Spotlight on Bain, Obama’s billion, and immigration madness

January 3, 2012

1. Bain in the spotlight:

Private equity firms like to be, uh, private. With the exception of mega-firms like Blackstone, Carlyle and KKR, we rarely read about them, and even in those cases the ink is typically confined to the business pages. However, as it become increasingly likely that the founder of Bain Capital is going to be the Republican presidential nominee, a bright spotlight is likely to turn on Bain.

A smart story about Bain — which is one of the most successful, hardest driving firms in the industry — would start with the culture and business strategies Romney tried to instill as its founder. What kind of reputation did the firm have (and does it now have) for how it behaves at the deal table? Is its handshake good? Does it push too hard, or not hard enough? Are there certain types of businesses that it has avoided for strategic or civic reasons, such as tobacco companies? Did it and does it have any distinctive characteristics when it comes to minority hiring, treatment of women, and  charitable, civic or public service activities? (I’m thinking about that because of Romney’s own record, he says, of tithing 10% of his annual income.)

Does Bain have any especially aggressive policies with regard to tax avoidance or labor relations when it comes to the companies it controls? Are there any issues related to the sources of its funds, such as taking money from sovereign funds of rogue countries? Have any limited partner investors ever sued? If so, for what? (I doubt this is a sore spot, because from what I’ve heard its results have been good and its investors happy.)

And what businesses does it now own that could present conflicts for a President Romney if he still holds an interest in those investments? One would be the giant Clear Channel radio station chain, which perpetually faces regulatory issues.

Finally, how many Bain partners are listed on the 2008 lists of John McCain and Barack Obama contributors, not to mention the 2012 lists of the current candidates?

I recently was at a lunch with a small group that included two Bain partners, and when I tried to make small talk about Romney, they seemed uncomfortable and quickly changed the subject. Yet two others I know tell me he is not only highly competent but a terrific guy. Someone ought to ferret that out.

2.   Obama’s fundraising:

Speaking of the campaign, am I the only one who has a sense that the talk of President Obama’s “billion dollar” war chest is just talk? Someone ought to see whether, despite the fundraising advantage enjoyed by any White House incumbent, Obama might be having trouble raising anywhere close to that, even including funds from the super-PACSs lined up behind him, such as the one started with much fanfare by former Obama deputy press secretary Bill Burton.

For example, can’t one of the legions of reporters covering the 2012 race get to George Soros or some of those close to him to provide the scoop on whether his big money is going to flow again? Or, why not call twenty or thirty people at random on the publicly-available lists of those who maxed out in Obama contributions last time to take their temperature?  (The public files, by the way, also include home or office addresses, so getting phone numbers shouldn’t be that difficult.) Last time Obama enjoyed lots of support from the private equity community along Route 128 and in Greenwich, Manhattan, and Silicon Valley. With one of their own likely to be the Republican nominee–rather than someone they might view as a scary, out-of-it right winger–isn’t this source of Obama funds likely to dry up?

A sidebar to this story should include a sketch of the ambassadorships and other goodies, or lack thereof, awarded to Obama 2008’s biggest contributors and bundlers.

3. The immigration reform that seems  a no-brainer but never happens:

In a recent CNN interview Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt referred to a U.S. immigration policy that, he said, “is madness.” It’s our policy of allowing foreigners to get first class college and graduate educations here but then insisting that they must leave the country once they graduate. Why have someone from India or China get trained at MIT or Stanford, both of which receive huge amounts of federal tax dollar support, and then make them go home to compete with us rather invite them to stay and become part of our brain pool and our next generation of immigrant entrepreneurs?

This does, indeed, seem like a no-brainer. So, can someone please do a story explaining which special interest groups and which people in the Congress under their sway have blocked this reform? New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who calls the current policy “national suicide,” has said the United States should attach a green card to every single advanced degree awarded to any person with a student visa. Who’s against that and why?

PHOTO: Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign rally in Marion, Iowa January 2, 2012. REUTERS/Brian Snyder


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“This does, indeed, seem like a no-brainer. So, can someone please do a story explaining which special interest groups and which people in the Congress under their sway have blocked this reform? New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who calls the current policy “national suicide,” has said the United States should attach a green card to every single advanced degree awarded to any person with a student visa. Who’s against that and why?”

Doing so would indicate that we have a rational plan, one that looks at what is truly best for our citizens’ interests and not just a political tool to help a particular party.

Posted by charliethompto | Report as abusive

Here in the west, the lack of immigration reform works on several levels. The lack of legal status keeps many semi-skilled workers (carpenters, electricians, concrete workers) cheap, and compliant. On the other side, railing against the suppression of Hispanic culture keeps some seedy politicians in power. Both side hope to harvest the bounty of immigrant votes that reform would bring, but it’s the final future hope for the Dems, who are otherwise losing ground across the spectrum. If you want to provoke some real discussion, articulate a program of legal status for illegal immigrants that gets them legal residency (and protection from exploitation) with no possibility of ever voting.

Posted by ARJTurgot2 | Report as abusive

We need American students at MIT, not sleeper spies from China.

Posted by emm305 | Report as abusive

This is not as much a no-brainer as depicted. There is real potential for significant mischief in issuing questionable degrees as a vehicle for permanent U.S. residence. Effective oversight would help but there is very little in the current immigration system to give assurance that is even achievable.

Posted by SayHey | Report as abusive

I’m on just about every Democrat/progressive email list in the world, and I’ve never received any indication from any of them to the effect that Obama’s re-election campaign had already raised a billion dollars. What I **HAVE** received is a stream of requests for donations stating that his team figures that whoever wins in November will have had to spend that much to get the job done.

Could it in fact be that the original statement of that goal (rather than its having been accomplished) has somehow grown into an “urban myth” that “Obama has a billion-dollar war chest”, which of course would be a convenient talking point for those attempting to raise money (and votes) for the other side?

Posted by Art_In_Seattle | Report as abusive

Mitt is for the reforms you mention regarding visas for those who earn US advanced degrees.

Please do these stories. I want anyone to actually look into the words of Mr. Obama. So much of the media takes what he says at face value and never does the research.

We know more about Bachman, Santorum et al than we do about our current president. I’m not talking about birth certificate, I’m talking about undergraduate education, his upbringing, even his communist sympathies and drug use (that he writes about in his own books!!!)

I know many Venture firms who donated (ok partners of the firms) to Obama…but they see that he has been anti-business. It isn’t just that these people will donate to Mitt because he is one of their own, but because Mitt wants to get America working again and Obama has been anti-business all the time, and that is bad for business, bad for jobs, bad for America. It used to be said that the business of America is business. It’s time to get a president (Mitt Romney) who understands that.

Posted by AmericanaLatina | Report as abusive

You can create any kind of society you want just by how you tax it. Accept this proposition long enough to look at the society we are currently encouraging America to become by our tax policies.

Do we have too many poor? Then why do we pay them to stay poor? Why do we pay more for each new poor person? Do we want people to work? Why do we pay them to not work for excessive periods? Do we want farmers to grow crops? Why do we pay them to NOT grow crops?

Do we want our country to quit running up debt and live within it’s means? Then why do we have no consensus as to what kind of country America should be, no separation of it’s needs from it’s wants or such national priorities as would assure the expansion and maintenance of national infrastructure? Why do we keep raining the “debt ceiling”?

Do we want our businesses to succeed? Then why do we burden them with unelected bureaucrats of unlimited power whose dictates make much economic activity unprofitable?
Why do we make it unprofitable to build more energy-producing plants or refineries in the United States?

Madness, it seems, has become the dominant force in American politics and priorities.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive

Brill said “Why have someone from India or China get trained at MIT or Stanford, both of which receive huge amounts of federal tax dollar support, and then make them go home to compete with us rather invite them to stay and become part of our brain pool and our next generation of immigrant entrepreneurs?”

How about having the elite universities admit more US students instead of recruiting someone from India or China? It is not easy to get admitted to a grad program at Stanford or MIT. Back in the late 1980s I saw some of this first hand at another institution — admissions were based on the fact that the foreign students could be expected to work in near servitude, which was their attraction to the professors. US students wanted to have something akin to a “life” instead of 18 hour work days for 4 years.

Obviously, the education system ill-prepares students for sciences and engineering at elite schools. And federal programs only make the dumbing-down of education even worse.

But acquiescing to a permanent underclass of native born people and importing education ones seems like the losing proposition we’ve been doing for the past 30 years.

Posted by upstater | Report as abusive


Couldn’t have said it any better.

Posted by bates148 | Report as abusive

Mr. Brill, about your question on immigration.

Immigration of hundreds of thousands of young foreign graduating engineers into the US, under the H1B visa program, is killing the career of engineering for American graduating engineering students.

In most of their writings, Mr. Schmidt and Mr. Bloomberg enthusiastically enjoy espousing the natural workings of capitalism, and especially the law of supply and demand, it being one of natural capitalism’s most predictable, famous and potent forces.

Yet, in their lust for the cheapest engineering labor they can find (to increase corporate profits), their disingenuous Argument in favor of increased immigration of foreign engineers to America conveniently ignores, with a sleight-of-hand, that same force of supply and demand.

Like plumbers, lawyers, or other skilled professions, computer programmers and engineers can have good careers or bad careers, depending first and foremost on the wage level in the particular city where they ply their trade.

For readers who aren’t in the tech business, consider a plumber’s career, to put things in context.

Pick any city, let’s just say, Denver, Colorado. Now, bring in 100 busloads of freshly graduated plumbers (4,000 new plumbers), who want to enter into the plumbing business in Denver, and make a living.

The result? Wage rates for plumbers will become depressed. The existing 960 plumbers (let’s say) in Denver, once busy every day, and making a good living, will now have much less work, or no work at all.

All the Denver highschool kids hear from their fathers and uncles that plumbing is no longer a good way to make a living. In droves, they choose some other path in life. The trade school for plumbers in Denver, will have no new students.

This is the potent, real force of supply and demand.

This is what the H1B visa has done to the American engineering profession. H1B brings busloads of foreign engineers to America, thus driving down wages, closing American engineering schools, and discouraging American kids from majoring in engineering.

Those representing big capital, such as Mr. Schmidt or Mr. Bloomberg, benefit greatly when wages drop. But the American people are greatly harmed.

So American politicians have to decide whom they represent, the hordes of graduating Chinese, Indians, Africans and European kids? Or do they represent the American families trying to raise their kids to decent careers?

So you see Mr. Brill, there is no mystery at all about the immigration issue. There is simply obfuscation and deception on the part of big capital in their desire for cheaper, and cheaper, and ever cheaper labor.

Posted by AdamSmith | Report as abusive

Regarding point number 3, I’m against it. Stoking ever-worsening overpopulation with an even higher rate of immigration is madness. It is madness to swell our labor force with more imported workers when we have an unemployment rate of 9% (including a high rate of unemployment among recent college graduates). It is madness to import more oil consumers when we are already heavily dependent on imported oil. It is madness to import more carbon emitters when we have committed to reducing carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.

Let the foreign students stay home, and fill those seats at the universities with American kids.

Pete Murphy
Author, “Five Short Blasts”

Posted by Pete_Murphy | Report as abusive

Dear Steve:

I’ll tell you about Bain as they directly entered our personal lives becoming our employer for a few years. They bought a small manufacturing business in Wisconsin,
came in saying how this company needed “fixing to remain afloat,” which it didn’t. This was double speak for raping and pillaging, making sure to cut the new hires
into a tier system where they’d only make minimum wage for the rest of their lives and need to pay huge deductibles on insurance, then sold it to a foreign owner..a Canadian firm handling their
country’s teacher’s pension fund. So now the WI manufacturing firm remains,however the profits leave the United States.

I researched Romeny a while ago when Romney was governor then of MA. He sharked that state and wanted to continue onward to the whole country. He was working
with a former senator from TN, Sen. Frist. Sen. Frist sold his ownership of stock in HCA a few months prior to the takeover of HCA. Frist was insider trading
but didn’t get even a small fine for it. Merrill Lynch, BAIN CAPITAL, and DAVID FRIST bought HCA to make it become a closely held corp.
HCA was the largest health care company in the world. The purchase happened around June 2006—one month after Romney signed the everyone-must-purchase-health-insurance
law into effect in MA. THEN, Romeny sent Sen. John KERRY (democrat from MA) to purpose the everyone must purchase idea in the U.S. Senate JULY 2006.
Why do you think Romney would have his Bain purchase a health care company and then push money into it by using the laws of the land?
Because he’s a sharking, manipulative, selfish, use-anyone-at-all-costs and now wants to continue his greedy ways by becoming the powerhouse
at the top of the food chain JUST SO HE CAN PILE MORE CASH IN HIS OWN and FRIEND’S POCKETS! He cares nothing for America, people. He’s a pathological liar
and a total crooked cheat.

Look back into 2006 and you will see what I am saying is the absolute truth!
Then RIGHT after the MA law was signed, and Kerry trying to get the nation on the Romney plan……BAIN HIRED at the beginning of 2007 A CHINESE national to head their new Chinese division! Bain was out to become China’s real estate agent and sell AMERICAN COMPANIES to CHINESE OWNERS! Bain has made some pretty decent commissions so far.

THIS MAN ROMNEY IS NOT A PATRIOT. He’s a selfish crook
and shouldn’t be sitting in the oval office anymore than Obama shouldn’t be sitting there. TWO SNOW JOBBERS OF THE SAME SATANIC MOTHER!

Romney just can’t be the nominee! OM goodness! Come on, America be smarter than IOWA!

Posted by limapie | Report as abusive

US can’t attach green cards to advanced degree because they gave them all out to illegals.

Posted by skparekh | Report as abusive

We should be focusing on educating our own citizens for high-paying skilled labor instead of importing skilled labor; THAT is a “no-brainer.”

Posted by Hoohaa | Report as abusive

There is no “immigration madness” unless you want to count allowing over a million legal immigrants into the country annually to compete for jobs with American citizens. We currently retain 67% of foreign Phd’s including 72% of computer science degrees in spite of the fact that American workers in those fields need those jobs. Why go any further? We train plenty of Americans to fill in the gaps. I don’t know why so many in the media are just determined to up the levels of immigration at a time when we desperately need all jobs for Americans.

Posted by sgsb1 | Report as abusive

The author isn’t aware that the U.S. already retains 67 percent of foreign PhD graduates. releases/2010/fy10-20.aspx

This includes 72 percent of those in computer science, despite an excess of available U.S. workers. .html

content reflects the current marketing campaign to sell more cheap foreign labor by promoting it as “entrepreneurs.”

The core of the spin used to sell cheap foreign labor is to put lipstick on a pig. An H-1B visa requires “attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree” [8 U.S.C. § 1184(i)(1)(B)]. A BS from India’s extensive network of correspondence schools is all the education it takes. Promoters of increasing foreign labor describe this level of achievement as being the “best and brightest.”

In actuality, the U.S. already has visas for the best and brightest (the O visa) with no numeric limits whatsoever [8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(15)(O)]. A large number of people actually do get O visas. In 2007 there were 46,533 O visa admissions. (An admission is one entry into the U.S., not actual visas approved ­- there were 461,730 H-1B admissions that year.) The ratio of O to H-1B (about 1:10) is surprisingly high. Thus, anyone being excluded from getting a visa because of quotas is not among the “best and brightest” because, if they were, they would be able to get an O visa. (It is also worth noting that there is no wait for employment-based green cards in the first preference, which is the permanent-resident equivalent of the O visa).

Few people who are trying to sell the need for more foreign labor ever want to mention the O visa because it undermines the argument that the U.S. is blocking the highly skilled from coming.

Posted by JGNorman | Report as abusive

You cannot be pro-environment and pro mass immigration.

Ultimately, there is no such thing as a labor shortage, only a shortage of CHEAP labor.

Posted by Geomancer | Report as abusive

“OAK RIDGE, Tenn.—Two years after completing doctoral degrees at United States (U.S.) universities, 67% of foreign students graduating in 2005 remained in the U.S., according to a new report issued by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) and funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). This is a 3 percentage point increase and a rebound in the proportion of foreign graduates willing or able to stay in the U.S. after finishing their degrees (known as the stay rate), which had uncharacteristically declined among 2003 graduates.”

Posted by sgsb1 | Report as abusive

With no one checking to see who leaves our country and obama choosing only to enforce the laws that won’t help his re-election how does anyone presume to know how many of these “exceptional” foreigners actually leave our country? We all know Bloomberg is an illegal lover and Google is “hooked-up” with obama so I have to question if any of this is actually based on fact. The one fact we do know is the American people have worked hard to defeat amnesty, even the Dream Act. So knowing this “amnesty” would go against the will of the people it should be a moot point!

Posted by kysteelgirl | Report as abusive

When the education programs for foreigners was begun, it was decided that educating these foreigners to go back to their home countries and work would help the country to develop. It was supposed to be for the good of that country, not for the good of the US.

In my past, I worked for Pathnet, Internos Corp and Light Source. All three companies hired many IT and programing people that were U.S. citizens. They did not have to go looking for foreigners. Of course some companies did because they could get them cheaper. We still have many unemployed computer geeks looking for jobs and many US citizens wanting to go to medical school, but they can’t get in because immigrants fill those medical school vacancies. Many US computer geeks have had to take other jobs while foreigners work in the IT field.

I know that more than half of the foreign students trainned and educated in this country remain in this country and compete with US citizens for those jobs. We are all aware that Bill Gates looks for foreigners with work visas and frequently makes applications for the visas that would allow them to work here. Why? Because they are cheaper to hire than citizens.

Its not about can US citizens do the job, its about driving down the price of labor with no concern for US workers. I would be pleased to provide you with a list of computer geeks that are US citizens.

Posted by Southwesterner | Report as abusive

We want and need legal immigration only! We need to obtain as many smart people from everywhere but in a legal fashion only.Every country must protect its borders from terrorists,crime , drugs and unwanted interlopers oyher wise you have chaos and the lose of a culture and its history.

Posted by FloridaJim | Report as abusive

Mr. Schmidt is either unaware that the USA retains well over 2/3 of our foriegn students who graduate with advanced college degrees, and approximately 3/4 of those with advanced degrees in Computer Science, a field I would have thought very close to Google’s field of expertise.

I beleive this article is trying to make a problem where none exists. We already keep these graduates, we do not insist that they must leave the country once they graduate.

Posted by Chilcoot | Report as abusive

Sorry but you’re just plain wrong about jobs and immigration. There IS not shortage of skilled and trained workers – just a shortage of such workers who will work for lower pay than is generally accepted by Americans doing that job.

Until I was laid off (and I am skilled and trained and still unemployed) I used to see companies give preference to foreign workers as they knew they did not have to pay them as much, and could work them far harder than an American citizen. The shortage of trained workers is myth perpetuated by big business in an attempt to drive down wages and raise profits.

A study by the Urban Institute recently stated: “Recent policy reports claim the United States is falling behind other nations in science and math education and graduating insufficient numbers of scientists and engineers. Review of the evidence and analysis of actual graduation rates and workforce needs does not find support for these claims. U.S. student performance rankings are comparable to other leading nations and colleges graduate far more scientists and engineers than are hired each year. Instead, the evidence suggests targeted education improvements are needed for the lowest performers and demand-side factors may be insufficient to attract qualified college graduates.”

I can only wonder how a respected news agency like reuters seemed to have missed that.

Posted by jg37 | Report as abusive

Unfortunately, this immigration reform discussion doesn’t contain the full truth. The fact is, over half of the degreed foreign students ARE retained in our country. I do agree that immigration reform is needed, but NOT to allow more and more immigrants into our country. The swell of legal immigrants into the U.S. has been enormous for a very long time. I’m not against legal immigration, just a much more controlled flow. With the current joblessness numbers, THAT is what should be a “no-brainer.” What is also a “no-brainer” is that the borders that allow millions of criminal trespassers into this country to devastate not only our environment, but our health care, social security, law enforcement, education, and other social programs NEED to be closed! No other country in the world turns such a blind eye to criminal trespass!!! Even France has cut back their legal immigration by 10%! France!!!

Posted by AZConservative | Report as abusive

No-brainer??? I think both Google exec Eric Schmidt and NYC Mayor Bloomberg are pushing their own agenda. From someone that is in this market of higher education jobs and particularly bio-medical research there are plenty of other ways to attack this story and none of which are even close to the way you suggest. 1) read this article from the field ny-Ph.D.s/biotechniques-316310.html 2) Ask those in academia about the demographics before your start throwing blind suggestions around like this. I know of entire departments that have very few actual US citizens. 3) In the private industry sector there are a whole other set of problems to be addressed, mainly being that with current policies that are aimed to keep the ‘greed’ in check. These jobs are either going away or being ‘outsourced’ to other countries with less aggressive stance towards the ‘big bad evil corporation’.

I think it is great to be cynical towards the government but maybe just maybe use that same questioning power against those that you support as well. Nothing is black and white, and even those that you may support may also have an agenda and ‘for the good of all’ is rarely actually that.

Posted by 104023 | Report as abusive

FYI Sirs, according to NumbersUSA, The United States already retains 67% of all foreign PhD graduates, including 72% of those in computer science, in spite of an excess of thousands of U.S. qualified college-graduated workers now jobless. Why not hire our own qualified people to end this injustice?

Posted by Lardo | Report as abusive

I wonder if the author has ever heard of the term industrial espionage? What is the sense in stapling a green card to postgraduates who have no allegiance to the United States? One of the features that has already made the H-1B program more popular than the Employment Based green card program is the absence of an FBI background check – a “name” check is used in its stead. In the age of the Internet, State and Industrial secrets are mere milliseconds away from disclosure to enemies and competitors.

One of the arguments for the stapling of green cards is that, “We educate them and they are sent home and compete against us.” If this is a problem, why not just stop educating them?

Guns for hire generally submit the so-called “science” that promotes the benefit of educating and then flooding the market with foreign competition in the STEM occupations. I liken this science to “Tobacco Science”; think tanks and educators promoting their client’s interest with a foregone assumption that immigration is good – even to the point of immigrant worker assuming 100% of employment growth.

Over a little more than a decade, 6.9 million immigrants found employment while only 2 million jobs were created from 2000-2010, according to U.S. Census (CPS) migration data and BLS (CPS) employment data. Also, 16 million bachelor’s degrees were conferred to citizens and permanent residents, in a decade when the working age population increased by 20 million.

The stapling a green card is step in the right direction, away from “provisional citizenship” programs like H-1B and L-1 temporary work visa, which forces U.S. professionals to compete with indentured professionals. Additionally, legislation for these bills tends to be written “Abramoff” style, by lobbyists – generally unreadable and unread by our representatives.

Finally, business immigration programs are completely insensitive to the business cycle. Even in time of recession, while citizens are being laid off, immigrant are admitted into the very occupations that are in decline, compounding the damage to citizens and permanent residents who might otherwise be able to perform on mortgages and/or advance their education.

Posted by _weaver_ | Report as abusive

I would like to point out that we already retain 67% of foreign trained PhDs and 72% of computer trained foreign nationals. This is greatly in excess of the pool of U.S. citizen workers. You may think this a “no-brainer”, but this retention hurts our American workers to the tune of 9% unemployment. If you want these students to be retained by the U.S., it would be better to make them pay their own way (especially the PhDs) and get in line to become LEGAL immigrants.

Posted by conserv_sam | Report as abusive

So: “This does, indeed, seem like a no-brainer. So, can someone please do a story explaining which special interest groups and which people in the Congress under their sway have blocked this reform? New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who calls the current policy “national suicide,” has said the United States should attach a green card to every single advanced degree awarded to any person with a student visa. Who’s against that and why?”

We graduate, every year, tens of thousands of AMERICAN STUDENTS who need jobs. Many or most of these are the best and the brightest. We have 9-12% unemployment.

We do not need a vast host of foreign scabs here stealing jobs from our own children.

Posted by GTyrebyter | Report as abusive

Mr Brill has fallen for the latest business talking point that there is a shortage of available, degreed science and engineering job candidates among native-born Americans. There is not-and the evidence shows in the fact that so many are either underemployed or looking for a job. Unemployment in the United States spans all fields and skill-levels: the last thing our economy needs is more competing workers, be they blue collar or professional. Since 67% of foreign students who graduate with a doctorate from US universities already stay here for several years, ( releases/2010/fy10-20.aspx ) one reason businesses insist they dont have a pool of willing qualified candidates seems to be related more to salaries and working conditions; American workers are less willing to work for poor pay. There are other reasons that businesses prefer to hire visa workers, be it fewer job protections for visa employees, the ability to intimidate foreign visa holders into more work for less pay and a Human Resource ‘herd mentality’ that insists that if others say there is a shortage, there obviously must be-even if they themselves have not experienced it. The widely-held attitude that foreign professional candidates are better qualified than American candidates appears to be a fallacy. See a 2007 Urban Institute study here: .html .

But, The bottom line is exactly that: the bottom line! ICE actually extends a serious tax break to employers of foreign students and graduates for up to 29 months, making it financially lucrative to hire immigrants instead of American workers. Higher education already gains financially from the enrollment of increasing numbers of foreign students. We have made it more profitable to both educate and hire immigrants as compared to native-born taxpayers. In truth, what we need to turn our economy around is for business-and the higher-education ‘industry’-to invest more in our native-born students and candidates and stop making a profit from educating and employing immigrants on the backs of the under-employed taxpayers who only become successively poorer. Federal policies in both employment and education need to be changed to at least give the native-born US graduate an equal chance.This is the true immigration reform that is needed, Mr Brill!

Posted by truckingal | Report as abusive

Immigration is a controversial topic. This blog entry makes ‘comprehensive immigration reform’ appear to be a “no-brainer”. However, it is anything but.

Comprehensive immigration reform is a code word for amnesty. With today’s posted unemployment rate of 9%, most thinking people know it is much higher, approaching 20%, when one adds in the under-employed, and the discouraged who quit looking.

When those facts are considered, why should we encourage immigrants to take the jobs of citizens? It is nonsense.

Posted by tycoon69 | Report as abusive

First, you have to look at this whole illegal/legal immigration “problem” in its full blown context. If we do nothing with our current immigration laws, the USA will have a population of around 800,000,000 by the end of this century. The English speaking portion of that population will be a minority! Not only that, but anyone that delves into a number that large will soon see that we can not sustain that number of people with food, and especially water. We would not be able to export any food to other Countries causing substantial increases of starvation deaths in poorer Countries and war over food with stronger Countries.

We use to allow 250,000 legal immigrants into the USA per “YEAR”. Now we allow over 125,000 per “MONTH” or over 1,500,000 legal immigrants a year. As noted above we can not sustain this number.

I firmly believe we need to get our illegal immigration problem under firm control and substantially reduce the number of legal immigrants that are allowed to come live here each year. Passage of the National E-Verify system is the most important tool in reducing illegal immigration. That along with synchronizing the IRS and SSI databases to weed out counterfeit documentation. Depending on who you listen to, we have between 8,000,000 and 12,000,000 illegal immigrants working non-farm American jobs at a time when our unemployment rate is 8.7% (15% + real). These illegal immigrants need to go home and let unemployed American workers retake their jobs.

The USA has an unlimited number of agricultural visas available for farm work. Big AG would have you believe
they would have no workers if illegal immigration was prohibited. How does that make breaking the law legal? “IF” they only hired workers with visas, the cost of food would rise due to farmers no longer being able to treat workers as serfs. However, this rise in price would pale in comparison to the rising price of food due to USA food inflation. This, caused be government money printing presses working overtime.

High Tech Company’s can use H1B visas to bring in highly skilled workers. These are mostly used in Engineering and Research. This program is highly abused by Company’s looking for cheap labor. In the early 2000’s you could hire 2.5-3 software engineers from Asia and India for the price of one American Engineer of equal or better training. I have personally seen the phoney claims of no American Engineers available for the position(s) so that cheap labor could be brought in while available American workers were left on unemployment or welfare.

Yes, it would be nice to offer some of these graduates the option to stay here upon Graduation. Some may not want to. Given all of the above, I believe we should be able to make room in America for some of these Graduates. However, I firmly believe the total number allotted to these graduates has to come out of a declining monthly number of Legal Immigrants allowed into America.

This isn’t and can’t be about just letting Foreign Graduates stay here. The whole Immigration issue must be looked at pragmatically and fixed. That means reducing the total number of immigrants. You mentioned all the Federal tax dollars going to these Institutions. This funding must be cut way back! It is this very subsidy that has allowed tuition’s to rise way faster than the cost of living, putting more American students out of reach of those very same College Diplomas.

The Liberal Media and Politicians would have you believe we should be an open border Country, allowing all who want to come here do so. They are also pushing for a UN one World Government. You can see how this is already decimating the American Middle Class. We must reverse course and regain control of our Illegal/Legal Immigration problem if the US is to survive as a Country with our Constitution still intact.

Posted by dwestall | Report as abusive

I disagree with your no-brainer comment. First off, you make it sound like we should avoid or prevent competition. That is a liberal progressive thought that smacks of communism. Next, we have loads of foreign students that stick around as long as possible while they build up some cash to send to their families overseas. Your suggestion that they are all forced to leave is wrong. Of course you didn’t actually say that but you seem to be intentionally pushing people in that direction. I’m an educated person. Where is MY JOB?

Posted by NowThinkHard | Report as abusive

“National suicide” would be creating an undue burden on recently graduated American citizen students with added competition from foreign student graduates. Not to say the U.S. should not pursue enticing foreign students to take up U.S. residence after graduation, however, U.S. citizen graduates should have a first crack at job opportunities and then industry voids filled by foreign college graduates.

The U.S. already retains 67 percent of foreign PhD graduates, including 72 percent of those in computer science, despite an excess of available U.S. workers.

Take note; the reason that so many blue-collar jobs are not readily available or even undesirable for U.S. citizens was due to entire industries being saturated and dominated by illegal, less paid workers. The same can happen in the science and tech industries if employers are allowed to pay less and giving fewer benefits to foreign student employees.

Posted by MCFergy | Report as abusive

With all the back door dealings, there honestly isn’t a single member of Congress I trust any more!

The POTUS has said on many occasions he will have immigration reform with or without Congress, well he’s kept true to his word and ordered DHS to provide work visa’s to illegal aliens who had no criminal record.

And we have no real method of verifying anyone is a US Citizen at the polls. So of course they will show up and vote for the person who allowed them to stay why wouldn’t they?

We need to stop giving away our country, stop providing free benefits or “entitlements” to welfare, food stamps, subsidized housing, free medical care, free education, and so on… Stop these benefits I can pretty much guarantee this will help rid our country of the illegal aliens.

Add to that mandatory E-Verify for all jobs regardless of civilian or government and it will drive them out, and those who still refuse to leave round them up, pack them on buses or C-130 cargo planes and ship them back to Mexico.

Stop ALL imports of all products coming from Mexico until THEY secure their borders and take care of their citizens and this includes American Companies who manufacture any product in Mexico for the cheap labor forcing them to bring those jobs back into the USA!

Posted by JDavis92840 | Report as abusive

First, #3 remark on Immigration Reform is false. We do NOT “make them go home”. Almost 70% of foreign students graduating with doctoral degrees remain in the U.S. releases/2010/fy10-20.aspx

Second, what would be a no-brainer, is for our children to have a better chance at one of the few spots in these graduate programs in the first place. Especially at colleges such as “MIT or Stanford, both of which receive huge amounts of federal tax dollar support”.

Someone needs to tell Bloomberg that it is suicide to give our jobs to foreign grads when we need these jobs for our unemployed and under-employed grads.

Posted by FactsHelp | Report as abusive

Mr. Brill,

We do not make people go home. Some very smart people from foreign countries with advanced degrees in business-and science-related fields choose to stay and manage to find a company to sponsor them.

We also have lots of foreign degreee holders who have no particular talent or experience who come to the US by the thousands each year on temporary work visas. What they have to offer their employers is a willingness to worker longer hours for less money. We also have US companies shipping jobs overseas that would pay $75,000, $100,000 a year to start here in the US.

I am one of those people who thinks we are giving away too many jobs as it is.

I am not too worried about foreign students, they are doing very well indeed in the US.

The people who aren’t doing well in the US are American students and American workers.

Where are the jobs for American students? Where is the encouragement for American students to spend the time and money getting an advanced degree when they know multinational companies can’t be trusted to give them a job when they graduate?

Where the jobs for the thousands of unemployed people the US with advances degrees? The drug companies have been laying off US research scientists and other highly educated workers by the thousands and opening up new research facilities in Asia. Where are the new jobs for their former workers? Why did we sit around and let these wonderful jobs leave the country without a fight?

Why aren’t people like you and Mike Bloomberg sounding the alarm about the waste of American brains and talents, because our own young people are too scared to risk taking out more than $100,000 in loans, only to discover that the job they worked for went to a foreigner, either here in the US or overseas?

Posted by JoblessInJersey | Report as abusive

The NY Times ran an article on Romeny and Bain recently.
December 12, 2011, 8:31 pm Private Equity | DealBook Column
Romney’s Run Puts a Spotlight on Private Equity

Posted by flyman-99 | Report as abusive

The foolishness of educating foreign students and then wanting them to stay here and take jobs that rightfully belong to US citizens is beyond belief. There should be a definite limit on any foreign students regardless of their ability. With unemployment so high and high as well in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and meth) fields, it makes no sense to add more competition for those jobs from foreign nationals.

Posted by YakketyYak | Report as abusive

The U.S. has more workers than their are jobs. The author isn’t aware that the U.S. already retains 67 percent of foreign PhD graduates, including 72 percent of those in computer science. The poverty stricken countries these foreign students come from NEED THEM BACK! America doesn’t need anymore immigrants adding to the unemployment. Those graduates going back home, and developing businesses in their own country will help America more than keeping them here taking jobs away from American graduates. How many billions in America do you want? We are already over-populated.

Posted by alicia52cx | Report as abusive

The author isn’t aware that the U.S. already retains 67 percent of foreign PhD graduates, including 72 percent of those in computer science, despite an excess of available U.S. workers.

Posted by Jim3333 | Report as abusive

If you would only look at the facts instead of reading something, someone wrote that has no facts of any kind. Before any of this outsourcing came to be, I worked at a place where they brought in people from India to take our jobs as programmers. Why, because they could pay them much less and then it just snowballed from there. Now you say how this relates to college and keeping college educated foreigners. I’ll tell you, there are a number of educated legal residents who can’t find jobs because your Bill Gates, Google executives and many other high tech want to create more work visas so they can import or keep the college educated cheap labor and push out American workers. Do your in-depth researches before you just blow off what I am saying. In addition, look at the exact percentage of college educated foreigners retained while we have so many qualified tech people out of work. Please check these things out then comment on this article. Look at releases/2010/fy10-20.aspx or releases/2010/fy10-20.aspx

Posted by NoBrainer | Report as abusive

Plenty of advanced degree holders are staying in the US after they complete college. I personally know two immigrants who stayed in the US after getting advanced degrees, and another who came to the US from South Africa to work in IT and is now employed at Google. From what I’ve heard, it’s not THAT difficult to get in if you can find an employer willing to sponsor you. As for the comments from Google’s chairman, take that with a huge grain of salt. All Google, Microsoft, and Cisco want are the cheapest employees they can get, and they don’t care where they’re at or where they come from. They are the special interest groups that are twisting our immigration rules.

Posted by djo165 | Report as abusive

I’m against it and here’s why. Yes, it is madness to subsidize the education of foreigners and then force them to go home. So here’s a novel idea, how about we educate American students instead? Then when we send them home they will be the ones who are part of our brain pool and the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Are these colleges unable to find students from the United States who are qualified to enter the school? Or is it like the tired stories about not enough qualified workers in this country, or not enough Americans to do low paying jobs?
National suicide is educating foreigners and then saying there aren’t enough educated Americans, while the foreigners take their places.

Posted by pchopp44 | Report as abusive

Actually lower immigration, BOTH legal and illegal would greatly help the country except for employers. The importation of cheap foreign labor is causing many qualified US workers to spurn STEM careers because wages have stagnated or declined and unemployment and layoffs are high. Does anyone consider the absurdity of continuing to let in large numbers of immigrants when we already have high unemployment and budget crisis?

Flooding the market with cheap indentured workers from low wage poor countries and forcing US wages down has always been the main objective of H-1B, L-1, OPT, etc. Don’t believe it? How can it be explained that foreign workers come overwhelmingly from low wage countries such as India (forget well educated Japan or Western Europe). For further evidence of abuse go to utube and search for “Cohen and Grigsby”. There is a five minute video where immigration lawyers tell how to AVOID hiring qualified Americans!

When you consider employment, education and health costs, use of govt services, terrorism, disease, language issues, population congestion, etc. immigration has truly become a loser for the entire country except employers!!

Posted by PROUSA | Report as abusive

Interesting blog except for the disinformation on immigration. I was an executive in the largest IT outsourcing firm and can categorically state we do not need the foreign graduates in our workforce. In the IT area we have a more than sufficient workforce available from citizens and legal immigrants. The truth of this issue is simply a downgrading of pay by taking the foreign nationals while putting our workers on the street.

Other immigration issues surround the heavily mis-used H1B visa where there are multiple legal workers willing and able to perform the work but foreign hires are much less expensive. Go figure!

Beyond the technical areas we seem to import the least educated and capable as both legal and illegal immigrants leading to the destruction of our schools, medical system, welfare safety net, as well as increases in crime and auto violations. Where does this mess stop?

Posted by GreenIslandNY | Report as abusive

Hello???? WIth the events caused by the Bush administration and related agencies, many international students that would have come to the U.S. to study and stay are not even interested in studying in the U.S. Those that do come to the U.S. with their own financing are NOT interested in operating businesses in the U.S. They are better off in India, China or Europe and Australia. Let’s not forget Brazil.
Life in the Bush U.S. era has been downward spiraling and the light at the end of the tunnel is not yet visible….or even worse, it is in China.
Take your tunneled vision blinders off, please.

Posted by trieste | Report as abusive

When Michael Bloomberg makes this statement it comes from a same rational base of thinking. Has anyone “out there” seen sane rational thinking coming from Washington. Perhaps some reporter might want to check upwind of Washington to see if “Stupid Gas” machines are poisening the air.

Posted by fred5407 | Report as abusive

My question about immigration is: Why do I keep seeing executives at high tech companies and official from American colleges beating the drum about immigration?

Many foreign graduates with master’s and PHd degrees in the sciences and computer fields do stay here.

Do you think Google has trouble recruiting the people it wants? I don’t.

My concern is for American students and American jobs. We should be focusing on getting more of our own people into high tech fields. What are we doing about that? From what I can see, we are discouraging Americans students by outsourcing high tech jobs to India and China and begging for more foreign labor.

The more I hear about foreign labor and nothing about our own people, the more I’ll be suspicious of these companies’ motives and oppose what they want.

Posted by JoblessInJersey | Report as abusive

We should be giving incentives to our own students who
are legal residents in the U.S. and stop all immigration
for now until our economy is turned around! When Americans are out of work it is necessary to help them
first and not foreigners!!

Posted by SCSOCAL | Report as abusive

While Reuters may “…welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data…”, when this particular blogger habitually lets comments build from one to over fifty over a period of days the interplay between posts is totally lost. Frequently that interplay is more mentally stimulating than the original blogger’s material.

In this case the direct result was that a big percentage of comments offered the same information…that 67%+ of foreign nations receiving an advanced degree from a U.S. institution DO stay here. Someone is being just plain lazy.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive

The no-brainer is the reality that this country cannot continue to receive a never-ending flow of people, legal or otherwise. Not only do we currently have a high rate of unemployment but some of our major cities are running out of resources. In Texas, for example, we have water restrictions, and in the summer the threats of rolling (electrical) blackouts. More people equals more expansion, more wear and tear on our streets and highways, more demands on utility services, more demands for oil for which we already sell our souls. We are also losing our own culture and heritage as we seem to have an over-abundance of people who want to live in America but don’t want to be Americans.

Posted by vayanse | Report as abusive