Norm Matloff On Famous H-1B Blurts
November 23, 2007, 12:56 AM
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This is from Norm Matloff's mailing list—Professor Matloff writes

Cisco Exec Blurts Out Truth On H-1b

Every once in a while someone from the industry or an industry ally blurts out the truth about H-1B and related issues. Enclosed below is a real doozy:

"While some students may believe IT won't provide a long-term career path because so many positions are outsourced to other countries, [Cisco Executive Jim] McGrath indicated this simply isn't true.'There are limits on the number of foreign nationals that can be hired due to H1-B visa caps. IT is one of the fastest-growing industries in the U.S.'" [Demand for Information Technology College Grads Soars, MentorNet News, November 2007]
In other words, McGrath is admitting that the H-1B program DOES displace American workers. If the cap were higher, he is saying, then those young people's fears that they would lose their jobs to foreign workers would be valid. He is saying that employers would shun (even more) American workers in favor of H-1Bs if only Congress would allow them to do so. And concerning the current level of the cap, even the most charitable interpretation of his remarks would be that the present cap is not hurting Americans but a higher cap would harm them.

By the way, though McGrath spoke of H-1Bs in his reply, the question had actually been about offshoring. So, his comment was not only a great blurt but also a possible Freudian slip.

Here are few other "famous blurts" I can recall off the top of my head:

  • A few years ago, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Queen of H-1B in Congress, sought to address concerns that H-1Bs are used as cheap labor by proposing that any H-1B paid more than $60,000 be exempt from the cap. Her spokesperson lauded the proposal, saying "$60K is peanuts in Silicon Valley." Indeed!
  • The Minister of Commerce of India called H-1B "the outsourcing visa," totally contradicting the industry's claim to use the visa only to remedy staffing shortages.
  • Stephen Seideman, dean of the New Jersey Institute of Technology's engineering graduate program, stated that foreign students "will do everything they can to stay here," thus demonstrating their exploitability, which is why the industry lobbyists are pushing Congress so hard now to provide special visas for foreign students.
  • Former Fed chair Alan Greenspan stated that we need H-1B in order to hold down American tech worker salaries.
And then of course there is the mother of all blurts, the entire YouTube video collection made by the Cohen and Grigsby law firm, showing employers how to legally hire foreign workers at below-market pay and how to exploit loopholes which allow an employer to sponsor a foreign national for a green card while legally rejecting qualified Americans.