The Democrats, Republicans, and news media are crafting a message that Immigration Reform is about a battle between helping young DREAMers and families that are hard-working but undocumented vs. certain concerns about securing our national borders to exclude any more terrorists. The DREAMers were brought to the US by their parents at a young age. The undocumented families overstayed their visas or crossed the border illegally. Here is one recent example of a news story on DREAMers. They were raised in the US and feel like US citizens, but have no papers to go to college or live a normal life.
There is a third side to the Immigration Reform Bill from the US Senate, a side that does not involve or benefit the DREAMers, nor the families, a side the news ignores. H-1B visas allow employers including companies and universities to hire non-citizens with skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The employers use these visas when they claim they cannot find suitable US citizens. The Senate Immigration bill would raise the cap on these visas from the current 60,000 per year to 200,000 per year or higher. Universities are exempt from the cap. Again, these H-1B visas are not part of helping the DREAMers, nor the families, but are in the bill to satisfy corporate lobbyists.
Employers are very skilled at writing job announcements to exclude US citizens because they prefer to hire non-citizens. These H-1B visas have been used to facilitate outsourcing jobs and displacing US workers.
Brenda Koehler is a VMware-certified professional network engineer with a master’s degree in information systems and 17 years of experience. You might think that would qualify her for a lead VMware/Windows administrator, but Indian outsourcing firm Infosys apparently didn’t. And Koehler has filed a lawsuit against the company, alleging that Infosys ignored her qualifications and eventually hired a Bangladeshi worker to staff a position she was qualified for. [I linked to Slashdot, the original news source is here.]
There is a lot of silence in the news about these H-1B visas while the Democrats and Republicans craft the discussion as sympathetic DREAMers and hard working families vs a need for massive border security. There are ongoing surveys by the National Science Foundation such as Survey of Earned Doctorates, Survey of Doctorate Recipients, and National Survey of Recent College Graduates. The surveys ask good questions of the survey participants, but the analyses are generally not worthwhile. Some years back, one published analysis observed a lack of minorities in science, but immigrants from China and India were filling the place of US minorities. Other researchers have re-analyzed these public datasets. Prof. Norman Matloff from UC-Davis published two recent analyses: in Migration Letters (PDF), and with the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). He has a page of comments, quotes and links.