HR 2131 – SKILLS Visa Act: trading American workers for foriengers

Since April of 2013 we have been following and discussing HR 2131, also known as the SKILLS Visa Act. To most Americans it is just another of those boring Bills facing Congress that they don’t want to know about – and politicians are eager for Americans to not learn the details.

M V Consulting president, and former New York 22nd congressional district candidate, Michael Vasquez championed bringing attention to this issue on the campaign trail. For more than a year, a singular question was asked, ‘Why would politicians want to take jobs from American workers and give them to foreigners instead?’

Here is the background. HR 2131, SKILLS Visa Act, would give 160,000 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) jobs to foreigners over US workers. That’s an annual number. It would mean 1.6 million jobs in 10 years. This would be made possible via H1B visas, allowing for foreigners to work in America.

The argument is that there is a dire need for these jobs. One of the main proponents of this Bill is Rep. Richard Hanna of the NY-22. He has claimed that,

“… if Congress undertakes immigration reform without permitting small businesses to access the qualified STEM workers they are clamoring for now we will be missing an opportunity to revitalize our economy.” – April 24, 2013, Politico article – Help wanted: The STEM workforce shortage

Rep. Hanna and other strive to claim that there is a shortage of STEM jobs. That in giving 160,000 jobs to foreigners over Americans, this will help the economy. But in the past year, Rep. Hanna refused to publicly address the issue, no matter how often he was asked, the question was raised, or while television commercials brought the issue to the American public.

But the debate on HR 2131 has not been stifled by the reluctance of its supporters to explain to constituents why they may be without work in favor of a foreigner. On May 20, 2014 Steven Camarota of the National Review Online published an article debunking the myth of a STEM job shortage. That article cited studies by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), the RAND Corporation, the Urban Institute, and the National Research Council. It further cited a PBS coverage – The Bogus High-Tech Worker Shortage: How Guest Workers Lower U.S. Wages.

The conclusion of Mr. Camarota,

“So if there is a superabundance of native and immigrant STEM workers and little wage growth, and STEM immigration already exceeds the absorption capacity of the STEM labor market, why are there calls to allow in even more? The answer, put simply, is greed and politics.” [emphasis added]

Not only is there strong and conclusive evidence that there is no shortage of STEM jobs, there is proof of a glut. There is estimated to be 2 Americans qualified for ever 1 STEM job available, for the next 10 years. Keep in mind that HR 2131, the SKILLS Visa Act will give 1.6 million of these jobs to foreigners throughout this glut. It effectively means that 3.2 million Americans will be restricted from getting a job over the next 10 years.

How can that help the economy? How can that be defended?

Well Rep. Richard Hanna, live on-air on WIBX on April 4, 2014 – after the main challenger asking him to explain his position on HR 2131 had left the race – offered this answer. The SKILLS Visa Act is about foreign

    students

. Which makes everything ok.

If we ignore all other facts and factors, as Rep. Hanna and the supporters of the SKILLS Visa Act want the public to do, then the result is that 2 American students, studying next to the foreign students in the same class, will be left unemployed with the burden of student loans on their backs as the foreign student is employed instead of them. The exact words of Rep. Hanna, as he said them on-air, and the rebuttal by Michael Vasquez can be seen in this video:

Yet, with all that, Rep. Richard Hanna and supporters of HR 2131 continue to push for this part of immigration reform. They continue to push the thought that this will help the American economy. Thus we want to bring a bit of real-world impact that the SKILLS Visa Act, and other immigration reforms like it, are bringing to American workers.

Patrick Thibodeau of Computerworld.com, wrote an article – This IT worker had to train an H-1B replacement – on June 10, 2014. This is what is the reality of what Rep. Hanna and other support.

“Many younger IT workers found jobs and left. Mainframe workers were apparently in demand and also able to find new jobs. But older workers with skills in open systems, storage and SAN faced a harder time…

“I said, ‘No, I’m not going to another job,” A.B. recalled. “‘You are taking my job. I don’t have another job to go to.'” A.B. explained that as an older worker it would be difficult to get another full-time position.

The offshore outsourcing worker later sent A.B. a Facebook friend request. “I don’t think he comprehended the situation over here — that we were losing our jobs, we didn’t have jobs to go to,” A.B. said.

Not students. Not helping the economy.

HR 2131, SKILLS Visa Act, equates to 3.2 million Americans losing jobs, or being unable to be hired for a job, so a cheaper foreigner can get that same job. Mr. Camarota calls this greed. Rep. Richard Hanna calls this helping students.

We ask the American people, and the voters, is HR 2131 worth it? Is the SKILLS Visa Act worth 3.2 million unemployed Americans?

About the Author

Michael Vass
Born in 1968, a political commentator for over a decade. Has traveled the U.S. and lived in Moscow and Tsblisi, A former stockbroker and 2014 Congressional candidate. Passionate about politics with emphasis on 1st and 2nd Amendments.

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