The Impact Immigration Reform Would Have on High-Skilled American Workers

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By Michael W. Cutler

Mike is a Senior Fellow with CAPS and retired INS Senior Special Agent. During his 30-year career with the INS he rotated through all of the squads within the Investigations Branch. He was assigned to the Unified Intelligence Division of the DEA and for 10 years was assigned, as an INS Senior Special Agent, to the Organized Crime, Drug Enforcement Task Force. He has testified at numerous hearings conducted by committees and subcommittees of the House and Senate and provided testimony to the 9/11 Commission.

He hosts "The Michael Cutler Hour" on USA Talk Radio Fridays at 7 p.m. (EST) and is frequently interviewed by broadcast media on various aspects of immigration issues, especially the nexus to national security.

The writer's views are his own.

October 22, 2013

Now that the government shutdown has ended and we have been given a “breather” from the contentious arguments from both sides of the political aisle in Washington, the President has made it clear that during the political “ceasefire” he will focus attention on Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

Most news organizations have created the impression that this is strictly about providing millions of illegal aliens with amnesty. I have noted on many occasions how Comprehensive Immigration Reform would undermine national security by providing millions of illegal aliens with identity documents even though their true identities cannot be verified. This violates the findings and recommendations of the 9/11 Commission and common sense.

These aliens evaded the inspections process that is supposed to prevent the entry of criminals, spies, terrorists and others whose presence in the United States would be harmful to the safety, security and well being of America and Americans.

Today, however, I will focus on another component of Comprehensive Immigration Reform: how it would enable companies to fire more highly educated and highly skilled American workers, displace them with foreign workers and coerce those Americans who managed to not get fired to settle for lower wages with fewer benefits.

This is precisely what Alan Greenspan, arguably one of the architects of the economic crisis, called for in his prepared testimony, when he testified before Senator Schumer's Senate Immigration Subcommittee on April 30, 2009 on the topic:

Comprehensive Immigration Reform in 2009, Can We Do It and How?

Here is a key excerpt from his testimony:

…The second bonus (in accelerating the influx of skilled immigrant workers) would address the increasing concentration of income in this country. Greatly expanding our quotas for the highly skilled would lower wage premiums of skilled over lesser skilled. Skill shortages in America exist because we are shielding our skilled labor force from world competition. Quotas have been substituted for the wage pricing mechanism. In the process, we have created a privileged elite whose incomes are being supported at non-competitively high levels by immigration quotas on skilled professionals. Eliminating such restrictions would reduce at least some of our income inequality.

The bottom line is that by importing hundreds of thousands of additional high-tech workers the wages of all workers in those industries would be reduced. The outrage is that Greenspan referred to highly skilled Americans as the “privileged elite” who were, in his opinion, earning unacceptable “wage premiums.”

Comprehensive Immigration Reform would deliver what Greenspan asked for and then some. S.744 also contains a provision that would, for the first time, permit the dependents of H1-B foreign workers to be granted full employment authorization in the United States in any job or industry that they have qualifications to work in. This would provide these foreign workers with an equal standing in the overflowing labor pool with American and lawful immigrant workers.

Countries that send us their workers receive billions of American dollars in remittances. Last year India reportedly received approximately $60 billion in remittances from countries, including the United States, and they seek to increase this windfall in the coming years. Comprehensive Immigration Reform will make this goal a reality, increasing unemployment and underemployment of American workers and leading still more money to be siphoned off of the U.S. economy, increasing our national debt and deficits.

A couple of year ago “Dan Rather Reports” focused on the practice of American companies firing their American IT workers, replacing them with IT worker from India in an eye-opening, hour-long program entitled:

"Dan Rather Reports: No thanks for everything

In his report, Rather noted that the DHS has no real idea as to how many foreign workers with H1-B visas are currently working in the United States. Estimates, according to Rather, range from 600,000 to one million.

Even if more jobs are ultimately created in the United States, Comprehensive Immigration Reform will all but guarantee that they will be filled by foreign workers. The only thing exceptional about these workers is that they are willing to work for exceptionally low wages.

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