In a nutshell: Judging by the past, Hillary will most likely support importing more cheap labor to displace more American workers and further depress domestic wages — whereas, Bernie most probably won't.
UPDATE March 19, 2016: CISCO's Republican CEO and "Outsourcer-and-Chief" supports the TPP trade deal. Today he just endorsed Hillary Clinton for president!
[Editor's note: This is a post about the late Steve Jobs, President Obama, Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders — on H-1B guestworker visas — and about the tech industry and their false claim about a "skills gap" — and how more and more Americans are graduating from college, but still not finding work — and why we have depressed and stagnant wages — and what it all comes down to: Corporate greed and the politicians who support corporate greed. Read through all the links. For the most part, the Republicans aren't mentioned in this post because, generally speaking, most of them support bringing in more foreign guestworkers for lower wages to benefit big and powerful corporations — which is primarily the GOP's bread-and-butter.]
Business Insider ( January 8, 2015) At a dinner meeting [fundraiser] with Obama, Steve Jobs told him there should be a program where foreigners who earned an engineering degree could be given a visa to stay in the US — when at that time Apple employed 700,000 factory workers in China, plus 30,000 engineers to support those workers.
Politifact: (November 22, 2011— which they rated Mostly True) Michele Bachmann said Steve Jobs told President Barack Obama that he had to move a great deal of his operation over to China because he couldn't find 30,000 engineers to be able to do the work that needed to be done. Steve Jobs stressed the need for more trained engineers and suggested that any foreign students who earned an engineering degree in the United States should be given a visa to stay in the country. Jobs said Apple had 700,000 factory workers employed in China, and that was because it needed 30,000 engineers on-site to support those workers. "You can't find that many in America to hire. These factory engineers did not have to be PhDs or geniuses; they simply needed to have basic engineering skills for manufacturing. Tech schools, community colleges, or trade schools could train them. If you could educate these engineers, we could move more manufacturing plants here.'"
Business Insider (October 24, 2011) When the Republicans were blocking the "Dream Act", Steve Jobs said it should be amended to give foreign engineering students visas to work in the United States. Jobs said the Obama administration was not business-friendly and said it was impossible to build a factory in the United States due to regulations and unnecessary costs. Apple had 700,000 factory workers employed in China, where it was much easier to build and run a factory. Jobs also said the American education system was "hopelessly antiquated" and crippled by teachers' unions. Apple's factories, for example, needed 30,000 skilled engineers — something the U.S. education system was not producing. He suggested the President completely overhaul the system and proposed an 11-month school year with days that lasted until 6 p.m. - - "You can't find that many in America to hire," he said. "If you could educate these engineers, we could move more manufacturing plants here."
Excerpts from The Nation: Why Skills Are Not Enough to Land a Job (by Michelle Chen on January 5, 2016)
A few years ago, politicians were decrying low graduation rates and high schools as “dropout factories” — pushing kids into lifetimes of poverty, joblessness and wasted potential. Now the curve has apparently shifted.
According to The New York Times, in light of rising graduation rates in recent years, education experts (presumably those same ones who previously worried about low high school completion rates) now worry this seemingly good news is actually meaningless, because diplomas are losing their “value.” So while graduation rates steadily tick up, should we suspect a shifting of the academic goal post?
Research cited by Achieve Inc — a think tank spearheaded by business leaders (including Exxon-Mobil, Intel Foundation, and JP Morgan Chase Foundation) shows they seem very alarmed by a lack of qualified job applicants. Many high school graduates start community college needing major remedial coursework, and may struggle to catch up to college-level academics.
But cynicism about lackluster diplomas may be misplaced, or more dangerously, distract the public from holding corporations and policymakers accountable for dismal job prospects. The worries about inadequate graduation standards echo the perennial warnings emanating from the corporate world about the so-called “skills gap,” which economist Paul Krugman calls a “zombie idea” frequently manipulated by business “opinion leaders” seeking to avoid blame for mass joblessness or low wages.
EPI’s latest analysis of workforce data, however, reverses the blame equation for young graduates by showing long-term barriers to secure employment that can’t be explained away by variations in academic rigor. Historically, the unemployment rate among younger workers (under age 25) has been more than double the general unemployment rate, reaching 12.3 percent versus 5.3 percent in early 2015. Moreover, long-term unemployment has consistently afflicted workers at all education levels, undercutting the notion that some magical pool of jobs is waiting to be claimed by those with just the right skill sets. (And thus makes it harder for employers to justify not offering decent wages and working conditions.)
EPI contends, the impoverishment of this generation “did not arise because young people today lack enough education or skills. Rather, it stems from weak demand for goods and services, which makes it unnecessary for employers to significantly ramp up hiring… not workers lacking the right skills or education.”
The perceived diploma crisis parallels the slippery rhetoric around the so-called “STEM crisis,” which corporate giants have portrayed as a systemic lack of qualified graduates to fill scientific and technical positions. Yet empirical analyses of STEM field job markets reveal distinctly little evidence of a widespread, systemic lack of graduates across the STEM fields. Perhaps an immediate “shortage” of software engineers might appear alongside a glut of chemistry PhDs, and plenty of science majors work outside their field. It certainly doesn’t mean science and tech are not important educational fields to develop. But these patterns do not point to a structural educational crisis.
Consider other deficits that high school graduates face in today’s economy: massive income inequality and stagnant wages, chronic financial crisis amid unsustainable housing costs and suffocating debts. And youth are graduating into a bleak gap in the quality of work, with a rise since the recession in relatively low-paying jobs without benefits.
EPI argues that a more effective, immediate way for policymakers to brighten the prospects of high school graduates would be driving meaningful public investment. This won’t solve the long-term problems facing high schoolers, but it can help stabilize young students and workers navigating an increasingly shaky economy.
[Editors' note: I mentioned a few of these points in my posts Unemployed Youth and College Grads drive decline in Labor Force and Debunking the STEM Crisis Myth. It should also be noted that Senator Bernie Sanders is a big fan of public investment — aka infrastructure spending. I also posted about the H-1B visa scam.]
India Times (June 18, 2015) The US Congress in recent months has been considering Bills that seek to triple the cap of H-1B visas to 195,000. There is, however, a growing discontent about the H-1B visa process among skilled workers in the US, who say the visas are a way for big companies to hire cheaper foreign workers ... Among the two announced candidates on the Democratic side, Senator Bernie Sanders is a critic of the H-1B visa program. If he raises the temporary visa issue, it may be to challenge former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's support for raising the visa cap.
Sanders has been outspoken about his stance on H-1B visas, which are commonly used in the high-tech sector. H-1B visas are supposedly for temporary guestworkers, not for permanent immigrants. Sanders argues that the program allows corporations to give American jobs to foreign workers.
USA Today (July 30, 2015) Sanders: Wall Street Wants Immigration Reform To Depress Wages:
Bernie Sanders says increasing the number of foreign-worker visas in the United States would further stifle lagging wage growth here and make it harder for citizens struggling to find jobs. This populist economic position puts him at odds with some immigration-reform groups and technology companies, which are seeking a lift on the cap for such visas, known as H-1B, as part of broader immigration reform. The independent Vermont senator and Democratic presidential candidate supports a comprehensive approach to immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for workers in the country illegally. But he's balked at visa expansion, describing it as a way for large corporations to employ low-wage foreign labor, rather than Americans. "There is a reason that Wall Street and all of corporate America likes immigration reform. And it's not, in my view, that they're staying up nights worrying about undocumented workers," Sanders told the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce during a forum Thursday. "There are corporations who would prefer to bring people from other countries into America for lower wages." ... The failed 2013 immigration legislation, drafted by a bipartisan group in the Senate known as the "Gang of Eight," included a provision to raise the cap on H-1B visas from 65,000 to 110,000 annually. Tech companies argued the change was necessary to lure more high-skilled workers to the country to fill open positions at some of America's most innovative companies.
Last year Bernie Sanders was one of 10 senators to seek an investigation into H-1B visas, citing concerns that the visas were being used to displace American workers. Computer World (April 9, 2015) 10 U.S. senators seek investigation into H-1B-driven layoffs:
They are asking the U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security and the Labor Department to investigate the use of the H-1B program "to replace large numbers of American workers" ... at the same time lawmakers are pushing a substantial increase in H-1B visas under the I-Squared bill, legislation that would raise the H-1B cap ...
On May 13, 2013 the IEEE-USA (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) released a statement saying "IEEE-USA is urging the Senate Judiciary Committee to reject amendments to the comprehensive immigration bill that would increase H-1B temporary visa numbers, weaken safeguards for U.S. and foreign workers and facilitate the outsourcing of American jobs."
The I-Squared Act of 2015 brought the issue of H-1B visas back into the spotlight. The legislation would raise the cap on H-1B visas from 65,000 to up to 195,000, depending on market conditions and demand.
Computer World (January 14, 2015)
IEEE-USA said the legislation, introduced by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, will "help destroy" the U.S. tech workforce with guest workers. Other critics said the bill gives the tech industry "a huge increase in the supply of lower-cost foreign guest workers so they can undercut and replace American workers" [and] the bill "will result in an exponential rise of American jobs being shipped overseas." The bill is a reintroduction of the earlier "I-Square" bill, but it includes enough revisions to be considered new. It increases the H-1B visa cap to 195,000 (instead of an earlier 300,000 cap), and eliminates the cap on people who earn an advanced degree in a STEM (science, technology, education and math) field ... The bill also makes it easier for U.S. advanced degree graduates to get a green card ... The number of H-1B visas today is capped at 65,000, with an additional 20,000 allowed for advanced degree holders in STEM fields. The number of H-1B visas issued is actually higher, when groups exempt from the cap such as non-profits and research institutions, are added. EPI estimates that between 2007 and 2012 nearly 776,000 H-1B visas were issued -- an average of almost 130,000 per year ... main problem with the I-squared bill is that it doesn't propose any wage or recruitment reforms that the H-1B program needs ... IEEE-USA has favored green card immigration over an expansion of the H-1B program ... The IEEE estimates that bill will actually increase the H-1B use to about 300,000 and believes as many as 50,000 H-1B users will be advanced degree holders. An H-1B visa is good for six years, and the IEEE estimates that it represents at least an additional 1.8 million employees competing for jobs in a U.S. STEM workforce of about 5 million.
In 2008, Clinton said she supported raising the H-1B visa cap, according to InfoWorld: ""I also want to reaffirm my commitment to the H-1B visa program and to increase the current cap. Foreign skilled workers contribute greatly to our technological development. That is well understood in Silicon Valley."
Computer World (April 15, 2015) Here's where Clinton and Rubio stand on the H-1B visa issue:
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Hillary Clinton, the onetime Democratic Senator from New York and former Secretary of State for President Barack Obama -- both support increasing the H-1B visa cap ... The Clinton legacy on the H-1B visa goes deep and involves decisions in the late 1990s that had a major impact on how it is used today. In 1998, then-President Bill Clinton's administration was under pressure from the tech industry to raise the cap. But the administration wanted a cap increase coupled with reforms that would require companies to first try to hire U.S. workers if a job paid less than $75,000. (Adjusted for inflation, that would be $108,000 in today's dollars, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator.) The Clinton administration's intent was to call the industry's bluff that there was a shortage of highly skilled workers. But the administration backed away from its position after negotiations with Congress, and didn't require employers to make a good faith effort to first hire American workers before bringing in a temporary employee. The compromise bill, which increased the H-1B cap to 115,000, only required recruitment attestation from H-1B-dependent employers -- those defined as having 51 or more employees, at least 15% of whom were H-1B visa holders.
Off-shoring jobs or in-shoring jobs — either way it puts Americans out of work. So who would you support for President in 2016 — someone who will increase H-1B visas, or someone who wouldn't? Take my poll at the top right hand side of this page to let us know. Thanks.
If you look at ALL the bills Bernie Sanders voted on, you’ll see that, regarding guestworker visas, he has the overall best voting record of ALL the Democrats. If you wanted to vote for someone based on ONE SINGLE ISSUE, there are plenty of Republicans that might be stricter than the Independent Bernie Sanders on guestworker visas.
But because Sanders also favors a fair pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants who are already here, Sanders sometimes finds himself stuck between a rock and a hard place with members of Congress when compromising to get amendments passed. (See his stance on immigration issues here). But as president, he will take a much broader view than he does as a senator representing the constituents of one single State (like he did with his mixed votes on gun control, which Hillary Clinton has used as her one single issue against Bernie Sanders).
H-1B visa position of Democratic Presidential Candidates:
- Bernie Sanders: Voted yes for Gang of Eight bill that increases work visas — but as a compromise, with stipulations. (See a list of his voting record below.)
- Hillary Clinton: wants to increase H-1B visas. Amount no specified.
- Martin O’Malley: wants to increase H-1Bvisas. Amount no specified.
- Lincoln Chafee: wants to increase H-1Bvisas. Amount no specified.
H-1B visa position of Republican Presidential Candidates:
- Rand Paul: wants to increase visas from 65,000 to 325,000
- Ted Cruz: wants to increase visas from 65,000 to 325,000
- Lindsey Graham: wants to increase visas from 65,000 to 195,000
- Marco Rubio: wants to increase visas from 65,000 to 195,000
- Rick Perry: wants H-1B visa increase. Amount not specified.
- Jeb Bush: wants H-1B visa increase. Amount not specified.
- Carly Fiorina: used H-1B visas frequently when at Hewlett Packard
- Mike Huckabee : H-1b visas displace American workers with cheap labor
- Rick Santorum: H-1b visas displace American workers with cheap labor
- Donald Trump: H-1b visas displace American workers with cheap labor
* NOTE: Sanders record to reduce unnecessary worker visas is better than ALL Democrats. Check out Bernie’s voting record on visas below. He is stricter than many of the Republicans!
2015: Voted against the FY2016 Omnibus Spending bill to increase foreign guest workers: Sen. Sanders voted against H.R. 2029, the Omnibus Spending bill for 2016. This legislation would increase the number of H-2B low-skilled, non-agricultural guest worker visas issued in 2016 from 66,000 to 264,000. The legislation would exempt foreign workers who had received an H-2B visa in any of the past three years from the 2016 cap.
2015: Voted against H.R. 2146 to grant President authority to expand immigration levels without Congress' consent via Trade Promotion Authority (TPA): Sen. Sanders voted against final passage of Trade Promotion Authority bill, H.R. 2146.
2015: Voted against granting President authority to expand immigration levels without Congress' consent via Trade Promotion Authority in 2015.
2013: Voted in favor of legislation to increase foreign worker visas: Sen. Sanders voted in favor of invoking cloture on S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, the Gang of Eight's comprehensive amnesty bill, this allowing the bill to proceed to final passage in the Senate. The legislation would provide a pathway to citizenship for 11 million illegal aliens living in the United States. The legislation DOES mandate use of the E-Verify system, ENDS the visa lottery, and INCREASE border patrol manpower.
2007-2008: Voted on Senate floor against increasing foreign worker importation: Sen. Sanders voted against a second motion to invoke cloture on S. 1639, which would increase the importation of both temporary and permanent foreign workers. S. 1639 would increase the importation of temporary foreign workers by 340,000 year and also add 106,877 permanent workers a year for 5 years.
2007-2008: Voted on Senate floor against increasing foreign worker visas: Sen. Sanders voted against a motion to invoke cloture on S. 1639, which would increase importation of temporary and permanent foreign workers.
2007-2008: Voted on Senate floor in favor reducing foreign worker importation: Sen. Sanders voted against a motion to invoke cloture on the substitute amendment (SA 1150) to S. 1348, a bill to increase importation of temporary and permanent foreign workers.
2007-2008: Voted for an amendment to sunset guestworker provisions of a bill. Sen. Sanders voted in favor of the Dorgan Amendment (SA 1316) to S. 1348 to sunset the guestworker provisions of the bill in five years. This was the second vote on the Dorgan Amendment which previously failed by a vote of 48 to 49. This time it passed by a vote of 49 to 48.
2007-2008: Voted for an amendment to protect American workers: Sen. Sanders voted in favor of the Durbin Amendment to S. 1348 to ensure that employers make efforts to recruit American workers before hiring foreign workers. The Durbin Amendment passed by a vote of 71 to 22.
2007-2008: Voted in favor of amendment to increase fees on H-1B visas: Sen. Sanders voted in favor of the Sanders Amendment to S. 1348 increase the fees employers who wish to import H-1B high-skill nonimmigrant workers from $1,500 to $10,000, with the funds going to scholarships for American high tech students. The Sanders Amendment passed by a vote of 59 to 35.
2007-2008: Voted for an amendment to reduce a proposed guestworker program in a bill: Sen. Sanders voted in favor of the Bingaman Amendment (SA 1169) to S. 1348. The Bingaman Amendment would reduce the annual importation of workers under the new guestworker programs proposed by S. 1348 from 400,000 to 200,000 workers per year. The Bingaman Amendment passed by a vote 74 of 24.
2007-2008: Voted for an amendment to remove a proposed guestworker program in a bill. Sen. Sanders voted in favor of the Dorgan Amendment to S. 1348 to delete the provisions of S. 1348 that would create a new guestworker program for up to 600,000 foreign workers annually. The Dorgan Amendment failed by a vote of 31 to 64.
2005-2006: Voted against CAFTA, foreign worker importation program: Rep. Sanders voted against H.R. 3045, the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act (CAFTA), on July 28, 2005. It is expected that CAFTA would create the expectation of immigration and lead to an increase in illegal immigration. H.R. 3045 was sponsored by Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas).
2005-2006: Cosponsored bill to prevent the displacement of American workers for foreign workers: Rep. Sanders cosponsored of H.R. 3381 to provide much needed protections for American workers by preventing employers using the L-1 visa to hire foreign workers from displacing American workers to hire L-1s. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) was the primary cosponsor.
2005-2006: Voted against an amendment to prohibit foreign-worker importation provisions in Free Trade Agreements: Rep. Sanders voted against the Tancredo Amendment to H.R. 2862 to prevent the U.S. Trade Representative from including immigration provisions in Free Trade Agreements. The Tancredo Amendment failed by a vote of 106 to 322.
2003-2004: Voted against a bill to increase foreign-worker visas: Rep. Sanders voted against the Chile Free Trade Agreement, H.R. 2738, that would permit an unlimited number of tech and professional workers from Chile to enter the U.S. on L-1 visas. H.R. 2738, sponsored by Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas), passed by a vote of 270-156.
2003-2004: Voted against a bill to create worker importation program: Rep. Sanders voted against the Singapore Free Trade Agreement, H.R. 2739 that would permit an unlimited number of tech and professional workers to enter the U.S. on L-1 visas.
2003-2004: Cosponsored bill preventing employers from hiring foreign workers to displace American workers: Rep. Sanders cosponsored H.R. 2702, a bill to provide much needed protections for American workers by preventing employers using the L-1 visa to hire foreign workers and displacing American workers to hire L-1s.
1998: Voted against a bill to double H-1B foreign high-tech workers: Rep. Sanders opposed passage of H.R.3736, which ultimately increased by nearly 150,000 the number of foreign workers that high-tech American companies could hire over the next three years.
1996: Voted against the Burr Amendment which would continue a foreign nurse guestwork program: The Burr amendment to H.R.2202 would have continued a foreign nurses guestworker program.
1996: Voted against the Pombo Amendment which would allow businesses to import foreign farm workers: The Pombo Amendment to H.R.2202 would have created a massive new foreign agriculture worker program that allowed agri-business to import up to 250,000 foreign farm workers each year for a period of service of less than a year.
1996: Voted for an amendment that would have increased the importation of foreign workers: Senator Sanders voted for the Chrysler-Berman Amendment to H.R.2202. The amendment passed by 238-183. The bill INCREASED border patrol and investigative personnel, by increasing penalties for alien smuggling and for document fraud, by reforming exclusion and deportation law and procedures — and by improving the verification system for eligibility for employment.
Washington Post (May 25, 2013) Bernie Sanders made his position very clear back then...
"My concerns are in regards to where we stand in terms of guest workers programs, made worse by amendments offered by Senator Hatch. What I do not support is, under the guise of immigration reform, a process pushed by large corporations which results in more unemployment and lower wages for American workers ... I find it hard to understand that, when nine million people in this country have degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields, only about three million have jobs in these areas ... When these companies tell you that they desperately need high skilled workers, why not raise wages to attract those workers? ... A lot of the initiative behind these guest workers programs, a very large expansion of guest worker programs — H2B visas would go up to as many as 195,000, H1B to as many as 205,000 a year — is coming from large corporations who want cheap labor from abroad ..."