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The Silicon Valley Tech Worker Shortage Hoax

STEM Grads desperate for jobs 

Washington’s “Golden Rule” is “he who has the gold makes the rules,” and there’s no greater evidence of the truth of this acknowledgement of the power of the special interests than the willingness of some otherwise conservative organizations and individuals to support Silicon Valley’s demand for “immigration reform” to allow more foreign tech workers to come to America at the same time American tech firms are laying off thousands of workers and qualified American tech workers are unable to find work in their fields.

Senator Jeff Sessions, in his 25 page “IMMIGRATION HANDBOOK FOR THE NEW REPUBLICAN MAJORITY” devoted a substantial section of the handbook to knocking down the myth – or more correctly the lie – that there is a tech worker shortage in America.

The false claim about “immigration reform” that has gained the greatest acceptance says Senator Sessions is the notion that there is a shortage of qualified Americans with degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

The facts to the contrary are stark, and overwhelming, and Sessions offers the facts to prove it.

Senator Sessions documents that even as IT firms clamor for more guest workers, they are laying off their existing workers in vast numbers. Bill Gates coauthored an op-ed demanding more foreign labor for companies like Microsoft the same week that Microsoft announced plans to lay off 18,000 of its employees.

Perhaps before lobbying Congress for more H-1B workers, Sessions suggests that amnesty and guest worker advocate Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg phone Microsoft’s Bill Gates and ask for the resumes of some of the 18,000 workers who have been sent packing.

However, beyond the irony of lobbying for more guest workers at the same time the tech giants are laying off their existing workforce are the numbers – and they also put to lie the notion that there’s a tech worker shortage in America.

Senator Sessions cites recent data from the Census Bureau confirmed that a stunning 3 in 4 Americans with a STEM degree do not hold a job in a STEM field—that’s a pool of more than 11 million Americans with STEM qualifications who lack STEM employment.

This is a constantly growing number notes Sessions.  Rutgers Professor Hal Salzman, a top national expert on STEM labor markets, estimates that “U.S. colleges produce twice the number of STEM graduates annually as find jobs in those fields.”  

Many of the students, no doubt choosing to pursue STEM degrees in part due to bogus claims of STEM labor shortages, now find themselves with massive amounts of debt and no prospects of a good-paying job. 

Salzman goes on to report this shocking fact: “guest workers currently make up two-thirds of all new IT hires” – so even as half of Americans with STEM degrees can’t find STEM work, 2 in 3 new jobs in the information technology field are going to labor imported from abroad.

Salzman continues: “but employers are demanding further increases. If such lobbying efforts succeed, firms will have enough guest workers for at least 100 percent of their new hiring and can continue to legally substitute these younger workers for current employees, holding down wages for both them and new hires.”*

And the true number of guest workers admitted to the U.S. each year solely for the purpose of filling coveted jobs in the IT and STEM fields is actually much larger than news reports would suggest as Senator Sessions documents.

In addition to the supposedly “capped” 85,000 annual H-1B visas, there are many employers exempt from the cap, including those renewing past H-1B’s. Employers also receive an exemption when they hire a new worker who was previously employed by a capped employer. So, in FY2012, there were about 263,000 H-1B visas approved. But, due to overlapping admissions and other factors, the total number of H-1B workers physically present in the U.S. is actually much higher—it has been estimated to fall somewhere in the range of 650,000 to 750,000.

But even that figure does not capture the entire foreign labor pool of temporary workers available to employers in these industries says Sessions. The L-1 visa allows employers to transfer employees from abroad to fill jobs domestically. The stock of L-1 workers is estimated to add about 350,000 more foreign workers to the pool of available tech workers.

Those supporting even greater expansion seem to have forgotten about the hundreds of thousands of American high-tech workers who are being shortchanged — by wages stuck at 1998 levels, by diminished career prospects and by repeated rounds of layoffs.**

Thanks to the self-interest of Big Business and the willingness of Congress to follow DC's version of the "Golden Rule,” Washington policy has created a system that locks many of America’s best and brightest out of a career in their chosen field of study, and through its cruelly misnamed immigration "reform" Congress is actively pursuing measures that will make those hardships worse.

Senator Jeff Sessions is right. It’s time for Congress to stop listening to the self-interested demands of the tech industry and put the interests of American workers and their children and grandchildren first. 

We urge you to call your Representative and Senators (the Capitol Switchboard is 1-866-220-0044) and demand they oppose amnesty for illegal aliens and halt the continued destruction of the quality of life of millions of American families caused by continual expansion of the foreign tech worker visa program. 

*For more from Professor Hal Salzman see: “Stem Grads Are at a Loss,” Professor Hal Salzman op-ed in U.S. News and World Report, Sept. 15, 2014, available at http://bit.ly/1Ktg1Wt.

**Another very worthwhile source cited by Senator Sessions is “Bill Gates’ Tech Worker Fantasy,” July 27, 2014, available at http://usat.ly/1KtgjfU. Authorship credits: “Ron Hira is a professor of public policy at Howard University. Paula Stephan is a professor of economics at Georgia State University. Hal Salzman is a Rutgers University professor of planning & public policy at the J.J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development. Michael Teitelbaum is senior research associate at the Harvard Law School’s Labor and Worklife Program. Norm Matloff is a professor of computer science at the University of California-Davis.”

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Increased immigration because of technical worker shortage

I have seen a lot of post about the country being low on this sort of worker. It is a shameless lie and we should all call out the elected officials who are expounding on this subject. They are seeking to pander to their wealthy handlers thanks to the courts allowing the rich and big business interest to buy their way into elections. Now the elected officials ignore the public interest and their welfare in favor of the increase in their handlers profits. This is just a way to keep wages down or lower them even for the better educated workers. Right now the illegal amnesty is flooding the other groups of workers driving down their wages and putting many on welfare because they are not earning enough to live without public assistance including the illegal aliens. And we the people pay the tab for the public assistance of welfare which in effect subsidizes the wealthy special interest the elected officials are pandering to. This additional public assistance to those at the low end of wages is a win win for business who does not pay those additional benefit costs. Any wonder why the wealthy and big business are behind this?