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H-1B visa fraud: Sunnyvale man indicted for bringing in 600 workers illegally (mercurynews.com)
178 points by surfallday on Nov 11, 2018 | hide | past | web | favorite | 163 comments



The obvious solution (making h1b non-transferable across employers again, without even the 30 day window) probably causes more harm than benefit here.

I assume someone could abusively misuse h1b in the traditional Wipro/Infosys way anyway, by doing staffing companies. His fraud was just more capital efficient but not that fundamentally different.

It is probably unpopular, but I think h1b should be ended. Genuine short term needs should be covered through something like L1, and aside from specific categories of non-immigrant visa like medical or educational, we should just expand immigrant visas on a Canadian/NZ style merit/points system. This would be less discriminatory against people from big countries (China and India specifically), avoid some of the abuse possibilities, and be better for employees/immigrants and their families. The only losers would be body shops and large employers who benefit today from a limited form of indenture.


IMO the obvious solution is a) don't tie the visa to an employer and b) increase the earning bar.

This way the body shopping model breaks. Also in the current system workers tied to an employer have less leverage in terms of demands/wage negotiations, and tend to stick around for a long time, so this part of incentive from the hiring managers perspective will go away.


One of the massive holes in the process is the definition of maximum duration of "6 years", of course that is 3 years at a time.

So Indian outsourcing companies get a visa in October 2010, do not send the person to US till June 2011, the person does a 6 month project then goes back, comes back 6 months later and spends some time and goes back again. At the end they file for lost days recapture and keep on extending the H1 for 8-9-10-12 years because the person has not spent 12 years employed. While this works for the outsourcing companies, the existence of this model creates perverse incentives for any employer as they have no obligation to pay a person simply because they can classify as being employed in different branch (India), on vacation (sometimes), on unpaid vacation (bench).

If the visa was given for 3 or 6 years (with renewal) but you had to a) pay the person or surrender the visa, maybe if you use only 80% for year 1 and the visa gets canceled, and b) there was no extension because of any sundry reasons : initial visa issued in October 2010 expires in September 2016 come what may, you could maybe fix it a little bit. Of course business cycles can bring in some uncertainty but then maybe we can not penalize a single H1 but if the company has deployed only 70% of its H1 staff on US salary, and is still asking for a visa in the next year, it is obviously a no no : if you are such a company then further visas are just not granted.


Yeah the US really needs to completely revamp its immigration system. Not only H1B but GC as well. Take a look at the line for Indians waiting for green cards. It's apparently 150 years long. That is absurd.


"Take a look at the line for Indians waiting for green cards. It's apparently 150 years long. That is absurd."

There are about 4 billion people waiting in line to enter the US if they could.

There is infinite demand for migration to wealthy countries, just as there is now infinite demand for healthcare services now that we are getting older.

The number of people in this or that queue is no longer a valid metric unless we're talking purely about bureaucratic wait times, in which case those should be short.

H1 I think is a good program overall, it needs to be tweaked for fraud.

If it came with a bigger fee, like 5K for approval, it might cover the cost of an 'inspector' popping into the office to check up on H1 status granted individuals.

If companies knew an inspector would pop in once a year without notice, they might be hesitant to go on with the fraud stuff.

I suggest the blatant fraud is done by bad actors outside normal operations but they're enabled ultimately by BigCos who turn a blind eye.

i.e. anyone hiring contractors for more than 6 months have to also back their residency status, i.e. Cisco hires from ABC consulting and the inspectors come in and it's fraud, Cisco is on the hook as well.

That would be one way to help clean it up.

I think there is truly quite a bit of real business demand for H1s - even outside of the scammy stuff and 'replace our engineers' stuff.


> There are about 4 billion people waiting in line to enter the US if they could.

Honestly, you are over estimating the number of people who would like to come to the US. There are other wealthy countries which have a revamped immigration policy (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, some EU countries) which manage it well and don't get 4 Billion applications.

> H1 I think is a good program overall, it needs to be tweaked for fraud.

I think H1 also needs to be tweaked for easier transfer across different companies. This will make sure that people on H1 can easily switch if they feel they are getting paid less.

But I do agree with you overall on everything else.


There are about 4 billion people waiting in line to enter the US if they could.

“150 Million Adults Worldwide Would Migrate to the U.S.”

https://news.gallup.com/poll/153992/150-million-adults-world...

There is infinite demand for migration to wealthy countries, just as there is now infinite demand for healthcare services now that we are getting older.

There is a limit to how much can be done to keep people alive.


The Gallup poll is a question of 'those who currently want to leave their country', i.e. people with active problems or calamity.

That 150M number seems about right.

That's not remotely the number that would move if they could.

If you walked into a household in a poor country and just offered them zero-friction citizenship to the US/UK/CA/Europe for their whole family, with the promise of a decent job etc. - no strings attached ... the number would be extremely high.

We're not supposed to use anecdotes here on HN but frankly it's life experience that has exposed me to the nuances of the most important things. Visiting these places and one kind of get an idea.

It's not colonialist, arrogant, condescending or anything. It's just a simple pragmatic reality of people's will to just have stability, safety and a bit of aspiration.

And yes, the answer mostly lies in helping these countries get much richer, and as I posted below, it's hard ...

But we are making progress. The number of 'absurdly poor' people, living on like $1 a day has dropped dramatically over the last few decades as the industrial revolution of 'making stuff' has started working it's gears in more traditionally poor places ... though that has come with a lot of baggage as well, like pollution etc..


If you walked into a household in a poor country and just offered them zero-friction citizenship to the US/UK/CA/Europe for their whole family, with the promise of a decent job etc. - no strings attached ... the number would be extremely high.

There is a difference between “people who want to move to the US” and “people who want to move to another richer country”.

I’ve asked people on HN why don’t they move from thier country in the EU with less opportunity to a country with more opportunity and they cited extended family and cultural differences as a reason.

Heck, it’s hard to get people in the US to move to different cities and states for the same reasons.


It's not like there are large camps of illegal migrants in France (an EU member) trying to smuggle themselves into the UK (an EU member for the moment).


I think you're severely over estimating how attractive the US is for immigration.

But if your argument is "Moving to the US + decent job" then just the "decent job" part would be attractive. Moving to the US and having to face the possibility of bankruptcy because a family member got sick does not sound exactly attractive.

Source: I am a non-American who was offered opportunity to migrate to US but decided against it because the US feels like a dog-eat-dog country. Would much rather move to Europe IF I wanted to move.


"migrate to US but decided against it because the US feels like a dog-eat-dog country. Would much rather move to Europe IF I wanted to move."

By 'decent job' - I mean something that actually pays, and has healthcare. And by that I mean working in a factory, or Wallmart or serving coffee.

People from poor countries also want just a safe and credible environment to live in, as opposed to being harassed, and challenged in a system rife with corruption.

Have you even been to America?

The US is not 'dog eat dog' and the overwhelming majority have good health insurance. There are many options for those who even don't have it.

The US spends more per capita on public health insurance initiatives, then most European countries! I couldn't believe this when I found out, but Medicare, Veterans hospitals etc. is about $5K per citizen while Canada spends only $4K per citizen for socialized medicine. My number may be a little off but the ratio is about correct.

You can come from anywhere and have great success in America. In Canada, you will probably be more stable, but you won't have great success.

If you are not European, or 'white' - the Europeans will never, ever accept you into their society. In Germany, even if you are Polish, it's very evident - there is a huge line between Germans and everyone not German. You will always be 'foreign'.

If you expect to have a massive house, boat and gold plated insurance and retirement, then you're expecting too much, but if you're expectations are 'a job' and an abode, with acceptable health insurance, general safety and the rule of law then you'll find this in America. Outside of SF, NYC, LA etc. things are quite affordable.


The US spends more per capita on public health insurance initiatives, then most European countries! I couldn't believe this when I found out, but Medicare, Veterans hospitals etc. is about $5K per citizen while Canada spends only $4K per citizen for socialized medicine. My number may be a little off but the ratio is about correct.

We spend more but we don’t have better health outcomes by any measurable statistic.

For instance, the federal government is not allowed to negotiate drug prices for Medicare - unlike every other country. Some amount of the money we spend for “healthcare” goes to line the pockets of the private insurance company.

If you are not European, or 'white' - the Europeans will never, ever accept you into their society. In Germany, even if you are Polish, it's very evident - there is a huge line between Germans and everyone not German. You will always be 'foreign'.

Have you been following American politics for the past two years? The president just put out an additional that was too racist for Fox News.


There isn't infinite demand, come on.

The real REAL solution to this is to raise up the living conditions of people living in poor countries. At that point even if we had open borders not everybody would move to USA/Europe/Canada/Australia any more than everybody from Louisiana moves to California.

Besides the fees are already up there. I was on an O-1 for a while and IIRC it was roughly $8000 all in between lawyers and processing fees.


Maybe you have never travelled to a poor country?

What percentage of Africans living in poverty, corruption, dysfunction do you think would like to migrate to Europe, the US or Canada? It's 'most'.

1/2 of Chinese would emigrate according to a few surveys [1].

Since everyone has the internet - they can now see that people elsewhere live in considerably higher material standards of living, why would they want to stay? Basically, family and culture ... but most people would trade that for a decent job and stable governance.

Yes - totally agree the solution is to help poor countries have some wealth, but what can we do to help? They mostly have systems of total corruption. Any real attempt to try to fix underlying problems would be utterly destroyed by leadership who wants to maintain their status. Either governmental or non-governmental.

Most African countries run on bribery. All the way up and down. So if a US Agency comes in and starts exposing this, how is the leadership going to react? With massive anti-American sentiment is how.

This is happening right now as China is greasing government figures to buy up land on the cheap. They're bringing in their own workers in lieu of hiring Africans. Why? Because they can, and they are paying off who they need to to keep it that way. [2

Finally - even if countries were wealthier - there would still be massive emigration.

Poland has a GDP/capita of about $14K US, but in PPP it's much higher. Poland is 'poor' for a rich country, but they are not poor. They have stuff. They have industry, they have regular clothes, housing, highways, governance that mostly resembles ours. None of it is UK/US standard ... but it's still pretty good. They are 'rich' compared to Nigerians, easily.

And yet, there's a massive exodus of Polish labour into other places, particularly the UK, which has caused calamity in Europe. That's a different kind of migration, because I think many Poles return at some point, but nevertheless, it's big.

So no, open borders would be a migration disaster by any stretch, even in some distant future where Central South American countries are hopefully much more 'caught up', it still can't work very well.

I think a NAFTA type arrangement for all of the Americas is within reason though: no visa requirement, and possibility of easy work for a few years, then apply for citizenship.

I think the fee for an H1 could be $1.5K a year. Maybe even a hint of a higher tax bracket, why not? $8K for an O1 sounds about right. You're supposed to be 'world class genius/talent' so that's not out of range.

[1] https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2017/07/17/half-of-china-s-mil...

[2] https://www.brookings.edu/blog/africa-in-focus/2015/11/05/wh...


I don't really feel like addressing all of your points here but I will say this: You cannot apply for GC or citizenship under TN status.


As a former TN holder I'm aware, but that's a current technicality.

I'm hinting at a 'system' that I think might work for North America.

I guess I'm saying NAFTA is a better model for the Americas than the EU, and even then, only when there is more economic parity.


> There are about 4 billion people waiting in line to enter the US if they could.

No, there aren't, and most of the people who would if they could can't for reasons beyond border policy.

> There is infinite demand for migration to wealthy countries

No, there's not. There aren't infinite people outside of wealthy countries to start with, and not every person outside of wealthy countries would move to them if they could (as we know, because many who would be most able to—notably local elites—don't.)

> H1 I think is a good program overall, it needs to be tweaked for fraud.

H1B is a bad program designed to inhibit wage growth and needs to be abolished.


"There are about 4 billion people waiting in line to enter the US if they could."

You really should stop listening to the politicians and learn more about the world.


This is because of racial quotas (or per-country quotas) that exist for green cards. More here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/stuartanderson/2018/05/21/will-...

This quota should be removed.


Seems absurd that a country with 1 billion would have the same quotas as a country with 1000 times fewer people.


Just to be clear... "The limits are calculated each fiscal year depending on the total number of family-sponsored and employment-based visas available. No more than 7 percent of the visas may be issued to natives of any one independent country in a fiscal year; no more than 2 percent may issued to any one dependency of any independent country. The per-country limit does not indicate, however, that a country is entitled to the maximum number of visas each year, just that it cannot receive more than that number." https://www.uscis.gov/tools/glossary/country-limit


Thanks for clarifying. My previous statement would be incorrect in that case.

I think maximum percent limits make sense. But, 7% might be a bit aggressive.

After all, a country's borders aren't necessarily the best indicator of cultural diversity brought by those people. India (the biggest contributor to the H1B) is internally a lot more diverse than more ethnically homogeneous, yet highly populated countries such has Bangladesh, Russia, UK, Japan or France.


These visas are intended to expand our economy, create jobs and ensure that the US remains a technological and economic superpower. Country of birth has no bearing on an immigrant's ability to contribute to these goals. If it makes sense to allow immigration of highly qualified workers then it makes sense to allow them to immigrate regardless of country of birth.


  racial quotas (or per-country quotas)
Those are two very different things.


That’s because the system has country of origin quotas in the name of diversity.

If they didn’t have those, 90%+ of the immigrants would be of Chinese or Indian origin. Is that what we want?


How about don't have a numerical quota for green cards for people who have already been living and working in the country for an extended period of time.

If a law-abiding person lives and works here for a decade, they should be allowed to stay.


> If they didn’t have those, 90%+ of the immigrants would be of Chinese or Indian origin. Is that what we want?

Yes, we'd want the 14% of skilled immigrants we allow to be skilled, irrespective of their nationality.


I don't think so - because these larger countries have organized systems in place to bring people over. Something small countries can't benefit from.


Why is it absurd? The green card application queue is several million along the only way for it to be shorter would be to just let them all in.

Of course, many more millions who haven’t applied would immediately join the new queue ...

I’m not sure even the US could deal with a sudden population increase of 30-40 million.


As of April 20, 2018, there were 632,219 Indian immigrants and their spouses and minor children waiting for green cards also known as legal permanent residency cards.

https://m.timesofindia.com/business/india-business/indians-w...

Where did you get the 30-40 million number from?


Weird. Why do I keep seeing 4-5 million in the press as the number of people waiting for green cards?

The 30-40 million comes from the fact that there are lot more people who would come to the US that haven't bothered to apply. If you relaxed the criteria the number of applicants would expand.

I'm not anti-immigration (I'm Canadian and we're slightly more relaxed about immigration) but there needs to be some controls in place.


30-40M is the high range of estimated undocumented folks in the US. The more conservative number is 15-20M.

If there are 600K people of Indian descent waiting for Green Cards, then it seems rational there are a few million waiting overall.


You missed my point. I'm hypothesizing current long waiting times is suppressing people applying for US immigration. If you relaxed those standards a lot more people would apply and also get in by those relaxed standards.

You need to be able to "onboard" those immigrants.


All of the anti-immigrant rhetoric makes people vastly overestimate the number of immigrants there actually are, I suspect.


I'm not anti-immigrant. I'm estimating the number of people who would apply if the US stopped queuing and opened their doors.


I didn't say you are, but there is a lot of anti-immigrant rhetoric that purposely overstates the number of immigrants in order to scare people.


Umm.. the green card permanent residents are already here.


What about the solution where the quota is filled after ordering by salaries? With a provision that a salary cannot be lowered while on the visa, or re-ordering and re-filtering with combined quota including new workers every year (i.e. mix previous year quota, and the new one, order by salaries, keep 2x quota, potentially revoking some visas - although this might be disruptive to the worker). This might disadvantage the startups paying in speculative stock options though... not sure what to do about that, any provisions making it easier to bring people in based on vague promises under a salary-based system seem ripe for exploitation.

Disclaimer: I'm a former L1, although I'm pretty sure I would've also "made it" under H1-salary-system above.


That is because wages are not directly representative of skill or demand.

Cities are more expensive than small town, and wages go up. Software is a lot more profitable per capita, and thus give higher wages. Then again, there is the startup problem you mention.

I am in favor of a point based system, over the mess we have now, but a trivial.implementation could do more harm than good.

Companies should have to make clear distinction between contracting jobs and full time positions. Salaries should be normalized by COL/Taxes. My unpopular opinion, is that there should be standardized testing (or reuse GRE, TOEFL). In my experience, it id a good proxy for a person's capabilities. Points on education attaintment are obvious, but they should also take into account the country where they received their education, the course itself and the standing of the university. ( in broad strokes like R1,R2)

I am strongly in favor of allowing easier Visa transfer . Should stop any Corp. from underpaying an immigrant, because they know the employee is stuck with them.


Wages are directly representative of demand. That's how markets work.


Wages ARE representative of the tax collected. At the very least there should be some upward push to increase salaries to limit the attractiveness of body-shopping and undercutting the native labor force.


> At the very least there should be some upward push to increase salaries to limit the attractiveness of body-shopping and undercutting the native labor

Absolutely.

No question there.


> What about the solution where the quota is filled after ordering by salaries?

Employers in California will win, employers in say Tennessee will lose out. If comp is being considered, then they should also consider the COL.


That's relatively easy to solve, you can reference to the local prevailing wage.


Or just use the same CoL adjustment mechanism the federal government uses for its employees


Federal COLA stats would be better as they aren't gamed by employers.


Or make the pool proportional by state population.


> we should just expand immigrant visas on a Canadian/NZ style merit/points system. This would be less discriminatory against people from big countries (China and India specifically), avoid some of the abuse possibilities, and be better for employees/immigrants and their families.

I think a point system is a good way to go, but it isn’t necessary to end the disparate access that those from India, China, the Philippines, and Mexico face. All that would take is a small amendment to section 202 removing the per country caps.

On a separate but related topic, given how large tech employers treat job applicants I don’t believe them when they say the face a shortage of qualified workers. Actions speak louder than words.


> I don’t believe them when they say the face a shortage of qualified workers.

they face a shortage of qualified, but willingly-accept-low-pay workers.


At least in the big companies, H1Bs get the same offers as American employees. I am not sure about smaller companies. When people complain about H1Bs, I hope they make a distinction between students that actually studied here and then got offers vs the Infosys Wipro type scams.


A good chunk of low wage h1bs are students. They are desperate to get h1b within the 12-18 months they are allowed to remain in the country. So they will accept any kind of job they can get at very less pay. I know teams that exclusively higher these students instead of bringing someone from India. It's far easier to hire these students and then apply for their h1b than get h1b for someone in India that can easily take 1-2 years. These students are the primary source of all the h1b scams like the ones mentioned in this article. People in India rarely have access to these US scam companies. Also, Indian companies like Infosys hire a huge number of students. Now looks like they have cut down on that, so will see where all these students will end up.


Of course H1Bs get and accept the same offers. That's exactly the issue.

Don't tell me you never knew the H1B who knowingly accepted a low salary because that was their chance to move to the US, get their food in the door, and hopefully move up. I've known many, from both Asia and Europe, who told me exactly this.

Companies knowingly use this to keep wages lower than the US-based supply would otherwise demand. At one level, I support this -- it maintains a competitive edge.

So what's wrong? Unlike a citizen or permanent resident, H1Bs feel indentured. They are even more risk averse. If you believe in free trade, then the freedom of both parties must be protected. Both H1Bs and undocumented immigrants feel far from protected. There are both moral and economic problems with the arrangement.


> At least in the big companies, H1Bs get the same offers as American employees.

This happens in skill sets with high demand and short supply where free agent shopping between a multitude of offers between gigs in the $200+/hour range is viable because supply is so constrained. I guarantee you will not see this uniformly happen in big companies where skill sets are in high demand and even moderate supply, not to speak of high supply. Otherwise, Disney would not be able to use the vendor-supplies-staffing-for-outsourcing-entire-department-contract loophole via HCL and Cognizant, a situation particularly susceptible to that loophole, explaining its popularity among companies big to small.


> they face a shortage of qualified, but willingly-accept-low-pay workers.

Even that I don't buy. Even if a company were only looking for people it could lowball it still doesn't make any sense to be so hostile and negligent in how it treats applicants it is purportedly struggling to hire.

I've lived in NYC long enough to have seen renters' markets and landlords' markets. Despite all the claims of a tight hiring market, google, amazon, etc. act like they are in a market where they have the upper hand. And actions speak louder than words.


If they end the program, how will the US refill the social security coffers? It's my understanding that h1b1 employees pay into social security just like everybody else but it is likely they will never draw from it. Most Indians I've talked to plan to eventually go back home either due to family or because the wait is astronomically long.


There's about 500,000 h1b holders at any given time. That's less than 0.5% of the workforce. Probably a higher percentage paying into Social Security who will die prior to being eligible.

According to this article, about 20% die prior to age 65, and some percentage of those will not have a spouse to provide benefits to:

http://home.bt.com/lifestyle/wellbeing/did-you-know-20-of-me...


The total number of H-1Bs issued since the program's inception is only a couple million and most of those have expired. They don't constitute enough people to make a difference.


Refill? The Social Security surplus is over $2.6 Trillion


Actually no.

>>At the end of 2014, the Trust Fund contained (or alternatively, was owed) $2.79 trillion, up $25 billion from 2013.

>>Trust Fund obligations are considered "intra-governmental" debt, a component of the "public" or "national" debt. As of June 2015, the intragovernmental debt was $5.1 trillion of the $18.2 trillion national debt.

Its still a huge total net negative on the government. And you still desperately need those immigrants to be working 20 hour days doing start ups and build tax paying companies, so that some where some one in mid west can buy an iPhone using SS handouts and scold the immigrants for the very value they provide using that iPhone.


>Genuine short term needs should be covered through something like L1

The current L1 is a visa for transferring from a branch of a company in another country to a branch of the same company in the US. I get that you're not talking about the L1 in its current form, but it's far from being a general mechanism for dealing with short term labor needs.


> The current L1 is a visa for transferring from a branch of a company in another country to a branch of the same company in the US.

Also being used by body shops to ship in people who otherwise couldn't get into the US. The process is they open up a marginal nexus in a nation with relatively more lax immigration laws to their origin nation, then transfer via L1 into the US from branch to branch. Identification and enforcement against this kind of abuse is very time-consuming, as there are legitimate situations used by legitimate companies. AWS was pitched/started by guys in South Africa, they legit could come to Seattle Amazon HQ on L1.


Actually, L1 is the visa which is also responsible for keeping wages low. Generally it doesn't get a lot of attention. The employees on L1 cannot switch jobs. So a lot of the people coming on L1 accept any wage they can get. Of course, eventually they have to switch to an H1 in order to stay here longer than 5 years.


I would love an H1B program where membership was set by auction (500,000 seats where the price everyone pays is the #500,000 bid, that sort of thing) instead of by "need" or a lottery or any number of other things. Even better, have the fee be annual and count towards federal income tax. No ties to employer, no requirement to work for a company, no discrimination based upon country of origin...

You could probably lump quite a few visa programs together into that, actually.


The problem with the points system like in Singapore/Hong Kong is that it heavily favours those with college diplomas. Some of the most talented people in tech that I know have no higher education but are self taught experts in their field and often have decades of experience.


Any replacement visa needs to be like the diversity lottery (or the Olympics) by rewarding applicants from smaller countries. The migrant intake shouldn't be dominated completely by India and China - their sheer size gives them an advantage, as naturalized Indian and Chinese employers will then just go on to hire their own countrymen. For example, 76% of H1B visas went to Indians.

Having multiple, smaller groups of people inside the USA also assists integration - instead of being able to fall back on a parallel society, migrants will be forced to integrate and learn English.

Plus, just like the Olympics, diversity makes things interesting. Having (qualified) people from Belgium, Poland, Kenya, Thailand, Japan, Colombia, Mongolia (for example) is more interesting than just India, India, India, China, China, China.... A broader pool of migrants also helps US businesses expand worldwide.

Finally, the schemes should also include a minimum 55% quota of women, from each country. This ensures that any visa scheme does not become completely dominated by men, and addresses past imbalances.


There is definitely commercial/political/etc. benefit to the US if it has businesspeople from multiple countries, but there's as much diversity of business relationships and value between, say, a Beijing entrepreneur and a Shenzhen entrepreneur as between a Czech and a Slovak. A point based system could factor in a lot of things.

There's also value in having the world's 20 top OCaml developers (15 of them are likely French) as well as the world's top 20 server-side ARM multicore guys (who are also likely French) vs. 40 top OCaml people (where there may be more French people.)

The easiest way to address all of this is for financial value to be the main factor. You can bring in people if they pay something like 200% of the US average wage as a surtax above their regular income tax and other costs. There could be explicit charities to subsidize things other than direct wage income value -- maybe an arts charity covers the $100k/yr to bring in a brilliant artist who is paid an additional $50k/yr in income and pays 5k/yr tax on that.


> Any replacement visa needs to be like the diversity lottery (or the Olympics) by rewarding applicants from smaller countries

Why? So you are okay with a guy who does not speak English, doesn't have moderate-high skills, will probably drive Uber or work in some restaurant over a moderately-skilled Indian/Chinese who understands and speaks relatively decent English, just because that guys is an Indian or Chinese? This is the definition of racism.

> Having multiple, smaller groups of people inside the USA also assists integration

No. Knowing the local language, understanding the local culture, knowing some people from a similar culture living in the country (a.k.a having a fallback - so as to not depend on government aid) helps in integration.

> Plus, just like the Olympics, diversity makes things interesting.

Absolutely. But that should depend on the skills and not on the nationality. Skilled people from Belgium-Mongolia would still get in regardless of "diversity lottery visa". What US needs is a point based system which rewards quality over just diversity.


This is the definition of racism.

I don't understand why you would say this. Doesn't it make more sense to reserve "racism" for discrimination based on the perception of inferiority of a particular genetic race? And instead use "culturist" or "nationalist" to talk about discrimination by culture or national origin? I realize you aren't the only person to use the term this way, but calling it the "definition of racism" to discriminate on something other than race seems likely to water down the term.


> Why? So you are okay with a guy who does not speak English, doesn't have moderate-high skills, will probably drive Uber or work in some restaurant over a moderately-skilled Indian/Chinese who understands and speaks relatively decent English, just because that guys is an Indian or Chinese? This is the definition of racism.

My landlord and the owner of the company I work for both came to the US from Iran in exactly this way and now they both own successful businesses built up from busting their asses driving cabs.

That has been The American Dream™ for generations and not the virtual indentured servitude I always hear about in these discussions.


> My landlord and the owner of the company I work for both came to the US from Iran

For one example of success there are 100s if not 1000s of examples where they failed and relied on government handouts.

Also, how did "diversity visa" help in this case? Those guys succeeded because they were smart and hardworking. Clearly their country of origin did not make them successful.


> Any replacement visa needs to be like the diversity lottery (or the Olympics) by rewarding applicants from smaller countries

I'm not sure I understand the rationale behind this? Why does it matter what country applicants are from as long as they have the skills the economy needs?


> Any replacement visa needs to be like the diversity lottery (or the Olympics) by rewarding applicants from smaller countries

The Olympics are a performance competition- the guy from “Eastern Rhodesia” might make it but he won’t get any extra help when running against Usain Bolt.

Now you are saying that companies that want to make money will be saddled with less competent talent because of diversity?


Despite you being downvoted, I really liked your points. As someone whose parents came from a tiny country with which there was little to no network once arriving - I can attest to our experience of quickly integrating. I believe it was a good experience for us and a good model for the US going forward.


I'm glad you are not in charge of immigration policy.


Every time discussion about H-1B comes up here, many people chime in on the potential abuses from large international outsourcers like Infosys, Wipro, Cognizant, IBM, Accenture etc. But IME, the most egregious abuses come from small American staffing companies as those run by the accused here. The absolute number of H-1B applications they file and get are smaller, but they occupy the long tail of the distribution. Also, the same fraudulent operators run multiple such companies. The accused in this case - Kishore Kumar Kavuru - ran four such companies. In the other case mentioned in the article the accused - Pradyumna Kumar Samal - two such companies.

I hope these two cases don't go the way of the one against Raju Kosuri. Kosuri, a naturalized American citizen, plead guilty [1] to serious charges of immigration fraud. But due to some technicality in the prosecution's case, Kosuri was handed down a mere 28 months to serve, and is scheduled to be deported to India [2].

Off-topic question: India does not accept dual citizenship. So when the Kosuris became naturalized citizens, they must have given up their India citizenship. Given that, why should India accept them back after they were deemed criminals in their adopted country? What is the legality around revoking naturalized US citizenship?

[1]: https://www.scribd.com/document/322254486/Kosuri-Plea

[2]: https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2017/12/24/indian-nationa...


It seems that Raju Kosuri was not naturalized but a permanent resident, while is wife was naturalized but because she came by this scheme she agreed to have her naturalization revoked because it was received fraudulently.

  https://www.google.co.il/amp/s/www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/local/public-safety/va-man-behind-20-million-visa-fraud-faces-deportation-after-prison-sentence/2017/12/22/61007138-e729-11e7-833f-155031558ff4_story.html


Legal student here. To answer your question - current international human rights treaties / laws prevent revocation of citizenship (even naturalized citizenship) if that would leave the person stateless.

Edit: and yes, India, only allows single-citizenship. Accepting U.S. citizenship automatically results in the loss of Indian citizenship.


"Automatic" is not always so automatic.

Not sure about India, but in other countries this "automatic revocation" is neither automatic nor permanent (believe it or not)

Also, given it is not a requirement by the US that the recipient give up their other citizenships, they don't care about the other country knowing about it


From what I've read, the Citizenship Act of India specifies that any citizen of India who obtains citizenship of any other country immediately ceases to be a citizen of India. At that point, it is his or her duty to surrender their passport to the nearest Indian mission abroad.

I guess that one could ignore this and keep on using their Indian passport - but doing so would be fraud and criminal misrepresentation.


My Indian passport says:

    WARNING
    If holder acquires Nationality 
    of another country, he should 
    Surrender This Passport 
    forthwith to the nearest Indian 
    Mission/Post Abroad. Un-
    authorized possession of this 
    Document shall Constitute an 
    Offence Punishable under 
    the Indian Passport Act 1967


>>Not sure about India

Not had this experience to comment on this first hand.

But as an Indian, I guess they ask you to surrender your Passport at the Indian embassy, and then ask you to apply for a PIO(Person of Indian origin) card.


How does the Indian government know that a person has another citizenship?


One way is when we enter India at borders, they check out exit dates in system. Usually people who are still indians would have US's some kind of visa. US Citizens will not be able to show any US visa.

There are heavy fines for not self surrendering the indian passport after US Citizenship within 6 months.


I think one way is taxes. But I guess there will be some sharing of databases.

On the other hand, I think, putting your US citizenship on risk for maintaining a illegal status would not make sense for a lot of people.


India has a provision for previous citizens to apply to, called the OCI. You can reside in India, but you give up the right to vote and own agriculture land.


On the topic of dual citizenship, I'm always surprised at these deportations of American citizens.

That means the law is not the same for all American citizens. He is getting a different punishment than another arbitrary American citizen doing the same offense.


According to a sibling comment the person in question was not naturalized. A US citizen can absolutely not be deported anywhere. They would have to be denaturalized first and the only grounds for involuntary denaturalization are having committed fraud in the naturalization process itself.


Off-topic question: India does not accept dual citizenship. So when the Kosuris became naturalized citizens, they must have given up their India citizenship. Given that, why should India accept them back after they were deemed criminals in their adopted country? What is the legality around revoking naturalized US citizenship?

Usually the way this works is that country A doesn't "recognise" dual-citizenship, which means if you are a citizen of country A and country B and you commit an offence in country A you don't get to say "well I am a citizen of country B so that doesn't apply to me". I am not sure if India requires you to give up your citizenship on taking another, but if they did it would make sense, and in fact it's surprising that that doesn't always happen. If a citizen of country A wants to become a citizen of country B instead fair enough but it's not in the interests of A or B that they should retain citizenship of A too.


India requires one to surrender the indian passport asap after acquiring any other citizenship


Good for them. It is baffling why others don’t do this. It doesn’t make sense on any level.


H1B has basically become a slavery visa for Indians. Similar to how the Indian government runs commercials warning Indians going to Gulf countries not to fall into employment related traps, it's hightime we educate Indians wanting to get h1b the issues associated with it. I don't expect American laws to change to make h1b workers life easier. But at least the current Trump administration seems to be targeting a lot of these companies that take advantage of the h1b employees, which is good.


And in all of the cases, they are Indians committing fraud to assist the immigration of other Indians.

Perhaps the simplest solution is to disallow Indian nationals from applying for H1B completely?

I think its generally problematic if one class of visa comes to be dominated by a single nationality. It does not result in diversity in the host country, for starters.

I think people would be more welcoming of the H1B visa (and expanding it, or offering more rights for those on it) if it wasn't completely dominated by Indian men. Perhaps rules limiting any one country to a maximum of 10% of the visa quota, and ensuring the intake is at least 60% female would assist public perceptions?


How would that be fair to Indian nationals that play by the rules?

There is a similar rule to what you propose in the Olympic Games. Max of 3 athletes from a given country in each track and field event. I always found that rule stupid and artificial. Potentially several of the top 10 athletes in the World can't compete just because of their country of origin.


Do you really want a race track full of Africans and Afro-Americans and throw field full of Scandinavians?


>Perhaps the simplest solution is to disallow Indian nationals from applying for H1B completely?

Wow, this is an incredibly racist and west-centric view.

Are you really going to exclude 17% of the world's population based exclusively on where they were born?


As an Indian, I would really like Americans to kick out all Indians so that they will stay in India and make India great. At least our children won't have to listen to such statements.


This is incredibly racist. This is exactly like the stupid Muslim ban by Trump. "Some x are/do y, so lets ban all x".


This is good. I have seen a lot of workers/friends who applied legitimately get fucked because of this kind of abuse of the system.

I still think expansion of the h1b program is necessary since there is a lot of demand. But curbing the abuse will definitely help the current set of people opting to use the legal way.


Just reading this makes me pissed off. I have hardworking friends who get good jobs (some FAANG and some in finance) but ultimately had to pack their bags and go home because they were “unlucky” several times in the h1b lottery system, and here we have people committing fraud. Bad actors like these then hurt even existing H1B holders in the context of more strict vetting processes for extensions etc., thus slowing USCIS down and grinding the whole system to a halt.

I doubt this is all of it. There’s definitely more in hiding.


There has been "demand" for years in largely the same areas.

How about we invest and offer scholarship in these areas of need instead so 5 years down we don't need to bring in indentured servants.

Or offer permanent citizenship.


Nothing about this is good. The entire system is one of arbitrary inefficiency. Punishing someone for trying to work around it and labeling it “fraud” when the only fraud going on is pushing a protectionist agenda as a free market isn’t a benefit for anyone.


You clearly didn't read the article because this guy did absolutely all the things that constitute a fraud, regardless if it has to do with a visa or not.

Creating fake jobs, falsifying documents, charging money to the people that were applying for visas, "parking" those visas with no paid wages and using those unpaid visa beneficiaries to undercut other firms...

I don't think there's a circumstance in any country in which those actions wouldn't be labeled as "fraud".


I think he believes the law is unjust.


Even if the law is unjust, breaking it is not necessarily just. It still depends on the circumstances. In this case he charged fees and almost certainly lied to the immigrant about their chances of getting a job.


So.. the same as the USCIS itself?


A pure free market for H-1Bs would be an absolute disaster considering how much leverage a corporation has over them, unless you would also like to advocate for curbing our immigration laws/enforcement in order to prevent companies threatening people with deportation.

And that said, you should really read the article before you make claims like that considering he's a prime example of how far someone would go to abuse employees without recourse.


Fraud wasn’t a mere label in this case. The positions he described to USCIS simply did not exist. If that’s not fraud then the word is meaningless.


I am only commenting about the abuse of the h1b system as mentioned in the link.

This not about any of the other actions of “protectionist policy” that you mention.

You cannot do fake job postings in order to bench someone and call it “work around” in order to not call it a fraud and put it in a good light. The overall issue of h1b visa and foreign worker policy is highly nuanced and beyond what can be discussed in HN comments.

To reiterate- I am in support of easier migration of skilled workers than what is done today. But abuse of it (and a stark case at that) is something that harms other skilled workers looking to come in a legit way.


H1b needs to end - it’s modern version of serfdom.

If country has shortage of critical skilled workers - bring them in permanently, based on a system similar to what Canada has.


My only experience with H1b was when I worked at Amazon.

Lots of pressure to come in on the weekend. I certainly wasn't going to sacrifice my weekends. I'd just tell them no. I could work somewhere else.

But the H1b guys I worked with from India constantly caved to the guilt. If they were to lose the job, they'd have to pack up their entire life and go back to India to try again.

Easy high-skill exploitation.


It affects you too though, as the industry norm is noticeably skewing toward the expected overtime model even more so than before.


When I work with our offices in India, the teams there are incredibly hard workers. We've had issues with quality control of code, etc now and then however, there are a lot of really top notch programmers pulling hours to meet the goals of an office remote to them. Its honestly incredible.

I think there is a different workplace culture in India. Hard work does not always equate to quality work, occasionally some really braindead stuff comes out that someone slogged through.

If I saw H1B's coming in on weekends, I think its partly cultural and they might also just be younger and have less weekend commitments in general.

On the flip side, if you lose your H1B status you are pretty screwed, so the company has you by the balls and tends to pass you up for promotion.


So the solution then is to remove permanent immigration quotas for skilled employees, right?

If there is no quota and no insanely long waiting periods for getting a green card -- H1b will become mostly irrelevant.


This man is a symptom of a wider problem.

Once when I visited Hyderabad, I was surprised by the staggering number of IT institutes in the city (around Ameerpet). There's just no way so many people can find a job, but somehow they do! Fraudulent claims in resumes and job applications are very common - and HR folks often advise interviewers to verify claims in depth. IT jobs fraud is an industry.

Here's a picture from Ameerpet which shows the sheer scale of the IT training market there: https://imgur.com/a/AUogLtu


That image your linked is unbelievable, never seen anything like it. Thanks for sharing.


H1B visas are a hot topic here, and always lead to heated voting.

I will just point out one thing:

1. How many immigrants come (total number per year)

2. How they are selected (merit or family)

3. Where they come from (the wisdom of country caps)

Are three separate issues that need not be conflated. People tend to give a mixed solution based on their personal experience.


The economic incentives here are a tough nut to crack. Here they are:

1. Most first time H1B Visas are taken up by an employee that are paid(typically) less that the college educated US worker. Pay amortized over the lifetime of this employee is even lower because part of it was in places like India where the PPP is much higher and labor is cheap.

2. You can make a lot of money by staying on the edges of the law. For example body shops/consultants.

3. Try stopping such body shops and IT CoS will cause jobs to disappear forever into India. This is the part that most policy makers gloss over. Sure FAANG could hire US side that but they are minority of H1B applications filed.

Possible Changes:

0. Separate all categories from the Quota based Green Card residency filing. This will end the perverse incentive for certain H1B and L1 workers to come to the US for the sole purpose of citizenship. Especially the under the stupid EB1 manager cap.

1. Make it easier for people on H1B categories to study, change jobs and providing for gaps between employment that are reasonable. This will make people less beholden and less exploitable by body shops.

2. Introduce a points based system for Permanent Residence that will award citizenship fairly to everyone based on real effort put in by people to get here. Things like education, language, diversity, age all should count. This will chip away at incentives attached to certain visa types.

3. Completely separate the H1B Visa processing for US college educated from the other pool of H1B workers. Make more granular categories for work visa.


It should be made more complicated for companies to easily "import" skills that are not so hard to learn. Companies should train their employees for the coming new skills required. This is what Swiss companies were doing when it was impossible to immigrate in Switzerland. And the employee-employer relationship was a lot healthier than today.


Can you elaborate on "Swiss companies were training their employees when it was impossible to immigrate in Switzerland"?


Before entering Schengen, Switzerland was a very closed country for the job market. It was very difficult to get a permit. Switzerland had (has) a major issue: salaries were high compared internationally and there could not import skilled employees. So all the companies/factories had trainings to keep their employees and "transition" them when the technology or business was changing and making their CV obsolete. The companies with the best training/programs were attracting talents. So all companies had to do it. Otherwise they would not attract talents. It already starts with apprenticeship. Did you know that you could start a top career in a top Swiss bank with an apprenticeship at 16 yo? Some companies are still like this. But most of campanies prefer now to simply fire and hire an already baked employee; but they keep training programms made by HR more for marketing/communication purposes than a real culture.


Schengen is solely about movement of tourists; it has nothing to do with work authorization.

Germany, Switzerland and other places share the development that 40yrs ago a top career in a top company with was possible with an apprenticeship and without a uni degree.


H-1B visas aren't even given out to people with specialized knowledge, new grads are able to get them.


New grads can use F1 visas with OPT.


There are O visas for them.


isnt this simply a problem with the application process? Simple verification that the job/employer exist would close this “loop hole”, no?


Just one there are hundreds across the country. They all play the same game identify hot techs and hire people and bring them here and then bench them till work shows up. Trump has accomplished nothing so far.


For a "human trafficking" operation 600 people over a decade seems like a fairly small scale operation..

In terms of harm, these workers are clearly in demand, so apart from being unfair to other staffing agencies and H1B applicants, this really doesn't do much harm..

H1B is a pretty broken concept to begin with.. I was H1B for 4 years before I decided Trump-land wasn't a good place to set roots.

If you have demand for tech workers and tech workers willing to move. I think most countries and cities would move heaven and Earth to make things work out. Everybody wants to be silicon valley :)

(I don't see why SV has to have the problems it has, they seem fixable)


> In terms of harm, these workers are clearly in demand

Yes, foreign workers who are willing to work for less than local market rates are in big demand.

Foreign workers are also very likely to move a big chunk of their wages back to their families every month.

So in terms of harm, there are these at least:

  - artificially pushing down local market rates
  - money paid doesn't stay in the local economy


There are a huge number of American companies selling products in India. They also harm the local economy including in job creation. Brain dead outsourcing jobs created by American companies shouldn't really be considered as value addition to India in long term.


> money paid doesn't stay in the local economy

If the money was all invested in the local real estate marked you'd also complain :)

> artificially pushing down local market rates

In a market where the median salary is 130k, maybe it's good for the economy -- more than it hurts people.


My comment wasn't with reference to the Bay area.


This program needs to end. H1B a bandaid over our complete failure to provide a modern education and bring young people into STEM, while dually deflating middle class wages for the tech oligarchs across the industry for several decades. And, ironically, the Democrats, who should supposedly be protecting the middle class, have a blood pact with the SV elite.


Oh please, you're just parroting Steve Bannon's pseduo-intellectual propaganda. Pull out this program and most of the Big-N companies would simply move these jobs overseas. I would go so far to say that lumping them with illegal immigration is doing a dis-service to them considering how much they contribute to the economy. Most of them have built core components of what you use today. Why wouldn't you want them contributing to society here and buying houses?

That being said, sure, fraud happens and we need to come up with solutions to curtail that. Not knee-jerk reactions based on political biases.


"Big N" companies have very arbitrary interviewing processes with hiring rates of less than 1%. There are local workers that can fill their job vacancies but they continue to make the process more and more difficult due to the number of applicants and limited job openings.


First of all, the tech industry isn’t even part of Steve bannon’s platform- they’re only referring to unskilled labor from what I’ve seen - we’re not on their radar. Second, your casual brushing aside of an fair ideology conveys who the pseudo intellectual is. Third, we have been discussing wage collusion in the tech industry for the past decade- and we have direct evidence which you should research and educate yourself on.

I have no beef with anybody who has immigrated here and it’s disgusting you would make that assumption. I think this country should adopt a more protectionist stance. People hiring en masse overseas are more often than not benefiting themselves to the detriment of society- unfortunately Washington is asleep at the wheel.


Tech industry is not part of Bannon's platform? https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/2/2/14472404/st...

The terms "tech oligarchs" have been part of his verbal repertoire throughout the campaign.


That’s a very common term which he did not coin, so it’s ridiculous to ascribe that to him. Also- correct me if I’m wrong- when he uses it, it will be solely in regard to internet censorship & like activities, namely from Google/fb/Twitter, which has nothing to do with the wage discussion at hand.


Somehow I question that you are 100% Native American (the only people who are really allowed to complain about this whole immigration “issue”).

From the historic perspective- With very high probability you are just another immigrant who came here a bit earlier than the guy unboarding jfk flight this second.

Study history. USA was/is built by immigrants. Good immigration policies attract talent that moves the planet forward. Where would USA be today if it wasn’t for many talented people who came to this country to pursue their dreams?

Don’t blame issues caused by corruption and private interests in the upper echelons of power on others.


So do native Europeans have a cause for complaint? Not sure about the absolutenesd and consistency of your moral reasoning.


1) “Native Europeans” are not a thing. The only population there before homo sapiens sapiens invaded Europe was homo sapiens neanderthalensis, and they are now extinct.

2) Europe is indeed, largely made of populations that have migrated through the ages.


Following this logic, anyone who lives outside of the Olduvai Gorge is not native.


I don't think your account of the country goes back far enough. My recollection was that the USA was built by slaves. The irony of this conversation is the assumption our country, represented by Government feels any differently now about the exploitation of labor today.


This is a common misconception that cannot be backed up by the simplest mathematics.

At no time was the total number of blacks both free and slave, in the US over 25%, yet without any social welfare programs everyone was working.

Further it was precisely the areas which were built up by slavery that were destroyed during the Civil War. Thus negating any advantage gained from slavery.

So no, the country was not built by slavery.


"This is a common misconception that cannot be backed up by the simplest mathematics."

Then you say...

"Further it was precisely the areas which were built up by slavery that were destroyed during the Civil War. Thus negating any advantage gained from slavery."

Sounds like you have a problem with the truth of any advantage provided to whites by the federal government. Typically folks like you say, "get over it next," but never is job interviews, just on message boards.

Probably fake news to you, but how were the advantages of free labor destroyed by the Civil War. Perhaps you take "built this country" literally and are a recent immigrant.

https://www.history.com/news/slavery-profitable-southern-eco...

Crap, just clicked on your previsions submissions and comments... Dude, I think you're a racist.


If there were buildings, roads, etc that were built, many of them were destroyed.


I hope you share your opinion in person, loudly and unapologetic with all who will listen. Do not keep your beliefs and perspectives a secret. You deserve to be heard.

In fact, I would love to learn more about history from your perspective. Perhaps you can elaborate or share some literature that I can read at my leisure. Also, I'm curious to hear any opinions you may have on #metoo, or women in technology should you be willing to indulge me.

For your convenience, I quote you below:

"Further it was precisely the areas which were built up by slavery that were destroyed during the Civil War. Thus negating any advantage gained from slavery."


Before I clicked on the link, I suspected it would be an Indian. I've dealt with a few such "recruiters" in London as well. Slimy individuals preying on those trying to secure a better future.


So you assume all such frauds are committed by Indians.

Do you also assume all bank and atm robberies are done by Romanians?

And all credit card skeaming by Russians.

All money laundering by Brits and all brothels by Dutch.

I don't see any point of making such broad generalisation about a particular ethinicity.


It's not that I assume, it's just that it's becoming a common, observable pattern across a variety of industries, from IT staff, to general helpers round the house.

I'm Indian too, by the way, so it pains me to say it, but the stereotype of an Indian committing immigration fraud overseas is establishing itself rather well.


Well there's more than a billion indians, so the bad apples do tend to stand out more, even though statistically there might be just as many slimy <insert other nationality here>.


I think you're missing the point. The sheer volume of people, our cutthroat, materialistic culture, poverty and intrinsic desire of hopefuls to "escape" to a rosier place makes the Indian population perfect for this kind of fraud. And of course, there are plenty of well-off NRI Indians willing to sell them the dream of moving to the west.

Even our pop stars were at it: https://www.google.co.in/amp/s/www.bbc.com/news/amp/world-as...


Even before clicking the link I thought it would be an Indian guy. Cause the headline sounded odd! I don't know why only Indians are doing this shit predominantly. This will lead to other Indians getting abused given how negative and fake news spreads today!


>I don't know why only Indians are doing this shit predominantly.

Because of a huge number of Indian students, especially from one particular state. US is marketed as an utopia to them, so they all line up to study in US thinking they will get a job as soon as they complete their studies. Reality is surviving on h1b in US is hard. The students have less than 18 months to get an h1b or packup and leave. The Indians who do these scams know how desperate the students are. This is the only chance they have to recoup their educational expenses and show that US experience in their resume and work in US for couple of years at least. The scammers exploit this situation of students.

I think it will soon come to an end with the current administration finally taking action to end this practice. That means students will have less visas and the number of students will come down.


Isn't it just that India is the biggest outsourcing country?


I don't see why this is particularly newsworthy. "Man accused of small amount of fraud" is barely a headline in other areas, why is this instance such a major deal?


Is fraudulently allowing 600 people to enter the United States a “small amount of fraud”?


I didn't see it mentioned anywhere that he brought people from India. Usually, these kind of scams involve students who came to US to study. So they were already in the country. They will be forced to leave in 18 months unless they get an h1b, so they have to resort to such practices.


Yes? It works our to like five people a month, hardly a meaningful amount given the number of H-1B visas over that period.


The laws criminalizing immigration need to repealed. Then there wouldn't be such a market incentivizing people to engage in fraud simply to bring people together.


This is a ridiculous argument. Every law prohibiting or encouraging a behavior has the potential to create an illicit market. the fact that such a black market could exist is a pretty poor excuse to disregard it.


* "simply to bring people together"


What are you trying to say exactly?




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