Americans Second

Looks like the fix is in again:

U.S. employers keep roughly 600,000 foreign H-1B visa workers in jobs throughout the United States, according to an unprecedented report released by the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency.
The total number of resident H-1B workers has successfully been kept secret for decades, mainly because Fortune 500 companies do not want voters to recognize the massive outsourcing of jobs for themselves and their college graduate children.

Based on personal observation, I think that about a quarter of the above number live within a square mile of my apartment, but that’s a topic for another time.

Whenever people show faith in the powers of “the market”, I want to kick them in the balls.  Here’s why.

In the normal course of events, “the market” can and should address the problem of shortages by creating a price increase — in this case, if there are apparently not enough Americans to fill the skilled positions needed in Corporate America, the pressure is put on salaries so that existing skilled workers can change industries to take advantage of the higher wages, or (in the longer term) prospective employees can adjust their training from, say, a university-centric Women’s Studies major into an IT profession.

But that would Cost The Companies Money;  and gawd forbid that costs rise, affect the balance sheet and, most importantly of all, jeopardize executive management bonuses.  So said companies lobby the government saying, “Oh we need  skilled workers, and these lazy idle Murkins don’t wanna do the jobs so please pretty please O Benificent Government, can we import furriners to save us from going out of business?”

Whereupon Congress, whose members are all either stupid, unpatriotic or else beholden to Corporate America for campaign contributions (I know:  massive overlap) will turn around and say, “Sure thing.  Get these H-1Bs from anywhere you like — say, India or China — and just add a zero to your next contribution, will you?”

The fact that these foreign workers stay a while then go back to their home countries taking their expertise with them, is, of course, irrelevant.  (I should point out that I myself was one of the above H-1B workers back in the 1980s, except that I had skills which my sponsoring company did not possess at all, AND I was coming over as a senior executive to implement a brand new business model which I had created back in the Old Country and made successful.  Also, I stayed and became a U.S. citizen, and the rest you know.)

So “the market” works fine, mostly — except where the sticky and incompetent fingers of Gummint get placed firmly on the scale of surplus : scarcity, and the results are what we see now.

There’s another part of the article which engendered a scowl from me:

The USCIS report admits that “no unique identifier exists for all H-1B petitions in the USCIS electronic [system of record, so] we use a methodology of statistical inference.”

For those not familiar with bureaucrat-speak, “statistical inference” means “we took a wild-ass guess”.  Or, to be more polite:

For years, [DHS] has deliberately not stored [visa worker] information into their databases. They only enter selected information into the computers. That was deliberate so that no one could know what is going on. We have sent in all kinds of [Freedom of Information Act] requests, and often the response is “we don’t keep track of that.”

And to make matters still worse:

“Close to a quarter of the records — dealing with workers who often make $100,000 a year or more — there is no Social Security number.”

In other words, we let them in, and allow a situation where people don’t necessarily have to pay taxes.  How charming.  But it gets worse (and I’ve added emphasis):

The failure to track legitimate H-1B documents and workers — or to punish groups for using fake H-1B documents — is routine. For many years, business advocates have kept legislators in the dark by splitting and subdividing oversight of the visa-worker economy between the Departments of State, Homeland Security, and Labor, he said.
This fragmentation has helped to minimize awareness of the scale among journalists and the public. For example, very few reporters describe the scale of the H-1B population to their readers, and most rely on talking points from business advocates who say the program brings in 65,000 or 85,000 “high skilled” workers each year when companies cannot find U.S. workers.
In reality, up to 85,000 H-1B visas are given out to companies each year, while roughly 15,000 are provided to non-profit groups, including hospitals, research centers, government agencies, and hospitals.

Now let’s add a little “China is asshole” to the mix:

The new USCIS report does not estimate the number of fake H-1B documents in circulation despite myriad cases of fraudulent work permits and made-in-China green cards.

And in India, procurement of green cards is an entire industry, catering to U.S. corporations — I’ve seen it in action at first hand.

Several years back, I posited the situation where if one won a large foreign lottery (e.g. Euromillions), whether it would be better to bring the earnings back to the U.S. and pay the 40% tax, or just to vanish into a European tax haven like Monaco with the (untaxed) millions.  My conclusion was that I wouldn’t do that, because I am of course a loyal American citizen.  As I read stuff like the above, however, I’m starting to think that “loyal American citizen” is rapidly approaching the status of “sucker”.

Change my mind.


  1. ” can adjust their training from, say, a university-centric Women’s Studies major into an IT profession. ”

    Right, the chance of being able to do that successfully is zero. Square peg – smaller round hole.

    Most of the real H1B workers I’ve met have no interest in going back the 3rd world disaster they cane from. The rare exceptions seem to think they could be rulers if they returned — or they actually are the relatives of the current rulers of said third world hell hole.

  2. Kim,
    I’m not gonna try to refute your claim … I’m bolstering it.

    Here in the northern ‘burbs of greater Chicagoland … you have company HQs like Discover Financial, Abbott, Abvie, Walgreens, CVS, Wolters Kluwer, Grainger, others … the region is a haven for corporate campuses … and Vernon Hills, Buffalo Grove, Lincolnshire, etc., are all starting to look like Little Mumbai. My Better Half works at Walgreens corporate, and she tells me the campus not only looks like a foreign country, at lunch time the building SMELLS like a foreign county. The last time I cooked up a batch of coconut curry chicken, she said the house smelled like work !!!, but I digress …

    I know *some* of the “West Asians” are US born, but I also know a number of them are not. I have to wonder how many are playing games with H1B visas.

    The other day President Trump signed an executive order which extended enforcement of the H1B visa program, or something similar … and almost immediately the execs at Google and other tech companies started SCREAMING BLOODY MURDER … that tells me “all I need to know” about this topic.

    The H1B visa program is loaded with abuse. It should be shut down WITH EXTREME PREJUDICE.

    1. I grew up in the NW Chicago suburbs and we had plenty of Indians (mostly Punjabi Sikhs) in the schools that I went to. I was friends with a lot of them, and several of the girls were stunningly gorgeous, which is probably why I like to post links to “dusky” actresses on the weekly women’s posts. I moved out of the area in 1999, but I know it’s been a magnet for a long time, so I’d imagine there are quite a lot more in the area now, just like Brad says.

      1. @PKU …. Hopefully you escaped Chicagoland to a sane region. I’m years-and-years away from retirement, but I know it will NOT be here in the state of my birth. I’d been quietly looking to southern Wisconsin, but over the last 5 years, WI has turned disturbingly blue. I like the sea shore, I like mountains / lakes / rivers … and strongly prefer to be near a Conservative Synagogue … Maybe NC … maybe Maine … maybe greater Savannah GA … I will keep looking. I fear that by the time retirement gets here, it may be too late.

        If anyone knows / has seen commenter “Nitzakhon” … whom I know personally, I’m certain he has a STRONG opinion about the H1-B visa program.

        1. I’m in the Salt Lake City area now. The state overall is pretty decent, but SLC itself is something of a blue shitshow. And we’ve also got the “Silicon Slopes” thing going on, which is why Sen. Mike Lee’s been pushing to expand H1-B.

  3. It’s cheaper for these corporations to pay politicians than it is for them to pay American workers.

  4. “Whenever people show faith in the powers of “the market”, I want to kick them in the balls. ”

    Change that to “Free Market” and I would argue with you on that. Unfortunately, we have not had an actual free market economy in the US for some decades.

  5. Kim sed: “…incompetent fingers of Gummint…”
    The US gov’t is the largest criminal organization the world has ever known.
    It is so corrupt, the depth and expanse of the corruption will never be known.

    RandyGC is correct. I’ve heard it referenced as being quasi-free market. If the gov’t is involved the whole thing is criminally skewed and cannot possibly work like a free market.

    There is no cure, only complete destruction.
    Gird thine self.

  6. They don’t even pretend to hide it anymore. Here is a law firm conducting a seminar on how to comply with the letter of the law, and still evade it. Quote: “our goal is not to find a qualified and interested US worker.” After ‘not finding’ a US worker, the company can then get a H1B, ‘because there are no qualified US workers.’

    My observation was that companies love the H1B program, both because it provides workers at a far cheaper wage, and because the H1B is essentially an indentured servant. As an indentured servant, the worker is unable to move, so the company can do/treat the worker however they want. In my industry (computers), I’ve read blog postings where when it was discovered the applicant had a Green Card, the job offer was immediately rescinded. Because of that, I’ve felt that if the H1Bs were turned into a Green Card system, companies would drop the applicants because they would lose the control they have over the H1Bs.

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