The race for cheap tech labor is over, at least for fiscal year 2020. On April 10, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that a computer-generated, random process to select enough H-1B petitions to meet the congressionally mandated 65,000 cap had been completed. USCIS also received enough requests to satisfy the temporary, nonimmigrant 20,000 advanced degree cap designated for foreign-born students who have earned advanced degrees from U.S. universities.
The short version of the USCIS report: the H-1B visa will displace 85,000 U.S. tech workers or block prospective tech job seekers fresh out of college. Those 85,000 jobs will go to foreign nationals for still another year under the false narrative that not enough qualified Americans are available to fill those good, well-paid positions. Congress created the H-1B visa in 1990, and for more than a quarter of a century, it has been a reliable, relentless American job killer, and has shoved aside talented, experienced U.S. tech workers.
But a new study, “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America,” found that, counter to distortions from the Silicon Valley lobby, the U.S. is not behind South Asian countries in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. In fact, we are blessed with a wealth of qualified American graduates ready to work. In all, the PNAS study exposed myths that have promoted the fable that foreign-born tech workers are essential for employers. PNAS research used a standardized programming test system to reach its conclusions.
First, the study found that U.S. college seniors have higher computer science skills than their Chinese, Indian and Russian counterparts. Second, seniors in elite programs in China, India, and Russia still score lower than seniors in the U.S. Third, computer science seniors from elite schools in the U.S. significantly outperform their counterparts at elite schools in other countries.
John Miano, coauthor of “Sold Out,” an exposé that reveals how high-tech billionaires and their congressional flunkies subvert America’s best and brightest engineers, reviewed the PNAS findings. Miano concluded that, collectively, foreign-born computer programmers don’t bring higher skills to America. Instead, they bring cheap labor that benefits their employers.
PNAS is the latest of many reports published by nonpartisan, unimpeachable sources highly critical of the H-1B, and the corporations that exploit the visa. Last month, Bloomberg Law wrote that current H-1B regulations take advantage of foreign nationals and create a business model that drives out Americans. Ron Hira, an Economic Policy research associate, reached the same conclusion in his coauthored “Atlantic Council” publication: the H-1B undercuts opportunities for U.S. tech workers and enables worker exploitation, low wages, abuse – 80-hour work weeks – and poor working conditions.
The Carter administration’s Secretary of Labor Ray Marshall best summed up the H-1B visa: “One of the best con jobs ever done on the American public and political systems…. H-1B pays below market rate. If you’ve got H-1B workers, you don’t have to do training or pay good wages.”
And yet, despite inarguable research, the beat goes on.
American job displacement occurred last year, ten years before that and, as long as the status quo remains, will continue ten years beyond today. Silicon Valley has successfully kept itself unregulated, doing whatever it wants to do. The multibillion-dollar companies are, according to The New York Times, embedded on Capitol Hill where they flex their financial muscles to their own advantage.
All the while, the federal government, whose main purpose should be to defend its citizens, turns a blind eye to the injustice of major corporations favoring foreign nationals over working Americans. Congress created the H-1B, and it could phase it out, assuming the will to eliminate the job-killing visa existed.