GOP: Don’t Blow It On Immigration!

All signs point to an excellent year for Republicans in 2014, but still we hear disquieting rumblings about immigration. Some Republicans, for reasons it is hard to understand, are convinced that it will somehow benefit the party to create millions of new voters, most of whom vote for Democrats. Not only that, caving on immigration would be the surest way to dispirit the party’s base. Michael Ramirez, as usual, sums it up beautifully. Click to enlarge:

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Due mostly to Jeff Sessions’ heroic efforts, most people now admit that importing tens of millions of low-skilled workers will not be good for America’s working class citizens. I’m glad we finally got that established! But the Chamber of Commerce and plutocrats like Mark Zuckerberg continue to insist that we need to import more high-tech workers, and some Republicans seem to be going along.

The facts, however, are to the contrary. On Friday, several leading academics participated in a conference call on this issue. I was not able to take part, but Breitbart News has a report:

Four prominent scholars on Friday questioned why the high-tech industry gets a free pass to perpetuate the myth that there is a shortage of American workers in jobs related to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). …

Hal Salzman, a Rutgers University public policy professor, said current wages in the high-tech and information technology (IT) industries do not reflect a labor shortage. “Average wages in IT today are the same as they were when Bill Clinton was president well over a decade ago,” Salzman said. “So one has to wonder if there is in fact a shortage, why doesn’t that reflect in the market? Why don’t wages go up?” …

Michael Teitelbaum, a senior research associate at Harvard Law School whose new book, Falling Behind? Boom, Bust, and the Global Race for Scientific Talent, explores these issues, said as far as he knew, “nobody who is not associated with the industry that is engaged in a rather effective and expensive generalized” campaign to clamor about the “widespread shortages of scientists and engineers” has been able to provide the evidence of such shortages.

The Senate’s amnesty bill that passed last year would double and possibly triple the number of high-tech visas and, as Breitbart News has reported, House Judiciary Committee Chair Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s (R-VA) “SKILLS” Act that that passed out of his committee would double the number of H-1B visas.

Ron Hira, a public policy professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology who has worked on these issues for more than a decade, said on the conference call that the H-1B visas that are filling the supposed “gaps” are “doing more harm than good” to the U.S. science and engineering workforce.

He noted that the majority of the H-1B visas are being used for “cheaper workers” from abroad and mentioned that offshoring firms used 50% of the cap last year to further their business model of bringing in “lower-cost H-1B workers to replace American workers.” Salzman said that even after American software engineers train their replacements, they cannot speak out about their experiences for fear of being blackballed or having to forfeit their severance payments.

Hira said that the H-1B program has run amok because “Congress sets the wage floors way too low” and “far below the market wages for American workers” while not placing any “requirement to look for or recruit American workers first, so there is no displacement of American workers.”

“As a result, you are basically inducing companies to game the system to bring foreign workers to undercut American workers,” Hira noted. “Instead of complementing the U.S. workers as it should, it’s substituting for the U.S. workforce and taking away future opportunities by shifting the work overseas.”

Salzman said that in this arrangement, the employer has nearly total control of the “indentured” H1-B workers because they hold their work permits. Matloff agreed, saying that figuratively “handcuffing” foreign workers is even “more important than saving on wages” because employers can “prevent foreign workers from leaving” in the middle of projects, unlike with American workers.

There is much more at the link, but this statistic pretty much says it all:

He also mentioned that IT guest workers are on pace to make up 30-40% of the entire IT workforce even when there are 50% more graduates than job openings in the STEM fields.

So if a third or more of Americans with STEM degrees can’t get jobs in their fields, we need to import millions of foreign workers to make the glut even worse? The Hippocratic principle, “First, do no harm,” applies in spades to Congress. Young Americans are facing an uphill struggle to find rewarding careers, due in large part to the counterproductive policies of the Obama administration. Republicans should not acquiesce in immigration policies that make matters even worse.

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