which by definition are not here on h1b visas.

      1. No, YOU don’t understand that in order to move the work Offshore they need to bring in replacement workers first. The replacement workers are trained by the people they are replacing. They do the job for some time in parallel with duplication of the entire department overseas. Our Federal Government has no business, what-so-ever, in providing an indenturement visa to facilitate this, let it be a completely free market operation only.

        If you want to train workers, use a different visa, not the H-1b visa. For example the student visa or B-1 visa.

        Just do 10 seconds of research into Southern California Edison + H-1b or Disney + H-1b on Google.

        And these companies can hire workers locally. They might not need to hire as many local workers, given that most of the work is now Offshore, but liaison work can be a long term gig, and often is because of the continuing need to integrate new business operations with existing business operations.

        Liaison work is nothing new, Americans can do it just as well as people in India can do. I have known people who have done this work for decades.

        You’ll see the same whining about being unable to find local U.S. workers coming from Offshore Outsourcing companies. The only difference between their whining and that of domestic tech origination companies, is that you can say, simply by looking at their business model, their whining is obviously nothing but a patent lie.

        1. As someone who actually works in the tech industry, I can assure you that you have no idea what you are talking about.
          It absolutely is hard to find competent workers in the tech field. If it wasn’t, wages would be dropping until they were on par with those in India. Instead ours were some of the only wages that not only didn’t fall but increased during the recession.
          That is why there are companies who make loads of money contacting IT work to India. It’s an in demand skill set that is in low supply.

          1. It is quite clear that the majority of what you know is what you see in your own area and personal experience. It’s usually evident to me that someone lacks overall comprehension when they start off with statements like “As someone who actually works in the tech industry”. Just who do you think is following this issue?

            Try out a search engine before responding next time. If H-1B has nothing to do with offshoring, please enlighten us as to what Cognizant, Wipro, Infosys, Tech Mahindra, IBM, Accenture and all those other offshoring consulting companies are doing perennially in the top 20 user lists of the H-1Bs.

            1. You really don’t think IBM hires US based engineers? That’s news to me, and to many of my former coworkers who are still working there.
              Yes, they send some of their work overseas. Usually the low priority stuff since their overseas offices tend to have high turnover and low hiring standards. But they also hire tons of engineers in the United States as well. Those ranks get supplemented by visas by necessity because there aren’t enough skilled engineers otherwise.

              1. First off, do you really think all the H-1Bs IBM is hiring are for their high end work or for the offshoring. And beyond that, again, if H-1B is so detached from offshoring, what are all of those offshoring companies doing with them?

                1. No, a lot of what I’d consider low end work at IBM is done in the states as well.
                  As for other companies, what company on that list do you think only does offshoring?
                  Believe it or not, many companies do more than one thing.

                  1. None probably do ONLY offshoring. Infy, Wipro, Cognizant, Tech Mahindra most definitely concentrate in it and use H-1Bs both as Jake mentioned and as PMs, BAs, Testers and developers that stay onshore. While they got into the model, Accenture and IBM didn’t start off as outsourcers but have moved into a large amount of that same space.

                    1. Yes, many companies have a mixture of foreign and domestic employees. For instance it is common to have more customer facing roles such as PMs to be in the country where the customer is.
                      But do you really think that if only they weren’t allowed to bring people to the US Wipro would shut down their Indian offices and hire the last few US developers who can’t program their way out of a paper bag?

                    2. No, nor did I ever indicate that.

                      What I do really think is that if this visa and similar programs couldn’t be nearly so easily used to bring workers simply who are cheaper and dealing with some characteristics of indentured servitude that qualified workers would not be getting cut with nearly the same frequency for those they bring to fill the roles. And the climate for those with the requisite skills would make them more likely choose fields where shortages are often claimed.

                      I have no desire to end skilled immigration. I have a desire to stop having it be primarily a tool for cheaper labor. And I have a desire for citizens and permanent residents to have reasonable priority for the jobs in the US. The current visa program is littered with ineffective phrasing that leads me to believe that my view is in line with its intent. But when architects are legally making barely mid-range developer salaries, prevailing wage is a joke. $77K in Austin is one of a great many examples of this.

                    3. But that problem can easily be fixed by giving laid of H1B employees more time to find a new job before they get deported. And hopefully eventually permanently fixed by throwing out sponsorship and allowing them to stay as long as they want. But baby steps first.

                      But the reality is if an employer needs to cut costs, they are going to do it. If they can hire people cheaper, that’s one mechanism to achieve that. If they can’t, layoffs will be coming for everyone. And even in the best of economies (which this is not), some companies are going to face hard times and will have to cut costs. Luckily tech workers are in sufficient demand that layoffs rarely result in long term unemployment (well, except in some cases I know where former coworkers married a doctor or something and can afford to just sit around at home working on hobby projects…).

                    4. I agree that decoupling the visa from the employer (or at minimum reducing the restrictions) is a positive move.

                      There’s a difference between need and want. All employers want to cut costs. Disney had no need. But they saw an option that allowed it so they took it. I will not find it acceptable to disrupt careers for corporate wants. Some of those disruptions are worse than others.

          2. As someone who also actually works in the tech industry, in Silicon Valley, and also has the common sense enough to Google “Southern California Edison” + “H-1b” or “Disney” + H-1b.

            I have enough external information to know how the H-1b is actually being used in more than half of the cases.

            Most H-1b visas are used by Offshore Outsourcing companies to remove jobs from the United States.

            H-1b is not traditional immigration, in fact only a small (less than 5%) of the H-1b visas used by Offshore Outsourcing companies actually wind up as people with Green Cards, let alone citizenship.

            If you really care about Capitalism (Free Labor + Free Capital) then you would understand this.

            You would also understand that H-1b is not an immigration issue, it is mostly (more than half of the time) about Offshoring jobs.

            It makes no sense for our Federal Government to take rights away from one group and give those rights to businesses, just because they pay a fee. But that’s what H-1b does.

            1. And yet you lack the brains to know the difference between isolated incidents (or more accurately, allegations of incidents) in companies desperate to repair falling financials and the industry as a whole.

              For the past ten years, there has been a cry from the “Dey Terk Er Jerbs” crowd that American software engineers would soon all be out on the streets because of cheap brown skinned people. Want to guess what the unemployment rate is among American software engineers today?

              1. I can tell I have won because you are resorting to name calling, thanks.

                The unemployment rate is low because Software engineering companies can’t lure (sucker) people into a software engineering job for less than six figures.

                Look, we know from publicly available data medical STEM majors have seen a huge increase in enrollees, while software engineering STEM has been flat. The reason is simple, people would rather get into a stable career, with retirement, that pays six figures. Than go into an unstable software career, that pays 60k, and has no retirement plan.

                Any person who takes 10s to look at how the H-1b visa is actually being used. And that really cares about getting more H-1b visas to domestic tech originating companies would see the real problem with H-1b system.

                It is that most H-1b visas are being used by Offshore Outsourcing to get Americans to train their H-1b replacements.

                If you can’t address that fact, you have nothing relevant to say on the issue.

                People who complain for more H-1b visas, without addressing that plain and simple, publicly available fact, they are just whiners. And we can’t let the whiners ruin the economy for everyone else.

                1. Uh, no. If you are a software engineer with more than a few years of experience and can’t make 100k (factoring in your area’s cost of living of course) and don’t have any retirement options, you clearly made some bad choices.

                  1. I am doing okay. But as dentist, doctor I would be make 250+k per year, almost double what I currently make (yes I make 6 figs and have for a while, but like I said that’s just par for the bay area), and would have been making that rate for quite a long time. And if part of a union or system with a pension, would be retired.

                    All I have is my 401k and employer match, it’s not enough to retire, I get to work for another 15-20 before I can retire.

            2. H-1b is not traditional immigration, in fact only a small (less than 5%) of the H-1b visas used by Offshore Outsourcing companies actually wind up as people with Green Cards, let alone citizenship.

              That’s an utterly irrelevant statistic. What matters is that nearly 100% of work-related immigration is through the H-1b program. That is, if you get rid of the H-1b program, there will be essentially no work- or skill-based immigration anymore. And this isn’t some idiosyncracy of the US: most nations require living and working on a temporary visa for around five years before becoming a permanent resident. Think of it as an engagement before marriage.

              Most H-1b visas are used by Offshore Outsourcing companies to remove jobs from the United States.

              I think that’s bullshit and you provide no data to back that up. But even if it were true, so what? Do you think that companies stop outsourcing because they can’t hire H-1b’s? Of course not.

              Outsourcing is driven by the fact that other countries can provide certain services cheaper than the US; US companies don’t have a choice but to outsource whatever they can if they want to stay competitive. If you try to interfere with outsourcing, you don’t stop the outsourcing process, you just make it work less well, to the detriment of the American workers who still work at those companies in the US.

              1. Here ya go:

                http://www.computerworld.com/a…..-2013.html

                1. There you go, the article states that more than 50% of the H-1b visas went to Offshore Outsourcing companies.

                  The reality of the H-1b visa is that most H-1b visas are being used by Offshore Outsourcing companies.

                  The reality of Offshore Outsourcing companies is that their business model is to get Americans to train their H-1b replacements. The H-1b worker then replaces the American.

                  H-1b is a huge job destroyer in the United States.

                  There is no reason what-so-ever that we should be such complete idiots as to have a Federal Government program that facilitates the removal of jobs to other countries. Except for the fact that we have a bought-off House and Senate. And lobby groups that have brain-washed the American public into thinking that H-1b, in its current form, is good for the United States.

                  I have been studying this program for decades, please feel free to revise your opinion as needed in order to be able to effectively debate the reality of how the H-1b visa is actually being used.

                  1. There you go, the article states that more than 50% of the H-1b visas went to Offshore Outsourcing companies. The reality of the H-1b visa is that most H-1b visas are being used by Offshore Outsourcing companies.

                    The reality is that you can’t read: your link does not support your statement.

                    The reality of Offshore Outsourcing companies is that their business model is to get Americans to train their H-1b replacements. The H-1b worker then replaces the American. H-1b is a huge job destroyer in the United States.

                    If a job can be done more cheaply by Indians, it will be done more cheaply by Indians, no matter what policies you adopt: either US companies outsource to India, or US companies will go out of business competing with European or Indian companies with lower costs.

                    I have been studying this program for decades, please feel free to revise your opinion as needed in order to be able to effectively debate the reality of how the H-1b visa is actually being used.

                    I came into the US on an H-1b, and I know what it’s all about. And I guarantee you: if I hadn’t come to the US on an H-1b, I would be doing the same job for the same company in some other country; my job wouldn’t have gone to an American. (Now, of course, I am an American citizen.)

                    1. How does the article not substantively support his assertion that half the visas are going to outsourcing companies.

                    2. Patrick give all the numbers, and he excludes companies that are not publicly known as Offshore Outsourcing companies, I shouldn’t have to do the adding for you.

              2. Since as you say, “What matters is that nearly 100% of work-related immigration is through the H-1b program”. Well if Offshore Outsourcing companies were barred from the H-1b program, the amount of work related immigration would double. Since Offshore Outsourcing companies sponsor only a very small percentage of people for a Green Card.

                H-1b visas, as you apparently would agree (Since what matters is work-related immigration), should go to companies that sponsor people for Green Cards, Offshore Outsourcing companies don’t do that. Based upon your statements, if you would care to think about them, you actually agree with most of mine, but just don’t realize it.

                If Offshore Outsourcing companies were kicked out of the H-1b program as they should be since:

                – They use more than 50% of the available H-1b visas.
                – They oversubscribe to the H-1b system, and so force a lottery
                – Have a business model that is based upon using H-1b workers to displace U.S. workers.

                Not only would we never have seen a year, since inception where we ran out of H-1b visas.

                There would at (at least a strong chance of) nearly twice as much job-related immigration to the United States.

                1. H-1b visas, as you apparently would agree (Since what matters is work-related immigration), should go to companies that sponsor people for Green Cards, Offshore Outsourcing companies don’t do that.

                  I have no idea how to reliably define “offshore outsourcing companies”, and neither do you. All big companies regularly move jobs overseas if it saves money.

                  Have a business model that is based upon using H-1b workers to displace U.S. workers.

                  They “displace US workers” from low-paying, routine jobs that are better handled by people in low-wage countries. Adopting government policies to try to keep such jobs in the US either depresses US wages or makes US companies uncompetitive.

                  You suffer from the delusion that government can magically ensure that Americans earn higher wages than Indians doing otherwise the same work. The real world doesn’t work that way.

                  1. H-1b is a U.S. Federal Government program. It is a non-immigrant visa.

                    The Offshore Outsourcing, the Indian government calls the H-1b visa, the Offshoring Visa.

                    H-1b made the 200+billion dollar Indian Outsourcing industry.

                    Of course we can change the H-1b visa. And in doing so slow the rate of Offshoring of jobs.

                    And in doing so make more H-1b visas available domestic tech originating companies.

                    I am not trying to stop ALL jobs from leaving the United States. But our Government has no business what-so-ever in facilitating the removal of jobs at the expense of other businesses that have actually tried to hire an American.

                    And in the process we can make sure we are giving more H-1b visas to our domestic tech originating companies, have a better chance of create jobs at companies that will actually try to hire an American.

                    I really don’t care is Offshore Outsourcing companies use the U.S. Free Labor Market to continue their offshoring, but that’s just my opinion. The U.S. could, if it wanted to, ban the Indian Offshore Outsourcing companies from doing business in the United States. We don’t have any free trade agreement with India. I paid a huge tariff on a Sitar 2 years ago. And for the record, I love India, been there several times on business.

                    But I really DO care that our domestic tech originating companies cannot get reliable access to the H-1b visa.

                    1. But I really DO care that our domestic tech originating companies cannot get reliable access to the H-1b visa.

                      You keep changing your story. Before that, you claimed you worried about H-1b visas because of wage depression and “indentured servitude”.

              3. If you would actually read the law, you would know that H1B is not designed to “provide certain services cheaper”. To the contrary, that would be tacitly illegal. It’s purpose is to provide skills only in those rare sets of circumstances where they are unavailable from domestic sources. It’s not the program that is bad. There actually are such circumstances. What’s bad is that large corporations have manipulated the program and are using it often illegally without fear of reprisal. If that is not crony capitalism, then what is?

          3. If you want more visas for our domestic tech originating companies, you won’t get them by increasing the number of H-1b visas, because the Offshore Outsourcing companies will simply take up any excess supply, in doing so, force a lottery.

            The minimum wage in America is already 2 times the pay of any engineer in India. and 5x the pay of any worker in India. And you, as an American, can’t work in India for less than 25k (or 5 times the pay of an Indian engineer). I’d say, they don’t trade fairly with us when it comes to free trade of services, why should we?

            You probably are one of those people who think Slavery was capitalist, and fail to see that it is actually the remainder of Feudalism. You don’t realize that by supporting an indenturement you are actually being Anti-capitalist, Anti-Freedom, and in fact are promoting big government.

            Look the biggest driver in tech wages are local conditions, as is the case for most employment. In the Silicon Valley rent is going north of 4k a month. That means a family must be earning around 120k just to be housed.

            And when we talk about a scarcity of workers, in any field, we are really talking about whether employers are willing to pay the cost to relocate and willing to pay the market rate. That’s the reality of Capitalism, study some economics and you will understand this.

            1. The minimum wage in America is already 2 times the pay of any engineer in India.

              And that is precisely why limiting immigration and temporary work visas like you propose won’t work: one way or another, American and Indian engineers will end up getting paid the same thing in the long run. If anything, letting Indian engineers work in the US will tend to keep up engineering salaries a bit higher a bit longer, and it will certainly keep US companies more competitive with foreign companies.

              However, why exactly is it good to keep engineering salaries high through government policies? All that money comes from somewhere, and it comes out of the pockets of the less well educated and the disadvantaged.

              You don’t realize that by supporting an indenturement

              Temporary work visas have nothing to do with “indenturement”. Really, stop spewing such bullshit.

              1. It is indenturement, simple as that, maybe you can’t see that because you don’t know what freedom is.

                I’ll keep saying what it is, an indenturement program that is sorely abused by Offshore Outsourcing companies. And you can keep denying that fact with swear words all you want, go ahead make a nonsense statements, that is your Constitutional right.

                And I could really care less about our domestic tech originating companies using the H-1b. In fact, if anything, I want them to have better access to the H-1b visa.

                Since H-1b is mostly not being used for immigration, and H-1b is a U.S. Federal Government program, we have every right to demand that it not be used to damage the U.S. economy.

                I don’t care if Offshore Outsourcing companies are at work in the United States, so long as they are hiring via the Free market and are not being handed indenturement visas by the U.S. Federal Government. It’s not a great business, you basically are doing wholly unoriginal copying of other peoples work, but its fine so long as they are not asking for a handout like so many welfare crack addicts.

                1. It is indenturement, simple as that, maybe you can’t see that because you don’t know what freedom is.

                  Oh, I know exactly what freedom is, which is why I don’t want people like you to destroy it because you mistakenly believe you are entitled to government protectionism as a birthright.

                  I don’t care if Offshore Outsourcing companies are at work in the United States, so long as they are hiring via the Free market and are not being handed indenturement visas by the U.S. Federal Government

                  In fact, immigration based on “free markets” means the exact opposite of what you think it means: it means that people can come to the US and work here freely with few constraints, but without any expectation of receiving government benefits or welfare, and under the condition that they leave again if they don’t succeed.

              2. The bloodiest war in U.S. history was fought over slavery and indenturement, don’t rub my government’s nose in your misunderstanding of what Capitalism really is. Capitalism is what we have post Civil war, before that we were Feudalists, willing to trade away human rights for a buck.

                But I do have a problem if Offshore Outsourcing companies are interfering with U.S. economic progress by oversubscribing to programs that are meant to foster that progress.

                The truth about H-1b is that it is not an immigrant visa, an immigrant visa is what really need, we need Green Cards. It is an Indenturement visa, that trades away some of the rights to the employer. The truth is, you don’t deserve rights if you are denying those same right to others, if you do you are a slave trader, A Feudalist not a Capitalist.

  6. Anne Coulter aneurysm inbound.

  7. Mr. Maffat originally from Mexico City: “I’m curious what happens if an accomplished businessman becomes president and assembles a cabinet based on merit and accomplishment instead of paying people off for political help.”

    Anyone think Rubio hasn’t already be bought and paid for?

  8. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle, but this article does little to find it. The points about STEM shortage and wage stagnation are fairly inconclusive on both sides of the argument.

    The most suspicious point for me is the third refutation where the author proved the equivalent of stating Mercedes cars are more expensive than Honda motorcycles. She cites a Brookings study that does not take geography into account and is only somewhat more granular in its computer professions definition than determining whether or not your workspace has a keyboard.

    Of course H-1Bs are paid more across the country in computer fields. They are concentrated in high cost areas in fields that pay more. A helpdesk technician in Little Rock is lumped into the same professional category as a software architect in Manhattan.

    1. The points about STEM shortage and wage stagnation are fairly inconclusive on both sides of the argument.

      The argument for a US STEM shortage is actually quite persuasive: if there wasn’t a shortage, so many STEM folks wouldn’t be moving to the US. That is, the “shortage” is defined by where people are and where they want to be, not by real or fictitious needs of industry.

      The argument for wage stagnation is also pretty clear: wages have stagnated. However, the causes for that stagnation in the US are mostly higher taxes, more regulation, and changing demographics, not STEM immigration.

      In fact, STEM immigration probably keeps wages from declining, because if skilled STEM graduates weren’t allowed to move to the US, where they pay US-level taxes, they would be working for much less money wherever they come from, and be in strong competition with US firms. That is, you would see more outsourcing.

      1. Your first argument speaks to a price disparity, not necessarily a shortage. The foreign workers don’t come here because they feel some worldwide civic duty to fill our shortage. They come for wage disparity and quality of life.

        No, I’m not one that thinks just because not every last American with a STEM degree isn’t working in STEM that the shortage is a myth. But there are many factors from the one side oversimplifying it down to just basic supply and demand when it’s not always so simple to the other claiming that because the applications far exceed the quota that there must be a shortage. As I say over and over, the truth is likely in the middle. STEM–especially some fields–has less surplus at least.

        To your last point, when many are coming and taking lower pay to replace other workers who take unemployment benefits and often then take lower pay than they made, the tax boon is not so clear cut. Additionally, domestic workers are unlikely to be sending much of the $70 billion in remittances to India this year.

        As I sometimes say, I’m not against immigration. I’m against skilled immigration’s current majority use against citizens for cheaper labor.

        1. Your first argument speaks to a price disparity, not necessarily a shortage.

          That is my point: there really is no such thing as a “shortage” separate from a “price disparity”.

          To your last point, when many are coming and taking lower pay to replace other workers who take unemployment benefits and often then take lower pay than they made, the tax boon is not so clear cut.

          The tax boon is real, no matter what. The fact that the US chooses to spend the tax revenue unwisely is a separate issue. That is, if adding productive labor to the US labor pool (and H-1b’s, unlike green cards, are necessarily for productive labor) is a net minus, we have a bigger and more urgent problem than work visas.

          As I sometimes say, I’m not against immigration. I’m against skilled immigration’s current majority use against citizens for cheaper labor.

          Wages in certain industries are declining due to international competition; immigration isn’t the cause of it, and tinkering with immigration policy isn’t going to change that. Even if there was an economically “optimal level of immigration” in some industries, the government could no more determine that than it can determine an optimal production level or price.

          1. “The tax boon is real, no matter what. The fact that the US chooses to spend the tax revenue unwisely is a separate issue.”

            I’m not sure what “no matter what” means. If two people are paid 150K where one was previously paid 90K, that does not imply a 67% increase in taxes. It’s really possibly more like a 20%, maybe less. Whether through unemployment or the extra 1.8 people (many are married, some have kids) comes more spending out of that 20% regardless of whether or not you agree with where it’s going. I don’t claim to know the total effect, but simply saying another taxpaying body existing causes a tax boon is grossly oversimplifying the question.

            “Wages in certain industries are declining due to international competition; immigration isn’t the cause of it, and tinkering with immigration policy isn’t going to change that.”

            No one said it’s the cause. Again, you oversimplify to binary assumptions. I DID say Immigration is A factor. And immigration policy is already being tinkered with–just by companies benefitting from it, not by the government that wrote it. While I agree that the government is fairly ineffective, I have more faith in it at least attempting to have the nation’s people’s interests in mind more than I do in the Mickey Mouse Club.

            1. I’m not sure what “no matter what” means. If two people are paid 150K where one was previously paid 90K, that does not imply a 67% increase in taxes

              I have no idea what you’re getting at. A million extra productive workers in the US is a good thing for the US economy and US society, period.

              No one said it’s the cause. Again, you oversimplify to binary assumptions. I DID say Immigration is A factor.

              The problem with your statement is that it isn’t even wrong, you’re missing the point entirely. Yes, sure, protectionism can make some people better off, but it’s at the expense of other people; and in the long run, it simply hurts everybody.

              And immigration policy is already being tinkered with–just by companies benefitting from it, not by the government that wrote it.

              Bullshit. Both the US government and companies understand that immigration is economically a good thing for the US. And, in fact, H-1b work visas are one of the best kind because they are productive and can’t use a lot of government services.

              The people who object to this are special interests, who want to be protected from competition at the expense of other US workers and the US economy.

              1. I laid out the tax case that you said was a boon, “Period” but rather than refute my example, you turned to vague a blanket.

                To the protectionism, let’s say you’re right. How does that give me any more incentive to be the one thrown in front of the bus? Beyond that, there’s a reason why it’s economic theory and why economists can’t agree. Yes, protectionism overall is not a great economic path. But I’m quite content to live in a nation where economics is a core driver, but not the only decision making point. The US overall has done fairly well despite having some modest protections along the way. I’m willing to take that gamble.

                My statement about companies “tinkering” implies they are gaming the intent of the system. We live in a nation where age, gender, race and national origin are protected from labor discrimination and where labor laws abolished indentured servitude long ago and established reasonable work criteria. You can’t reasonably believe that a law in that nation that also sets prevailing wage rules and requires domestic advertisement of jobs is intended to be used the way the H-1B most commonly is today.

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  10. The leading voice against visa programs is the progressive crowd. Well, I suppose they can be “restrictionists” too.

    Guest workers aren’t unionized and might not be entitled to healthcare coverage. You probably don’t have to worry about their pension plans. I work freelance and don’t get anything – no healthcare, overtime, paid vacation, etc. I get paid by the assignment. Any way you look at it, guest workers and contractors save company some money, even if their wage matches “native: levels.

    One of the reasons why employers like Mexican workers is that they supposedly don’t give them sass. They just do what they’re told to do. A little side job that’s out of the job description? They’ll do that. And they don’t report wrongdoings by the employer – most of the time.

    You could say that about guest workers. What are you gonna do, walk out of the job you got in America because you think your pay should 5% higher?

    1. In the case of undocumented workers from Mexico, you can call it disenfranchisement. It also creates a lot of ugly situations, where crimes are not reported because people are afraid. It isn’t an innocent thing, it’s disgusting.

      And having an indentured or collared workforce isn’t Capitalism, it’s Feudalism. If you think that taking rights away from one group and giving that to a business is okay, you are not Capitalist, you are Feudalist.

      Capitalism didn’t actually exist until slavery was ended. Before Capitalism we had Feudalism, and American slavery is one of its last vestiges.

      Let’s have Capitalism. Let’s enjoy free labor + free capital. Nothing is more disruptive and fosters more innovation. It took a huge police and social effort to enslave people in the United States and it was all done through our public institutions. To heck with that, but that is what we are getting with the H-1b visa. Let’s instead have only Green Cards for people who intend to stay long enough to consider citizenship.

      That’s the best way to keep government out of our noses.

      The 911 hijackers all came in on temporary visas, and we have spent trillions of dollars, a massive incursion on our privacy, the development of killer drones, just to deal with a problem caused by Big Government.

      Temporary visas are a problem in search of a problem

      1. And having an indentured or collared workforce isn’t Capitalism, it’s Feudalism.

        Feudalism implies that people are forced to stay on their jobs and are told where to live. I came to the US on a temporary work visa, like most immigrants. There is nothing “indentured” or “collared” about a temporary visa status: I could quit and leave any time I wanted to. But even a shitty job in the US was better than a job where I came from. It’s the same for illegal Mexican migrants. Neither was I “disenfranchised” by my temporary visa status, since I never had been “enfranchised” to begin with (perhaps you need to look up what “disenfranchisement” means).

        Let’s have Capitalism. Let’s enjoy free labor + free capital.

        Free movement of labor with the kind of extensive welfare system the US has is not capitalism. As long as we have such a large welfare system that engages in such massive redistribution of wealth, we cannot have free movement of labor.

        1. “Feudalism implies that people are forced to stay on their jobs and are told where to live.”

          That is exactly why the H-1b visa is vestige of Feudalism. Because enfranchised workers, those that have full constitutional rights, can indeed choose to live anywhere in the United States they choose, and can indeed choose to work for any employer in the United States.

          H-1b removes both of those rights.

          A person on an H-1b goes where the employer says they should go, and if they don’t obey the employer can remove them.

          They are collared, shackled, indentured, and disenfranchised.

          Indeed you can quit anytime, but if your only choice is to go live in a sewer or work for one particular employer in the United States, that’s not choice, that’s not free labor.

          So thank you for restating my point.

          If you are in the U.S. undocumented (illegally), and you witness a crime. Do you report that crime to the police? If you do, in some jurisdictions there is a fear that you will get deported.

          Fully enfranchised workers don’t worry about getting deported, so they don’t have deportation as a barrier to their reporting problems/crimes to the police.

          Let’s be clear, when I say disenfranchised, I mean disenfranchised from your U.S. Constitutional rights.

          I want Capitalism, not Feudalism. There is a near smoothe transition from Feudalism to Capitalism, that many just don’t see. Because they fail to take into account the level of worker civil and Constitutional enfranchisement.

          1. A person on an H-1b goes where the employer says they should go, and if they don’t obey the employer can remove them. They are collared, shackled, indentured, and disenfranchised.

            Let’s say I’m a Romanian. Before I get an H-1b, I can work anywhere in the EU. After I get an H-1b, I can still work anywhere in the EU, and in addition, I can temporarily work in the US. In what way am I “collared, shackled, indentured, and disenfranchised”? My H-1b visa simply gives me an additional option. If I don’t like that option, I can always return to the EU. In addition to returning home, it’s actually easy to change jobs on an H-1b. I’ve done it.

            I want Capitalism, not Feudalism.

            No, what you want is national socialism: an extensive welfare state that attempts to guarantee high wages, but only for citizens. That has been tried and it doesn’t work.

            The US indeed currently has a problem if it chooses to admit too many foreign workers, but that’s for the simple reason that the US is a huge welfare state and immigrants are too easily transitioned into become recipients of government handouts. The solution to that is to cut back on the welfare state, not to limit immigration or work visas. In fact, the H-1b visa program is far better in that regard than green cards, because H-1b visa holders are limited in their ability to claim government benefits and are necessarily admitted only if they can contribute productively to the US.

            1. Look up Godwin’s Law.

              I was wondering, after your being soundly trounced via my rebuttal, how long it would take you to crack.

              1. You’re delusional and a dangerous fool.

            2. Every country on this Earth has an immigration system. Most are far more restrictive than the United States. It doesn’t make a person a Nazi or a Xenophobe because they want the borders to be protected. Or they want to have limits on how many can come in and work. That is all just normal stuff, and if that’s Nazi, then we live in a world where every state is Nazi.

            3. No what I want is Green Cards and full Constitutional rights for all temporary workers in the United States.

              What I want, and we really need, is for us to reform or stop using the H-1b visa, which restricts the Constitutional right to work for the employer of your choice. AKA, your right to quit a job.

              Bet you never thought the right to quit was a fundamental right. Well try quiting under slavery or feudalism, or any other quasi-feudal system, such as the H-1b visa.

              And H-1b is feudalistic, because like slavery, it takes away a fundamental right that all other workers in the United States have. And that is the right to quit your job and seek other employment in the United States. That is, quitting should have no consequence, other than you leave the building and will not be paid further. Whereupon, you enter the street to look for another job.

              That’s what we fought the civil war over. Slavery and Indenturement was the main issue of the Civil war, and more Americans died in that war than in all the other wars, combined.

              And, yes to the extent that a Green Card allows it, if a person quits or is laid off, I want that person to have time to seek a new job.

              That’s what I want, is that clear enough for even you to understand?

            4. What I don’t want to hear, is the constant whine from businesses that refuse to compete in the open U.S. labor market for workers, that they need a special class of worker, with limited rights. When most, more than half of all H-1b visas are going to Offshore Outsourcing companies.

              As I said, we fought the bloodiest war in U.S. history in order to end slavery and indenturement.

              Any law that continues that vestigial feudalism needs to be the most productive it can be for the American economy without usurping the rights that Americans fought and sacrificed dearly to secure for our nation.

              And the war that changed the country from Feudalism to Capitalism.

              You may be a citizen but I don’t think you understand what freedom is.

  11. Trump’s paper also noted that “we graduate two times more Americans with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) degrees each year than can find jobs”

    If these American STEM graduates torture computer software the same way Trump tortures English, then it isn’t surprising that US companies are looking to hire abroad.

  12. Live Free[er]?

    Dear Reason reader,

    One of the most freedom- damaging beliefs you can have is the belief in the necessity, and the effectiveness, of political involvement – to supposedly “improve” your own life and the lives of others .

    Fact: as an individual you will _never_ enjoy a freer life for yourself until you completely see through/ reject the “drug”, “religion” [ or whatever else you want to call it] known as “political activism” or “involvement”, in its entirety.
    I can help with that.

    Regards, onebornfree.
    Personal Freedom Consulting:
    http://www.onebornfree.blogspot.com

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  15. This racialist shit is fucking stupid correlative nonsense. If you selected the individuals most in favor of free enterprise from across the globe and they congregated together into the United States, then it would not descend into a banana republic regardless of skin color distribution.

    Conversely, no amount of “maintaining the status quo” in some arbitrarily defined and ultimately meaningless manner is going to stop the already very obvious decline already proceeding apace. About the only saving grace is that most other places seem to be gleefully dashing headlong ahead of us.

    converse one star

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