Things I Never Knew: Each H-1B Visa Means Five New Jobs for American Workers!

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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 10, 2011

Last week in a telephone interview with editorial writers and other journalists worldwide Alejandro Mayorkas, chief of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, outlined the Obama administration’s plan to make non-immigrant work visas and green cards more readily available to so called "job creators" as a solution to U.S unemployment.

According to the details Mayorkas spelled out, the proposed changes will allow some foreign "entrepreneurs" to receive H-1B visas if they can demonstrate a viable plan for a start-up business that manufactures products or provides services that are in the U.S. national interest.

Previously, such investors had to have a firm job offer from a recognized company. Also, a foreign investor can receive a green card with a minimum of $500,000 in a U.S. venture that will create at least 10 jobs. In addition, efforts to streamline getting an H-1B visa will begin immediately so that the delay times, supposedly up to a year, will be reduced. Mayorkas said that the new goal is to have the visas processed within a few weeks.

Just what unemployed Americans want to hear---foreign-born workers who will compete with them for scarce jobs will be arriving in the country sooner than ever!

Obligingly, the willfully blind San Diego Union-Tribune, among other major dailies, wrote a glowing editorial promoting Mayorkas’ anti-American worker tripe. [Changing Visa Rules to Boost Job Growth, Editorial, San Diego Union-Tribune, August 8, 2011]

In more than 25 years of patriotic immigration reform activism, I can never recall any of the organizations with which I have been affiliated being asked to participate in a conference call with high ranking White House officials to discuss how immigration laws could more effectively be enforced or to hear the administration’s ideas on how to reduce the number of needlessly high non-immigrant visas.

But the media is nothing if not compliant with administration lackeys. The Union-Tribune commented in its editorial that "thankfully" the White House is hard on the task of improving the economy, currently with more than 14 million unemployed Americans, by making it easier for foreign-born workers to come to the United States.

And the Union-Tribune followed up with what must be the most outrageous quote it could find to support Obama’s preposterous plan. According to local San Diego "high-tech giant" Qualcomm’s Senior Vice President of government affairs Bill Bold, "Research has shown that for every H-1B visa issued, technology companies create five U.S. jobs."

But the Union-Tribune names no report, no researcher and no publisher where any such findings could be pinpointed. No newspaper worth its salt would write an editorial or story with the impossible-to-believe claim that every H-1B visa results in five American jobs without naming the report so interested readers could follow up on their own.

Here are the facts. In July, U.S. private-sector payrolls rose by 114,000, but every month, the federal government issues an average of 125,000 work permits to foreign-born visa holders.

In San Diego Country, the Union-Tribune’s headquarters and an area it should be concerned about, unemployment is 10.6 percent.

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