Do We Need More Immigration to Fill STEM Jobs?

One of the great immigration myths is the “STEM” shortage. One of Senator Jeff Sessions’ staffers emails a reminder of an upcoming committee hearing:

Just a reminder on Tuesday’s Judiciary Committee oversight hearing investigating the endemic abuse of the H-1B, L-1 and B-1 visas. Southern California Edison recently laid off approximately 500 American workers and forced them to train their H-1B replacements; this practice is widespread – whether it’s the recent Walt Disney layoffs or the Northeast Utility scandal in Connecticut. There are now more than 11 million Americans with STEM degrees but no STEM jobs. As one displaced worked communicated to us: “As long time employees we loved the work we were doing and the people we were working with. We did a great job. Our work mattered. It’s as if we no longer matter or have value as human beings or American Citizens.”

As background for the hearing, wanted to share the below graph from the Economic Policy Institute showing that if either the “Gang of Eight” bill or the SKILLS Act became law (and Isquare too, introduced after this chart was published), the supply of foreign guest workers into IT fields would completely overwhelm the number of available positions for young Americans. As Rutgers Professor Hal Salzman explained:

If such lobbying efforts succeed, firms will have enough guestworkers for at least 100 percent of their new hiring and can continue to legally substitute these younger workers for current employees, holding down wages for both them and new hires.

EPI also direly cautions:

If we more than double the supply of H-1B guestworkers and create a new green card category for foreign-born STEM graduates—as both chambers of Congress have recently proposed—it will have a significant negative impact on both the long-term strength of the U.S. STEM workforce and the employment prospects for those just entering college.

Click for higher-resolution image:

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We are living in an era of rapidly exploding immigration, legal as well as illegal. Some want it to explode even faster. Why? When did we vote for this? The results obviously have been bad for the American worker, to put it mildly. Who, other than Jeff Sessions, is putting American citizens first?

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