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.

Nowhere do I read about safeguards or more aptly the lack of protections for American workers. No validation is performed to determine if there have been violations with the H-1B program or even if there truly is a shortage of professionals when a temporary work visa is issued. Companies providing retraining and continuing education is nice but that frequently amounts to nothing but an extended job placement center at your ex-employers. And please don't try to tell me that it's silly to declare that H-1B workers are replacing American positions. I've experienced it firsthand. I have friends and fellow colleagues who also have tasted the noxious concoction of globalism forcing them to train imported worker replacements before exiting the company they loyally served.

Our nation is chopping its own head off. Everyday I drive past old work locales where I can account for thousands of computer jobs that used to be manned by Americans that now have departed off our shores or are being filled by a offshore vendor worker here on a temporary visa. Some in the press proclaim that the loss of such job numbers is insignificant or miniscule, and more jobs will come, or have come, to replace those lost. The statistics they cite are misleading, never representative of the true status. Counting employee layoffs is sure to be off the mark, because a large number of computer workers work as subcontractors, and would not be tallied properly in the accounting schemes of those published pieces. Also, many have departed the career field after termination. Or, fed up with the industry and its hiring antics entirely, they opt for early retirement from the field, even if not pushed out.

Already, it is a profession rife with age discrimination [6]. However, instead of hiring the young and old, we sanction the importing of replacement labor. Leaving those individuals to compete with the undocumented immigrant workers at the lower end of the wage scale. What a twisted state of affairs.


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