How Brookings Wrote Its Phony H-1B Report; Insiders Share Secrets

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

August 3, 2012

Last week, my syndicated column addressed the phony Brookings Institution report “The Search for Skills” that claimed the United States needs more H-1B visas despite sustained high unemployment in all sectors including IT. Many readers had questions. [Brookings Institution Praises Worker Visas, Critics Not Invited, by Joe Guzzardi, Noozhawk, July 23, 2012]

Top on the query list is how Brookings could conclude that there’s a big demand for foreign-born workers in an economy that month after month doesn’t create enough jobs to keep up with population growth. First of all, Brookings has a predetermined outcome for its so called study. Panels like those at Brookings invite globalists with advanced degrees from elite universities who work at similar open borders organizations and have highfalutin titles.

The token invitee who has at one time or another expressed reservations about the detrimental impact of more non-immigrant visas is marginalized with claims that he’s racist, xenophobic or “fringe”.

But, second, Brookings needs at least a few shreds of evidence that their more, more, more agenda has merit. Here, according to an IT insider and friend of long standing, is how Brookings did it.

Brookings used Labor Condition Applications to get a rough estimate of H-1B visa demand. But its report referred to the LCA as a visa "request" and translated that data as if it were a demand for visas. Yet a LCA can be filed for no charge and does not necessarily represent an intention to get a visa. Also, each LCA can specify multiple workers and could be used to obtain multiple visas.

The Brookings analysis therefore goes as follows. Last year, there were 350,000 LCAs that requested 1.8 million workers. But only 85,000 non-immigrants worker visas were available. The difference between the requested number of workers through LCAs and the actual numbers of visas available represents, according to Brookings, the “demand.”

Two other readers noted the irony that Brookings has H-1B visa employees on its staff who may have contributed to authoring the report and thus diluting its merit. If an H-1B worker writes that more non-immigrant visas are needed, his self-serving opinion should automatically be challenged.

Dr. Gene Nelson, an activist for the employment rights of experienced American citizen technical professionals since 1979, uncovered the wages of a poorly paid H-1B researcher at Brookings Institution. In fiscal year 2009, an H-1B visa employee whose job title is “SOCIAL SCIENCE RESERCHER” (sic) earned compensation of $41,538 annually in the very expensive Washington, DC area. Dr. Nelson also believes that the Brookings visa holder may have co-authored the report. According to Dr. Nelson, this is an example of an H-1B’s indentured servitude since only Brookings can sponsor its employee for permanent residency.

Brookings follows the tried and true pattern for disseminating misinformation. Cherry pick facts, omit analysis that undermines its foreordained findings and slander critics.

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