High-Tech Sector's Low-Wage Strategy is a Poor Immigration Solution

When Microsoft, Oracle, Facebook and the other big-time cyber giants say they need to import more foreign high-tech workers — and then put on a full-scale lobbying assault to up the number of H-1B visas allowed in the immigration reform bill now under consideration — what are they really after? AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has the answer in an op-ed in today’s edition of USA Today.

This is about powerful companies pursuing lower wages.

The high-tech industry claims there is a shortage of qualified U.S. workers to fill their jobs. But, writes Trumka, in the fields of computer and information science and engineering, U.S. colleges graduate 50 percent more students than there are new hires.

Clearly, high-tech is not looking to bring in H-1B visa holders for a few years at a time because there is a shortage of tech workers. They want a massive expansion of H-1B visa holders because they can pay them less.

Trumka makes clear that “America’s unions embrace immigrants and new citizens.”

But we need the right rules and policies in place to reach our potential. When foreign temporary workers get stuck in a revolving-door system that does not give them a realistic chance to stay and become citizens, then the ladder to the middle class is broken.


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