Fix immigration by next Thanksgiving

November 27, 2008

diana-furchtgott-roth1– Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. The opinions expressed are her own. —

The first Thanksgiving festival was celebrated in 1621 in Massachusetts by the Pilgrims, immigrants to America, out of gratitude for a plentiful harvest.

As we sit around our Thanksgiving tables this Thursday, almost all of us immigrants or their descendants, we’re reminded that one of President-elect Obama’s most important challenges will be to mend our broken immigration policy.

Instead of a rational immigration system, we have occasional raids by immigration officers on plants suspected of employing illegals. Then come deportations that may separate an undocumented parent and children whose birth in the United States made them citizens.

The most controversial facet of the immigration challenge is what to do about the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants. Most are unlikely to return to their native lands, even in today’s tough economic climate.

Nor would we want them to do so. They work at jobs that few Americans choose to do, both in high-skill area—scientific and medical research, for instance—and in mundane yet essential low-skill jobs, such as gardening, washing cars, and cleaning.

In 2007, Congress did not pass President Bush’s comprehensive immigration proposals, supported by the Democratic leadership and many Republicans. Will Obama succeed where Bush failed?

Obama’s proposal mirrors the bill that failed: increased border protection; more visas for new immigrants; penalties for employers who hire undocumented workers; and eventual citizenship for undocumented workers already here, after payment of a fine. It would be a major improvement.

But with unemployment rising, if Congress won’t pass immigration reform, it could still improve the functioning of American labor markets with narrower action. It could authorize the Department of Labor to decide on its own the number of work permits and temporary visas to be issued each calendar quarter.

Every year, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), as instructed by law, issues 65,000 H-1b temporary visas for skilled workers. These lucky workers are certified by the Labor Department out of approximately 630,000 approved applications from employers. Immigrants who hold H-1b visas must return to their home countries when their jobs end.

Yet, as the numbers show, most applicants do not get a visa. Many skilled foreign college graduates who have been studying in America, often at American taxpayer expense, are denied access to American jobs. They must leave, taking their intellectual achievements and valuable skills with them.

Foreign workers benefit the American economy. They pay taxes. They keep laboratories and motels, high-tech shows and construction sites, running. They cannot if they are sent away.

For 2009, the H-1b visa cap of 65,000 was reached one week after the start of the application process on April 1, 2008. That represents a tiny part of the U.S. labor force of 154 million. Even if the quota were raised to 150,000, that would be less than one tenth of 1% of the labor force. Such a quota would still deny admission to the vast majority of prospective applicants who don’t apply due to the small likelihood of success.

Whereas Congress is ill-suited to change laws each time the economy goes up or down, the Labor Department has both the expertise to evaluate changing labor markets and the flexibility to adjust visa quotas. Congress should consider letting the Labor Department make quarterly decisions about how many visas to issue.

When unemployment rises, the Department would issue fewer visas; when it goes down, visas could be increased. The Department could manage visas without causing undue burden on U.S. workers or community facilities, such as schools and hospitals.

Allowing the Labor Department to adjust legal immigration every quarter would help America. President-elect Obama could leave behind the rancor and division over immigration that have plagued the Bush administration, and set a new tone for a new year. That would be something to be thankful for next Thanksgiving.

Diana Furchtgott-Roth can be reached at dfr@hudson.org.

122 comments

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Diana Scheissgoth Roth is absolutely correct. This is a very good plan.

Posted by James Skickelstein | Report as abusive

Immigration numbers are highest in our history. We are not an empty country west of the Mississipi any longer. The west has been settled. So don’t act like we are keeping everyone out.

Illegals come at alarming rates. It is bankrupting many states. It is dangerous since the criminals just walk into “Sanctuary Cities”. Crime and murder is up from poverty and lack of jobs.

We are lawless with no borders or rules. There are wars with invading Mexicans yet Bush does nothing. Their leaders want what we have and make no bones that they deserve it. Do they think Iowa and Illinois are their’s from the past too?

Got news for pro-Latino groups. All those border states had a democratic choice to join Mexico if they wanted. The people of those states (Hispanics, American Indians, etc.landowners and residents) chose to join the United State with a Constitution and borders. You can’t go back to that time now.

Posted by J. Stevens | Report as abusive

Immigration reform will only better our Economic woes, Think about this, if only 50 % of the undocumented buy houses, cars, appliances, open bank accounts, pay Taxes, How many TRILLIONS that will bring into the economy?

The only way to go is Immigration Reform.
Even the Republicans learn t their lesson the hear way in this election.

“An analysis by America’s Voice of 21 “battleground” races for House and Senate seats found that pro-immigration-reform candidates beat enforcement-only “hardliners” in 19 of the races. “Americans voters have shown they prefer fair and practical solutions over anti-immigrant rhetoric that sidesteps the real problem,” said Angela Kelley, Director of the Immigration Policy Center”

Posted by Native American | Report as abusive

There are too many American kids out of work already. I say it’s time for a change. Stop letting big business benefit from cheap labor and put Americans back to work. Stop undercutting their ability to make a living wage and we will discover there are NO jobs that Americans just won’t do.

Posted by James Dean | Report as abusive

James…

Your ‘let’s do this’ and ‘they should do that’ is typical of people who want to simplify complex issues to 10 words or less. Not realistic or constructive, and as an employer, lets put Americans to work sounds nice, but is not realistic. The jobs immigrant workers do are available to ‘American Kids’ and if they wanted to do the job, the opportunity is there, it just seems to me that quite a few domestic workers are so much more concerned about what their employers are going to do for them. We stand a pretty good chance of becoming an less productive nanny state if we choose pander to workers sense of entitlement. In countries like Canada, and unions talk about peoples ‘right’ to earn a good living, earning a good living is not a right, it is something people should be motivated to do, being driven to success is what has made America great. Looking back it has been immigrants driven to success in a more free economy, than available anywhere else, that has allowed the United States to become the country that it is. I say we need more of that…

Max

A less politised system seems like a very good idea. But, as a Canadian its an interesting dilema. Cuts to the H1B program have been quite benificial to us. For instance, Microsoft recently opened a new facility in Vancouver where our less politised immigration policy allows them recruit sufficient skilled workers. So perhaps the current state of affiars isn’t such a bad thing, for us anyway :)

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive

It is quite obvious this columnist has no clue about the realities of illegal labor in its depth or breadth. I work in the hospitality industry, which is overrun with illegal immigrants. Even those who truly wish to become citizens, which is small minority of them, falsify their tax information to claim as much as 6 times their rightful tax withholdings, will work undocumented if they find an employer willing to do so, and often send the majority of their pay out of the country to wherever they came from to support their families abroad. These are wonderful people(I truly mean this with my whole heart), but their children bankrupt school systems because the proper amount of taxes are not being paid into the system, they do undercut legal citizens ability to make a liveable wage, and to believe the educated foreigners turned away for their applications to visas is more than one-hundred thousandth of a percent of the immigration issue at hand would be simple denial of the true substance of the issue at hand. As for “jobs Americans won’t do” retoric; that is simply absurd. I know of many many American citizens who were born and raised here who wish their construction job hadn’t just been swept away by an undocumented latino who works for $60 cash per day.

Posted by Adam | Report as abusive

GOP, with its anti-immigrant and anti-Latino stand during last summer’s failed immigration debate, have doomed itself. Being the WASP party in a rapidly diversifying nation means that the GOP will never win another election again. Now, they have to stop listening to racist fear mongerers such as Senator Sessions, Lou Dobbs and other mistakes of nature and support the right thing. Deporting millions is not an alternative. By now, it appears that a comprehensive immigration reform with path to citizenship is a matter of when, not if! I hope it happens within the first 2 years of Obama’s administration.

Posted by Ivan | Report as abusive

Why are they here at taxpayer expense to get a degree in the first place. If we have money for education lets use it for US citizens.

Posted by Larry E Hopkins | Report as abusive

She says, “But with unemployment rising…” and moves on to a rather strange conclusion under the circumstances. We are drowning in immigration. Adam seems to make a lot of sense.

Posted by Kurve Ball | Report as abusive

Don’t worry about all these details. The last time we had a depression like this one we had WW2 to get out of it. We still have Gates, terrorism and Israel so oil and debt need not be in front of a war with Iran. India should now have enough reason to supply manpower against the terrorists. What a horror! John

Posted by John D | Report as abusive

Its all about the economy, right? Lets remove all boarders and consider every person in the world an american who just hasn’t moved here yet. Lets make american citizenship or residency the cheapest and easiest in the world to obtain so business can keep wages low and politicians can fall over themselves to pander to their special interests. Whatever keeps the gluttony train rolling is good. When the economy falters, we can go to whatever country has a surplus of people in it and import people from that country so we’ll have more consumers to buy stuff made in china, it’ll be good for the economy. After all there really is no “america” after all, its just a made up thing by those racist, war mongering people all those years ago.

Posted by Brian shaheen | Report as abusive

I notice how abusively the United States government treats its own legal citizens in so many areas from trampling the Constitution to starting imperial wars of choice, to offshoring jobs to communist dictatorships to failing to protect public health and safety in food, to allowing companies to default on worker’s pensions and pay exhorbitant salaries to corporate and Wall Street theives.

Immigration is another wedge issue designed to exploit and abuse American citizens by ignoring existing immigration laws and allowing a flood of illegals to undercut American workers, bring down wages, send money out of the country, weaken unions, raise taxes on legal citizens, disrespect basic law and order, bring unvaccinated disease into the nation, and change the language and the culture of the nation.

Why do Americans put up with such abusive treatment from their own government? If Ms. Furchtgott-Roth wants to argue the merits of immigration, her pension should be government pension cut and her job at the Hudson Institute should be put on the chopping block as well. I’m sure we can find an perfectly qualified illegal to do her job at the Hudson Institute for 10% of her wage and with no benefits. Those who argue for immigration and excuse illegal immigration should pay the consequences of their words and lose their jobs to bring them back down to earth where workers and familes live.

legal citizens of a

Posted by First | Report as abusive

She says “Yet, as the numbers show, most applicants do not get a visa. Many skilled foreign college graduates who have been studying in America, often at American taxpayer expense, are denied access to American jobs”

This is a bare faced lie. In April, the Department of Homeland Security increased the OPT training portion of the F1 Student Visa from 1 year to 29 months for ‘STEM’, making it roughly equivelent to an H-1b. As a former senior offial at the department of labor, I do NOT give her the ‘benefit of the doubt’ for not knowing that. She also didnt mention 20,000 ‘masters only’ H-1b, the recent increase to 3 years for the TN visa, or the countless L1 visas, all alternatives to the H-1b. She has deliberately misrepresented material that there is no way she would not have known, given her background.

We just forked over a trillion plus, easily approaching 2 trillion and climbing, we are told ‘to help stave off a depression’, yet, she wants to stuff foreign workers into a program proven by Senators Grassley and Durbin, to be full of fraud and abuse. A program that facilitates outsourcing of critical data to cities full of terrorism. Real smart.

from her website “From February 2003 to April 2005 Ms. Furchtgott-Roth was chief economist of the U.S. Department of Labor. Previously she served as chief of staff at the President’s Council of Economic Advisers. ”

Yeah, how’s that working out? Would you accept economic advice from someone with that background?

Posted by Steve D | Report as abusive

Does this economist know that at present there are about 10 million unemployed Americans, many of them who are less educated but quite able to do these low-paying jobs but who are foreced to compete with 7 million illegal aliens in our workforce? How can anyone with any intellect argue that we need MORE foreign workers?

And can we put an end to all this talk about our “brutal” immigration party that is “tearing apart families?” The full responsibility for families being separate lies with the those who deliberately violated our immigration laws and put their family members, including children, in harm’s way. By the way, these families don’t have to remain separated because the deportees are free to leave this country with their children.

Dave Gorak
Executive director
Midwest Coalition to Reduce Immigration
LaValle, WI
http://www.immigrationreform.org

From the perspective of 50 years in Denver: this sanctuary city is seriously damaged by unfettered access by companies to employ illegal migrants. Employers benefit when they can hire cheap labor which they can intimidate and fire for no more reason than a sullen look. Fifteen percent of the illegals are criminals, running from the law in their homelands. Denver\’s schools are over-run by migrant families who see little value in education and allow their children to drop-out at 16 to join the unskilled labor class. Not long ago McDonald\’s workers represented the Denver population, all of a sudden the workers are ALL Mexican, some not even speaking English. Hospital emergency waiting rooms are filled with migrants seeking cures for minor health problems at public expense. Uncontrolled illegal immigration is devastating this country, especially the west. If you don\’t believe me, look at El Paso…it is now hardly distinguishable from Juarez, Mexico. Even their drug crime bosses seek medical refuge in El Paso. Will the Obama Administration and the Democratic Congress have the political backbone to control the border and regulate employer\’s hiring practices? Let me say finally, this situation damages the reputation of the many solid, long-term Colorado Hispanic families by fostering racism. No, I am not a conservative or Republican, I am a Democrat who has a 50 year perspective on Denver.

Posted by Jerry | Report as abusive

As a former “illegal alien”: now a proud US Citizen; I find myself in a great heart felt dilemma. With ambivalent emotions and thoughts regarding this immigration issue. In one hand, it really bothers me the terms used to describe the mass of people who (in their majority) come here with the sole desire to improve their quality of life. I guess if you consider that, we are not much of an “alien” after all, but rather have a lot in common with everyone else living here in the US. A better life style. These are not second citizen of the world, there are human beings just like anyone else looking to get ahead: it think that’s the image that the US has cultivated in other countries, the land of opportunity.

But I also sympathize with the people loosing their jobs and currently struggling in this economy and the way the government is treating the immigration issue here in the US. Our immigration policy is weak and flaw. No arguments there. We should have zero tolerance for individuals who come here and commit despicable crimes. If they are caught, they are gone. There is an interesting fact that I have never, never heard in any and I mean ANY news broadcast media mention: TIN: Tax payer’s ID number.

This number is issued by the IRS to “illegal aliens” or undocumented workers; for the sole purpose of filing tax returns. I hear a lot of expenses incurred by “illegals” on our economy and health system. With insinuations of stealing. When we file tax returns, depending on our income we either, pay or get a refund. 90% of us, usually get a refund. These illegals with a TIN number get 0; yes ZERO; although by all calculations they should receive about an average of $3500.00 Dollars. No one mentions this, I wonder way?

Also, no complains about the thousand of US Citizens who have the ability and the “liberty” to look for employment in this land of opportunity but yet decide to abuse and steal from our welfare system by filing fraudulent claims each month.

This thanksgiving I am grateful to live in this country by the sacrifice my mother made 30+ years ago by traveling through Central America, Mexico to get here; risking her life and ours in the process.
I hope that this next administration will be one of CHANGE, but CHANGE not only in policy but in our individual perspectives. Thank you. Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Posted by Willie Morales | Report as abusive

I question if Americans really don’t want to do the jobs that these immigrants perform. But really that is a side issue. The main concern is whether or not we should be support illegal immigration. Nobody would question the importance of immigrants to the workforce – particularly if there is a lack of labor in certain key areas. I am just not certain why we turn a blind eye to illegal immigration. Apart from being fair to those who work legally, I am also concerned by the mistreatment of employees who might have poor communication skills and a low level of education.

Posted by Don | Report as abusive

I am unemployed because of the H1-B visa program.

This program is hopelessly corrupt and cannot
be reformed. It needs to be abolished.

Posted by Dave Chapman | Report as abusive

Yes, immigration levels should be a small percentage of the prior year’s employment growth. Sending jobs offshore would lessen the employment based immigration privilege.

Realistically, immigration levels must be adjusted to reflect the new employment paradigm.

Data:
BLS Employment Growth over NonInstCiv Population Growth by Decade:

1950s
Population Growth = 11,516,000
Employment Growth = 7,215,000 (63%)

1960s
Population Growth = 19,449,000
Employment Growth = 13,862,000 (71%)

1970s (Mexico Depression)
Population Growth = 30,811,000
Employment Growth = 21,224,000 (69%)

1980s
Population Growth = 20,865,000
Employment Growth = 17,685,000 (85%)

1990s
Population Growth = 21,667,000
Employment Growth = 16,998,000 (78%)

2000s
Population Growth = 24,795,000
Employment Growth = 11,953,000 (48%)

We can see that in the decade of the 2000′s, employment growth has fallen by 5 million jobs and population growth is 3 million higher than the 1990′s.

These are June 2008 unadjusted population and employment levels.

Posted by weaver | Report as abusive

The fact that someone like this was the chief economist at the DoL is truly scare.

First of all Ms. F-G undercounts the number of visas. Each year the government gives over 100,000 H-1B visas.

Next, the visas do not go to worker in the general employment pool (the 1% F-G claims) but rather the much smaller pool of specialty occupations. About half the H-1B visas go to the even smaller pool of compute occupations.

Already the U.S. gives more H-1B visas for engineers than it creates engineering jobs.

Posted by Steven Johnson | Report as abusive

Look at the economies in your border states, they are overloaded with both illigals and the drain they cause on our system. California where I live in ready to file bankrupty. The hospitals and schools and jails are full of illegals at the taxpayers expense. The TERMINATOR is trying to raise Californians taxes to cover these expenses while citizens in construction and other simililar fields are losing their jobs to cheap illegal labor. You cant tell me that a man or woman watching their family go hungry and homeless will not do these more MENIAL, UNWANTED JOBS to keep his or her family in their home. Bleeding hearts like the one who wrote this article should stop pushing their FALSE bleeding heart agendas and think about taking care of their own. There is no reason those south of the border should come up here for work, a lot of our business is now in their homeland. What they should do is stay in their own country and fight for reform to push out the corrupt officials and make THEIR HOMELAND a better place.

Posted by Don | Report as abusive

IMHO, the immigration issue can only be fixed by resolving the home country issues that lead to immigration. The idea that the US can resolve this by legislative or judicial fiat is ridiculous.

A good analogy is osmosis across a permeable barrier. One can pass whatever law one wants, but as long as there is pressure on one side, migration across the barrier occurs. Following through on the analogy, to stop the migration, one must decrease the pressure on one side, or decrease the size of the pore.

From experience with our southern border, we know that no matter what we do, the size of the pore remains the same, and may have gotten larger for all of our efforts. So that only leaves decreasing the pressure difference.

To me this indicates that the proper avenue to address this problem is to increase the living standard of the prospective immigrant in his/her home country so that the impetus to immigrate isn’t there. That, folks, may be a problem that the US can do little about as it relates to the political and socio-economic systems and realities there, helped or hindered by US foreign policy doctrine.

Adam is right on the money. The ability of businesses to employ illegals for cash has to somehow be stopped. Those workers are completely off the radar, provide no direct benefit to the US tax base, and – along with any dependents present – are a financial strain to our health care facilities and public school systems. Except for subsistence, most of their money will go back to relatives in their home country.
While it is unfortunate that a majority of illegals are only trying to make a living – they have knowingly violated the law and should NOT BE GIVEN CONSIDERATION for permanent residence or citizenship simply because there is a LONG LINE of people who are already waiting for adjudication. Those people have followed the letter of the law, filled out the forms, in some cases – paid for professional assistance to handle their requests…..so you are going to look at them and say “well, we have a huge illegal immigrant problem and we’ll fix it by granting status/citizenship to that group while you folks will just have to wait longer until your paperwork clears”. That is clearly rewarding bad behavior!!

Cheap Labor is never good for an economy, unless you like an economy without upward mobility and a whole lot of poor people in it.

This looks more like the Dark Age that falls between two Empires. Got Serfs?

Posted by UsedToPostHere | Report as abusive

The argument presented here argues that immigration has only 1 goal: to benefit employers by keeping labor costs down, and therefore by induction, benefitting the economy as a corollary.

No other country in the world practices an immigration policy like this.

This is why we need change. It’s absolutely immoral to purely benefit employers at the expense of workers and labor.

Posted by Jane | Report as abusive

Thank you Mr.Bush! Immigration what a joke no more student visa for one. and with a cost more then a Us passport and a 12 week wait just to walk in the US Embassy office and ask for one to be told no is what happend to my friend and I a US Citizen went with him to the US Embassy to ask to sponsor his visitors visa and we both where treated like dirt! It made me ashamed to be a american!

Posted by jeremy | Report as abusive

I thought the first Thanksgiving was because the native indians saved the early settlers from famine and starvation, not because of a plentiful harvest.

Posted by Louise | Report as abusive

“Immigration reform will only better our Economic woes, Think about this, if only 50 % of the undocumented buy houses, cars, appliances, open bank accounts, pay Taxes, How many TRILLIONS that will bring into the economy?”

I agree with this comment 100%, the boost to the economy will be enormous. You are forgetting the $1000 or more they will have to pay as a fine for being here illegally.
Give them the driver\’s license and think how many will purchase cars. This is better that a bailout for the auto makers.

Posted by Jason | Report as abusive

THE AMERICAN OUTRAGE!

If you want to see how far the “immigrants” have reached into our society, just look at all the organization that have been invented to help the poor “immigrant” while ignoring America’s resident poor. Even the veterans have been betrayed by these collaborators who look after their own.

Since when has the majority of the poor become Hispanic/Latino/Mexican or any of the other phrases designed with the sole purpose of creating another catagory to feed.

Let the fact show that Mexico has a population that is less than 2% of the population of the World, that if you took all of what is considered Latin America, it still wouldn’t amount to more than 8% of the World population. These are UN statistics.

Yet , the longer we allow these people to cross our borders, the more corrupt and evil our own society becomes. Mexico has admitted that they can no longer control the drug gangs in their country and these people use our borders as a revolving door.

Our economy is in serious trouble due to all the resources that leave our country undercover of “money sent home” by “poor hard working immigrants”. Billions and billions of dollars that could have proped up this sagging economy are missing. Gone south of the border.

The only solution is to cut off all aid to the countries where these “immigrants” are from and hold those countries responsible for their own people’s action when on this side of the border.

Next, remove all funding of “immigrant” groups and their collaborators on this side of the border.

I was shocked to learn how much help our own religious organizations give these infiltrators. A 2008 Annual Report of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development showed tens of thousands of dollars being funneled to organizations that help only Latino immigrants. I checked further on the earlier years of this report to discover that this practice has been going on for years. As if no American poor existed.

One of those organization boasted on how they managed to raise the $7/ hour rate for day labor to $13/ hour. This is no longer cheap labor as immigrant groups always wave under the nose of businesses.

Charity begins at home! I propose that our US government start showing loyalty to those families who fought for this country. That American families of veterans come first. That “FEED AMERICANS FIRST” be a pledge that the US show it’s citizens before one dollar is spent on foreigners.

Posted by Bullfighter | Report as abusive

Correction for story: The American Outrage

I was shocked to learn how much help our own religious organizations give these infiltrators. A 2008 Annual Report of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development showed ((hundreds)) of thousands of dollars being funneled to organizations that help only Latino immigrants. I checked further on the earlier years of this report to discover that this practice has been going on for years. As if no American poor existed.

Posted by Bullfighter | Report as abusive

immigrant workers, especially mexican ones, lower the bar, they work longer and harder for less, they are akin to wal-mart for small business’s. why hire an American when you can hire 5 Mexicans who will work twice as hard because their economy is worse. I am a reasonable accepting person who holds no prejudice, this is simply how it is.

in the case of Mexico, they are one of the poorest countries in the world. right next door to the richest. if you have ever crossed the border you know that it goes from rosy American houses and well paved streets to complete desolation and poverty, within 100ft.

if we only give them the incentive to come here and solve their problems, Mexico will not only remain poverty stricken, but will loose more and more of it’s population and flood our country with desperate and uneducated people, some of whom can’t or even refuse to learn english.

i say bolster the borders.
this is not 1880, we are full and our cities are rife with gangs and poverty. there aren’t enough jobs right now, and to change immigrant law according to unemployment rates is quite frankly absurd, it would be like a sick game of red light green light.

so for now, keep the red light on.

as a side note, the “jobs nobody wants to do” comment is insulting to people who do these jobs, some people don’t want the crazy go go lifestyle and only want to work out a modest living and be free.

Posted by jeremy | Report as abusive

Fix immigration means “reward the criminals”

Maria Hernandez lives in Mexico City and has petitioned the U.S. for legal immigration. She has a degree in chemistry and has advanced science as well as saved a considerable amount of peso’s. Her application has been declined over and over.

Ester Martinez lives in Santa Ana, CA. She has entered the U.S. illegally and has had a baby here although she could not pay the hospital. Her employer pays her cash and she pays no income tax. She did not finish high school and has had no academic achievements.

“Fixing immigration” means Ester gets to stay and Maria can just try again.

What is wrong with this picture?

Posted by Bluz | Report as abusive

The problem with Diana Furchtgott-Roth’s proposal is that, as a “former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor,” the DOL would be based their decision from the “globalist ivory tower’ that utterly disregards the impact of H-1b on U.S. workers.

First Diana slimes the stats to make it appear that the H-1b impact is statistically insignificant. The “tech sector” impacted by H-1b is comprised of only about 3,600,000 workers. Over the past 6 years over 600,000 H-1b workers have flooded into this sector, displacing hundreds of thousands qualified American tech workers out of their professions. The largest users of H-1b are Indian consulting firms that, by bringing in H-1b labor at 25% below market wages, are able under-big U.S. consulting firms for public and private sector contracts.

Why does Diana not address this? By reforming the H-1b program to only be used in cases when “no qualified Americans are available,” the 65,000 cap would never be reached, and her arguments would be moot.

The testimonials at http://www.HireAmericansFirst.org support this harm by H-1b.

Given the massive tech and financial (that employ IT workers) over this year, the only quota that makes any sense in SUSPEND THE H-1B PROGRAM until the economy and job market recover.

As president of the Programmers Guild I challenge Diana to a debate on this issue. Meanwhile get the facts at our website.

The U.S. has over 300 million people. The cities and roads are packed. Housing is still so expensive that I can’t own one where I grew up in California. Unemployment is far greater than the government admits to.
The REAL reason certain elements clamor for more foreign workers is to suppress wages and enhance corporate profits.
Unless one is part of the wealthy 2%, I can’t see this strategy as beneficial.

Posted by HaroldB | Report as abusive

Consider the world as a whole. Voluntary and involuntary slavery co-exist as long as human exist. Mercy is the hope to ease the pain. There is no cure but applying the pain-killer.

Posted by Reader | Report as abusive

Its time for us as a nation to get real about immigration:
1) Under the present rules, Big Business is the primary beneficiary. The american taxpayer, as usual, foots the bill.
2 The people that qualify under the H1-B visa can’t realistically be compared to the total workforce of 154 million. The H-1b applicants are competing for jobs from the much smaller skilled worker pool.
3. Perhaps its also time to rethink the foreign student program. Most universities regard them as a source of revenue. How about giving more US students a chance? There is a much better chance they will remain in the US.

MYTH: America has “uncontrolled” and “unprecedented” immigration.

While the immigrant population is the highest it’s ever been in absolute numbers, it isn’t so when compared to the equally increasing total U.S. population. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the percentage of immigrants has fluctuated within 5-15% of the U.S. population. As of 2006, immigrants are 12% of the U.S. population. (U.S. Census Bureau, “Historical Census Statistics on the Foreign-born Population of the United States: 1850-1990.” February 1999, and Pew Hispanic Center, “A Statistical Portrait of the Foreign-Born Population at Mid-Decade.” October 2006)

I have to laugh when I see people defend our poor teenagers without jobs. The reality is, we have raised a generation without work ethics that thinks service with a smile should come with a 401K and a company car.

We need immigration reform. As a conservative, I was proud to see most conservatives voted with me in nominating John McCain and rejecting other hostile candidates. Sadly, once red states turned blue – coincidentally where the immigration rhetoric and raids have been most bitter: Virginia and Iowa, to name a couple.

Posted by Beth | Report as abusive

There are no high skilled jobs that American workers choose not to do and the claim there is is a cruel joke made by someone who never got laid off their high tech job so they could be replaced by a guestworker, as nearly a million Americans have already.

The purported excess of H1B applications is the result of using a lottery to determine who gets approved, and would disappear if they used an auction instead of a lottery so people could no longer game the system by submitting multiple applications.

The author is incorrect that H1Bs must return home. The H1B is a dual intent visa and most apply for green cards, which is one reason so many want to come. If she gets such an obvious fact wrong, the rest of her claims are rendered suspect. Those who stay just add to the growing numbers of workers chasing fewer and fewer good jobs and lower wages for all (except the corporate execs who get huge bonuses for replacing Americans with cheaper foreign labor).

Why is the author trying to bring more cheap labor into this country at a time when huge numbers of Americans are newly unemployed, adding to those of us who already got displaced by guestworkers earlier?

Posted by Numen | Report as abusive

the biggest problem with immigration is it does increase the us population faster then the economy. if they employers need labor the welfare and unimployment systems need to be exhousted before imigrant labor. also wages must support “cost of living”. massive profits wont be possible in a workable system.

Posted by steve | Report as abusive

You seldom hear about the true cost of illegal immigration: health care, education, crime and other public good programs and services. The true cost is staggering and growing. It’s also unfair to deny legal applicants a fair path in (assuming you legalize the illegals). Their are political (vote) considerations, but that doesn’t address the true needs of US citizens.

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive

Ah, the immigration is good, more immigration is better nostrum. The Census Bureau projects ONE BILLION people here if immigration continues as is. Maybe readers can explain how America will become sustainable in the face of such unsustainable growth.
Too many people think with their hearts instead of their brains. Again, one billion people…
http://www.census.gov/population/project ions/nation/summary/np-t1.txt

Posted by WandaGB | Report as abusive

In the last year we’ve lost over 1 million jobs. Real weekly wages have declined -3.8%. (See: http://data.bls.gov/PDQ/servlet/SurveyOu tputServlet?&series_id=CEU0500000031 ) We have 90 million working age Americans who are not employed.
(See: http://www.bls.gov/web/cpseea1.pdf )

Yes, siree. We sure do need to increase the labor supply even further. Maybe we could get real wages down another -5% if we swell the labor supply enough with cheaper foreign workers.

Illegal, or unlawful, is used to describe something that is prohibited or not authorized by law or, more generally, by rules specific to a particular situation

Posted by brandon | Report as abusive

The hidden cost of immigration is hyper-inflation in the housing market through sheer demand while wage go flat.

Home equity appreciation is an often used, politically correct term, but in reality, home equity appreciation has become hyper-inflation. Housing costs have inflated 309% in 27 years, while four-fifths of America’s wage-earners (80%) have averaged (after tax) income increases of only 18.25% in 24 years.

Percent Change in House Prices Period Ended June 30, 2007 (United States)
5 year = 50.76%
Since 1980 = 309.4%
http://www.ofheo.gov/media/pdf/2q07hpi.p df

Wage Data: http://www.cbpp.org/1-23-07inc.htm

In our flat employment market, each immigrant represents a potential housing foreclosure due to the displacement factor — most immigrants must work below market wage to become employed — thus, economically expelling an established wage-earner.

High foreclosure filing(s) by U.S. States are closely correlated to high legal immigration destination States.

Housing foreclosures & Immigration

http://immigration-weaver.blogspot.com/2 008/07/housing-foreclosures-immigration. html

The solution is to remove the dual-intent provisions of guest-worker visas and require the employer to pay a fair market housing Per-Diem.

The housing Per-Diem allows the non-immigrant to maintain a foreign residence, stimulates U.S. local service economies and levels the playing feild with American workers.

A successful retirement is dependent upon a a mortgage that is paid-off as earning power dwindles.

The immigration-boom will dwarf the baby-boom.

Posted by weaver | Report as abusive

I work for a large US corporation and I’m about to lose my job due to the weak economy.

I can tell you categorically that the numbers are well in excess of 65,000 H1-B visas. These visas are issued for 3 years and can be renewed for another 3. The renewals have no upper limits.

Also, the company I work for uses L1B visas and they bring workers over from India all the time. There is absolutely no problem in them bringing workers in from India. In fact about 80% of the people I work with are from India.

It is absolutely an outrage. This is one of the reasons that the US economy is in the toilet. How can Americans buy things if we don’t have jobs. A strong middle class is vital to the economy.

US companies have become too reliant on H1B visas, L1B visas and hiring illegal immigrants. It makes them lazy. They don’t think how they can come up with new and improved products and services, instead they are constantly looking for ways to lower wages for America’s workers. Well, it will lead to even greater economic disaster than we already have. The US middle class is being slowly destroyed.

Posted by Steve | Report as abusive

First of all, the writer is off on a few points. She asserts that the Government should “fix” immigration by next Thanksgiving. It’s already being fixed. Thanks to Director Chertoff and ICE, illegal aliens are being deported and many are fleeing to their home countries. And due to tough state laws many are fleeing Tenn., Okla, and many other states. Remittenses have been cut in half, as well as the number of aliens snesking in. Just let the laws be enforced and within five years we’ll have very few illegals living in the United States.

Second, about the so-called separation of families it is SOP that when an illegal is deported that ICE request that they take their minor children with them. Most of the time they chose to leave the child with a relative in the US rather than back to their home country. So if families are separated it is at the insistance of the aliens. The reason they chose this option is so that the child could recieve benifits from the welfare system. One way to fix this problem would be to do away with Birthright citizenship for illegal aliens.

The author also states: “. Most are unlikely to return to their native lands, even in today’s tough economic climate. Nor would we want them to do so.”

No YOU don’t want them to. Please be careful in your wording. She also claims that many illegals are working in scientific and medical research. In what aspect of medical research are they employed? As gueana pigs? Again she doesn’t elaberate so I’ll assume she’s simply not telling the truth here.

She claims that so many immigrant students who enroll in college at taxpayer expense are denied employment. First of all, student visas are only that – STUDENT visas. It was never established that upon graduation from college that those visas would automatically convert into work visas. The system was designed to allow a student to study in the US and then return to their home countries for work. As if she didn’t know. Another cleverly crafted deception.

The author does make a point that i agree with. The issuance of visas should corrolate with market trends and the demand for labor. Currently it does not. 2 million immigrants come to our country every year regardless of economic conditions. However I believe the answer is to allow no more than a total of 300,000 immigrants per year and secure the borders against illegal immigration. No “comprehensive” solution is necassary.

Posted by Kevin B | Report as abusive

In many cases, American jobs are lost because corporations migrate their manufacturing operations to countries that offer more competitive labor costs and less regulations. Expelling inmigrants may push companies to look outside leaving less jobs.

Posted by James | Report as abusive

In the US, it takes the creation of 100-130K new jobs created per month just to absorb new graduates into the workforce. During the past 8 years, the current US president and the US Labor Secretary have rarely met that target. People who have stopped receiving unemployment insurance are not counted in the current unemployment figure, which is an outrage. It takes Uncle Sam about 3 days to calculate your witholding payroll tax when you become employed. That’s the same time it takes to calculate when your witholding payroll tax drops to zero or barely budges.

Posted by Anna Goh | Report as abusive

As always, the immigration debate brings out the best in people. It is very tempting to take an opportunity to look for a solution, as this article demands, and simply use it as fodder for xenophobic vitriol. The majority of these comments are biased against any solution to the immigration problem that attempts to recognize the humanity of the people living and working in the country illegally. Of course the counter arguments to this usually hide behind a guise of patriotism and good citizenry. The grammar is also terrible.

Posted by Ernest | Report as abusive

Diana, you seem very ignorant of the burdens imposed upon us by the unrestrained immigration of the last 35 years that has resulted in a near doubling of our population. It is difficult to add much to the well researched comments above by those who understand how very wrong you are. Suffice to say we are the ONLY country in the world that permits this madness. I wish to thank you for being one of those who has contributed much to making us the overpopulated and uneducated mess we are now. We are only a couple decades from being the largest latin american country in the world. Again, thank you for the careful thought you have put into this article. I sincerely hope that developmentally challenged individuals like yourself are not responsible for the policies of this nation going forward but I suspect that this will indeed be the case.

Posted by W. Holder | Report as abusive

Recently I was in San Jose CA at Cisco’s Headquarters. What an eyeopener! It seems every 2nd person there is Indian or Pakistan.
Considering that the median salary at Cisco is $125,000 … these certainly aren’t medial jobs. Of course this came about because American’s didn’t want these positions and not because Cisco did some major lobbying to make it happen. Right?

Posted by Randy T | Report as abusive

Fortunately , us “common” people are becoming wise to the greedy self serving few in this country.

Posted by Brad | Report as abusive

Clearly she is a person who has no real world association with illegal immigrants. Come live in Southern California for a month or two, then rewrite your silly Thanksgiving pontification. I’d be much more thankful if we’d end the idiocy of allowing illegal immigrants to commit crimes and access services in this country.

Posted by Karl | Report as abusive

To people who think that the reform will be good for the economy: I cannot believe how naive you are saying that if legalized those illegal immigrants will boost the economy by purchasing houses, cars etc. – these people LAREADY own cars and houses – in my town almost half of the houses are owned by people who are here illegally, and they have cars and go on vacations etc. – so they are already contributing to the economy and legalization will not boost the economy.

Posted by Jennifer | Report as abusive

Can the Labor Dept. issue 1/2 million visas? No. Therefore: people will continue coming here illegally. No fence can stop them. Illegal immigrants are the hardest working people in this country, very few of them engage in crime activity. Most of them get legalized (thru amnesty) after 10-15 years. Keep it this way. Only the best can survive 10 years of hard labor to become citizens. Their children learn the valuable lesson of “hard work pays” thru their parents.

Posted by Stas | Report as abusive

Perhaps it’s best if readers knew something about the person/institute submitting this article.

From the Hudson Institute own website:
“From February 2003 to April 2005 Ms. Furchtgott-Roth was chief economist of the U.S. Department of Labor. Previously she served as chief of staff at the President’s Council of Economic Advisers.”

From Wikipedia:
It(Hudson Institute)was described by US foreign policy scholars John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt as “closely associated with neoconservatives”.

The Hudson Institute is supported by donations from companies and individuals. Corporate contributors include Eli Lilly and Company, Monsanto, DuPont, Dow-Elanco, Sandoz, Ciba-Geigy, ConAgra, Cargill, and Procter & Gamble.

So fellow readers… an article from one of the chief economists during the gestation period of this current meltdown. Now associated with a neoconservative think tank.

You come to your own conclusions.

Posted by Barry | Report as abusive

I sincerely hope that developmentally challenged individuals like yourself are not responsible for the policies of this nation going forward but I suspect that this will indeed be the case.
Very true!

Posted by brandon | Report as abusive

What a shame that the front runner of capitalism is running away from competition? Lets have a “May the best man win” competition for jobs too. We dont think twice before we bomb Iraq, before we terrorise Afghanistan and when some poor sod from India comes along and works for us we dont want him here saying he takes away our jobs. Frankly, a lot of these huge corporates of ours are standing on the shoulders of hard working Asians. As the young man observed every second person in Cisco is Indian or Paki. Such spineless talk just re affirms that our days as a super power are over unless we are ready to pull up our socks and work and compete and win against all tribes and races.

Posted by Janit | Report as abusive

Ernest would like a solution for “…the humanity of the people living and working in the country illegally.”

The problem is that when Americans insist upon immigration enforcement, we get “malicious compliance” from our government.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malicious_c ompliance

Most Americans were agreeable to the terms of the IRCA amnesty, but Congress refused to enact the employer sanctions written into the law. Instead of employer sanctions, Congress has given us troops on the border, a non-contiguous fence, workplace raids and deportations; everything but employer-sanctions. This is malicious compliance, which is also passive-aggressive behavior.

The AGJOBS bill is a perfect example of malicious compliance, offering a limited path to citizenship while removing wage protections, housing standards, transportation reimbersement and allowing profiteers to charge huge fees for guest worker visa processing in Latin America. (No CIR bill is much better than a bad CIR bill.)

The practice of hiring illegal labor was once limited to the informal economy, the practice has now infiltrated into the formal economy and employers are getting away with deducting illegal wage expenses from gross-income.

Additionally, the labor subsidy that forced-migration provides inhibits diversification and investment in Latin America where labor is plentiful. Nearshoring allows workers to attain housing equity, in an affordable market, thus preparing the worker for old age.

For most Americans, if employer sanctions (which should involve the fear of a seven year IRS audit to recover illegally deducted wages from gross income) is off the table, amnesty is also off the table.

Illegal immigrants are not the only people suffering, Americans are losing homes and retirement savings too. Economic expulsion of American citizens through immigration (labor price controls) policy, where is the compassion for these Americans?

Guest (migrant) workers must be required (and paid enough) to maintain a foreign residence. This is the true measure of “market wage” and will cause prosperity to visit Latin America through investment and larger remittances.

Give us a bill that causes employers to answer to the IRS for Social Security no-match letters. Deny the deduction of illegal wages, force illegal employers to pay these taxes and penalties on these illegal deductions and you have a bill that America will favor.

Involving the IRS in the process, will turn illegal employment enforcement into a revenue-positive vehicle and will also address the problem of visa overstays. Visa overstays are 40% of illegal immigration.

This thesis is pure economics, not “hiding behind patriotism.”

Finally, ten Dollar lettuce will never be a function of labor cost (7%), it will be a function of devaluation of the Dollar due to credit defaults.

Posted by weaver | Report as abusive

I kinda like having the illegals around, if they are from Latin America. They tend to do their work with a minimum of whining & snivelling, they do not goof off while on the job, they don’t demand permission to listen to their iPods when working, and they don’t sue their employers. The typical Gringo, however, is quite another story.

In addition, most of the illegals have not participated in the great American food and debt orgy that the USA is now recovering from. Though I think the food orgy is still going on based on those increasing waist sizes. My gripe with the current immigration pool is all these people from the former Soviet Union countries. Mr. Gorbachev, put back that wall! They bring crime with them much worse than anything that came over with the Mariel Boatlift.

Posted by Mike Z | Report as abusive

fyi

Posted by amin | Report as abusive

Foreign college students studying in the US at taxpayers’ expense? Are you kidding? I am a foreign student and I am not eligible for any financial aid.

Posted by Meng Qi | Report as abusive

I recall a book where the author wrote in the preface that she had aproached the writing with all the positive energy which comes from being ignorant.I`ll say no more.

Posted by Reader | Report as abusive

i believe the solution would be to tighten the border security. Then as prescribed in Obama’s imm reform, grant already undocumented immigrants in the system stay but letting them pay some form of fine.

ping…..

To suggest that America is somehow suffering for a lack of labor is disingenuous at best. And to rely upon never-ending population growth as a source of economic growth is bad economics. We face far too many challenges in this country already that will only be exacerbated by further rampant population growth fueled by immigration. Breaking our dependence on foreign oil and reducing carbon emissions, just to name a couple, will be impossible if we keep importing more oil consumers and more carbon emitters.

It’s time we stopped giving credence to these economists who are so bankrupt of ideas for improving our macroeconomy that they fall back on a reliance on destructive population growth.

America is the land of immigrants i would say. tighter borders and a deal for the illegal immigrants in the states would go a long way in solving this problem

“They work at jobs that few Americans choose to do, both in high-skill area—scientific and medical research, for instance—and in mundane yet essential low-skill jobs, such as gardening, washing cars, and cleaning.”

This is exactly why immigration is a problem. While most of the main stream press reports things such as the statement above, this is NOT the truth. These people aren’t here doing just those jobs. They’re taking good paying construction jobs away from Americans. I see it everywhere my company travels.

I say we have another “Operation Wetback” just like in the 50′s. Round them all up, don’t just send them back across the southern border, but put them on a ship and take them as far south as possible in Mexico and put them off on a remote island that belongs to Mexico. Make it Mexico’s problem.

Posted by Roundup_Logan | Report as abusive

BTW – the exchange rate for the peso is currently about 13:1. So if you can manage to get in this country and earn $15 an hour working construction – that’s equivelant to making $195 peso an hour or 1560 peso a day. If you work 6 days a week that’s almost $9500 pesos a week. I’m sure if you were in Mexico you can live pretty high on the hog with about $40,000 pesos a month. Especially if you’re not paying any taxes on it. I know a lot of these guys come here and work about 6-9 months a year and then turn themselves in to get a free ride back to Mexico at our expense.

Posted by Roundup_Logan | Report as abusive

Immigration and free trade is the root cause of the disappearing middle class. The influx of immigrants into our work force is deteriorating the wages in more than just agriculture. Construction related trades like masons, iron workers and even electricians have seen substantial decreases in pay since the early 1970’s. If you base your wages on the increases in the price of a postage stamp we all have lost about 50% of the buying power we had just 30 years ago. Our country is a wreck and we aren’t even close to a recovery we need a massive social, economic and governmental overhaul.

What about the high crime rate associated with illegals coming from Mexico ? Take a look at the crime rate in Phoenix, Tuscon and other cities near the Mexican border. That’s just another cost associated with having these illegals in this country.

Oh I forgot added medical costs ….

There are 10 mln unemployed in the States and about 10-12 mln illegal immigrants. Obviously the problem will not be fixed within a year.
I am a naturalized American, however currenly not living in the USA, for more than a year. My job was moved offshore, and I found the whole process quite brutal.
I think housing forclosures are a much bigger issue at the moment. It devastates entire families and values.

Posted by Krasimir | Report as abusive

The borders between canada and the usa should be opened up with free flow of labor and goods like the european union.Defense and security could then be continental instead of cut in the middle

Wha, Wha, wha, Americans have not had to really work for a long time. I am sure this attitude will get worse as things get worse. Who can we blame? Its been a great ride…and still is…Get over your your self indulgent, entitled selves.

The reality of global competition has almost nothing to do with public policy etc.

Technology has accelerated the process now a person can do your job, working and middle class for less somewhere else. BTY I own a construction company. Americans, white, black, etc. are demanding and lazy, far far more often than immigrant workers.

Its just not 1975 any more.

STOP THE INVASION!!!

UNITED STATES BORDER APPREHENSIONS (Source DHS/CBP)
1987–1,190,488——1995–1,394,554——2003—-93 1,557
1988–1,008,145——1996–1,649,986——2004–1,1 60,395
1989—-954,243——1997–1,412,953——2005–1,18 9,075
1990–1,169,939——1998–1,555,776——2006–1,0 89,902
1991–1,197,875——1999–1,579,010——2007—-87 6,704
1992–1,258,482——2000–1,676,438——2008—-72 3,825
1993–1,327,259——2001–1,266,213——2009—-(b eginning 10/01)
1994–1,094,717——2002—-955,310

FACT: In the last 22 years, over 26 million illegals, have been apprehended, after crossing the border, into our United States.

THE PROBLEM IS: Less than 1, out of 4 illegals, are estimated to have been apprehended.

Mind boggling, isn’t it.

According to the U.S. Immigration Service another 6 million illegals in our country are visa overstays. That is, they got a visa legally in their home country, they came here to visit and then they never left.

In the last 22 years, there have been another 4 million anchor babies born to illegals. Anchor babies are now being born at a rate of 350-400 thousand per year in our United States. All at our expense!!

Then the ANCHOR BABIES qualify for welfare, food stamps, section-8 housing, all at our expense.

American Taxpayers are getting screwed, over, and over, and over, again!!!

Each illegal immigrant, on average, costs taxpayers $9,000 PER YEAR, over, and above, anything they might contribute in taxes!!! A total cost to American taxpayers of over 300 billion dollars each, and every, year.

Posted by Buzzm1 | Report as abusive

The government has been lying to you……again.

The BIG LIE……

They keep saying there are only 12 million illegal immigrants in our United States.

FACT: In the last 22 years, over 26 million illegals, have been apprehended, after crossing the border, into our United States. THE PROBLEM IS: Less than 1, out of 4, of the invading illegals, are estimated to have been apprehended.

According to the U.S. Immigration Service another 6 million illegals in our country are visa overstays.

There are, AT LEAST, 40 million illegal immigrants in our United States……….

there are 8.7 million illegals working at on-the-books jobs that they used forged, and/or stolen, identities, to illegally obtain.

there are at least that many more illegals working under the table, for unscrupulous employers, as part of the underground economy.

there are over 5 million illegal immigrant students overcrowding our schools, all at American taxpayer expense.

Illegal immigrants cost American taxpayers over 300 billion dollars a year.

The Bush administration in its final weeks will revive a stalled crackdown on U.S. companies that hire illegal immigrants, issuing a new regulation and asking a federal judge to lift a ban on the measure, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced yesterday.

If the court agrees, the government could begin mailing notices to 140,000 employers regarding suspect Social Security numbers used by an estimated 8.7 million workers, pressuring businesses to either resolve discrepancies or fire workers within 90 days.

E-VERIFY MUST BE MANDATED, FOR ALL EMPLOYEES, AND FOR ALL EMPLOYERS!!!

UNEMPLOYED AMERICAN WORKERS NEED THOSE JOBS!!!

Posted by Buzzm1 | Report as abusive

I think that the address immigrant, should be rebranded, to enhance a united economic activeness, especially now that the global economy is meltingdown to rubbles. The thought is that jobs in such locations are designed to be effected by these group called immigrants. The earlier every administrative formation identifies the issue of immigration as an aspect of labour movement, and as a compliment of the society,the sooner, financial distress among instituttions are solved. Much depends on economic factors and accurately and correctiy repositioning of investment ideas.

Posted by OHIARA I.C | Report as abusive

We have heard from those who believe America needs more immigrants, and those who believe we have too many. The point of the article is that we currently have no easy way of changing the numbers of legal immigrants in response to changes in economic conditions: Congress established a quota in the early 1990s and cannot manage to alter it. This makes no sense. We need some way of adjusting visas so that we have fewer legal immigrants in economic downturns and more when the economy picks up or when we need a particular set of skills. My proposal that the Labor Department be given the authority to set quarterly visa quotas would be one way to address this. No doubt you readers, who are brighter than I, can think of many better ways.

Diana

Posted by Diana Furchtgott-Roth | Report as abusive

The work illegal says it all.This lady is so far off base.I am a Caucasian American who started a cleaning business.American small businesses don’t want to hire me because they are having their offices serviced by janitorial companies who are using indentured servitude employees and illegals.These janitorial companies are in no way,shape or form paying these employees minimum wage.As an employer you must pay towards Social Security,Medicare and also cover workman’s comp.This can’t be done when these janitorial companies are only charging $37.50 a service for a huge building while providing only 2 janitors.It is not our government who is screwing the American workers but it is the American companies who are greedy.The more people who become unemployed means that those who have secure,good paying jobs will be paying higer taxes to compensate for their neighbors who lose thier homes and jobs.So it’s pay a fair living wage and employ Americans in the jobs or it’s pay more taxes.You decide,greedy American companies what it’s going to be.

Posted by Donna | Report as abusive

MS. Diana Furchtgott-Roth,

I wouldn’t make any conclusions about anyone’s aptitude, many of us have been living with the labor-arbitrage problem for many years.

The problem with your thesis is that employers have been allowed to submit employment advertisements as proof of shortage, while employment growth and college graduation statistics contradict and disprove the shortage claims.

Migration is traditionally born from famine, flood, war and slavery. Employment based immigration is very close to wage-slavery and must be carefully monitored. Bush’s response to discourse from the citizens is to stop publishing the H-1B Charateristics report since FY 2005 (OCT 2004) and withholding the Technology Administration (TA)offshoring report for two years.

You are correct that there is no way to adjust immigration downward in hard economic times, but the government has no problem with creating new categories of employment based visas and increasing immigration.

I submit a partial list:

H1A Temporary worker performing services as a registered nurse = 3 years
H1B Temporary worker of distinguished merit…. other than as a registered nurse = 3 years
H1B1 Free Trade Agreement Professional = 1 year
H1C Shortage area nurse = 3 years
H2A Temporary worker performing agricultural services =1 year
H2B Temporary worker performing other services = 1year
H2R Returning H2B worker = 1year
H3 Trainee = 2 years
L1 Intracompany transferee = 3 years
O1 Person with extraordinary ability in the sciences, art, education, business, or athletics = 3 years
O2 Person accompanying and assisting in the artistic or athletic performance by O1 = 3 years
P1 Internationally recognized athlete or member … entertainment group = 5 years
P2 Artist or entertainer in a reciprocal exchange program = 1 year
P3 Artist or entertainer in a culturally unique program = 1 year
R1 Person in a religious occupation = 5 years
TN NAFTA professional = 1 year (now 3 years)

Moreover, the GATS Mode 4 negotiations will require the U.S. to provide larger static amounts of “service” related visas.

Migrating can be an act of desparation, equity destroyed, not just property ownership, but friends, family and land improvements are abandonded. The migrant has no option to demand the market wage, she has no fall-back support options. Hyper-competitiveness then bankrupts foreign agriculture businesses — creating more economic expulsion. (India is correct to protect its farmers.)

Mismanaged migration is the epicenter of the global financial meltdown. There are thousands of well educated Engineers and Computer specialists who are now expert in immigration, labor arbitrage and economics from personal experience. Yet, when Congress debates employment based immigration, they withhold data and invite a single witness, an out of touch billionare executive who made his fortune stealing technology.

Can you see why there is so much resistance to one-sided, haphazard immigration proposals designed to provide labor cost-controls and new customers for the subprime mortgage industry?

Posted by weaver | Report as abusive

There is no shortage of tech workers – there is a shortage of young workers fresh out of college willing to work at the price you are willing to pay. Since the expansion of the H-1B visa program, smart U.S. students have indeed abandoned the IT sector (where according to the BLS, employment has dropped from 3.7 million to 3 million over the past 7 years). The H-1B visa is a labor subsidy – by importing cheaper labor from abroad to keep down U.S. wages in key fields.

Tech is not a field where experience adds much value. Due to fast changing technology, the half life of a software engineer’s knowledge is just 2 to 3 years. Companies have found it far cheaper to lobby government to import cheap young workers from abroad than provide on-going continuous education – again, experience itself adds little value in these fields. Tech has structured itself to always require more new, young workers – even as total employment in the field is collapsing.

Academic economists support temporary workers from abroad – but they all have “tenure” – a guaranteed job for life. If global competition is so great for the rest of us, then perhaps academic economists will be willing to give up their tenure and compete with the world as they wish for the rest of us?

I dare any economist to give up tenure and compete on the world stage as they wish for the rest of us. Until then, forget it.

We’ve watched YouTube video and seen how immigration lawyers advise U.S. firms on how to avoid hiring Americans while complying with the law. The goal is to not hire Americans.

Posted by Ed | Report as abusive

To those who think illegal immigrants are taking our good jobs, I grew up in South West Michigan on a small farm. For summer work I picked blue berries, cherries, and strawberries right alongside of immigrants. The work was hard and the pay was not great. The immigrants usually had way more fruit picked at the end of the day then I. A lot of immigrants lived in 24’x24’ single room white buildings we called “help houses”. It was common to see families with a dozen kids packed in the help houses. There was an old help house on the farm where I lived. It did not even have running water. The outhouse next to it was a 2 seat model.

When I went to college some of the brightest students had to really struggle to get green cards. I had an excellent Computer Science teacher who had to move to Australia because he could not get a green card. In the office building, I noticed that most cleaning staff is often of Spanish origin.

Seems to me that it would be quite beneficial for this great country to figure out a way to reward conscientious hard working individuals who what to make something for themselves. Perhaps we need to bring in a lot more immigrants and put them on probation. When they work hard and it becomes obvious they are an asset to the country, let them stay!

Posted by Dave E | Report as abusive

The economic elite are demanding their “government subsidy” (more H-1B visas) in the 2002 words of Nobel Economist and free-market advocate Milton Friedman. Another example was the March, 2008 speech by William Gates, III to the House Science and Technology Committee in Rayburn House Office Building. Gates must have demanded more H-1Bs about 50 times in the course of his two hour comments! NumbersUSA.com gives American citzens powerful tools to demand reform of this corruption!

I am an electrical engineer with a degree in physics from Florida State University. I have been unemployed for several years because of the H1-B program. In 1990, I remarked to a recruiter that there seemed to be a dozen applicants for every job. He replied “No, it’s more like forty.
This is the way it has been ever since I graduated from college in 1956. I keep reading the ESP, or Engineer Shortage Propaganda, and it never ceases!
There is no shortage of engineers. There is a severe shortage of jobs for engineers!

Posted by John Marson | Report as abusive

What Furchtgott-Ross doesn’t mention is that work visa programs such as H-1B are powerful conduits for importing illegal aliens. At the CIS.org website, please review the March, 2008 backgrounder by David Seminara, “No Coyote Needed.” About half of the U.S. illegal alien population are visa overstayers. See the 19 February 2008 article, “Indians a growing face of illegal immigration” by Mike Swift in the Oakland (California) Tribune for more details.

A common-sense legislative proposal, the SAVE Act of 2007 which would require the use of E-Verify for all new hires by larger employers has been opposed by an employer interest advocacy group (CompeteAmerica) that receives funding from Microsoft Corporation. See the PDF version of their 27 February 2008 letter to Speaker Pelosi here http://competeamerica.org/news/alliance_ pr/Speaker_Pelosi_Letter.pdf

STOP THE INVASION!!!

BUILD THE FENCE!!!

MANDATE E-VERIFY!!!

Southwest Border Patrol Sector Apprehensions (Source DHS/CBP)
Fiscal Year————-2005———2006———2007——-2008 (ends 9/30)
San Diego————126,879—–142,104—- 152,460— 162,390
El Centro————–55,725——-61,465—– 55,883—– 40,961
Yuma—————–138,492—–118,549—– 37,992—— 8,363*
Tucson ————–439,053—–392,074—- 378,239— 317,696
El Paso—————122,624—–122,256—– 75,464—– 30,312
Marfa ——————10,532——–7,520——- 5,536—— 5,391
Del Rio —————–68,547——42,636—– 22,920—– 20,761
Laredo —————–75,268——74,840—– 56,714——43,658
Rio Grande Valley –134,136—-110,528—— 73,430—– 75,473
Apprehensions—-1,171,386–1,071,972—–858, 638—-705,005

*The Yuma Sector presently has a total of 94 miles of fencing. The difference is apparent.

The Yuma Border Patrol Sector is under control:
——-Yuma Border Patrol Sector Apprehensions——–
———–OCT
FY2009—338
FY2008–1094
FY2007–3478
FY2006–9428
FY2005–8872

The El Paso Border Patrol Sector will soon be under control
——-El Paso Border Patrol Sector Apprehensions——–
———–OCT
FY2009–1468–
*The El Paso Sector of the U.S. Border Patrol is currently in the process of constructing 80 miles of vehicle fencing in New Mexico and approximately 56 miles of pedestrian fencing in New Mexico and Texas, officials said.
FY2008–3605
FY2007–6183
FY2006-11027

Posted by Buzzm1 | Report as abusive

SUPPORT THE ALL-AMERICAN STIMULUS PLAN!!!

THE ALL-AMERICAN STIMULUS PLAN WILL PROVIDE JOBS FOR 8.7 MILLION UNEMPLOYED AMERICAN WORKERS AND IT WON’T COST ANYTHING!!!

Illegals, using forged, and/or stolen identities, have illegally obtained up to 8.7 million jobs; these are jobs that Americans will do, jobs in food processing, jobs in manufacturing; these are jobs that rightfully belonged to American workers in the first place.

MANDATE E-VERIFY, FOR ALL EMPLOYEES, AND FOR ALL EMPLOYERS, AND IT WILL GENERATE 8.7 MILLION JOBS FOR UNEMPLOYED AMERICAN WORKERS!!!

THE ALL-AMERICAN STIMULUS PLAN WILL SAVE AMERICAN TAXPAYERS 300 BILLION DOLLARS EACH, AND EVERY, YEAR (the estimated annual cost of illegal immigrants to American taxpayers)!!!

SUPPORT THE ALL-AMERICAN STIMULUS PLAN!!!

REMEMBER, IT WON’T COST ANYTHING!!!

ENFORCE OUR LAWS AGAINST ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION!!!

THERE WILL BE NO AMNESTY!!!

OUR ACCEPTABLE IMMIGRATION REFORM

#1. Make Illegal Entry a Felony Permanently Barring Citizenship
#2. Secure Our Borders with our National Guard!!!
#3. Mandate E-Verify for ALL Employees!!!
#4. Cut Off ALL Public Assistance to Illegals and Their Children!!!
#5. Stop the Underground Economy!!!
#6. End Birthright Citizenship for Illegals!!!
#7. End Chain Migration!!!
#8. Make English our Official Language!!!
#9. Cut Off Federal Funds to Sanctuary Cities!!

NOTHING MORE!!! NOTHING LESS!!!

Posted by Buzzm1 | Report as abusive

Let’s not loose sight of the real issue which is, ILLEGAL immigrants need to be kicked out of the country. Go back to your own country and stop using a million and one excuses to break our laws. I couldn’t wait, we were so poor, my kids need a better life, etc……. Go back home, go through the process like millions of others do, then come back and we;ll welcome you with open arms. If you really want a better life, go home and work as hard as you did to get here illegally, to make your country a better place! American politicians get on board with that!

Posted by Booda | Report as abusive

Why have you selected the most uninformed post as “Best Comment” when you have been supplied with many other commenters who actually are affected by the programs you speak of?

Posted by Susan | Report as abusive

This is the usual “we’re all immigrants” GARBAGE that comes from the out-of-touch-i-only-see-them-at-school liberal elite. She makes no mention of the vast social services bills for illegals (schools/hospitals).

Apparently, the term “immigrants” applies to the euro settlers who killed and otherwise pushed the native population 1000 miles west. And then took most of that land too. Sounds more like “conquering” to me.

Any new immigration thing will fall flat…especially with this bad economy. Plenty of Americans will be willing to sweep floors before it’s all over.

kevin p

Posted by kevin p | Report as abusive

It is blatantly apparent that the author of this article supports a global position , other than what is in the interest of Americans, and I question why she should be allowed to talk down to us as if she were ” the chosen one “, to represent what is in American interest when it is clearly not. Americans need the work , they need to have the jobs for THEMSELVES, not Illegal s who would, send money overseas, not vote, and support for American Policies, and eliminate the ability to earn a fair wage, because there will always be some illegal or hungry immigrant, waiting in the shadows to do ANY JOB, AT MUCH LESS THE AMOUNT that you would be willing to do it for, further bringing down the quality of life, that is just bearable now, to that of a minimum wage reality for for those of us who actually listen to this dirt bag.

Posted by Concerned Citizen | Report as abusive

Diana Furchtgott-Roth,

The problem is that you start with the false premise that we “need” any foreign workers. With the possible exception of migrant farm labor (which comprises only about 2% of illegal aliens), the U.S. does not “need” any foreign workers.

You claim that “WE would not want the 12 million illegal aliens to return to their native lands.” YES, WE WOULD:

a) Rather than paying any federal income tax, many get “earned income credit” rebates.
b) Clinton and the Bush undermined the global economy by their calls on FHA and FannieMae to institute special loans to “make housing attainable by immigrants and minorities.”
c) Many are holding jobs that unemployed Americans need.
d) Rather than recirulating their paychecks within the local economy, these workers send billions “back home” each year, contributing to our trade/balance deficit.
e) They are bankrupting hospitals by bringing their snot-nosed kids to the emergency rooms (because employers of illegal workers don’t provide medical benefits) and are bankrupting states like California with their use of Medi-Cal.

Although the Hiltons and large AG companies might benefit from cheap illegal labor, they are dumping the true costs of cheap labor on taxpayers.

30 years ago the construction trades: electrician, roofer, framer … provided good union wages – and homes were more affordable. Now these professions have been displaced by low-paid, predominately Spanish-speaking immigrant workers – legal and illegal. There are many Americans who would take good-paying construction jobs.

FACT: DOL is approving H-1b visa LCAs regardless of whether there are Americans available. Many American tech workers, new grads and recently laid off, are having trouble finding work. Regardless, Congress and DOL dumped another 85,000 H-1b workers in the U.S. last month. And last month unemployment in Silicon Valley increased from 6.2 to 6.9%. Cause and effect? Possibly to some extent:

http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_1 1041994?nclick_check=1

Silicon Valley unemployment rate jumps to 6.9 percent

By Pete Carey – Mercury News
Posted: 11/21/2008 09:26:49 AM PST

Kim Berry,
I am writing a term paper for one of my course about the decline of computer science enrollment.

I feel that people like you really hurt the IT industry in the long term. So please stop.

Take a look at the statistics
http://www.bls.gov/oes/2006/may/table1.p df
http://www.bls.gov/news.release/ocwage.t 03.htm
at $34.71/hr
how can you say that the wage for computer professional are repressed ???? answer me ????
This is the second highest, only management jobs have higher average.
(even higher than healthcare practitioners average!!)

It’s people like you who painted a scary outlook about IT. This scares people away from Engineering and Computer programs. What’s next ??

The quality of students coming into these programs go down… The standards at University for these programs are lowered to accommodate… The graduates quality lower too -> they can’t find jobs, scream louder, join your union -> Scare even more people away -> even lower quality of next new grads -> the cycle continues on and on..
(and YES, I am seeing students studying Computer Science these days a lot less ‘smart’ than in previous years. Many smart highschoolers now are studying Life Sciences at Univ. in order to get rich easily in the future as a doctor..)

I imagine at some point the US will rely solely on foreign workers in IT because of people like you.. you are hurting American long-term technology security!!!!

So please stop all the lies about wages being repressed because of H1B…
And yea, affiliate yourselves with Union likes the auto worker one (UAW). I think it’s very appropriate.

(btw, not all H1Bs work in IT, many many of them work in hospitals too. I only wish the wage repressed were true.. because that will lower the health care cost a lot, guess what, everyone would love it..)

Posted by Trevor H | Report as abusive

This is a nation of laws. The immigration law presently in place must be enforced until appropriately ammended. There is no excuse to ignore the law. If you disagree with terms of the law, contact your representatives, complain, work for responsible reform, but do not condone lawless actions. Such an approach has led to the present state of anarchy, with resultant criminality, confusion and encouragement of legal dichotomy.
Do not rest on the unfairness of immigration control, it will always be unfair to someone. We cannot accept all who wish to come here from the rest of the world. Such a policy would overwhelm our economic system to everyone’s detriment. Work out a reasonable compromise.
Congress must accomplish this work. Congressmen (and women) must be held accountable for shaping immigration law. And we must hold them accountable. Vote them out of office if they ignore this problem. Each has taken an oath to uphold this nation and its laws.
Finally, do not allow your buttons to be pushed by the words: honest, well meaning, hard working, family oriented, oppressed, poor, deserving, needey, low wage, fair treatment, and the like. Be ruled instead by equity in granting a limited (set in law) number of immigrants legal residence in this country. Every other country does the same.

Posted by David Allen Lower | Report as abusive

While I think controlling flow of foreign workers by H1 visa issuance is a good idea from economical point of view, it doesn’t address an illegal immigration problem. How many H1 visa have been issued to gardeners and car washers? If I understand correctly, H1 visa is issued for positions which require extensive education and/or skills rare in US. Gardening and car washing requires neither of them. Unless the federal government drastically changes their policy on H1 visa, increasing H1 visa quota will just result in more job opportunities for highly educated foreign students, who are unlikely to stay illegally in US anyway by becoming car washers when they can get much better job and status in their home country. I do believe giving more job opportunities to these highly educated people will benefit to American society. However, it is irrelevant to illegal immigration, a main topic of immigration debate. I’m afraid this author is mixing two separate issues.

Posted by AC | Report as abusive

Governments from the top down have a brilliant plan on how to handle immigration. Shove everyone else aside and make them this decades ‘most favored of all races’ at of course the expense of those most conveniently left out-not the ones in charge. At the top don’t even bother to apply for disaster aid if you checked Caucasian but across the street FEMA agents are almost rear-ending one another trying to give aid to my Mexican/American buddy Sam…same storm. At the bottom a wreck no insurance if their car still runs they can drive away. Us handcuffed and taken to jail. Am I against a large group of people moving in and not abiding by the laws, drawing a ton of free benefits, having my own rights subjugated to second-class citizen as a result of it? Yes but it’s not them..it’s our own ‘save itself first’ government.

Posted by Gringo | Report as abusive

Hey Trevor H,

You cannot take a single snapshot “2006″ and draw any conclusion about wage trends.

You admit that a better and easier path to “riches” is via liberal arts and medicine (and you failed to mention law).

I presume you are not pursuing computer science – if it’s the highest paying profession, why not?

You blame me for “scaring students away from Engineering.” Why don’t you blame HP – laying off Americans while sponsoring foreign workers:

http://www.programmersguild.org/docs/hp_ perm_layoffs.html

Why don’t you blame SJ Mercury News for reporting in 2004 that 25% of tech workers in the area had been forced from the profession (FRAME 2)

http://www.programmersguild.org/docs/slo anwest_kimberry_programmersguild_files/f rame.htm

Why don’t you blame Congresswoman Lofgren, for publicizing that From FY 2001 to FY2005, average H-1b wages fell from $55k to $50k? (FRAME 5 above)

CHALLENGE TO TREVOR:

a) As you cite average programmer wages of $34/hour, how do you explain that average H-1b earn substantially less? Industry claims they are “best and brightest.” Are they underpaid, or underqualified?

b) Please open you Sunday classifieds tomorrow and report back on all the “new grad” (no experience other than a BS degree) required ads in your newspaper. You’d think if things were so bad that we DHS executed an emergency order extending OPT so that foreign students could remain in the USA and work for 30 months – that there would be a few ads for new grads?

When it comes to highly skilled jobs, you are not talking about jobs Americans do not choose to do, you are talking about jobs Americans used to love doing and would gladly do again. These Americans were displaced by unneeded foreign guestworkers, brought by their managers precisely for the purpose of replacing them. That’s not what the H-1B was intended for.

Posted by Bart | Report as abusive

I hate seeing that tired statistic of 12 million undocumented immigrants. That statistic is years old and was a low-ball estimate then. I’d say we have 30 million undocumented immigrants.

Also to comment on H1-B visa sham. In the year 2000, my colleagues and I were gradually replaced by foreign H1-B visa holders whom we trained to replace us at half our pay. These were coveted engineering positions. The so-called knowledge based jobs, that we worked hard to get. Only to be replaced by broken English speakers with a credential of some foreign university. We don’t need H1-B visas, U.S. companies just want to push down labor costs for skilled American jobs, by making us compete against imported poverty sticken workers from foreign countries. That’s just un-American.

You bet we need to fix immigration. Low paid workers are taking our best jobs right here at home. Unless we want to continue to drive our wages down to third world status, we have to stop this tidal wave of immigrants washing over us. Immigration id fine, but lets moderate it.

Posted by Marc | Report as abusive

Kim Berry,
- I gave the link to both 2006 AND 2007
- I failed to mention law?? I was just giving ONE example. Do I have to give an exhaustive list??
- I am studying Computer Science

Finally, where did I say that I support H1B?? All I say is that you people paint a dark picture giving false impression, scaring people away and hurting the industry in the long term. From all of what you are doing, I have the impression just as many others student that the average salary is repressed to the point that it is about 35k/year or so..

Now, for the challenges:
a) Less than 50% of the H1B people work as IT professionals. How can you use the average H1B number to interpolate the average H1B ->IT<- number? As average salary for IT is higher than all others (except management), I would expect the H1B IT number to be higher. And I guess it is 60k. I don’t think that is “low and cheap labor”, I think that’s acceptable.
Seriously, I don’t think companies are willing to save a few thousands a year when the chance for the H1B lottery is only 40%

b) Didn’t the career center at your university tell you that more than 80% of jobs never get posted?? People need to build a network, get out doing stuff for free, finish a project at school, show the potentials with that. A piece of paper with your GPA and the line ‘Bachelor of science in Computer Science at …’ is not enough. In the summer, do some project outside of class instead of a vacation in Europe.

Last words, I do have sympathy for people who lose jobs because they are replaced by younger and faster-thinking kids. IT is a tough place to stay. The way I see it is that most good IT jobs are non-routine, complex, intellectually challenging. Like high performance sports, except that people use brain instead of muscles. And we all know the older we get, the worse our brain gets, just like sports stars, they have to retire when experience can no longer offset their failing physical. It’s sad..

This is the thing that I myself will have to worry too.

And I think that kind of nature of IT jobs really are the problem here. (yes certain H1B might well be used for cheap labor, but it’s not the main problem here) so please, don’t lay blame on H1B or immigration.

Posted by Trevor H | Report as abusive

We currently have over 1.2 million U.S. workers unemployed. Is it true that foreign workers are filling jobs that U.S. workers don’t want? I don’t think so. The truth is that employers want cheap foreign labor. If employers offered decent wages and benefits, even for digging ditches, then American workers would do the job. We are not afraid to work, we just don’t want to live in a shack and have no health insurance.

Posted by Charles Lieber | Report as abusive

Trevor H,

Being merely a student, you need to defer to those with actual knowledge from the front line. Take it from me, these H1-B cheap imports are not “faster thinking kids”. I have worked with many over many years. In fact, quite the opposite. Management never realizes this until it is too late.

Another thing to think of, if “young” minds was all that management was looking for, every CS graduate would have several offers in hand when they graduate.

I know this is not the case since my own daughter graduated with a degree in CS with honors from a top University with an engineering class of thousands. She came highly recommended by all her professors, was also a TA in the CS department. On paper and in person she was ideal.

The graduates were on their own.

Another point, the Programmers guild is not full of disenfranchised students that never got jobs in CS. I don’t know much about the group but I do know that students simply move to other fields due to the lack of entry level jobs which are pretty much “reserved” for h1-B indentured sevants.

Also, I know of no case where all the older workers in a department were replaced by U.S. college student graduates. Surely there would be one case if the “quick mind” argument had any water.

In almost every case, the replacement was a pre-curser to sending those jobs offshore. Please think about this one, if you are a “student” and not an H1-B lobbyists in thin disguise.

Posted by Susan | Report as abusive

Trevor H (and Diana),

Thanks for responding. You can reach me through Programmers Guild in the future if you care to.

I looked at your links again and still could not draw a conclusion about wage trends. Somewhere I have trend data showing IT wages not keeping pace with inflation, and with many other professions, over the past several years.

a) What is your source of “less than 50% of H1b are IT professionals? It’s not possible to get a precise figure. But you made me work – I queried the FY2007 DOL LCA data by occupation and placed it here:

http://www.programmersguild.org/docs/fy2 007_lca_occupations.html

The top six occupations, with by far the largest counts (first column) are:

117854 – programmer analyst – $56,144.66 (average)
38171 – software engineer – $70,923.57
22595 – computer programmer – $60,137.67
19159 – systems analyst -$59,014.06
12436 – project manager – $77,104.72
11761 – computer programmer analyst – $60,411.94

Furthermore the non-IT H1b are often higher-paid medical or management professionals. An average salary below $60k for a set of foreign workers that Industry deems as “essential” and “best and brightest, possessing skills that cannot be found in American workers” should seem suspect.

CHALLENGE: Show me any IT job that an employer claims they must bring in an H-1b worker to fill because there are “no Americans” – then advertise that job in full page ad in NY Times with a salary of $200k – and you better have a large PO Box, because it will become apparent that H-1b is “all about the money.”

b) You claim that 80% OF JOBS NEVER GET POSTED anywhere. If 80% of the time employers are able to meet their IT staffing needs without even advertising the position, what does that say about the “labor shortage crisis” that this author seems to believe prevails? I believe the lack of any classified ads for new grad Engineering/Computer Science in today’s major news publications gets to the core of the false need to bring in and retain foreign students.

What member of the Programmers Guild object to is flooding in foreign IT workers that displace Americans. Shouldn’t Americans be given preference for American jobs? The largest users of H-1b are Indian consulting firms – and they boast that their competitive advantage in winning bids against American consulting firms is that they pay their H1-b workers 25% less then they would have to pay Americans. This is documented in my July 2008 letter to Congressman Lungren, linked from http://www.programmersguild.org

I object to you nonsense about older people not being able to handle IT work. I’d be interested if you would state an age.

How do you explain that in other professions people with gray hair are the most respected and get the highest salary? Would you say that because being a doctor, lawyer, CEO, congressman, etc are “non-routine, complex, intellectually challenging,” that these people should retire at age 42?

Traitor!
Think about this. The kindly American Indians took pity on those immigrant Pilgrims as they faced their first winter here. They introduced the Pilgrims to food that was locally available and provided them with survival in their new land. In exchange the Native Americans were systematically exterminated by the white immigrants. Those who survived cholera, smallpox infested blankets and other unintended white man diseases were forced on a death march to uninhabitable lands no one wanted. To see the new immigrants as benign is to bend over so far as to place one’s head into one’s arse.
Paul

Posted by Paul | Report as abusive

It is often reported that relatively few American students pursue careers in engineering or computer science compared to students in Asia or India. The vast majority of students in these fields, both at American and foreign universities, are non-Americans with the Chinese and Indians dominating these fields. Pundits rationalize this phenomenon by asserting that an inferiority of primary and secondary math and science education in the United States leads to poor preparation for technical careers. Thus, the critics profess, American students either choose less rigorous fields or are unable to compete in the global marketplace for engineering talent. The possibility that American students make rational informed decisions regarding their career prospects is often ignored, and instead focus is placed on the perceived disparity in primary education.

While skilled foreign workers fill essential roles at American employers, the current immigration policies are flawed in their bias towards exploitation of immigrants at the expense of both the immigrant and the American workforce. Companies are not required to identify the best candidate or ensure that there is no qualified American that can fill the position. It is against the law, however, to pay the foreign workers less than the prevailing wage rate and use these workers to displace non-immigrant workers. Compliance monitoring is week at best, and attempts to litigate violations of the law have often resulted in court ordered reforms rather than monetary damages (see Santiglia v. Sun Microsystems 2005 Decision). Until modifications to existing laws are enacted which prohibit the displacement of qualified American workers and provide greater rights to immigrants with visas, both parties will be disadvantaged while executive management and the wealthy elite are enriched at their expense.

http://www.beyondthemargin.net/2008/06/e ducation-and-immigration-in-america.html

Why does Ms. Furchtgott-Roth hesitate in just announcing her advocacy of slavery? She has already opposed trade protectionism, limits to immigration, and the minimum wage. Is it any wonder that our economy is failing?

Since the Refugee Act was enacted in 1980, everyone and their brother has tried find new reasons to flood the US with immigrants and depress labor rates. At the same time, we have gone from the greatest creditor nation to the the greatest debtor nation. A coincidence? I think not.

Posted by Harold Key | Report as abusive

I have regularly approached my Congressmen proposing that no visa be issued or renewed for a guest worker until the job is posted to a national database and with a protocol similar to USAJOBS for government jobs. The required posting time should be a function of the educational level required for the position; a requirement of a PhD or professional degree must be posted for a longer period than for one not requiring a high school diploma. Only US citizens or legal permanent residents could apply through the job system.

All applications for the job filed though that system would have to be processed and all qualified candidates interviewed before certification that there were no qualified candidates. Audits of the employer would insure that employers follow the procedure fairly. Only if no candidate is found meeting the specified requirements could an application be made for a guest worker.

Any guest worker for whom a visa petition is filed would be required to meet 100% of the stated job requirements. Any deviation would require that the job be reposted in the USA worker database.

The costs of developing and maintaing the job database would be recovered from posting costs.No employer who does not intend to hire a guest worker would be required to follow the certification of non-avaiablity of US worker procedure, but all workers hired by these exployers would be required to show they are US citizens or legal permanent residents. All companies, educational institutions, or governmental entities would be required to utilize the labor availablity certification; no exceptions should be made for any reason. In addition, the hiring preferences for disabled and nondisabled veterans of the US military should be mandated and enforced.

No current guest worker would be able to transfer his work authorization to a company who has not completed the certification of nonavailable worker within the previous month. All guest workers would be required to present themselves for visa review at the consulate within a specified period of time and would be required to appear for work in the US within a specific period of time. Individuals failing to do so, would have their job approval revoked with prejudice keeping them from reapplying for another position for at least one year.

Since employers refuse to voluntarily abide by the laws, draconian measures are need to protect US workers from the abuse of cheap imported labor.

Posted by Cee | Report as abusive

Has anyone ever thought about the fact that the American economy has been expanding at the rate of about 5% per year because of the influx of legal and illegal immigrants. These immigrants create demand for housing, goods, services and all that goes to expand an economy.

If immigration is a fact of life and we accept it sooner than later, would it not be in the interest of America to try to get the best and the brightest and the youngest of the perspective immigrants of the world….
Do away with limits on immigration, and setup a qualification based system. More qualified, more experienced, younger and workers in special professions should be given preference and invited to immigrate to the US. Not only will you get the best brains in the world to come over, you will also have the most innovative and hard working people who want to come to the US and work their ass of.

Just because someone is born in the US does not give them the right to expect not to have to compete for everything.

Posted by Nabeel Rae | Report as abusive

Diana Furchtgott-Roth was an economist for the department of labor? That explains a lot, like the complete lack of understanding mathematics.

Using a simple function called compounding, a population of 300 million growing at the seemingly petty rate of 2% will surpass 1 billion in 60 years. Quality of life has always be inversely proportional to population density.

Posted by Webspin | Report as abusive

It’s this kind of idiotic outlook that got us in this mess in the first place. I’m half second generation legal immigrant. This isn’t about immigration, it’s about what kinds of people you want in our post 911 country. I bring that up because it’s a little tough to have “homeland security” if any person who feels like it can walk in. Do you want people who A) obey and respect the United States’ laws, or B) open with breaking the law, not integrate into the existing culture but stay isolated, and then are forced to break more laws if they want to work and drive, because they certainly can’t get a Social Security number or a Drivers License. Why is it that if I go to any other country in the world, and have a kid, and try to live there without becoming a citizen or maintaining my visa I would be jailed or deported? What is with people who think this is a good idea here?

Because of our wealth, our high standard of living, we are now importing a true impoverished class. Turning a blind eye to it is allowing near slavery. They can’t be protected from predators because they are hiding, they are putting a HUGE financial burden on the system we pay for (you cannot claim with a straight face that someone who makes below minimum wage puts in enough taxes to pay for their drain on the hospitals, Food Stamps, courts, and other services), and causing harm to Americans by giving them undeserved financial troubles as Social Security Numbers are stolen and sold. Saying, “look, we did a half ass job on closing the borders and enforcing who is here legally, and it failed” does not naturally lead to “let’s let them in more easily. The Labor Department can control it!”

How about this? We actually enforce federal laws, deport anyone who is not here legally (within reason, in other words, let’s say they’re over 18 and not born here), fix the stupid Constitutional 14th amendment, section 1, to read “born here of a legal citizen,” and have your Labor Department actually figure out how to post that there are job openings where we can apply for them, instead of spewing the “…jobs Americans aren’t willing to do…” cliche? What happened in the 1950s? No one worked in motels? I guess the restaurants were horribly understaffed as well. What you’re doing is harming our working age children and unskilled labor by taking away their jobs.

Lastly, 12 million illegals? If people are coming in here illegally, not telling you and hiding from you, how do you magically come up with that number? From my perspective, that number seems horribly low. That number is closer to the amount living in California, without counting the rest of the country.

Mrs. Furchtgott-Roth, you didn’t do your job. You didn’t fix the unemployment for the citizens of this country, giving them the 21st century tools they needed to train and find jobs, and work with the other government agencies to adequately protect your citizens. Telling us now that the answer is to let your old department take care of this for us is simplistic and, well, “less-than-your-level-of-education.” But that’s just my opinion.

Posted by Bob Sandler | Report as abusive

This debate is so interesting for me. I used to work at an Architecture firm in AZ until the 31st of October, when they laid me off, because ‘I am a production person and there is nothing to produce’. Fair enough, right?

However, I do think it is interesting to note that the same firm kept two young Mexican architects employed in place of keeping me, an American, because their salary is 1/2 my salary. They told me in my exit interview that ‘they would have had to lay off TWO people if they wanted to keep me on the payroll’ (I don’t make that much, I make $45,000, not much for my five year degree and $100,000 dollars in private student loans, I know).

I was a very hard worker, diligent, thorough and conscientious…I worked my butt off for that firm, I KNOW that I did a fabulous job, every day, AND I was very good with clients (I am sure, in part, because I speak English).

The two Mexicans Architects who replaced me spent most of their time on Facebook or surfing the web, e-mailing their friends in Mexico and the US or on extended smoking breaks.

It is interesting to note, and I NEVER would have taken the job at that firm if I would have known this from the beginning, that the people in question are relatives of the main Project Manager at the firm.

So people can sit around all day wondering ‘why is the American economy in the *******?’ But as for me, I think I have it figured out…

Posted by Kiki | Report as abusive

I say we need another “Operation Wetback” just like in the 1950′s. Kick in doors, round them up,don’t just boot them across the border, but take them as far south on their coast as possible and let them off on an island along their coast. Let them become Mexico’s problem. Put our military on the border and start shooting. Our southern states are littered with backpacks used to haul pot and drugs up across the border. Theres plenty of hard working American’s out of work gladdy standing in line for the jobs these people have taken not to mention public money for medical, housing, education, food, etc. Why does everyone want to tip-toe around the topic?

Posted by Roundup_Logan | Report as abusive

ILLEGAL means they’re breaking the law. What is the law? Something we as good honest hard working citizens of this country have put in place to maintain rules by which EVERYONE who comes here have to play by. I’m sick of ILLEGALS getting a blind pass just to stay here and keep doing ILLEGAL things.

Posted by Roundup_Logan | Report as abusive

To those who support the ”qualified immigration” without a cap. You have no idea of how qualified EUROPEAN AND ASIAN graduates are !!!.

ONLY THE USA HAS MULTIPLE CHOICE exams !!! that’s garbage education, anybody who’s had a conversation with both a European and or Asian graduate together with a USA graduate, will quickly tell you how poor the education system is here in USA.

WHY ? well because most schools are private I mean Universities. It’s a business you pay and get a piece of paper… and drink beer for 4 years.

ALSO in highschools there’s alot of failed students abroad, there’s punishment, since elementry school.

UNLIKE the USA where a teacher cannot even slightly raise his voice to a student who has just recently commited a 20 person merder of classmates !!! Something wrong there ?? Sorry to tell it to you straight.

If immigration were lifted ALL USA trained staff would become the mexican immigrants cleaning toilets and the ”immigrants” would be the CEOs within a matter of 15 years.

TRUST ME ON THIS ONE. The foreign affairs etiquette of USA grads is very poor also. Too USA Centric.

Who am I anyways ? A USA born and raised citizen who’s studied and lived in Europe for many years.

Why does the USA President HAVE TO BE BORN in the USA ? well so he naturally is an advocate of USA Centric life, not know ANY foreign language and most likely come equipped with a faulty USA EDUCATION background..

Alot of Immigrants NOT born in USA are USA Citizens, and among them are the world’s richest and smartest people.
But we don’t want those geniuses running the white house, we’d rather have someone else ‘like us’ so we feel comfortable in our denial mode.
CHEERS

Let Labor try the job. Why not? It is self-evident that neither the State Department nor the ICE has been able properly to enforce the immigration laws. The US Congress has failed dismally to provide funds and positions and policies to do so. Impossible tasks levied on decent persons, whether employees or visitors, do naught but foster discouragement, discourtesy, disrespect, and law-breaking. One may suppose apathy if not criminally negligent indifference to the plights of legitimate visa-seekers and to the despairing victims of failed governments in both hemispheres. One must also suppose favors to feckless and greedy employers who flout the law and dare to claim the flag of freedom. Without them, illegal immigration would diminish. Organized labor and informed citizens as well as the real globalization of economics must surely support free (or freer) movement of labor as much as free movement of capital. Paramount to those freedoms, however, is the level playing field. No cloak of enterprise can excuse cheating the government, cheating the taxpayer, or cheating the hireling of his wage. An employer who pays one employee far less than another based on national origin breaks the law, probably cheats on his wife and shareholders, and ought to fear both civil and divine judgment.

Posted by MRJackson | Report as abusive

I am the “H1 guy” and would like to enlighten some of you.
I loved maths and Science since my childhood and naturally opted to be an engineer (no kid in India dreams to rob your jobs).
I worked with a top #2 consulting firm in the world .Honestly learned a lot from many good American Architects and Managers.I had few American colleagues just because they are “Citizens” were earning 10 times to what i get in India.With all the hardwork and talent I felt like a modern day slave because my company was charging its clients $100/hour but giving me $1000/month.
So anyone who’s crying for inequality beat this.

Top Myth busters
1)H1′s are NOT super skilled geniuses We are very simple hardworking people. even if were we would be modest.
2)Quality- Most of us are products of your very best universities (whom shall we blame?).In fact we need to get better scores than an American to get into these schools. If we are as Substandard as some of you claim then why will our clients employ us for years.(I am not working for a Charitable organization )
3)Displacing Jobs- I am partly guilty for this as i learned from my American Boss that the previous guy demanded 200/hr to do stupid C++ programming (greed Unlimited).if your born in this country blessed with so many resources and could not find ways to work then you are damn lucky cos u cant survive in any other country .Realistically H1′s issued in this entire Decade amount to less than 1% of American workforce and look at the companies created and value we create.Someone even commented that the recession was because of us “Sir we don’t buy homes we cant afford and go buy stupid things we dont plan to use.”
4)Burden to society-i pay all the Fedral and Social Security taxes as a citizen does but I didn’t use your education system or have hopes to use your Social Security when i am old. If you analyze the cost to benefit ratio i am a huge advantage to your country.
5)Fix the Immigration system cos it unfairly puts control into the hands of employers who just want more profit.
6)To migrate is natural or else we all would be in forests of Africa(Read the History of early man).Lastly don’t be a Hypocrite and hate all Immigrant’s cos they came from a poor country. Most of your ancestors who build this country were poor and jumped into a boat for a better life except they didn’t had the INS or visa limitations at that time.

Peace

Posted by kumar | Report as abusive

IMMACT90 removed the requirement for H-1B and L-1 non-immigrants to maintain a foreign residence — this provision removed the requirement for employers to pay travel Per-Diem to non-immigrant workers.

The travel Per-Diem is the stimulus dividend that the local economies enjoy while the non-immigrant accrues equity in her home country.

Econ 101

David Ricardo:
The Iron Law of Wages, 1817

It is when the market price of labour exceeds its natural price, that the condition of the labourer is flourishing and happy, that he has it in his power to command a greater proportion of the necessaries and enjoyments of life, and therefore to rear a healthy and numerous family. When, however, by the encouragement which high wages give to the increase of population, the number of labourers is increased, wages again fall to their natural price, and indeed from a reaction sometimes fall below it.

When the market price of labour is below its natural price, the condition of the labourers is most wretched: then poverty deprives them of those comforts which custom renders absolute necessaries. It is only after their privations have reduced their number, or the demand for labour has increased, that the market price of labour will rise to its natural price, and that the labourer will have the moderate comforts which the natural rate of wages will afford.

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/ricar do-wages.html

Posted by weaver | Report as abusive

The H1 system floods the labor market. Of course it brings the overall wages down.
There are enough good programmers in this country but the truth is the american companies dont want to pay the salary the workforce here demands.

Posted by FormerH1 | Report as abusive

The bussiness world doesn’t discriminate whether American or alien. It only chooses which best fits into its Bussiness. People are saying immigrants are displacing jobs. Why dont you work hard more than the immigrants and get your jobs back??? Do you want to get paid more being lazy? Majority of America’s success and dominance comes from immigrants from past several years. And they made this country proud and land of opportunity. Things will workout for the successful people but not because of their country’s origin. Since you are losing job you can’t blame other people. You should have will to get back the jobs with your talent. Thats the solution. I am proud of America as I come across great people here. Interestly their anchesters are from different parts of the world.

Posted by H1B Victim | Report as abusive

Diana Furchtgott-Roth was a member of the Bush administration. The Bush administration will be judged as the most incompetent administration in the history of the United States. So here we have an ex-Bush economic advisor giving us more economic advice??? What she advocates, if implemented, will destroy the indigenous engineering infrastructure of this country. The market will become flooded with cheap H-1B labor. The H-1B labor entering this country is not the best and brightest. The H-1Bs now entering this country have average skills. After the truly best and brightest are driven out by the cheap H-1B labor, this country will be left with an inferior engineering base. Furchtgott-Roth and her brethren ideologues have brought the U.S. economy to its knees. Your ideology trumps plain common sense. It is apparent that any special interest group can write a check to the Hudson group and have their agenda spread by member(s) of the Hudson institute who will say anything for a few bucks.

Posted by Max | Report as abusive

By limiting the number of immigration visas issued every year there is a backlog of thousands of immigrants, many of them already here, living in the shadows of society.
I say before new visas to people overseas are issued, legalize people who have been waiting 10+ years in line, who have children who are US citizens, who have paid taxes, bought cars, homes, and that are essential to the US economy.
By deporting these individuals (the non-criminal ones) there are many social and economical reprecusions: 1. Citizens(in the thousands), children of those immigrants who will grow up to hate and be resentful of the fact that their father or mother were taken from them when they needed them the most (during chilhood). This will come accompanied by all the social pathologies, specially crime and a sub-class of people who will never be mainstream.
2. The continuous economic maladies like drop in sales of goods and services, created by the abandonment of homes and communities that they occupy (no matter if they rent or own, taxes are collected on those properties, and sales tax is collected in the items they consumed). Because they are already a part of the economy, taken them out of the economic cycle creates a void.
Just cross-check the States and cities with stringent immigration policies and you will find that they are the ones that fare lower in the economic scale.
I am sorry to open your eyes, but the answer to our economic woes is already here. Legalize the people who are here and they will have the confidence to consume and the dignity to become members of society. Their children will become law abiding citizens.
There is still time to prevent the destruction of the many lives of US citizens/illegal immigrant children in our country. For those of you who are “compassionate”, this is a perfect time for real Compassion.
Athena

Posted by Athena | Report as abusive

Athena,
Illegal immigrants are not required to leave their children in the US when they
move back to their native country. Why do you believe that they have to do so?

If illegal immigrants become legalized, employers can not abuse them anymore.
Employers will simply hire the next wave of illegals. Then the newly legalized
, formerly abused(underpaid) immigrants will join the unemployment, public assistance rolls.

Illegal immigration and H1-B foreign workers is about cheap labor. Nothing more.

You are also confusing cause and effect with respect to illegal immigrants flocking
to more robust cities. They flock to more robust cities because the city is robust. The
city did not become robust because they flocked there.

Posted by Susan | Report as abusive