President Donald Trump signs an executive order to try to bring jobs back to American workers and revamp the H-1B visa guest worker program during a visit to the headquarters of tool manufacturer Snap-On on April 18, 2017 in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

President Donald Trump signed his “Buy American, Hire American” executive order on Tuesday in an effort to prevent companies from choosing low-wage foreign workers over Americans. The order takes aim at the federal government’s H-1B visa program, which is supposed to help businesses hire highly-skilled, temporary workers from other countries. But critics of the program say it undercuts American workers and that most H-1B visas simply go to IT workers. But supporters say the program is vital to the tech industry, and argue that President Trump’s changes could hurt innovation. In this hour, we discuss President Trump’s order and how it could affect Silicon Valley.

President Trump Signs Executive Order Targeting H-1B Visas 19 April,2017Michael Krasny

Sam Harnett, reporter, KQED
Anastasia Tonello, first vice president American Immigration Lawyers Association; managing partner, Laura Devine Attorneys
Ron Hira, associate professor of political science, Howard University; research associate, Economic Policy Institute; author, "Outsourcing America"
Gokul Gunasekaran, software engineer

  • Skip Conrad

    This program was started in the late 80’s by Congressman Morrison of Massachusetts, who now disavows the program. It used to be that a foreign worker could only be hired if no qualified American candidate could be found. But when AC21 (American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act) was passed in Oct 2000, that stipulation was abolished, and foreign workers were allowed to compete head-to-head with American workers for American jobs on American soil.
    AC21 also increased the number of H1-B visas to something ridiculous like 300,000, temporarily at least. This act was co-sponsored by Ted Kennedy and Dianne Feinstein, who abstained from voting on the bill because she had broken her leg in a skiing accident.
    But the legacy remained – no preferential treatment for American workers. Until today. I could kiss The Donald, as gross as that may seem to some. Bon courage.

    • Brian

      There were many reasons to vote for the Donald, but this reason was huuuge.
      Too many indentured servants enjoy H1B privilege while Americans struggle to get interviews.

      • Kevin Skipper

        The Scots Irish feel your pain.

      • kpwn

        Trump hires low-skilled foreigners.

        We need to look at what policies Trump’s political funding bought before we predict Trump’s tendencies.

        All other “facts” remain as merely campaign promises.

        There were many reasons to vote for the Donald
        Suicidal Tendencies was the name of a musical group.

        • Brian

          Notice the extensive use of put-downs and insults against American workers to justify access to lucrative jobs, pushing out Americans.

          The motivation for H1B recipients is greed and they are not here to join us or at least become friendly neighbors.

          The xenophobes are the nationalist immigrants who seem to hate Americans.

          • kpwn

            The motivation for H1B recipients is greed
            H-1b employees are being paid less than otherwise similar US born.
            Obviously, the motivation of H-1b employees is that employment in the US is better than in their countries of origin.

          • Brian

            Yeah I know. I’ve worked overseas myself. There are places nicer than California, turns out. And I was paid less…

          • kpwn

            There are places nicer than California
            Certainly, if only because people have varied personal lives.
            For reef diving, central and northern CA coast is not so good. 😉
            Marin county might be Nirvana for Deadheads. (stereotyping only to suggest diversity of personal interests)
            Somebody who likes driving over body parts would love living in an active warzone.

          • Brian
      • faze

        Then why didn’t Trump – a sociopath liar – stop this year’s application process? Sessions was in office; he could have stopped it cold. Look, people like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and many others who otherwise identify as liberal are in on the H1B scam.

        they are otherwise good people, but they are NOT interested in helping American labor to maximize its value. Just look at the creeps who have profited from the “gig economy” – driving wages to the bottom of the barrel; causing massive housing crises (AirBNB), etc.

        What has Trump done for American labor? NOTHING! In fact, he has not been responsible for saving even ONE job – not ONE job he claims to have saved or created was not ALREADY determined before he won POTUS.

        Trump won’t do anything for American labor, not will most neoliberal Dems. Does anyone really believe that Clinton would have stopped the H1B program?

        Just watch: we will probably see NO abatement of this program, and they will fiddle around with it just enough to make it look like they are “altering it” to “help” the American labor situation, but it will be worked around with the help of people like Anastasia Tonello and her immigration attorney friends who rake in $$$ by helping to perpetuate this scam on qualified American workers.

        Read the darned research – and it’s EXTREMELY well-done research! There is NO SHORTAGE of STEM workers in America. Wake UP!

        Last, and for emphasis. it is mostly WHITE AMERICAN CEO’s and politicians who have caused this problem; many of them the same ones who blame our problems on brown-skinned immigrants. Man, have both parties found a way to screw over Americans, or what? It’s sickening, and I was frustrated to kear Forum giving any time to a scam artist like Tonello. Sad!

        • kpwn

          people like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and many others who otherwise identify as liberal are in on the H1B scam
          They seem ‘conflicted’. They are shortsighted, in the societal context.

        • Brian

          Bernie would’ve helped. Of course Silicon Valley’s and Wall Street’s puppets in the DNC put an end to his campaign.

      • jake3_14

        Gates, Zuckerberg, et. al. are libertarian, not liberal – a huge difference: libertarians are Ăźber-capitalists.

    • Kevin Skipper

      Not all foreign workers are allowed to compete. The stipulation requires that a worker’s country of origin must first have certain population guidelines in place before their workers are allowed to enter the US. It’s still about ethnic and racial quotas.

    • jurgispilis

      Why not simply repeal AC21?

      • kpwn

        Ask Disney execs, Trump, et al why repeal isn’t a legislative action they have ever paid their politicians to do.


    Many years ago Eids was one of the largest consumer electronics retailer in the Bay Area, at that time the business had an excess of 100 employees, all were Americans, and all were well paid, from the start I have been against the H-B1 visa,as that time I saw it as it was a way for many companies specially those in Silicon Valley using that program to replace high tech well paid American with foreign people mostly from India that were paid fraction of the salary of Americans they replaced, within few years after the start of the H-B1 program the majority of high tech American workers in Silicon Valley were replaced by mostly east Indians and few other nationality on the H-B1 visas, many high tech Americans were forced to train the inexperienced new arrivals H-B1 holders who were replacing them before they got fired from their jobs, for many years beside living in Berkeley I had a house in Sunnyvale as well, within few years I observed the whole city of Sunnyvale becoming an east Indians colony, in fact 3 of my neighbors at that time lost their homes after being replaced by H-B1 holders, and that happened frequently all over Silicon Valley at that time, I remember one of my neighbors a single middle age woman who after being laid off from her well paying job could no longer pay her mortgage and eventually lost her house…..

    • Kurt thialfad

      Contrary to popular belief, Silicon Valley was founded by the defense industry and the prosperity brought about by government contracts. All these high tech defense industry jobs ads carried the stipulation: “US Citizens Only”.

    • Kevin Skipper

      In the beginning, how many of Eids employees were people of color? Black? Women?

      • EIDALM

        Look at Forum Facebook page, I posted store dinner party then, there were many women, Asians, African Americans, etc.

        • Kevin Skipper

          Will do.

    • Brian

      Today a fair number of H1Bs are actually well-to-do kids from wealthy Indian, Chinese, and European families, whose parents told them they either become a doctor, a lawyer, or a software engineer.

      Imagine telling a rich kid like that that an American is going to be considered for an engineering position; they can get pretty incensed and throw a tantrum until the HR woman explains the rule: 10 sham interviews are required before an H1B is justified.

      The irony is, a foreign nationalist may insist that no one should be hiring Americans, because we may seem a bunch of undisciplined, freedom-loving peasants, but then they whine about a nationalist like Trump protecting Americans from them.

      India’s Surveillance State:

    • Kevin Skipper

      U.S. offered S. Asians/East Indians caucasian status on the census, it was OVER! They’ll take that docked salary for a decade and invest their having overcome the domestic color line. How can you blame them.

      Businesses get cheap talent and the false diversity soapbox. How can you blame them?

      Government, prisons and welfare maintains its same oppressed domestic population while brain-draining a population giant. How can you blame them?


    I get real angry when I hear people like Bill Gates and other Silicon Valley morons state that we need HB1 workers in the U S because they bring us big talent and knowledge, that is total lie, as most of the computer science and advance technology near all were initiated and most advances were achieved in American universities and high tech institution, as well near all of the text books, labs, etc, in fact many of the HB-1 workers in the U S obtained their degrees fro American universities and institution. the fact is HB1 visas was created to enrich Silicon Valley companies treasuries by hiring underpaid foreign workers while firing and not employing Americans who are in many cases are more qualified than the HB-1 holders who replace them, or take their jobs to start with…….Ever time I hear Bill Gates repeating that the HB-1 holders bring talent to the U S, it increases my dislike of the man, and that goes for the late Steve Jobs who had the same attitude, as few years before he passed, president Obama in a visit to Silicon Valley ask Steve Jobs if he could bring back some of Apple jobs from China, Steve Jobs quickly replied, Mr resident will never come back,,,,What horrible answer that was…..Now Steve did not take it with him but the harm he caused to American high tech workers who were not employed or were fired and replaced by under paid foreign workers will hunt and stain his memory forever.


    I get real angry when I hear people like Bill Gates and other Silicon Valley morons state that we need H–1B workers in the U S because they bring us big talent and knowledge, that is total lie, as most of the computer science and advance technology near all were initiated and most advances were achieved in American universities and high tech institution, as well near all of the text books, labs, etc, in fact many of the HB-1 workers in the U S obtained their degrees fro American universities and institution. the fact is H-1B visas was created to enrich Silicon Valley companies treasuries by hiring underpaid foreign workers while firing and not employing Americans who are in many cases are more qualified than the H- holders who replace them, or take their jobs to start with…….Ever time I hear Bill Gates repeating that the HB-1 holders bring talent to the U S, it increases my dislike of the man, and that goes for the late Steve Jobs who had the same attitude, as few years before he passed, president Obama in a visit to Silicon Valley ask Steve Jobs if he could bring back some of Apple jobs from China, Steve Jobs quickly replied, Mr resident will never come back,,,,What horrible answer that was…..Now Steve did not take it with him but the harm he caused to American high tech workers who were not employed or were fired and replaced by under paid foreign workers will hunt and stain his memory forever.

  • John

    The list of guests for this show no doubt means it will be another objective and unbiased look at the issue – not. It will be yet another of KQED’s tirades against Trump. The immigration lawyer will get 15 min of blathering on about how this is discriminatory and immigrants have rights to jobs in America. She will see no problem with allowing foreign workers equal treatment and opportunity to U.S. citizens and Krazny will agree. Nothing like showing two sides to an issue KQED! After all every other country on this earth grants the same privileges as the U.S.

    • kpwn

      KQED’s tirades against Trump

      Trump again hires 64 foreign workers for Mar-a-Lago; little change in pay

      He’s paying some of them less than they made last year, and most get just a 1 percent raise.

      As the presidential campaign heated up, Trump won approval to hire 64 foreign workers through the federal government’s H-2B visa program, according to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Labor. Last year, Trump was allowed to hire 69 foreign workers at Mar-a-Lago.

      While wage growth finally has begun to accelerate in the nation’s slow-to-recover job market — annual raises reached 2.5 percent for the 12 months ending in November — Trump is holding firm on pay.

    • kpwn

      KQED’s tirades against Trump
      Against? ?

      Exclusive: Donald Trump’s companies have sought visas to import at least 1,100 workers

      The Mar-a-Lago, a luxury resort in Palm Beach, Florida, has sought the most foreign workers of the nine Trump businesses: 787 workers since 2006, according to the data.

      This month, the resort filed paperwork seeking to bring in 70 foreign workers later this year on H-2B visas to serve as maids, cooks and wait staff, according to paperwork known as “job orders” published on the Labor Department’s web site.

      In addition to the resort and the modeling agencies, the Trump-owned companies identified in the Reuters analysis were Jupiter Golf Club, Lamington Farm Club LLC, Trump Miami Resorts Management LLC, Trump National Golf Club LLC, Trump Payroll Chicago LLC and Trump Vineyard Estates LLC.

    • kpwn

      KQED’s tirades against Trump

      Trump Winery under fire after applying for visas seeking foreign workers – FakeNews

      Donald Trump purchased the estate in 2011 and gave it to his son Eric, who now owns and manages the property. Though he is no longer involved in the daily operations of the winery, when he becomes president in January, Trump’s Labor Department would be responsible for reviewing the winery’s request.

      During the campaign, the President-elect vowed to tighten immigration policy and make jobs available for Americans. His son also touted the same goals.

      “We’re losing all of our jobs, people are working harder, we’re being taxed more, all of our jobs are going overseas. It’s just a very, very sad thing,” Eric Trump told Fox News in September.

  • jakeleone

    The Offshore Outsourcing companies use most, more than half, of the H-1b visas. And all an Offshore Outsourcing company does, is force Americans to train their H-1b replacement. When enough H-1b replacements have occurred, the entire department is moved to another country.

    How do we tolerate such insanity in our Federal Government programs?

  • William – SF

    It’s an executive order …where’s the beef? Isn’t every potential action prefaced with “may”?

  • jakeleone

    I should also say, and this is important. I develop, write code, in Silicon Valley. I have been doing this for about 30 years now. I only have about the equivalent of a 2-year degree. I want you to understand this, because we need to realize that many coding jobs, do not require a Masters Degree in Computer Science. And there are a variety of side jobs, testing for example, that can get people started in a computer and software design/coding career.

    But the H-1b obviates the need for industry to consider such candidates. Frankly, I would probably be a burger flipper, except for the fact that there were ample software testing jobs available to average Joes such as myself in the 90’s.

    Having that job, in the Computer Science area, allows me to study further. I can always say to my wife, well I am watching the MIT course (on YouTube) because I do heavy software coding at work, and this might really help my career. Or I can buy that book on neural studies, because it is possible, honey, that this might help me create better robotic test code for my software.

    But if I was a burger flipper, the best I could do is get a Guy Fieri book and go work at Chillis.

    • Kevin Skipper

      Tell em, Jake!

    • faze


    • kpwn

      Offshore Outsourcing companies also complain, they can’t find any local U.S. workers, even as the Americans (that train the H-1b workers they bring in) are fired.

      Fired, not retiring.
      Harder to claim those who train weren’t qualified.

  • Ben Rawner

    What is the percentage of women that use the H1b1 visas? Silicon Valley seems to be having a sex diversity issue, couldn’t we change that by allowing more women in?

    • Kevin Skipper

      Immigration laws help balance and promote a tendency for immigrant women to seek domestic and affluent husbands. They come and work as skilled workers, educators, au pairs and other roles that place them in close proximity to family-building opportunities. Infuses much needed diversity where it’s most needed.

  • Kevin Skipper

    Ha HA! To anyone with feelings about H-1 visas, remember this:

    America’s slaves were bought on loans. America’s Revolution was a maritime/media debacle paid for on loans. America’s expansion and democracy building represents loans. The extraneous international tuition at public schools represents a loan. Certain of us like to remind others that ‘freedom isn’t free. Yeah. Well, neither is supremacy.

    Each of the countries and regions that we will focus on in this hour have PAID THEIR DUES to compete in this globalized market. We can tick back through history and see where each one invested in American superiority. Anyone to whom this is not obvious need only recall our existing relationship and beneficiary status under the British Crown and its well-known heritage of racial and economic preferences.

    China: Slavery, Transcontinental railroad, west coast service, textile and agricultural industries, bought the US’s welfare debt under Roosevelt’s New Deal.

    India: Education, Electrical engineering and communication, access to mining resources and labor, management of West Indian/Caribbean populations and labor markets of color.

    Iran-held Russia at bay and helped to validate the wastes and disgraces of the Cold War.

    Pakistan-allies during Gulf Wars and Afghanistan, especially in the interest of propaganda and news building campaigns.

    Russia-need I say more?

    Without its H-1 visa recipients, America would be FORCED to share its employment, educational and development resources to its existing people of color. This would negate the vital class barriers that maintain the more important color lines. Therefore, its never going to happen.

    Get comfortable with the visa deal. Most prefer is over the alternative: equality.

    • William – SF

      No doubt, …an evolution of oppression and slavery – the modern version, and it extends beyond the workforce. The government should be promoting and enforcing equality, else it’s up to AT&T, Walmart, … as if.

      • Kevin Skipper

        It’s all good. We see who suffers in the long run. They sold off their values for a leg up and it cost them their privileged status.
        Good for them.

  • Kevin Skipper

    All of those companies have the same board of directors and a direct line to the propaganda machine.
    Do you have any non-corporate, peer-reviewed figures?

  • Kevin Skipper

    Are we pretending that H-1B visas are awarded on a merit-based basis? Perhaps questioning the real reasons for them could help us understand their purpose.

  • CSNIronclad

    Wonder why trump was elected after listening to Tonello make excuses?

    Defending the indefensible.

  • Richie Partington

    I thought that the hundreds of thousands of cheap laborers staffing call centers in other countries was the real problem. The visa holders I know are making very high wages.

    • Curious

      80% of H1B visa holders earn less than their American peers.

  • Kevin Skipper

    Keep the visas and immigrants get all the jobs. Cancel the visas and lose the workers.
    Any other option?
    Why not require a proportional match between jobs given to visa recipients and Americans of color.
    For every H-1B, why not require that 2 or three domestic candidates receive education and job placement? Helps keep things competitive while addressing America’s social debt.

    Why are we ignoring the obvious? Everyone was gung-ho for assimilation and desegregation when the news of the 60’s guilted them into it. Reagan and the 1980’s seems to have cleansed America’s palate for egalitarian cuisine.

  • Sen

    I am from India. I work in one of best firms to work for in silicon valley and i am on H1B. There are two narratives – 1) Abuse by outsourcing firms and 2)Need of visa by these best tech firms who find it difficult to find qualified people. Both narratives are true. I have seen massive abuses of H1B and i also see huge time window needed to hire in good tech firms because of low hiring pool available. How do we reconcile these narratives and come to a middle ground that actually works and stops penalizing real good talent.

    • Brian

      What you won’t see is that the hiring managers deliberately ignore resumes from older Americans, female Americans, and minority Americans.
      It appears there aren’t enough workers because companies ignore most available workers.

      • faze

        More TRUTH! *This* is what I wish we could hear more of re: H1B. Instead, we get fluff apologists like Anastasia Tonello, who gets paid by her corporate clients to betray American workers who are otherwise qualified and replaced by the H1Bs that she enables. It’s shameful that someone like Tonello gets to air her distortions on a respected show like Forum; she was always measured in her answers, but never asked any difficult questions. When a few hard questions did come up she answered with fluff. Nice performance, Anastasia!

  • faze

    Why wold a company like General Electric, in the middle of Silicon Valley open up a billion dollar software center with roughly 400 people with 90% of its employees from South India? Here, in Silicon Valley?

    Try getting an IT tech position in Silicon Valley. You will find yourself talking ONLY to ex-H1Bs from South India who have been angled into positions by their friends from India. MOST of the hiring in Silicon Valley is done through placement agencies run by ex H1Bs from India!

    the abuse of this system is rampant, an the woman guest on this program is one of the most disingenuous guests I have listened to on this issue.

    IEEE – the largest Engineering trade Association has done deep studies showing their is NO shortage of STEM workers in America

    It is also WELL KNOWN that most H1Bs coming to America have degrees that have been obtained fraudulently and that their qualifications are inflated.

  • faze

    I have personally seen H1Bs placed in management who go on to bring in friends from India from ONLY their region. The treatment of women by many of these H1B managers is abhorrent. Favoritism is shown to Indian or Chinese co-workers.

    Again, we need some BALANCED approaches to this problem in forum, because what I have heard so far are measured apologetics that border on outright deception and lies that the data doesn’t support.

    Unemployment is a problem in America, and so are our sticky problems with immigration. Undercover of helping those immigrants who have so long labored in our agricultural sector, the American IT sector has seen fit to use the sentiment to help agricultural workers to create a Landslide of advantage for itself.

    H1Bs in Sacramento

    The H-1B fiasco has cost Americans **$10TRILLION** dollars, since 1975. For anyone who wants to know the truth, read on.

    One of the most respected technology pundits in Silicon Valley has this to say about the H1-B worker problem

    Here’s an attorney and his consultants teaching corporations how to manipulate foreign-worker immigration law to replace qualified American workers:

    H1-B abuse if accompanied by other worker-visa abuse L-1 Visa (H1-B’s are only the tip of the iceberg). There are more than 20 categories of foreign worker visas.

    Professor Norman Matloff’s extremely well documented studies on this problem.

    Federal offshoring of website

    How H1-B visa abuse is hurting American tech workers

    There is no stem worker crisis in America

    Marc Zuckerberg and wealthy tech scions continue to perpetuate this trend


    Also, little known is the tactic of creating many different kinds of sub-visa categories to “fool the system”. There are almost TWENTY different kinds of work visas. The whole thing is a sham and a lie, designed to drag down wages and keep from having to re-train Americans. Never thought I would see this day!

    Some of the information presented in the following links will shock most Americans, because American corporate leaders don’t want us to know the truth, and they are paying off policy makers with contributions to keep the truth from us. Bill Gates, John Chambers, Mark Zuckerberg, Eric Schmidt, and many, many others – including the principals of the most prominent immigration law firms, who profit from this outrage, are lying through their teeth. There is NO shortage of STEM workers in the US!!

  • Vidhya Meenakshi

    I think this is become seasonal issue in the media to discuss about H1B. But there is a big fraud is happening in L1 Visa.
    I think it’s time to discuss about L1B visa, which has more than 200K visa available for big fortune companies can make use of it.

  • Kevin Skipper

    Don’t believe the hype. Ron Hira is from Howard University but he isn’t Black. KQED just has him speaking for us, as they so often tend to do.

  • kpwn

    The abuse really is abuse, because oligarchs pay to create and expand this system.
    Employer representatives tend to whine that “Our hands are tied! We had no choice! The law made us abuse those employees!”
    Simultaneously, employers buy those laws that employers whine “tie their hands”. The employers also buy their spokespersons.

    Based on everything I have read, Trump is no different than others in his oligarchic class. What Trump says contrasts against what he eventually actually does and what he has done.

  • Kevin Skipper

    H-1B visas aren’t part of the educational system. They are part of the labor and population management systems.

  • jurgispilis

    We don’t need to improve our education system because we can hire all the educated foreign workers we need.

    Why do we educate foreign students only to have them leave? Why not concentrate on educating our own?

    • Kevin Skipper

      Because our own under-educated class continues to the the same dark faces. Not exactly the look that the US wants to send to its European and Eugenicist cohorts. It’s the fashion to make things look like they’re heading upward and whiteward.
      Sad. Very sad.

    • kpwn

      In state universities, non-residents student pay higher tuition/fees than in-state students. Fee increase depends on which state.

      • John

        Completely untrue illegals get in state tuition rates while legal U.S. citizens get the honor of paying out of state tuition rates including at schools that receive federal tax dollars. Those that legally come here from abroad often play the game to their advantage too, after the first year they get in state tuition as well by declaring that state their state of residency.

  • kpwn

    In a whatever could be an idealized free market, H-1b employees would demand very similar compensation as US-born employees.

  • Peter

    On Cape Cod, the hospitality industry relies on visa workers every year. Most , resorts, clubs get the same employees year after year; from Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic. It is a way of life for Cape Cod businesses. What will happen to the economy in this region if the work force is not available? I own a restaurant ant and can not find American Citizens to work as dishwashers and cooks. Who is going to do this work?

    • Kevin Skipper

      Seasonal work visas are not the same as H-1B’s.

    • Brian

      Are you offering a decent wage? If not, don’t expect people to live in their cars for the privilege of working for you.

    • kpwn

      Caribbean is the traditional source of disposable employees for the US East coast, including Trump’s Mar-a-Lago.
      Mexico and Central America is US’s Western and Central states’ traditional source.

      In 2016, there were probably more international spies in Mar-a-Lago’s imported labor.
      In 2017, we should expect more background checks.

    • kpwn

      I own a restaurant and can not find American Citizens to work as dishwashers and cooks. Who is going to do this work?
      Small businesses are also partial victims of the laws bought by oligarchs.
      The US Chamber of Commerce is small businesses’ enemy.

      Large business treats small business as both sometime prey and sometime comrade.

  • Sharmila

    In college I did a summer job as a recruiter for one of the companies that hires these folks back in the early 90s. I spoke Hindi so I think that’s probably why I got hired.

    They would bring over workers from India, house them –five or six guys (and they were mainly guys) to one bedroom in an apartment the contracting firm had rented, have a company van pick them up in the morning that would then take them out to do back office work at a company like Williams & Sonoma, Wells Fargo, Cisco, etc. The work they did didn’t seem like it was highly skilled, it was more about data wrangling. I feel like this process pigeonholed South Asians and later would lead to a culture where tech companies have a lack of diversity at the higher decision making levels.

  • Kurt thialfad

    Krazny mentioned that the quote is 85,000. However, there are an additional 20,000 for those who graduate with US degrees. Plus, for educational and research institutions, there is no quota!!!
    So, MicroSoft or Hoffman-Roche can contract with UCSF or Rockefeller University to develop software or conduct clinical trials, and hire all the H1-B workers it wants.

    Kranzy – talk about the loopholes. Please!

    • Indian

      Add to that the spouses for H1 B who are now authorized to work ( without any restrictions of H1B.) So total number will be double of 850000

  • Vivek Khemani

    63% of tax dollars go into areas that don’t benefit an H1B visa holder (social security, medicare, medicaid, civil federal retirement, housing assistance, etc.). If someone is here for 6+ years on H1B visa, they may have contributed over a quarter million dollars to the US economy purely in ways that won’t benefit them. This benefit to the economy is never reflected in any of the conversations.

    • kpwn

      Implying that many H1-b persons in the US perceive that returning to country of origin is the less desirable than staying in the US.

      If someone is here for 6+ years on H1B visa
      I wonder what fraction stay for under 10 years (semi-arbitrary number of years) versus stay for much of the lifespan of their career.

      • Vivek Khemani

        The point is a lot of the current H1B visa holders who came here as students to study in one of the American universities (and spent over $100k in tuition and incidentals), were mostly in their mid-twenties when they landed, spent 2-3 years in school, got a job (and contributed another $250k+ in tax and other contributions to the economy) and worked hard to adopt the culture – these people end-up creating enough emotional, social and financial ties with this country that they don’t expect to be kicked out at the end of 6 years of H1B. They get comfortable with where they are and what they do (human nature) and expect the flexibility and rights like anyone else (especially after working hard and being a productive and contributing member of the society).

        BTW, 9-10 years is a long time, especially when you are starting your career – these are the most tender years of anyone’s adult life. After this long anywhere, most people expect it to be their “choice” to live and work where they want vs. either being tied down to any employer due to a limited legal status or being forced to go back to their home country. 9-10 years is also a long time to lose relevance and context of their local markets and the decision to move back becomes all the more difficult as it requires re-establishing your relevance in a different market which is often very difficult for most individuals.

    • kpwn

      Consider a country where high productivity is limited to a small group or region.
      Compare to a country in which high productivity is distributed more uniformly.

      The (first) limited country is also the model of today’s international maldistribution of productivity.

    • Brian

      The H1b holder’s parents and grandparents will receive social security, medicare, medicaid, etc.

      • Vivek Khemani

        Not true.. there are no social welfare benefits to either the H1B visa holders or their aging parents. In fact their parents can come here only on a temporary (6 months) visit visas and don’t have access to any of the benefits you listed.

        • Brian

          OK then perhaps I’m thinking of a different visa. I had a coworker from Laos who bragging his parents and grandparents would be on the dole.

        • faze

          Once they achieve green card status they can bring in extended family. There are well-worn networks that help get these people placed in low income housing, which aces out older Americans from those facilities. H1B is a scam; people need to say it like it is – a ripoff that takes advantage of H1Bs and screws over American workers. Yup – Zuckerberg, Gates, Chambers, Brin, etc. etc. and thousands of other tech and non-tech companies (GE and IBM are especially egregious) actively discriminate against American workers.

  • Die.Leit

    Anastasia’s comment about CEOs and others when asked about the back-office jobs is nonsense in my experience. My experience in chemistry is that the salary of PhD organic chemists decreased continuously from 1995 to 2010, and was never as low as $65k or this garbage that the H1B system has fabricated into our system. The salary went from about $110k to below $100k. The ACS puts out statistics on this. The system is abusive of Americans and H1B recipients, but also prevents the development of foreign countries. US companies do not “need to compete” by opening our borders and maximizing shareholder profits. Competition is bad for private enterprise, and they constantly fight it, whether it be from domestic or foreign firms or with participants in the labor market.

    • kpwn

      maximizing shareholder profits
      The oligarchs also legalize their theft from shareholders.

      The oligarchs pay an equivalent of Tonello when corporate governance is a broadcast discussion/debate topic.

    • kpwn

      Do you recall if $110k was 1995 dollars and $100k was 2010 dollars, or if those were adjusted to same year dollars (as should be)?

  • kpwn

    Anastasia Tonello: “Disney… (displacing whole departments with H1-b trained by department is a rare anomaly)”
    Tonello’s employers pay her to avoid mentioning that her employers paid for those anomalies.

    The other guest (Ron Hira?) refutes her claim/dodge.
    His rebuttals – one after another – appear completely correct.

    • faze

      Anastasia Tonello has to be one of the most disingenuous apologists for the H!B scam – especially the IT H!B sam – that I have yet heard, and I have heard many of them. Immigration attorneys have profited handsomely with the H!B scam in the IT sector.

      I have personally experienced watching IT workers from India who know *almost nothing* come in an get trained by people they are going to replace, and then stay on in America or go back home to India and perform their outsourced work there.

      There *are* some talented H1Bs, but lets not kid ourselves about the general quality of *most* H1Bs in the IT sector. Just take a look at the *rampant* fraud in the Indian University system. Same with China. Companies like WiPro and Tata, etc. have American operations and will often employ completely unqualified personnel in their Indian operations for 1 year so that they then “qualify” as able to come to America under visa status.

      Anastasia Tonello tries to lump in seriously talented foreign students who come to America for study with the hoards of *unqualified* H1Bs (largely, from India) that have been used by American CEOs (with the all-too-willing-help of people like Anastasia Tonello) to replace *qualified American workers.

      I love the Forum show, but I would really like Mr. Krasny to bring in some IT workers from Silicon Valley who can let his audience know some *street level* reality about this scam.

      My bet is that Trump will do very little to truly stem this tide, because both he and the neoliberals who love corporate America really don’t care about the American worker.

      Stated in another post above, I dare anyone to look into getting an IT position in Silicon Valley to tell me that 95%of the people that they speak with (recruiters) are anything other than Indian immigrants.

      I know of one major contracting company (Indian) that asks for TEN qualified resumes a day from its recruiters, when it is well known that ten *per month* is considered superstar status by any viable recruiting agency.

      I have seen perfectly qualified Americans put to work in these job shops as the “token” American, only to be aced out *after outperforming their Indian peers*, only to be replaced by Indian personnel with inferior skill sets.

      Try witnessing the regional preferences for immigrants exhibited by Indian H1Bs. They will OPENLY discrimiate against people from other regions than the one they come from; hire family and friends; (openly* discriminate against women, and so on. This is NOT all Indian H1B’s but it IS a significant minority.

      Last, blame WHITE American CEOs and politicians for this labor outrage. the doublespeakk delivered by people like Anastasia Tonello, while she walks to the bank with her satchel of money from helping corporations commit this scam, is outrageous. Seriously. I would have personally loved to debate Tonello on Forum; almost every one of her answers were papered over distortions, outright lies, or fluff to make it sound as if American IT and other industry would die without H1Bs. Tonello is just another corporate-associated lacky who profits from this betrayal of qualified Americans.

      Last, I don’t blame the Indians who come here to better themselves, but we ARE paying a cultural price in the American IT workplace because they bring their cultural biases with them. I blame American CEOs and politicians and people like Anastasia Tonello for whom the $$$ is the final arbiter of human value. And I am not overstating the case to say that people like Tonello make me sick. She should be ashamed of herself for promoting a policy that has cause untold harm to literally millions of people.

  • rsb sb

    While abuse is real, being shackled on H1B and being held hostage to the vagaries of world exonomy and politics puts lives in permanent impermanence. 1.5 million of them. A large portion on h1b visas are educated in US universities, all pay taxes and are employed directly with American businesses. They Are willing contributors and entrepreneurs in America yet have to wait close to 20- 70 years. I’m myself stuck in this wait for 12 years and in fact made a feature film on this topic “For Here or To Go?” which is playing in theaters. It’s the side of this debate that seldom gets attention but it is what affects human potential and America’s competitiveness.

    • Sharmila

      The system is abusive to H1B workers it seems, and also seems to prevent the development of foreign countries as Die. Leit said.

      I’ve often heard comments from people who are living in India, well invested in being a part of the country, that when Indian students don’t return to India to work there –and thereby help develop Indian society with their U.S. PhDs, that they are causing brain drain, and it hurts India’s development.

      And, it hurts the individual, the best and brightest who are stuck in the U.S. in this limbo place waiting for a Green Card they hope will come through. They can’t develop in other ways. I’ll check out the film “For Here or To Go,” –sounds interesting, and sad.

  • NewRep

    I don’t understand why the tech companies are complaining about unless they are abusing the current system.
    Trump executive order doesn’t stop the program and nothing has been finalized but the people are jumping up and down.
    Instead of giving 85000 out and hopefully we get a few bright people, we should be more selective and get all brightest people from the world. We should create program to allow the people, who come here to study and work, have the choices to work for any companies. Even the H1B visa holders also feel they are being exploited by the companies. That is fair for them and for the American workers.

  • H1B was supposed to be for the “exceptional”, Einsteins and Fermis.
    Instead we ended up with hundreds of plane loads of Software Quality Assurance Engineers.
    And they’re competing with our children for jobs.
    Who benefits from this, and why is it allowed?

  • jakeleone

    I liked that Gokul (the software engineer) was on there. He was telling the truth, from a foreign worker’s perspective.

    Realise this, a great engineer, with a lot of good ideas, can create a lot of jobs. But that’s not how the H-1b is being used.

    Because it also turns out, (Hira points this out) that despite any expense (mostly lawyers fees) related to the H-1b, employers want H-1b workers because they are indentured. And that principal advantage cannot be overcome by American workers, because of the 13th amendment. That 13th Amendment made modern Capitalism, before that we had slavery and feudalism.

    And you don’t see Silicon Valley out there lobbying for more Green Cards, or for changing the H-1b from indenturement based, to employee controlled Green Card based. If they did, they would have some credibility in this debate. Instead they whine like a children, for more or unlimited H-1b visas.

    But Krasny should have a variety of engineers in on his program. Some of us have had the threat of H-1b replacement waved at us, in order for a manager to get their way (I have). That particular manager is long gone, because he couldn’t cut it. But frankly, if he had had his way, my career might have been cut short.

    And small business is just too myopic to point, maybe even to realize, that if we kicked the Offshore Outsourcing companies out of the program, and did away with the lottery. We would have more visas available for the job producing companies, instead of the job destroyers.

    Engineers may be a small part of the workforce, Anastasia, but they have a big impact on employment. Engineers at Apple, in Cupertino, made 700,000 jobs in China, several thousand jobs in the U.S. Getting the H-1b right, is critical to the economic prospects of the United States. When Anastasia says, “it is just a small number of H-1b visas”, she is just saying, I am perfectly fine with the current system, because it maximize dependence on lawyers, and continuing legal dependence. Basically H-1b is her meal ticket.

    If engineers are used properly, each one of them can either boost productivity a 100x and/or create a 100 more jobs. And this sluggish U.S. recovery is very much symptomatic of the fact that most of the H-1b visas, over the last 10 years were used to duplicate entire departments in India, without a net human productivity increase. And the unreformed anemic H-1b program, failed to provide small businesses with the needed visas, when they were asking for them.

    But you won’t hear the big tech companies talking about reforming the H-1b program (only expanding it). Because the big tech companies all have contracts with the Offshore Outsourcing companies. And truth be told, they like the H-1b program, flaws and all, exactly the way it is. It can stay that way forever as far as the Offshore Outsourcing companies and Big-Tech are concerned.

  • Sasquatch

    Don’t know if I have ever heard as much b.s. come out of a single person’s mouth per second as out of Tonello’s during this segment.

  • faze

    Just saw this today: A study from India showing that 95% of Indian software engineers are UNFIT for software development jobs.

    I would love to see Forum bring in some people who present more information about the outrageous abuse of this program by the American tech sector, and how it has been used to discriminate against older (qualified) software engineers, as well as create a “race to the bottom” in wages for software engineering in America.

    I’m still bristling from the gross distortions and outright lies presented by Anastasia Tonello, the immigration attorney who represents the “for” side in the H1B debate.


Michael Krasny

Michael Krasny, PhD, has been in broadcast journalism since 1983. He was with ABC in both radio and television and migrated to public broadcasting in 1993. He has been Professor of English at San Francisco State University and also taught at Stanford, the University of San Francisco and the University of California, as well as in the Fulbright International Institutes. A veteran interviewer for the nationally broadcast City Arts and Lectures, he is the author of a number of books, including “Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life” (Stanford University Press) “Spiritual Envy” (New World); “Sound Ideas” (with M.E. Sokolik/ McGraw-Hill); “Let There Be Laughter” (Harper-Collins) as well as the twenty-four lecture series in DVD, audio and book, “Short Story Masterpieces” (The Teaching Company). He has interviewed many of the world’s leading political, cultural, literary, science and technology figures, as well as major figures from the world of entertainment. He is the recipient of many awards and honors including the S.Y. Agnon Medal for Intellectual Achievement; The Eugene Block Award for Human Rights Journalism; the James Madison Freedom of Information Award; the Excellence in Journalism Award from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association; Career Achievement Award from the Society of Professional Journalists and an award from the Radio and Television News Directors Association. He holds a B.A. (cum laude) and M.A. from Ohio University and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin.

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