"You know something's up when Jack Kemp, Spence Abraham and Bill Gates find themselves on the same side of the barricades as Al Gore, Bob Graham and the folks at the National Council of La Raza," says the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page this morning (June 12, 2000). You sure do: you know that the Anti-American Axis of professional ethnics, cheap-labor hogs, campaign-contribution whores, low-IQ libertarian loonies, neocon nasties, fossilized Republican publicists and New World Order nogoodniks that has paralyzed the immigration debate is about to launch its long-awaited Ardennes Offensive in Washington, aimed at enacting a vast expansion of H1-B "temporary" indentured-servant visas under cover of the election.
Needless to say, the economic arguments behind H1-B expansion are completely specious. Labor economists are always skeptical when they hear talk of labor "shortages." They ask: "Shortages at what price?" Inexplicably, in this area the Wall Street Journal Edit Page seems suddenly to have lost its faith in the price mechanism.
But at least it now admits, indeed proclaims, that immigration policy is broke and needs fixing. Its fix would make things worse. But it's a start. Too bad the Wall Street Journal Edit Page has worked so hard to suppress other attempts to point this out.
Suppression has been the order of the day in this corrupt debate. But it's kind of hard to suppress UC-Davis computer scientist Professor Norm Matloff http://heather.cs.ucdavis.edu/itaa.html, whose efforts to save his students from the breadline have revealed him to be a formidable natural polemicist. In this morning's email to his supporters, he exposes a typical bit of Axis black propaganda:
I know a lot of you receive a large amount of e-mail, but you need to pay extra attention to this one. Forgive me for writing in all-caps, but the information here is that A HIGH-TECH INDUSTRY CEO SUBMITTED *FRAUDULENT TESTIMONY* TO THE SENATE IMMIGRATION SUBCOMMITTEE IN SUPPORT OF RAISING THE H-1B CAP.
Many of you will remember womenConnect.com CEO Susan deFife, poster woman for the industry lobbyists. The lobbyists put her on the ABC World News Tonight story just last week (June 6), for example, highlighting the H-1B she hired. She highlighted the same H-1B in her testimony to the Senate in October 1999, saying:
Last year, we spent months recruiting for a systems administrator who has the critical role of ensuring our content is presented correctly and on time to our audience. We were fortunate to eventually find Noemi Nieto-Mendieta, a young woman from Mexico who was finishing coursework at a local university. (Noemi is with me today.)
Now, I thought it would be interesting to know just how much Ms. deFife is paying this "rare worker" she sponsored for an H-1B visa, so I took a look at Rob Sanchez's online database of H-1B applications, which he obtained under FOIA from the Dept. of Labor. (This is the first time I used the database. I must say it is an amazingly powerful tool.)
The database is at http://www.zazona.com/ShameH1B/. Click on "H-1B
Visa Database," then enter Virginia for the state and womenConnect.com for the company name - and voila!, there is the entry for deFife's H-1B.
(The database does not give names, but this entry is the only one for womenConnect.com. The year of hire is given as 1998, matching what deFife testified, the job title matches, the company name and place match. Rob assures me that the database is complete for Virginia.)
So here it is: deFife hired this system administrator for only $35,000!
Remember, she said that this woman was a new graduate, and at that time (NACE survey, 3 months after the hire) new IT graduates were being paid on average $45,000 for a Bachelor's degree!
No wonder some of the industry lobbyists have reportedly been pushing to remove a provision from Rep. Lamar Smith's H-1B bill which would set a floor of $40,000 for salary. The national median IT salary is over $60,000, so setting a $40K floor might seem rather toothless - it is rather toothless, actually, but one can see why the lobbyists' constituency like deFife even object to a $40K floor.
In short, this is perhaps the worst outrage I've seen in all the years
I've been following the H-1B issue. I knew that some H-1Bs were being paid salaries as low as this, but I never thought that a CEO TESTIFYING ON THE MATTER WOULD SO BRAZENLY MISLEAD THE SENATE. Here deFife is telling what a dearth of IT workers we have, and yet she is paying her "rare find" well below average.
By the way, I just checked Ecutel, another Virginia firm whose CEO has testified to Congress in favor of raising the H-1B cap. I already knew they were suspect, because a member of my e-mail list who possessed the skills they wanted applied to them, contacting them repeatedly, and was never even given an interview. The H-1B database shows them hiring several H-1Bs in 1997 as software engineers at salaries at the $35,000 level. That level would have been below the average for new graduates, and if they weren't new graduates, the gap would be even bigger.
I hope that FAIR, NumbersUSA, APG, AEA, IEEE-USA (!), etc. really run with this one. The public may or may not understand that a veteran programmer can easily pick up a new language like Java, but the public certainly can easily see that fraudulent testimony - claiming a "desperate" shortage while egregiously underpaying one's workers - is an absolute disgrace.
Norm Matloff <firstname.lastname@example.org>
June 12, 2000