Re: National Sign-On Letter to House on H-1Bs, U.S. Immigration

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From: Joachim Feise (
Date: Thu Jun 08 2000 - 14:51:02 PDT

Rafe Colburn wrote:
> On Thu, Jun 08, 2000 at 10:25:30AM -0700, Joachim Feise wrote:
> > If you ran into it, it is due to clueless managers. But this has nothing
> > to do with immigration per se. Of course, some of the people that are
> > "imported" as you put it are clueless, but the mere fact that these
> > people leave their home countries and families and plunge into a
> > quite different culture indicates that they are much more willing to try
> > out new directions and are much more self-confident that the average
> > American programmer.
> I think that there are more nuanced views of the issue than being
> "pro" or "anti" H1B visas, and more importantly, than being pro or
> anti immigration.
> I consider myself to be pro-immigration, and at the same time believe
> that H1B visas are rotten because they subject employees to what amounts
> to indentured servitude at the hands of their employers, if those
> employers are unethical.

Finally, the first intelligent post in this thread ;-)
I see this problem as well. However, IMHO the solution is not to get
rid of the H1B program, but to shorten the time required for getting
a Greencard. Since getting a GC takes between 3 and 6 years, people are
tied to their employer while waiting for the GC. And the H1B is therefore
somewhat misused as a stepping stone towards the GC.
Once this is problem is solved, the H1B program will go back to its
initial purpose: providing people for temporary, short term needs.
Before 1990, there wasn't even an H1B program, and Greencards were
regularly issued within a couple of months.

The anti-immigration groups, however, piggyback on the H1B issue as
a stepping stone to restrict immigration overall.
They avoid discussing the Greencard problems, because they figure they
get less resistance by focusing on H1s.

The IT industry is guilty here as well. They also focus on the H1s,
but don't do anything to push for a speedup on the Greencard process.
I attribute this to the extreme short-term thinking. They simply do
not think a couple years ahead. Only when they are hit with the fact
that they are loosing some of their most valued employees because
their H1 visas run out, do they start thinking about it.
I see some movement here, though, with a recent bill introduced by
Diane Feinstein to reduce the INS backlogs.


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