I have quite often mentioned what I call the “Intels Good, Infosyses Bad” argument being made in discussions on the H-1B work visa. As most of you readers know, this refers to the viewpoint in which the (primarily Indian) “rent-a-programmer” firms such as Infosys are considered the main ones abusing the visa, while all the others, which I refer to as the Intels, are viewed as using the program responsibly.
Note that the “Intels” consist of any employer whose H-1Bs are hired primarily from the pool of foreign-student graduates of U.S. universities, not just large, household-name firms like Intel. In my last post, for instance, I mentioned a small bank with branches in various Bay Area locations.
I have argued, and I believe have demonstrated well, that the Intels and Infosyses are equally culpable. The “Intels Good, Infosyses Bad” (IGIB) argument made by the Intels has had the goal of distracting attention from their own misuse of H-1B. I have also explained many times that the IGIB argument is not only fallacious but also destructive, as it will lead to legislation that will make things WORSE, not better.
Unfortunately, even many critics of H-1B have succumbed to the IGIB story line promoted by the Intels. For instance, a recent blog post by Progressives for Immigration Reform takes this view. I wish they had done their homework on this issue.
Yesterday a colleague mentioned to me that my university would be hosting a talk by UC San Diego professor John Skrentny, concerning the issue of whether the claimed STEM labor shortage is real. I had not heard of him before, but the UCSD affiliation was a bit of a red flag, and sure enough, he too is an IGIB man. I would be surprised if his institute did not have funding from nearby Qualcomm, but there has been such a steady IGIB drumbeat in the press, especially the New York Times, that it is easy to fall into the IGIB trap innocently.
Sadly, Skrentny also buys into the notion that the IGIB argument is valid because the Intels tend to sponsor their H-1Bs for green cards, while the Infosyses do not. While it is true that there is such a difference between the two industry sectors, the fact is that the Intels’ green card sponsorship is actually an additional way to abuse the system. The wait for a green card is many years in duration, during which time the foreign worker is essentially immobile. The Intels love this, and they are arguably worse abusers than the Infosyses.
As Skrenty points out, both major parties support IGIB, and President Trump has supported it consistently for the last two years. As noted, the press is on board too, with the Restrictionist immigration-reform groups largely concurring.
So, if not for the wedge issue of unauthorized immigration getting in the way, we would have seen an IGIB bill pass long ago. Again, I’ve made my case that such legislation will make things worse, not better. If you disagree, please explain, in the reader comments section of this blog.