2 August 2004

American High Tech Talent

Why should we go offshore to replace American workers and deny new university graduates opportunity? There are many here in the United States that could fill those jobs and perform as successfully minus the inefficiency of added bureaucracy and tangled communciations.

An Arizona Republic editorial [1] argues that we don't have enough engineers and computer scientists here in America, and employers must seek skilled workers overseas and bring them here. This despite a doubling in the unemployment rate of Information Technology workers [2] and a decrease in the number of positions. Cited in support of this anti-worker stance is a lobbyist institution identified by the antonymic Compete America [3], which was formerly known as American Business for Legal Immigration [4]. A business lobby outfit hired to make a pro immigration case to suit desire for cheaper labor costs.

It was with outrage I read the Gannett pronouncement. The Arizona Republic might not be so Republican anymore, but they're certainly not Democratic or worker friendly either. At work, I am surrounded by hundreds of temporary visa workers – all the while American information technology workers are being axed. Our positions are sent offshore to Asian or other third world locales, or they are supplanted by imported guest visa workers. Signs are posted around the building and written not in English, but in Hindi or Hindustani or some other variant.

Noted in the editorial is the decline in science and engineering graduate students. First, what message does it send to our youth when they witness the career fates of their parents and older friends – why it is advantageous to select an alternate career path where outsourcing or less costly imported immigrants is not as prevalent. Oh yes, anybody can achieve the dream, but you better be in the top 10% of your class. Is that the way studying at law school or medical school works? But this argument is subterfuge anyway. The bulk of H-1B visas granted are not for the wonderous and truly gifted foreigners but instead go to entry level workers no more skilled than someone from a domestic technical school training program or even a self motivated study. The vast majority of worker visas are not given to wonderous talents [5]. Even if the education level was measured to be equivalent, there still is the question of resume credibility, with the lack of verification for offshore educational background and references.
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