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Should Techies Trump All Others In Immigration Reform? 231

Posted by samzenpus
from the front-of-the-line dept.
theodp writes "In an open letter on TechCrunch, Vivek Wadhwa calls on Congressman Luis Gutierrez to lift his 'hold on Silicon Valley' and stop tying immigration reform for highly-skilled STEM immigrants to the plight of undocumented immigrants. So, why should the STEM set get first dibs? 'The issues of high-skilled and undocumented immigrants are both equally important,' says Wadhwa, but 'the difference is that the skilled workers have mobility and are in great demand all over the world. They are getting frustrated and are leaving in droves.' Commenting on Gutierrez's voting record, Wadhwa adds, 'I would have voted for visas for 50,000 smart foreign students graduating with STEM degrees from U.S. universities over bringing in 55,000 randomly selected high-school graduates from abroad. The STEM graduates would have created jobs and boosted our economy. The lottery winners will come to the U.S. with high hopes, but will face certain unemployment and misery because of our weak economy.' So, should Gutierrez cede to Wadhwa's techies-before-Latinos proposal, or would this be an example of the paradox of virtuous meritocracy undermining equality of opportunity?"
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Should Techies Trump All Others In Immigration Reform?

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  • How about... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Monday February 11, 2013 @08:55AM (#42858193) Homepage Journal
    How about no STEM visas for anyone? Instead, throw the effort at growing these folks at home
  • by Stirling Newberry (848268) on Monday February 11, 2013 @08:56AM (#42858205) Homepage Journal
    Corporate profits as a share of the economy are at all time lows, and we need to constrain rapacious labor to improve the economy. Sadly, the numbers do not bear this out. Stop giving out indentured servitude, let people stay here on work visas which allow them to change employers, and charge the same price with the same rights as USC/GC. And by the way, the evidence indicates that people are leaving because the American economy is growing sluggishly, and many countries are more attractive to return to because the are democratizing. http://www.nber.org/papers/w18780 [nber.org] But why listen to data when making policy if it gets in the way of lowering wages, throwing people out of jobs, and creating a non-voting class of workers, who cannot protect their rights with political power, against Citizen United empowered super-people?
  • by Slippery_Hank (2035136) on Monday February 11, 2013 @08:57AM (#42858207)
    I don't see any reason why America needs equality of opportunity for immigrants when it doesn't even have it for its own citizens. Take only the best and do whats best for your country.
  • Whom do we owe? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mariox19 (632969) on Monday February 11, 2013 @08:59AM (#42858231)

    [W]ould this be an example of the paradox of virtuous meritocracy undermining equality of opportunity?"

    I'm not saying that we should necessarily give precedence to immigration applications from STEM candidates; I take exception to the assumptions in the statement I quoted. No country, not even the United States, owes "equality of opportunity" to those who have not yet entered the country. Do we owe the whole world this?

    My father came to this country over 50 years ago under the conditions of "what can you do for the U.S." There had to be a recognized need for his skills and someone had to sponsor him. I see no reason for a completely egalitarian lottery. Unless we're going to open the floodgates, it makes sense to pick and choose to some degree.

  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Monday February 11, 2013 @09:00AM (#42858235)

    It happens all the time in tech. Every hear of a nurse having to train his/her H1B replacement?

    The idea of tech visa workers is to lower wages, not because foreign talent is needed. Anybody who works with a lot of H1Bs will tell you, they are generally not exceptional. In fact, most H1Bs are entry level, and only about 7% work at an advanced level.

  • Blah, blah, blah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by smooth wombat (796938) on Monday February 11, 2013 @09:03AM (#42858253) Homepage Journal

    Here we go again. The supposed shortage of IT workers has been repeatedly shown to be false. While the IT industry has fared much better than most after the Bush depression, to claim that there is a shortage is just plain wrong.

    There are thousands of people willing to do the jobs but it is the employers who are the sticking point. They want someone under 30, with 10 or more years of experience in multiple languages, willing to work long hours for average pay.

    Article after article I have read all say the same thing: employers admit they are looking for someone with exceptional skills but then go on to admit their wages are not competitive AND they are unwilling to train people.

    Only in extreme situations are there shortages of qualified people and those are few and far between. The disconnect between what is available and what HR/employers say they want is the overriding reason for this supposed "shortage".

    Until employers get their heads out of their asses and stop whining about how they can't find anyone when they get 200+ resumes for a posting, they can go pound sand.

  • Re:How about... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mpsmps (178373) on Monday February 11, 2013 @09:06AM (#42858285)

    How about no STEM visas for anyone? Instead, throw the effort at growing these folks at home

    Yes, folks like Alexander Graham Bell, Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein, Enrico Fermi, An Wang, Sergey Brin, Vinod Khosla, and Bjarne Stroustrup merely took jobs away from native-born Americans instead of creating more opportunities for them.

  • Re:How about... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Monday February 11, 2013 @09:08AM (#42858307)

    Consider this instead: STEM visa holders got an education that didn't cost a penny to the US, and brought that added value to the US.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday February 11, 2013 @09:10AM (#42858325) Journal

    Didn't you get the memo? Only a godless America-hating communist would allow market forces to drive wages up when there is an alternative.

    There are no uncompetitive salaries, only lazy workers.

  • by acidfast7 (551610) on Monday February 11, 2013 @09:14AM (#42858365)
    and by-passes the usually necessary requirement of not being able to find a "local" to do the work and the mandatory language requirements. STEM graduates almost always have special rights over here. In Germany (my current location), the Blue Card scheme is fully implemented ... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Card_(European_Union) [wikipedia.org]
  • Re:How about... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by oh_my_080980980 (773867) on Monday February 11, 2013 @09:20AM (#42858419)
    And displaced an American who was educated here and along with the cost of their education...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 11, 2013 @09:22AM (#42858443)

    Kids aren't going into STEM these days because they aren't encouraged, don't see much opportunity, and let's face it, you want to get really rich and successful, STEM isn't the way. US citizens aren't going into STEM (except maybe medicine) because there aren't enough opportunities for them.

    Why bust your ass to get a Ph.D. in some science field, do post doc, and eventually in your 40s start making a decent living whereas an MD will have you raking it in by 35?

    There just are not that many opportunities to begin with, anyway in science.

    Engineering: when a kid sees IBM, Intel, and other big companies moving their R&D overseas WTF are they supposed to think?

    And then with these immigrants coming in, it puts further downward pressure on salaries - which is EXACTLY what industry wants. This isn't about lack of talent; this is about messing with supply and demand of labor.

    Things have changed dramatically since Tesla, Bell, etc ...

    Yes, folks like Alexander Graham Bell, Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein, Enrico Fermi, An Wang, Sergey Brin, Vinod Khosla, and Bjarne Stroustrup merely took jobs away from native-born Americans instead of creating more opportunities for them.

    Oh right! All those tens of thousands of H1-Bs are going to be like them!

  • by Rambo Tribble (1273454) on Monday February 11, 2013 @09:25AM (#42858459)
    There is a misguided perception, here, that immigration is about fairness. It is, in fact, about the benefit a society accrues from accepting the immigrant. You take on another mouth to feed in light of the production you will gain. Wringing hands over the ideal of welcoming all "wretched refuse" is to confuse poetry with reality.
  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Monday February 11, 2013 @09:29AM (#42858501) Homepage

    In fact, most H1Bs are entry level, and only about 7% work at an advanced level.

    In fact, 93% of statistics are made up on the spot. As far as the average quality of H1B holders, I've worked with some brilliant H1Bs, and some real idiot H1Bs. Just like among the native-born Americans, the idiots outnumber the geniuses.

    You're right about the purpose of those visas, of course, but don't get mad at the H1Bs, who are leaving their home to work because that's the way they can earn as much as possible for their family back home. They're absolutely exploiting the difference between salaries in the US and salaries in other countries, but what they're doing isn't morally any different than someone from leaving Mississippi (average income $31K) and getting work in DC (average income $71K).

  • by bickerdyke (670000) on Monday February 11, 2013 @10:10AM (#42858911)

    US citizens aren't going into STEM (except maybe medicine)

    That "M" isn't for medicine, but for Maths.

    Yes, folks like Alexander Graham Bell, Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein, Enrico Fermi, An Wang, Sergey Brin, Vinod Khosla, and Bjarne Stroustrup merely took jobs away from native-born Americans instead of creating more opportunities for them.

    Oh right! All those tens of thousands of H1-Bs are going to be like them!

    Most likely not. But the bigger the number, the bigger the chance that someone like them will be among them.

  • Re:How about... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 11, 2013 @10:53AM (#42859429)

    Consider this instead: STEM visa holders got an education that didn't cost a penny to the US, and brought that added value to the US.

    It's worse than that. Many STEM visa holders had some training or education in the US (especially post-docs), which was usually funded by some US agency or organization.

    But because of the visa situation, they are forbidden from actually applying these skills here. The US spends lots of money training these folks, then kicks them out.

    Posting anonymously due to being almost in this situation (J visa expiring soon).

  • by Shajenko42 (627901) on Monday February 11, 2013 @11:15AM (#42859847)
    Colleges and universities are the wrong place to look to, as he says he's looking for "b) strong knowledge of the technology ecosystem for the technology in question and c) proven experience building products w/ the technology".

    He's basically looking for someone who has already been doing the job they're advertising for.

    This is the big problem. Companies got spoiled by the downturn (especially right after the dot com bust) where they could hire very experienced people for pennies on the dollar, and expect to be able to do so indefinitely without training anyone new.
  • Re:How about... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by femtobyte (710429) on Monday February 11, 2013 @01:06PM (#42861691)

    Note, of course, that grossly high gerrymandered wins indicate the gerrymandering was done by the opposing party. The "ideal" plan for gerrymandering is, e.g., to safely win by 53:47 in 8 districts, while losing 95:5 in 2. Consistent wins by 75:25 mean that your party is wasting a huge amount of voting power, favoring the opposition to win many more nearby districts with smaller (but still reliable) margins. In this example, Hispanics are being badly disenfranchised --- they all get concentrated into one "sure win" district, instead of being able to use this much lopsided voting power to win a whole bunch of surrounding districts with smaller but democratically representative margins.

Lo! Men have become the tool of their tools. -- Henry David Thoreau

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