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GM lays off engineer who helped expose VW’s diesel fraud (nytimes.com)
431 points by sundvor on May 8, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 388 comments

When I saw the NYT headline, it seemed to suggest that the GM engineer was singled out precisely due to helping out in exposing the scandal. But when I read the article, it turns out he's just one out of 4,000 other engineers.

We could probably make many other scandalous headlines from the same group of people:

"GM lays off engineer who contributed to trade union organising his colleagues"

"GM lays off engineer who only two years earlier contributed to patent XXX which saved $$$ for the company"

"GM lays off engineer who was recovering from cancer and is now at risk of relapse"

"GM lays off engineer whose seven dependents are now facing an uncertain future"

This is not to belittle what Hemanth Kappanna did, but there are four thousand stories out of which one is now lifted up, even though what he did previously is, as far as we know, not at all connected to this position being terminated. Contribution of Kappanna and his colleagues was to first to WVU and then the world as a whole, not GM. So perhaps a job at GM shouldn't be his "reward"; something else should be.

But I hope that the NYT headline might help him with that.

I was a contractor at GM, and I had automated about 20% of the design Engineering work.(automation of 6 figure Engineering jobs)

I had working software until the company updated to Windows 10.

In the process of making it work again, me and thousands of others were let go.

My boss knew what I was working on, but couldn't/was afraid to stick their neck out.

The world isn't fair, but now I'm doing similar development at a competitor.

> now I'm doing similar development at a competitor.

this means your boss wasn't doing their job.

News organizations are masters at writing headlines that imply causality without actually stating it. See also: every single article about stock price changes. It’s basically high-brow clickbait.

My dad's company used the same strategy to get rid of their "undesirables". Quietly flag the naysayers, whistleblowers, or anyone who went against the grain, wait until a wider lay-off occurs, and then prioritize their departure.

Organizations have short memories, except when it comes to grudges.

Is there any evidence whatsoever that GM would have considered Hemanth Kappanna an "undesirable"?

As far as I know, they hired him after his participation in exposing the VW scandal. If this exposing is what made him "undesirable", why did they hire him in the first place?

I find it more believable that this is just the usual outcome of corporate restructuring, i.e. layoffs in units.

Except that in this case his life is being uprooted due to the power the company wields over his life.

Citizenship (or at least a green card) should be his reward.

My point was that the same is probably the case with many among these 4,000.

I believe the point here is some of these 4000 now have to entirely uproot their life by having to leave the country.

The part that makes it tragic is that these people have no chance of getting a green card in their lifetime and have to be at the mercy of corporations to maintain their temporary visa status simply due to their nationality, no matter how long they have been staying or working.

Getting laid off is an unfortunate reality that happens to people now and then. It becomes especially nerve-wracking when it is tied to your ability to reside in a place without having enough time to find alternate employment.

It sucks, but these people are not citizens in the country they work in, so I don't see how they have any kind of right to stay here. They're only here because the government here allowed it, for a while, with a temporary worker visa.

Now, it seems pretty obvious to me that these people are probably much more productive and better contributors to this country and its economy than most of our own natural-born citizens, but the fact that we're losing them means we're basically shooting ourselves in the foot. The US isn't the only country where skilled engineers can find good work; these people should be able to find good jobs in another country where they can get a better deal w.r.t. immigration. Germany seems like it's much more welcoming to highly-skilled immigrants, for instance.

I think this should be a cautionary tale to skilled immigrants.

I look at this from a different angle, and to me the U.S. seems very welcoming to highly-skilled immigrants. They are very well-paid from European point of view, not to mention others, and the society in general is used to absorbing immigrant workers.

Germany and other EU countries have expressed their welcoming attitude to immigrants in general ("Wir schaffen das"), often exaggerating the skills of people who actually had no relevant training or competence at all (plenty of quotes available for this). But the current discussion in EU about the recent immigration wave has turned into a blame game of "why does Eastern Europe not carry its share of the burden".

>I look at this from a different angle, and to me the U.S. seems very welcoming to highly-skilled immigrants.

That was before Trump was elected.

They all exposed that GM lied?

No, they didn't

Did GM lie?

I know some people did accuse GM of emission cheating, but haven't heard of any actual proof.

The implication from the title is that his role in the scandal is what lead to his layoff or that his role in the scandal should have saved him from being laid off.

Not the same thing.

Your headlines are indeed scandalous. While the one picked by the NYT correctly emphasizes that as part of the layoff plan, GM management decided that the department responsible for investigating emissions was not worth of funds.

When 4,000 people are laid off, it's much more than just this one department that is not worth of funds.


Sorry for typo, fixed.

It is important to note that this engineer is from India and has been legally in the US for 17 years and still on a temporary H1B visa (conveniently not mentioned in NYT)

If this person was from any other country, he would have a green card by now. But now, he has to leave everything behind and go back. This is all too familiar for Indian nationals working in the US. It has become way more precarious for Indian families now due to the current administration arbitrarily denying visa extensions for people in tech.

Hopefully he finds a good job in India, Canada or Europe.

I'm in the same boat. 17 years here. Masters plus 15 years of experience. Getting paid >$500k per year yet I'm dependent on my employer to stay here legally. I'm still a temporary worker. I cannot take a sabbatical or take up side gigs (consultant). If Canada weren't so cold, I'd already be there.

If you're getting paid >$500k, would it be possible to do a bit of Mr Money Mustache and then get some kind of high net worth visa. At >$500k a year, that can't take more than a few years.

And you'll be retired too.

not if you have to live in Bay Area and rise a kid or two here

Of course you can. That's around $25,000 a month in income after taxes. $5000 in rent, $1000 for food, $1000 for utilities and public transit costs, $2000 for misc expenses. That leaves $19,000 a month!

I'm pretty sure that the person you reply to had a crazy lifestyle inflation and is now unable to live "simply" again with less than 20k$ a month. This is everything that MMM warns about.

Bay area have a problem trust-fund-baby mr mustache smug comments will never grasp: living around people who love crazy lifestyle inflation.

If people living around you keep paying more and more for expensive lifestyle, eventually you will be paying 5mil for a 2bd house in a so-so neighborhood. Because everyone already paid 7mil for the houses with 3bd.

Sure, you will pay 5-6k$ in rent (let's even say 8k$). But since you are making 25k$ a month after tax instead of 10k$, you are still coming ahead. Unless if you also need to buy a Tesla Model S like your cool neighbors.

No, I don't have that lifestyle. Except for house everything is paid off. Live relatively frugally except for eating out a few times a month (no expensive restaurants $12/person max)

yeah I'm tired of that guy. Stirring peanut butter with a drill is for the birds.

You forgot to add 3k-10k a month in child care. 3k for day care, 10k if you need a nanny at 60 hours because you and your wife work crazy hours.

I get that SF is expensive, but 10K/mo is $120k/yr. At 60 hrs/wk that's, what, $33/hr for a nanny? That seems on the high end even for SF and if your needs are that high you should be looking into an au pair.

I admittedly have never lived in SF with kids, but this seems like a series of choices and likely some exaggerations. If one of you is making >$500k and both of you chose to work, have kids, and you don't have the option to shift morning/evening so nanny/daycare is only 40 hours these are all choices.

Even at the rate you quoted it doesn't seem unreasonable to be able to stash away significant amounts of money. The problems are very similar, but the solutions are a lot more enviable than most of the US.

10k a month is the extreme end for a nanny and would be 65+ hours a week for 2 kids, taking em places etc. (Dont forget anything over 45 hours is time and a half. Plus 10% payroll tax plus other expenses)

4k a month is probably average for an over the table nanny at 45 hours a week with 1 kid.

Au pair is an inexperienced person which is fine, but not for the type of nanny work someone may need if they are working a lot of hours.

I believe you should be able to save serious money at 500k if you dont over extend yourself on a large apartment, but things add up very quickly so I can see how it might not be much left over with 2 kids.

you forgot $15000 worth of candles per month https://twitter.com/dril/status/384408932061417472

Not saying that 500k isn't more than adequate but $5000 is only a one bedroom now.

That is patently untrue. I live in Silicon Valley, a few miles from one of the big tech giants. I live in a 4 bedroom house (with three roommates) and our collective rent is $4200 a month. Rent is expensive, but $5,000 for a one bedroom is absolutely not the norm.

OP was talking SF, not the wider SV. That is a good rent though. That's 2009 SF prices. We were paying $4100 for four bedroom apartment back in 2009. That same apartment is going for double that now.

SF totally jumped the shark.

I just took a look at Park Merced to see what apartments and townhomes are going for there right now. You can get 3 bedroom homes there for under $5000 a month. Is it a trendy neighbourhood? No, but it does meet the criteria of being in SF. I'm sure you could find similar deals in other non-trendy areas like the Outer Sunset if you take the time to look.

Yeah, but Walnut Creek is the same travel time to downtown. And it gets more than 10 days of sunshine a year.

But even if my figure is wrong then it's only because I accidentally posted it from three or four years in the future. But I suppose it's good news that a one bedroom is only $40k a year rather than $60k. At the moment anyway. And if you made 100k, then it's only 2.5 times more than taxes and leaves you a full 40% of your salary to thrive on, so that's nice.

I still disagree. 30 seconds on padmapper shows 3 houses north of South San Francisco (maybe this also doesn't count as SF but I think it should still fall in that category) https://www.padmapper.com/apartments/san-francisco-ca/4+beds...

Possibly rent controlled. The Landlord could get $7K + month.

Lol wut, I have a 2 bedroom in the most expensive city in the Bay Area (San Francisco) in one of the most popular neighborhoods in the city and my rent (not rent controlled) is 4300.

You can get a 3 bedroom with that budget.

That is definitely not true. Cheapest 2 beds in great areas in the city at 3.7k. If you want a nice place with wd in unit dishwasher etc. They are 4.5k.

Only the new construction in soma is more than that.

No it's not.

Even in the Bay Area with a large family $500k/year is more than enough to live very comfortably. Maybe not a billionaire lifestyle, but certainly well above average.

$200k/year is middle class in the most expensive areas.

I can afford to get a high net worth visa but it's not guaranteed and rejection rate continues to go up for that visa.

Well, it's less cold with every passing year

Also, good luck getting that compensation in Canada...

I know. Right now, I'm weighing freedom against money.

If you make over $500k a year, consider shrinking your expenses and living as if you were making $250k/year for a few years to gain financial independence. Raising family is expensive, but your family may be supportive of living on a reduced budget for a few years if it means removing your shackles. My 2c.

Have saved up enough that if I had my GC, I can retire today outside California and I'm less than 40. I've to keep working in order for me to stay here legally. It's not a money problem. In fact, if I had my GC, I'd only work part-time and help out poor children in my spare time.

Master's degree and making over 500k a year, so I'm going to assume you are an intelligent person and were able to understand the terms of the H1-B visa program and the limits regarding green cards 17 years ago when you intially applied for a visa.

The conditions may have their downsides but they are the ones you agreed to and in exchange for agreeing to them you were provided access to opportunities that would not have been available to you in your home country. It sounds to me like now that you have reaped the benefits you want to stop paying the price you agreed to in exchange for those benefits.

So I shouldn't complain? You vote for a senator and that person does not do what they promised to do and acts against your interests. Would you not raise your voice against them even in private about the situation? I'm still going about my job but just raising awareness here.

You can get a green card under EB-5, since you have saved enough.

High rejection rate with $500k of hard-earned money locked in. Not gonna happen.

$500k eb-5 is through regional centers. You can do $1M without regional centers.

Have you ever tried living in a cold climate, though? I'm from Houston, and I thought I'd hate living through the winter in Washington State but actually I was totally fine with it.

Where in Washington? I grew up in Vancouver and live in Toronto. Compared to Vancouver, winters in Toronto are horrible. For 4-5 months per year it's too cold to be outside for anything more than a few minutes. Aside from the west coast, the rest of the country is as bad or worse. It sucks and I want to either move back to BC or leave the country. Why waste 1/3 of your life trapped inside?

To be fair, living in Toronto is it's own form of punishment :)

Compared to (most of) the rest of the country, Toronto has pretty moderate winters though (if a bit of wet cold off the Great Lakes). 4-5 months in Toronto being horrible though? I've lived in Vancouver a bunch, and the late fall/winter there can be a dreary mess (though I still like it).

You are right though, that much of Canada has absolutely brutal weather. I grew up in one of those places. It's help set my barometer for what really bad weather looks like.

Keep in mind there's much of the States that is way colder in winter!

Central Washington, right in the middle of Iras.

I realize there are places in Canada that are much colder than that, though.

Are you in Eastern Washington or Western? When I think "Canada" and "cold" I sure as hell don't think "Vancouver".

Yes, there are many people like you (highly qualified, but can't get a green card due to nationality). I think people realize the situation and are making decisions accordingly. Those in tech fortunate enough to have made enough money simply get an internal transfer to EU, CA or back to India. Others just try to save for as long as possible until they get ejected.

Not sure which country you are from but I know some who came from India on a H1B around 2000 and they long since got a green card and citizenship. Maybe the wait time started increasing around that time?

Try Vancouver. You'll probably earn about a third of that though.

Have developer salaries risen in Canada? Thought you'd be lucky to earn 20%, but probably earn only 15% of that

There has been upward pressure on the comps by American tech companies setting up shop in Vancouver. That said, OP's salary is probably in top 10% in the Bay Area, so I just made a rough mapping based on that.

Wife will not move to a colder place. Already considers NorCal cold during winter.

no offense but it’s hard for people to feel bad for someone making more than half a million

Try fractured relationship with spouse because they cannot work, uncertainty about long-term investment since I can be asked to leave the country any moment if my employer fires me, unable to take up the jobs I want, trepidation about not being allowed back in if I leave the country, not being able to travel to see sick parents if visa is currently being processed with no insight into ETA.

It sounds like you have enough money to go back to your home country (where your parents are) and retire very, very comfortably. This isn't something many people are going to feel bad for you for.

Also, there are other places to work, even if they don't pay as much as the Bay Area (but they also cost less to live in). Canada is pretty immigrant-friendly. If you don't like the weather, that sounds like some pretty petty complaining; you enjoy a lifestyle and income that most of the people on the planet would envy.

Are you saying you are a consultant? I took a sabbatical while on H-1B.

I'm not. I cannot be without a job at any given point.


Please educate me on this. What ways do I have other than investing $500k here in a business and pray that I still get the visa when the rejection rate is >30%?

Seek out an immigration lawyer. Although legal, most of the ways are considered shady, so I don't want to go into details on here. But I am part of a certain foreign community and know it has been done.

Counting my lucky stars everyday that my dad decided to send me to Canada for undergrad and not states. From my limited experience in states, people here are friendlier, nicer and a much better immigration policy. The con is the real estate prices are ridiculous compared to the salary you get here in TO.

> If this person was from any other country, he would have a green card by now.

Can you elaborate this a bit (or provide some links)? I am well aware that there are some policy changes around H-1B extensions, and that Indian workers make a huge percentage of the total denials, but I don't understand the connection between the two.

This has nothing to do with H1B denials -

It has to do with the fact that green cards are allocated based on a per-country quota. Other visas, especially H1B are not.

So, to simplify:

- Assume there are 1000 H1B visas and 1000 green cards allotted each year and that an H1B worker can apply for a green card after living in the US for a year.

- 50% of H1Bs are from India, so there are 500 H1Bs a year from India

- But green cards are subject to a 100/year/country quota. So, the next year, only 100 of the Indian H1B workers can apply for a green card.

- This creates a backlog of 5 years for all the 500 to get a green card

- The problem keeps getting worse because the next year, there are 500 more Indian workers applying for a green card but the queue only has 100 more green cards to allocate, so now the wait for the last applicant is now 8 years.

- This process then repeats for a few years and workers from India now have a 100+ year wait for a green card.

In reality, not all H1B workers apply for a green card and there have been some temporarily relief mechanisms passed in the past to mitigate the delays, but you can see why the problem is especially bad for workers from India. In the past, it was a problem for Chinese workers as well, but with the economy in China improving in the past few years, there is lower demand from Chinese workers for green cards.

Yup. compare this to i.e. Philippines. I only had to wait 2 yrs for my GC while a lot of my indian colleagues are still waiting. Due to the extreme backlog, they couldnt really plan long term for their families.

There’s always an option to marry a US citizen (genuinely if it happens) and get a GC without being subject to a quota.

As described with those numbers, it is clear that Indian nationals are especially favored, not discriminated against as was claimed. Thus the complaint is really that India, favored above all other nations, is not favored enough. Same chance at green cards as other countries, and massively more chance at H1B, utilizing 50% of all slots, and therefore more than any other nation.

If one wishes to establish a balance between H1Bs and Green Cards on a per nation basis, the H1Bs could likewise be limited on a per-country basis, matching that of the Green Card allocation.

So Vatican City with its 1000 population is being heavily discriminated against in favor of India because there are basically no H1Bs from there? Stop the press.

Let us restrict work visas to one or less than one per country to make it fair to Vatican City.

Interesting example.

Vatican City was granted 0 H1B visas in all of 2018, as well as all previous years I could find. Are you aware of any years where Vatican City used the H1B visa? You must be since you use it as a counter example.

2018 Vatican City was granted a total of 42 non-immigrant visas across all categories. Most of these were consular visas for embassy staff and government officials on official business. H category work visas are totally non present.

In 2018 India was granted 125,528 H1B, 111,242 H-4 (family of H1B), 42,694 F-1 (student), and others coming to a total of 1,006,802 non-immigrant visas.

Only Mexico and China had more visas overall, with Mexico at 1,372,420 and China with 1,464,810 non-immigrant visas. Nearly all of China's and Mexico's visas were B-1,2 which are for very short tourism and business trips. This was also the case with India, with 616,312 visas being B-1,2. As to H1B visas, China received 27,482 and Mexico received 2,524.

Looking at work visas, India dominates all other nations by a large factor.

Bringing up the Vatican is an amazing argument given that they receive zero temporary work visas each year.

Yet you still continue to argue that India is being unfairly discriminated against by the United States. You are privileged to argue this, and also disingenuous.

I think what you're missing is that it isn't the absolute numbers of green cards and H1-Bs that matter, but the number per qualified applicant or per source country population. If each country has 1000 green cards allotted, it's going to be far easier to be a top 1000 applicant from a country of 1,000,000 (or 1,000) than from a country of 1,339,000,000.

Or put another way - India, the country, might not be discriminated against, as it gets the same allocation of green cards as everyone else. Indians, the people from India, are discriminated against, as there are far fewer green cards per person allocated.

(the situation is of course more complicated than each country getting a flat number of green cards, but the idea holds)

All right. We can do it as a proportion of population, as you wish. Given that zero Vatican citizens receive green cards or H1B visas in the US each year, the population corrected ratio of H1B visas and green cards granted to India vs granted to Vatican, having zero in the denominator, is actually "infinity" for both. Indian citizens receive infinitely more green cards and infinitely more H1B visas than Vatican citizens. Those are the actual numbers we get when using Vatican as a counter example. India is infinitely more privileged and favored here.

And I think you're missing that this is caps, not minimums. The actual selection process happens before these caps are applied, which is what leads to the waitlists - people pass the selection process, and then get stuck in line due to the per-country cap hitting India but not Vatican City. (Or Germany, or Japan, or the UK...)

The cap for Vatican City is far larger than the population. This does not change just because no one used it.

> Yet you still continue to argue that India is being unfairly discriminated against by the United States. You are privileged to argue this, and also disingenuous.

There is certainly reform needed in how, to whom and with which companies H1B visas are granted. However, let's put that aside as a separate issue and assume for now that H1B visas are granted in a fair, non-discriminatory fashion.

How does it make sense to limit the total green cards for any country to 7% of the total, regardless of that country's desire to immigrate to the US or even that country's overall population? What legitimate, non-discriminatory reason is there to cap green cards this way? (Vatican city is brought up because has the same cap on green cards that India has, despite much lower population and non-existent demand.)

The cynical view here (and one I suspect is at least partially correct) is that the relative inability of Indian workers to get green cards makes Indian H1B workers more cost effective and valuable to the companies that bring them to the US to work precisely because they are easier to exploit.

A truly fair system would impose identical caps on both H1B visas and green cards. (Ideally, this cap would scale somewhat with the overall population of that country.)

As it is, we have system seemingly designed to provide companies with low cost workers who are more easily exploited. This is bad not only for Indian workers, but for those worker's American peers and labor force competitors.

What we should have is a system designed to bring high quality, diverse workers with needed skills into our country and provide all those workers with a fair and realistic path to citizenship.

> Ideally, this cap would scale somewhat with the overall population of that country.

You bring up good points. Focusing on Vatican City is a funny example to pick and doesn't work well when we look at the facts.

So let's instead look at populations of each country and distribute caps that way. This seems reasonable and democratic, though different from the current system.

In 2017 there were 179,049 new H1B visas issued to persons of all nations globally. There were also 136,393 H4 H1B spousal visas issued.

Of this number, 129,097 new H1B visas were granted to Indian nationals and 117,522 spousal visas (which allow the right to work) were granted to spouses of Indian nationals.

Indian nationals received that year 129097/179049 = 72.1% of all new H1B visas. Indian spouses received that year received 117522/129097 = 91.0% of all H4 spousal visas.

I agree with you that these numbers are vastly disproportionate to population. You are right. These numbers are incredibly unfair to people of most nations, all but one in fact. Can you state what you have learned here which nations are receiving unfair treatment and which one single nation is receiving vast privilege and preference completely out of proportion with their population, based on documented verifiable facts? Please state what you have learned now that you know the actual facts regarding distributions of H1B and H4 visas population as they pertain to national origin. Thank you!

Vatican citizenship is based on having a job inside the Vatican, or at an apostolic nuncio (ie, embassy), or very rarely, being married to someone with such a job. Quitting the job means loss of citizenship. So it is no surprise nobody applies for work based visas with a Vatican passport.

I'd think that Vatican City, as the theocratic seat of worldwide Catholic Christianity, would mainly use a visa category reserved for clergy and religious workers (R-1), anyway.

The Vatican applied for and the US granted 0 R-1 visas in 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014.

I can go back further if you wish. Do you wish me to research and list more years? The data is available from the State Department, going back to 1997.

It doesn't really matter though does it? If the number is 0 back to 1997, will the argument suddenly be that 1996 and before were the huge years when lots of Vatican R-1 visas were issued? It is clear from the statistics that the claims being made about the US being racist, biased and unfair to Indian citizens are not only completely false but the assertions are the exact opposite of reality where Indian citizens are more privileged and favored than any other nationality. These are the facts. But facts don't matter these days. All that matters is race baiting and fabricated claims of hate incidents. It doesn't matter that Justin Smolley and others lied and the lies have damaged the US and create an environment in which people are terrorized by people making false claims. All that matters is the false narrative of chanting racism and denouncing America. Incite that mob. Create division. Truth and reality are unimportant when the violent revolution must be had by those who benefit from it.

I was being sarcastic. It's disingenuous to use outliers as though they are apples-to-apples comparisons.

It is especially deceitful to compare absolute numbers from a tiny city-state with among the lowest populations againt a giant country with the second-highest population. At least divide by each country's total population to get per-capita numbers.

Vatican City is an atypical country. As other posters mentioned, there are many reasons why no-one with a Vatican City passport wants a nonimmigrant work visa for the US. Every individual who might possibly be eligible to have Vatican City citizenship and who wanted to work in the US would likely use their primary passport--probably Italy.

You're cherry-picking. And the cherry you picked is rotten.

Vatican City with its 1000 population and India with its 1.4 Billion population are allocated the same number of visas.

That's why wait times are miniscule outside of India/China, but are several decades long if you're from India.

How long you wait for an H1B is dependent on the country you are from because of USCIS imposed per year limits per country.

See: https://www.uscis.gov/tools/glossary/country-limit

We have racist immigration laws that cap the percentage of green cards going to people from any one country, which has created a really long waiting line for Indians who seek green cards (currently ~15 years).

Only around 2,500 people from India are allowed to get EB-2 and EB-3 green cards per year. That's ~200 Indians per month. This is a numerical limit imposed by Congress. The US government will approve an EB-2/EB-3 green card application, but not actually issue it, and place people from Indian on a queue. The queue for India-born people is over 300,000 right now. So the queue wait time is over a century.

These people from India are forced to spend their lives in the U.S. on the H-1B visa. A visa which prohibits spouses from working, deports your non-U.S.-born children[3] when they turn 21, makes it difficult to switch employers, prohibits unemployment / taking a break, and prohibits starting your own company.

This all goes back to the 1965 Immigration Act. That was the Act that made it possible for people from outside Western Europe to immigrate to the US. It allowed a limited number of highly-skilled people to immigrate if they were sponsored by a company (and the company proved there was no minimally qualified Americans willing to do the job).

Some rather-racist members of Congress were presciently concerned about a lot of skilled immigrant coming from China and India, which were the two most populous countries back in 1965 as well. To appease them, a 7% limit was put based on country of birth.[1] No more than 7% of immigrants in a numerically-limited category can be from the same country of birth.

Again, when the 1965 law passed, there were hard numerical limits on immigration. To appease the racists, Congress reserved most of the green cards for family members. Even the majority employment-based green cards go to family members.[2]

Effectively, out of the 80,000 skilled immigraiton (EB-2 and EB-3) green cards, around 55% are used by family members. That leaves around 36,000 spots for skilled immigrants a year. With the 7% per-country limit, you end up with a limit of ~2500 per year per country.

[1] Specifically, Section 202(a)(2) of the Immigration Nationality Act (Sec 202 is codified as 8 U.S. Code § 1152 Numerical limitations on individual foreign states): https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/8/1152#a

[2] Family Members Use Most Employment-Based Green Cards (Cato Institute): https://www.cato.org/blog/family-members-use-most-employment...

[3] An extremely sad story about this: https://www.statesman.com/news/20171013/commentary-how-a-20-... Quoting:

> My wife and I came to the United States nearly 20 years ago from India with our daughter, Himani — legally — in hopes of a better life and an aspiration to succeed and contribute positively to American society. Unfortunately, due to immigration laws, she was unable to stay in the United States due to massive backlogs. This is a problem that affects thousands of immigrant children.

> She has lived in Williamson County following all the legal processes — but last year she aged out of the system, when she had turned 21 while we were still waiting for her permanent status. Under the current immigration system, a child can only stay on their parents’ visa as a dependent until he or she is an adult. We had been waiting in line for 20 years to get permanent residence but are now stuck in a massive backlog that is extremely disheartening.

> [...] This is all she knows and can call her “home.”

> Juvenile memories — such as her lemonade stands and attending prom her senior year — are some of the beautiful things she had to leave behind. We still cannot digest the reality of the situation. As a parent, it is bearable to see your child leave home voluntarily for college or their career — but not when they’re forced to leave through the result of unfair laws.

> She initially went back to India alone last year with a big smile and positive attitude. Since then, life has been a struggle to live for her: assimilating to a new culture, undergoing chronic illnesses due to her environment in India, and trying to figure out her life in general.

> She says it feels like someone has spontaneously taken everything away, including her identity. On top of that, her college education in the U.S. was abruptly stopped because she was unable to obtain a student visa; there is a law where gaps between a dependent visa and the college semester start date should not exceed 30 days. Unfortunately, she was five days over the limit. She has since applied to another university in India, where she will spend another four years studying.

> She hadn’t been able to see us for a year but later opted for a visa to “visit” a nation that is practically her home.

> These people from my India are forced to spend their lives in the U.S. on the H-1B visa.

They’re choosing to spend their lives in the US on an H-1B; they’re not being forced to do that.

Sorry, my kid was born here. This is her home. This is all she has ever known for the last 10 years. I'm being 'forced' to be here because of her.

I am not arguing with the rest of your post, but people do move around. The fact that your daughter did not see the rest of the world for 10 years does not mean she cannot thrive there. Kids are adaptable (and adults, too). Moving when one is 50 is much harder than when one is 10. My 2c.

I have kids around the age of ten and moved countries. It's very, very hard for them.

SO you are saying that it's ok for an American citizen to be forced to relocate because their parents couldn't be given a permanent visa after 17 years? Sure my daughter might be able to thrive but why?

I am not saying any of this, I am just responding to your point which I understood as "I have 10 yo daughter who has not seen the rest of the world, thus I cannot relocate".

That’s a family choice for her to leave the US or not. That there might be one obvious dominant choice does not change the fact that it’s a choice. That choice you face today is influenced by a choice the parents made a couple decades ago. All still choices.

My kids might be forced to move if I got a job in another city or or if one of our parents fell ill if my wife and I divorced or any other number of reasons, including simply deciding to move someplace else.

It’s a sucky situation that you want and can’t get a green card. I think you share that same situation with 10s or 100s of thousands of others.

If your kid is being born in the US, then isn't it a completely different situation than [3] in the gp post?

By birth the kid is a citizen at age 18. In [3] the kid is born before moving to the US, that's what makes the situation even more difficult.

By birth the kid is an American Citizen via jus-solis automatically. At age 18 she or he can sponsor GC parents.

I take the libertarian non-aggression principle-based point of view on many things, especially immigration. Basically, there's a group of people (the government), that's threatening violence on me and my family because of where I was born. This is my home. The constant threat of violence that's associated with temporary statuses like the H-1B really really suck. Yes, I chose to make this my home. You have no right to threaten violence on me and my family, when I've done absolutely nothing morally wrong. C.f. https://www.zeroaggressionproject.org/



You've been breaking the site guidelines badly by arguing uncivilly, personalizing arguments, and using the site for political and ideological battle. We've had to warn you about this before.

I'm certain that there are valid reasons for your interest in this topic and your strong feelings about it, but it's not ok to let that translate into abusing Hacker News. Treating HN as a platform for an agenda, which you've been doing, with repetitive quotes and talking points and lists of links—that's off topic for this site. It's not driven by curiosity, and it makes discussion more repetitive, less interesting, and more nasty. Worse, firing off ideological rhetoric with both barrels (e.g. comparing the other side in an argument to the SS and claiming that HN users are full of intense hatred) is the flamewar style of comment that people here are expected to abstain from. Worst of all, making personal attacks on people who disagree with you is a bannable offense here, even if they are completely wrong and you completely right—and you've done that particularly aggressively.

This has unfortunately been a pattern for a long time: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13599190.

We ban people for less than this. On the other hand, you've also posted interestingly and kindly about non-overheated topics, so I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and ask you not to do the above things on Hacker News any more. If you'd review the site guidelines and take them to heart, we'd appreciate it. I know that's hardest to do in areas where one has strong feelings, and that's also when it's most important to do.


I'm sorry. It was wrong of me to descend into direct personal attacks on others. I didn’t mean to reduce the quality of the discussion here.

I hope my original comment (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19857878) in this thread was interesting/informative, and consistent with HN guidelines. (Please let me know if it wasn’t.) I acknowledge I made additional comments after that in this thread, which were rather nasty, and I wish I hadn’t made those comments. I had a feeling I shouldn’t make those comments, but at the moment, I was feeling very upset, and I let my emotions out on the keyboard.

The topic of U.S. immigration policy is a highly emotional and sensitive one to me—it’s been a hugely defining factor in my life for the past 12 years. It’s why I haven’t started my own company (and applied to Y Combinator). I found a lot of comments deeply hurtful and emotionally traumatic—it was like they were rubbing salt on my wounds. I felt like a Rosa Parks in the 1950s South.

I’ve honestly never enjoyed commenting on overheated topics like this one. It’s been emotionally draining and harmful for my mental health. It has ruined my mood and robbed me of my happiness and joy for multiple days. I honestly don’t know why I subject myself to this suffering.

I think I’m attracted to this topic because of how much it affects me (and continues to affect me)—and I’m tempted to commented whenever there’s a discussion related to it, in a rather-naive hope of informing people of the true nature of things, with a hope that it might cause people to care. The response has often been depressingly negative. (A case in point being SamReidHughes’ comment saying “There's no reason why our immigration policy should care about you.”)

Anyway, I concede that that’s no reason to shoot off incendiary comments. I don’t ever talk like that in real life, and rarely ever even in online life. Those incendiary comments are emphatically not representative of me. It’s just that this topic (U.S. immigration policy) has a way of pressing all the wrong buttons for me, and putting me in a very bad mental state.

I’m not sure if I should completely refrain from this topic on HN. I don’t know if there’s any benefit to me continuing to comment on this topic. (If you felt like my original comment on this thread was constructive and in line with HN guidelines, please let me know.) I could attempt to continue contributing to future discussions of this topic (with the depth of knowledge on it that personally experiencing it has bought me), and try to do so without letting my emotions get the better of me.

Alternatively, it might be good if discussions around this topic were generally discouraged. It would require the mods to make that a policy, but that might be healthier in the long run. The comments that are made on this topic often have a tendency to be emotionally-traumatic triggers for immigrants like myself. I suggest it might be better for the health of the HN community, if we could somehow generally discourage people from getting into long-winded (and often-heated) discussions on this topic. But that’s your call.

I appreciate what you wrote here and the courage with which you shared your experience—the actual experience underlying what you wrote, including what you feel and some of the reasons for it. It's so hard to do that. It's much easier to just argue, or hide in other ways. I'm a hider myself; probably we all are. Thanks for modeling something better.

I don't think we can reach a solution by discouraging conversations on these topics—they're too relevant to people. It would be asking people to exclude too much of themselves. That can never work. Even if it did, it would constrain conversation into an artificial space, too separated from what's coming up in life. That would make HN less interesting. But we do moderate how much oxygen hot topics are allowed to consume on HN. Otherwise they would take over completely, which also would make HN less interesting. And we try to steer so when topics do come up, it's in the context of a substantive article with new information, as opposed to just predictable points being repeated for the nth time. That has a regulating effect on how quickly and how hot the flames burn. New information means something else is available for discussion besides pre-existing thoughts and feelings, which tend to be intense and painful. Those will come up no matter what—they need to—but it helps if there's a context besides them. That has a moderating effect. It also increases the odds that something new can emerge in discussion, which makes HN more interesting, and may be (though it's better not to think too much about this) the only way to long-term resolution.

You asked me about https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19857878. I don't think that comment broke the guidelines in the way that the later comments did, so it's on the right side of the most important line. However, it's problematic in a more subtle way, which I'd like to try to articulate (though I haven't found the best language for it yet). To me it reads too much like a list of pre-prepared points. Such comments feel more like speeches than conversation. We all know what it's like in conversation when someone insists on going through their list before pausing to hear others: it sort of stops the communicative flow. This often happens when there's an asymmetry in the room: one person feels more urgently than the others and knows more about the topic. They have a lot of good information, but they lose connection with listeners after the first bit or two, and there's no longer the sense of a shared discussion. It feels like they are determined to plough through their points irrespective of what others are taking in. That's a bummer and it reduces the chemistry of the conversation. Or, an opponent turns out to be in the room, someone with opposite strong feelings and opposite facts. Then the two go after each other and get stuck in a tit-for-tat that alienates everyone else.

What makes better conversation is when we react not only from pre-existing feelings and facts, but also from what's going on in the moment: what else has been said, who else is present, what sort of connection we can make with them. Then the comments have more resonance and are less one-sided. That draws others into making richer contributions.

The more in what others have said that I can really respond to, the more surface area a conversation has to stand on. Often we take in and respond to just the one bit of information in a statement that triggers our pre-existing feelings. That's low connectivity, even if we pour out a lot of information in response. Good conversation needs more connectivity.

I'm writing this for myself as much as anybody, since I've noticed this pattern in my own comments. And I noticed an interesting test to apply. After writing a long comment with many paragraphs, I go back and read the first paragraph and ask: could I just stop there? Have I actually made my real contribution to the conversation at that point? It's surprising how often the answer is yes. Sometimes I delete the whole rest of the comment; mostly I don't, but it's surprising how often I find I've been piling on, trying to get a bunch of stuff out, even though it probably weakens the communicative effect of what I'm saying.

Thank you for this response.

Well, I could apparently have been more explicit about what I was saying, and made more clear that national quotas was crudely consistent with that goal (maximize EV for the existing population) because of particular ways in which having large unintegrated minorities in a country can affect that (extrinsic) metric.

Veiled threats are really cool, that's definitely what we need around here.

I also take the libertarian “people should understand and make the best choices for themselves and those that they’re responsible for and own the outcome thereof” point of view.

For people from India or China, this is bad, agreed.

But if the US didn't limit by country how would people from less populous countries be able get green cards? Given the exponential size differences in play I'd expect many years to have 0 immigrants from <insert small country here> and that doesn't seem right either.

This isn't an argument for the current system. I'm just not sure what a system would look like that doesn't unfairly disadvantage someone.

Why should people from less populous countries get special treatment? Treat everyone equally, set a quota for work visas every year and auction them all. If you make it ten years, paying tax the whole time you can get a Greek card. People are individuals, not representatives of their groups.

Why should big states get the same number of senators as small states? Equality in all things leads to inequality through structural imbalances.

You are just trading one inequality for another.

I guess the argument for the current system is that it makes the process reasonable for people from small countries. If it were all one giant pool then the process would be an unworkable nightmare for everybody instead of just people in highly populated countries.

Seems similar to the concept of total population per capita representation instead of pipeline per capital representation in hiring goals.


The only diversity I see being achieved due to the per-country limit is the diversity of passports. India, with it's many cultures and languages, is quite diverse. For example, see this thread here on HN: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16538881

Yes, diversity at least in country of origin or as you might say passport.

For skilled immigrants, why does it matter what passport they hold?

I can understand the argument for and benefits of diversity of thought, of culture etc. But why passports? It makes as much sense as trying to insist that there must be equal number of right-handed, left-handed, and ambidextrous skilled immigrants.

There might as well be a preference for right-handed preference, if someone can convince enough people for it to be the law.

As of current, that is what the congress prefer. They made the law. Indirectly it was the american public preference because it is the representative of american people.

Yes, that is what the current law states. The GPs question was why it was so. What did you mean to add to the discussion when you originally replied, "Diversity"?

As I replied, diversity in term of country of origin. If you then asking why is this is the case. Its because its simply the current preference of american public.

> Its because its simply the current preference of american public.

Yes, that much is obvious. The question, if it was not clear, was an attempt to understand why this is the preference.

Note: This thread is already gone much pedantic IMO, but I give you the benefit of doubt that it is some miscommunication in language. If your point is "it is the way it is, and no explanation is owed to anyone", I will withdraw from the discussion because we don't have much to discuss.

In the end, it maybe the case. Why people prefer x ? They just like it.

To understand why this is racist, imagine that this rule considered all of EU as a single country. I believe that this per-country limit would be scraped in no time if that were the case. My point is that "country of birth" is an arbitrary category formed to justify a racial discrimination.

Everyone would have the same wait time. What’s unfair about that? (Other than the fact that the wait time would probably still be way too high for everyone.)

The entire H1B system is farcical. It's a white collar migrant worker program.

Eliminate the program, and increase the quotas to compensate. The path to citizenship for an educated, English speaking individual should be less impeded than it is now.

> I'm just not sure what a system would look like that doesn't unfairly disadvantage someone.

I imagine USA is a capitalist country, and since we are talking about high-skilled immigrants here, how about ranking these potential immigrants based on their last 5 years W2 income and handing out green cards to the top "x".

I'm sure valuable people are paid more. I don't see how nationality needs to come into this. There is always a Diversity Visa lottery for people from less populous countries.

Is a medical doctor who lives in a country making half what a janitor makes in another country more, or less valuable?

The scope of my argument here is clearly based on past income in the US (that's why I mention W2 income).

I'm fairly confident a medical doctor in the US is paid more than a janitor.

Now, you can make an argument about whether a doctor in a rural area is more valuable than a software engineer in SF but there is an NIW (National Interest Waiver) category that can be utilized to grant residency.

Funnily, in the current system, janitors and meat packers (from other countries) get their green cards earlier than doctors and engineers from India [1,2]

[1] https://www.myvisajobs.com/GreenCard/SearchAll.aspx?ST=Certi... [2] https://www.myvisajobs.com/GreenCard/SearchAll.aspx?ST=Certi...

I know I fall into the "bad guy" minority here, but....

> Indian people are forced to spend their lives in the U.S. on the H-1B visa.

Have the rules changed dramatically since they made the choice to do this? Because it sounds like just that, they chose to spend their lives in the U.S. on the H-1B visa. I agree that the rules suck and need change, but nobody if forcing them to come.

> She hadn’t been able to see us for a year but later opted for a visa to “visit” a nation that is practically her home.

This again appears to fall into the category of a choice. That they chose to subject their child to the situation described, because the rules were in place before they came here.

I would like to see the rules change, but it's unfair to act like you had no choice when you voluntarily signed up to have those rules applied to you (or your family).

The problem that I see is that the child had no choice in the matter. Imagine if you turned 21 and were kicked out of the country that you grew up in and had to move to a country that you haven't been to since you were a baby. I don't really know what a reasonable solution to this might look like.

Making choices that cast long shadows on their children’s lives is basically the job description of parents.

It's not about the parent (which is not a job by the way). We are talking about actual people turning 21 and having no choice but to leave the country where they spend their whole life based on the situation of a different person. I personally have difficulty thinking of a more unfair situation.

Note that the USA is pretty exceptional in this regard. Most countries don't ask for people to be permanent resident before being able to apply for naturalization and children of immigrant having lived their whole life in a country can just apply for and be granted citizenship.

If it helps, you're arguing a different point than I am. I agree the rules are bad, the child should be able to stay. However, the parents don't get to lay the entire blame on the government/laws, because they knew going into the situation what was going to happen. They _chose_ to set things up so their child would be sent back to a country it didn't know.

This situation is pretty normal. If my parents moved to Japan for work and their visa is up, my visa is up too. It’s probably the same if they had worked in India as foreigners.

> If my parents moved to Japan for work and their visa is up, my visa is up too

That's not the problem here though, It's more like your parents moved to Japan for work, stayed there, and when you turned 21 you were kicked out of the country and they get to stay.

That's true, but I think the point was that it's more like your parents knew how long the backlog was, moved somewhere, had a child, failed to do that simple arithmetic (aka hyperbolic discounting; when a thing is so far in the future that we fail to take it into account), and then you didn't get to stay once you were too old.

Exactly. If I move to France on a temporary work visa with my 10 kids, they don't automatically get to stay indefinitely or get granted citizenship somehow just because their parent has a work visa. They have no French parent and weren't born there so their rights as visitors are limited.

Everytime these discussions come up there are all these articles and pundits passionately advocating for the US to have extremely wide open immigration rules that are not observed by any other country in the world, and they claim racism if it doesn't happen the way they want. This constant race-baiting they do is racist in itself.

> Exactly. If I move to France on a temporary work visa with my 10 kids, they don't automatically get to stay indefinitely or get granted citizenship somehow just because their parent has a work visa.

That's a very poor example you have chosen.

The children of foreigners granted a titre de séjour (the maximum duration of a visa in France is one year) as family members of a person working in France:

- are allowed to work in France ;

- are entitled to titre de séjour allowing them to stay for 10 years provided they apply before their 19th birthday and have lived for three years in France.

Considering you can apply for French citizenship after having lived five years in France or after completing a three years degree in a France, unless he is in France for a very short stay, the 10 kids of your hypothetical immigrant are pretty much guaranteed to become French if they want to.

Are you talking about people with temporary non-immigrant visas, or highly skilled immigrants?


> After 18 months in a long-stay residence permit marked ‘employee’ or ‘temporary worker’, you may apply to bring your family to France. Spouses (partners are excluded) and minor children can apply for a one-year ‘visitor’ visa (without being able to work during this time), and must sign the CAI.

This policy is very different than that for the 2016 "Talent Passport" permit, which allows the immediate family to migrate immediately and obtain work permits. It seems you are talking about that visa?

The US also has green cards for migrants that allow one to bring their whole family, stay indefinitely, have the family work, and all apply for citizenship after a time. These are fundamentally different visa classes than temporary non-immigrant work visas like the H1B. Unlike France, the US does not require the worker to wait 18 months before bringing their family on the H-4 family visa, they can come right away. Also, the spouse can work, unlike in France according to the above link. So the US policy is much more progressive.

How about the reverse? You move to France, have a kid that's a French citizen and when the child is 18, you are kicked out but they are allowed to stay.

Unlike the US, France does not have birthright citizenship so unless you or your spouse are a French national, your children born in France are not French citizens. If you live there legally long enough though you can apply for citizenship. Same as for permanent legal residents of the US who have lived here long enough.

My point is that I've lived here long enough (in 4 years, I'd have lived here longer than I lived in my home country) and I still have to wait an indefinite amount of time to become a permanent resident. I've been here 17 years and I'm still a 'temporary' worker. 15 years in the industry, >$500k/yr compensation and I've oversee a budget of $5 million.

A little technicality: persons born in France are automatically granted French citizenship at 18, providing that they are living in France at 18, and have lived in France for at least 5 years previously. These criteria tend to change a lot as this is a rather sensitive topic in France. Also sometimes an application is necessary, sometimes not.

An odd case: if both parents are foreigners, but one of them is born in France, then their children will automatically become French at birth (if born in France).

Then there are special rules for Algeria, as it was a part of France until 1962...

If you're born here, you're an American citizen. Cold comfort, I know, but they can come back.

Yes, we need to apportion blame equally between a couple of parents just trying to live their lives and the government of the most powerful nation on the planet. Wouldn’t want to be unfair.

This is the same argument used to justify reporting DACA recipients back to countries they can’t remember, and to justify putting migrant children in concentration camps along the Mexican border. It’s sickening! When did we decide that some words on paper matter more than our duty to protect the innocent?

The children can complain about their situation. The parents should not complain about the children's situation because the parents actively chose to put their children in that situation.

The rules are bad. The children are in a bad situation. The parents don't get to pretend they didn't contribute to that situation.

Why not? Why can’t people complain about unjust laws they could have avoided? Why is it so important to control who gets to complain that you give that question more attention than the problem of innocent children being victimized by bad laws?

The children are being victimized by their parents' bad decisions to break existing law, not by the law itself. Whatever happened to the idea of personal responsibility and the accountability of parents to make good decisions for their children?

Why do lawmakers have no personal responsibility for the consequences of the laws they enact?

The way you talk about "choice" indicates you have a flawed and limited model of how choice actually works. Choices are contextual and entirely dependent upon circumstances. You should assume that people by-and-large make the best choice that is available to them. If they are dealing with this H1-B rules, they are doing so because this was better than the alternatives.

The problem with the H1-B is that it drastically limits future choices. Therefore people who made the logical choice at the time can end up, through no fault of their own, in a situation where they have to choose between bad and worse. It is entirely fair to blame the system for "forcing" these situations because it is doing so by DESIGN.

Discrimination based on place of birth isn't a concern?

Would you have the same response if there was a similar rule to limit immigration for Muslims, or homosexuals?

Limits per country it is not discrimination, as it limits a White British or French, a Myslim Pakistani, or Indian Hindu the same.

The limits are there to prevent one ethnicity just gaming it industrial scale and taking over the system.

Unfortunately it sucks for aj Indian, but it is great if you are an African from Senegal.

I personally think it should be more proportional to the country's population size, (i.e. India should have a higher quota) but the limit is still a good idea.

Of course it is discrimination. A British born person has better chances at PR than an Indian born person. The Indian is being given less opportunities not because of their skills or talent, but because of their place of birth.

> The limits are there to prevent one ethnicity

Why? Is it okay for an individual to be disadvantaged because of his ethnicity? Why are there no limits on religions too? After all, you get to choose your religion, but not your ethnicity.

Further, who told you India is only one ethnicity? India is more diverse than Europe.

> Unfortunately it sucks for aj Indian

If it sucks it is because this is discrimination.

> I personally think it should be more proportional to the country's population size

Why though? Why can't you judge an individual on their own skills without trying to either be bigoted like right wing or doing identity politics like left wing.

I think people sort of forget that "only let so many people into the country" isn't something we have to do, or that limiting immigration is some absolute positive thing.

I am not arguing for open borders though. That is a separate argument.

You can definitely limit immigration, and do it fairly.

Not fairly, as ultimately something will always be the criteria for admission, and that something will always be arbitrary or uncontrollable.

I am arguing for open borders. Being American isn't special, people need to get over it.

People complain so much about the USA immigration law, however the USA remains to be one of the only countries where you can own property if you are not a natural born citizen. There are those who think the latter should change to protect its natural born citizens. Is it a simpler matter to immigrate to India?

> USA remains to be one of the only countries where you can own property if you are not a natural born citizen.

This is just not true.

You are implying that it isn’t one of the only countries where this is the case?


If you have a well paying job getting a work visa is by all accounts not difficult. If you’re legally resident for twelve years you can naturalise, or seven years if you’re married to an Indian citizen.

Most developed countries will let anyone with the requisite funds buy property, with no particular restrictions on foreigners. It’s certainly the case in the EU, Japan, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

I am not talking about most “developed” countries. I am taking about most countries.

> one of the only countries

I live in Europe. I wonder what my Chinese landlords (who've lived their whole lives in China) would say if they read your comment.

So are there more countries that let foreigners own land or more that do not?

Where do people get crazy ideas like this?

A survey of the differing laws of nations.

Can you share your data? I did a quick search and found few countries that forbid property ownership for non-citizens, and no mention of any restrictions on naturalized citizens.

A system can have both good and bad parts. The good parts cannot protect the system from criticism about the bad parts.

I don't think enough people know about this. People from India have to wait for 150+ years to get permanent residency via the employment-based route.This website does a great job at explaining this: https://siia.us/ People from most other countries can get employment-based green cards in a matter of months. These people have approved (I-140) green card applications, yet cannot "receive" their green card unless they wait 150+ years.

Moreover, until recently, their spouses were prohibited from working. The Obama administration issued regulation that granted permission to work for spouses of people with approved (I-140) green card applications, who've been waiting for over a year. In a cruel and sadistic manner, the current administration, decided to revoke these authorizations, so that their spouses don't "enter the labor market early"[1].

> But now, he has to leave everything behind and go back

I don't think this is necessarily true. Can't he try to find another company that will sponsor him for an H-1B? If he has an approved I-140, he's cap-exempt, practically forever.

[1] https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/eAgendaViewRule?pubId=2018... Quote:

> Anticipated Costs and Benefits: > DHS anticipates that there would be two primary impacts that DHS can estimate and quantify: the cost-savings accruing to forgone future filings by certain H-4 dependent spouses, and labor turnover costs that employers of H-4 workers could incur when their employees’ EADs are terminated. Some U.S. workers would benefit from this proposed rule by having a better chance at obtaining jobs that some of the population of the H-4 workers currently hold, as the proposed rule would no longer allow H-4 workers to enter the labor market early."

> Can't he try to find another company that will sponsor him for an H-1B?

Yes, he has exactly 60 days to find another employer and get the visa application through before accruing unlawful status. And according to this article, he did try but couldn't get a job, so he left.

Infinite visa extensions are all fine until you either:

1. Hit a recession or an industry slowdown (like the situation here)

2. USCIS decides your job isn't a "specialty occupation" anymore and denies your visa extension.

3. You become old (imagine an Indian national engineer at age 50-55 trying to get a company to sponsor H1B).

Most of these people dont even get to progress much in their career because [2] can happen.

If this engineer had a green card, he would have more time to search for another job if laid off.

> Yes, he has exactly 60 days to find another employer and get the visa application through before accruing unlawful status.

This is not entirely true. In U.S. immigration law, "unlawful presence" and "violation of status" are distinct concepts. Unlawful presence of 6+ months results in 3 year bar, and of 12+ months results in 10 year bar. These bars are probably lifetime bans as far non-immigrant non-dual-intent visas are concerned.

However, you don't accrue unlawful presence as long as your I-94 is valid. That's the date stamped on your passport, and usually coincides with the expiry date of your visa, or H-1B approval notice (I-797A/I-797B), whichever is longer. If your company had filed for an extension, and are beyond the I-94 deadline, and you're waiting for adjudication, then you could accrue unlawful presence (if you lose your job).

I'm well-aware of the 60 day rule. (The 60-day grace period which itself was created in January 2017; prior to that you had no grace period.) Within 60 days, you change jobs, and start working at a new job, if the employer files the petition before the 60 days is up.

However, if you've gone past the 60 day limit, you can still get an employer to sponsor you -- you just need to leave the country and return, before you can start. Also, you need to make sure the file your H-1B/other I-129 petition while you're outside the country, so that USCIS doesn't have an excuse to issue an NTA (which can itself easily result in 10-year ban).

Thank you for clarifying this. I thought your I-94 becomes invalid once you lose your H1B.

I was not aware that you won't be considered to have unlawful presence until your I-94 date. Very helpful information for people on H1B.

Not a lot of H-1B visa holders seem to be aware of this. I've been out-of-status many times since then. I've violated the rules of my H-1B visa multiple times, by (intentionally) taking several-months-long breaks between jobs. (Many many years ago, I even violated the terms of my F-1 student visa, and my university terminated my SEVIS record.) None of these past visa violations has affected me adversely, so far.

I've had several visas (including multiple H-1Bs) approved, regardless of my past visa violations. I've been careful to read up on the law. You can't be denied a visa you unless there's a clear basis for denial under the INA. Violations of status while you are within an "authorized period of stay" do not result in a bar.

Honesty is important though. There's a question in the DS-160 visa application form, that asks something to the effect of "Have you ever been illegal in the U.S.?" I've always been very careful to completely and honestly disclose all my past visa violations -- since dishonesty can you get you barred from the U.S. for life. My answer to that question in the DS-160 grows longer and longer, as the years pass. With every visa application, I list all my past violations, starting with my ancient F-1 visa violation. It's never been an issue.

There was one time a consular officer made a comment about it, but that was it. They've been more surprised by my salary. The last time I renewed my visa, post-Trump, they asked to see all my tax returns, and other information. The consular officer actually went through my tax returns in front of me, and seemed kind-of taken aback by my income, and made a comment saying "you've been doing quite well". Most of my visa applications have been at the consulate in Chennai.

I was also outside the US for a little while, 6 years ago, and during that time, I even got a B-1/B-2 visa approved, which is a non-dual-intent visa, and therefore harder to get approved. (The B visa is often denied for people with strong ties to the United States, under Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which prohibits immigrant intent--and having lived many years in the US is likely a strong indicator of immigrant intent.)

The important thing to keep in mind is to be well-aware of the law, and of what can trigger lifetime/10-year/5-year/3-year bars. Dishonesty results in a lifetime bar. Being turned away at the airport results in a 5-year bar. Many H-1B holders were turned back in 2010 during the recession[1]. Actual unlawful presence results in 3-year or 10-years bars. Getting an NTA while on a temporary visa inevitably leads to a 10-year bar.

Violations of status do not directly result in a bar. Right now, USCIS can initiate removal proceeding (by issuing an NTA) if you file a petition requesting a change-of-status, while out-of-status. However, they don't go after people on humanitarian or employment-based statuses[2]. (Previously, under the Obama administration, officials in USCIS were actually prohibited from issuing NTAs or attempting to deport status violators.)

NTAs inevitably lead to 10-year bars because they give you a court date that's always over a year ahead in the future. You have the option to arrange "voluntary departure" on your court date. But if you leave before the court date, you're considered to have been forcibly deported, and a 10-year bar is slapped on you. If you wait until your court date, you accrue unlawful presence, and get a 10-year bar.

Even some corporate immigration lawyers aren't fully aware of the laws. My last company's immigration lawyers freaked out when they saw my visa violations, and thought there was no point in porting my H-1B since I surely was subject an unlawful presence bar (they must've thought my past approvals were all accidents). I had to actually provide them with links to the USCIS Adjuticator's Field Manual (AFM) pointing to the relevant sections of what counts as a bar (along with references to statutory (U.S.C.) and regulatory (C.F.R.) law) and show that them that I've never actually ever unlawfully present. They did a bunch of their own research, and then came back to me and said "you are right", and proceeded to file paperwork for my new job.

[1] https://redbus2us.com/why-were-h1b-holders-sent-back-at-port...

[2] https://www.uscis.gov/legal-resources/notice-appear-policy-m... -- Quote: "USCIS will not implement the June 28, 2018, NTA Policy Memo with respect to employment-based petitions at this time. Existing guidance for these case types will remain in effect."

I'd like to see H1B simply be:

- Minimum pay 120k (something that would indicate the person being brought over is in fact valuable) or maybe more?

- Citizenship granted after ... 3 years?

Something like that.

I would add to that list:

- Do not tie the applicant to a particular employer, and

- in addition to min salary requirements, also require independent demonstration of in-demand skills. Otherwise this system is too easy to game for large employers/sectors, who could do the equivalent of dumping by temporarily paying high salaries and then ratcheting down once they anticipate the market will clear at their desired price.

So basically, turn the H1B into an O-1 style visa where you don't need to be as extraordinary as long as you're well-compensated.

Which was exactly the intent of the H1B in the first place!

> Citizenship granted after ... 3 years?

I like the intent, but that's pretty aggressive. Permanent residency after 3 years is maybe a better way of phrasing that.

Yeah I like that.

I'm cool with bringing people over to work if there is a real need. I really just want it to have an upfront cost that is tied to the need... some way of proving that need and skills would be nice.

I'd be ok with permanent residency, anything that disallows the employer able to kick you back home at a whim kind of threats.

Honest question - can someone explain why its harder for an Indian national to get a green card?


Every year there's a finite amount of green cards available, and a rule that says: a country can not claim more than 7% of all the green cards each year.

So every year the max number of Indians that can get green card is the same as the max number of Portuguese, but India has 100x the population of Portugal, so if in proportion to their population, as many Indians applies for green card as Portuguese, the Portuguese have a much higher chance of getting it approved this year

The Indians who didn't get it because of reaching that 7% are added to a backlog.

The following year, the same thing is repeated, but now in addition, you have all the people in the backlog, ... Repeat that many years, and now the backlog is more than a decade long: people who applied for the Green card a decade ago are still waiting.

Yep, I'm going for my Greencard through the EB program, and because I'm from New Zealand my priority date (which is where the queue starts), is "current" which means the day the paperwork gets approved, things can move forward. If I were Chinese or Indian the priority date is years ago - the current Indian priority date for the EB3 is 2009.

It's already more difficult, expensive and time consuming to get a Greencard vs. permanent residency in comparable Western nations. My Greencard will take 18+ months, $15k and a very flexible employer and I'm walking into the system with a lot of advantages. I feel for Indians and Chinese people in the system.

A maximum of 7% per year can convert over from any one country. Countries likes India, Mexico and Philippines (and China?) have higher proportion so there is a huge backlog. Most other countries are significantly better.

It’s worth noting the main investor visa E2 doesn’t have a path to citizenship at all. At least there is some hope in h1b.


> Why don’t these countries strive to become better then the US?

Because the US will bomb the shit out of them if they do. E.g. Clinton threatened to impose trade sanctions on India if they took steps to treat the few people who (at the time) had HIV rather than letting it become an epidemic.

Or just look at Iran, Cuba, any central American country, etc.

> E.g. Clinton threatened to impose trade sanctions on India if they took steps to treat the few people who (at the time) had HIV rather than letting it become an epidemic.

I'd be really interested in learning more about this. Source?

Here's an article about South Africa, which was the other country involved:


I can't find a good source online about India, although it's mentioned in passing here:


I think there is a bit of a fundamental difference between "we'll start a trade war if you treat this disease in your country" and "we'll start a trade war if you steal the product of tens of billions of dollars of R&D (to treat this disease in your country)". Namely, with one you can still treat the disease - just not by ignoring US patents, paying a trivial royalty, and manufacturing the drugs yourselves. (Which I'm also not confident would have actually halted the epidemic - South Africa is not particularly well known for their pharmaceutical industry, and that stuff's harder than you'd expect)

And IMO "AIDS is an epidemic, we're declaring an emergency" is about as credible as "Global Warming is a catastrophe, we're declaring an emergency" or "Illegal Immigration is huge, we're declaring an emergency".

hopefully we change or enforce h1-b so that it fulfills its purpose to bring skills we don’t have.

>>has been legally in the US for 17 years and still on a temporary H1B visa (conveniently not mentioned in NYT)

disgraceful. USA needs highly educated (and other) immigrants so if he has been working at such high level positions for 17 years, why not roll the carpet?

Not sure why this is downvoted (maybe unnecessarily flamebaity?). I definitely agree there's a big tension between "temporary" and "17 years". I mean, jiminy, even revoking the visa would make more sense than keeping them in the country that long with the pretense that it's temporary. And seriously, by that long you've probably assimilated.

This is one of the things that pisses me off so much about the rallying against trump being a racist or a xenophobe. Realistically the man's just implementing a strategy to follow a law. Meanwhile the GMs of the world continue to use and abuse H1Bs and no one bats a fucking eye.

His golf clubs employed undocumented workers for years FFS

He's not "just" doing anything, he's always also Tweeting and talking about it, and the things he says put his motivations around "follow a law" into the "racist/xenophobic" realm.

Besides, the law itself is fucked up and backwards. Trying to enforce a bad law is itself not good.

Talking about what? Your claims are baseless.

You're saying not allowing anyone into this country is a fucked up law and backwards? Lol ok. I'd love to see you integrate into a shady Mexican community.

Trump is a total xenophobe. He is not implementing the law. He is changing its interpretations in a way that is completely arbitrary and is being taken to court for it. Meanwhile, USCIS is making decisions that are completely random and denying extensions to people on very flimsy ground.

No sources I see. I've never once witnessed trump act xenophobic. Not once. Just admit it - you only say this because CNN and the rest told you he's a bad man.

Circus around birther movement, "shithole countries", parent separation, "very fine people", retweeting white supremacists, cracking down on immigration, hiring Stephen miller, mocking black lives matter..should I keep going ?

This is false. He must have done something to artificially lengthen this like not apply for his Green Card, because I have friends from India who have been here less years with their GC.

As expected there's another side to the fake news above. He was in school until 2014 pursuing his PhD so he wasn't eligible for employer-sponsored Green Card until then.

> has been legally in the US for 17 years

Should we also mention that he only worked at GM for 3 years and that was his first job? Before that he was on a student visa for college, then grad school in West Virginia where his advisor proposed they apply for a federal grant to test emissions on German cars, and there were several people working on this taxpayer financed project. They collected the data and another member presented the data at a conference. They were not the ones that discovered that VW was cheating or how the cheating was done, but their paper was what called attention to the issue, prompting further investigation by others.

It's interesting that having 3 years work experience in the US after 12 years of education mostly financed by US taxpayers is sufficient to be called a "hero" who "discovered" something he was part of a team that is not mentioned, and presumed to be worthy of permanent citizenship.

Did he have noteworthy accomplishments at GM? Was he one of their top engineers? Little about his brief 3 year stint at GM is mentioned in these articles. I wonder why.

Most people would see the 12 years of taxpayer-financed education as a reason to keep him in the country. If he returns to India, taxpayers are losing a lot of the benefits of that investment.

are you sure it was taxpayer financed. As a former international student, the tuition for international students was 3x for locals at a big state university in the south. Besides football programs, most schools get their financing from international students.

> Besides football programs, most schools get their financing from international students

Citation? Why do our federal and state budgets have multi billion dollar line items for funding universities if it's just international students paying for everyone.

State universities accept a lot more than 3 in state students for every international student.

Some universities yes, others decidedly not. Did this person go to a public university?

Further, why is it so bad that we spend money to educate people, even if those people aren't Americans? What makes an American inherently more deserving of his spot in class?

I'm responding to someone who's claiming that the schooling was subsidized. I have no idea if that's true. His time in grad school at least would probably have included a lot of grants.

International students are generally not subsidised, and are seen as huge cashcows by universities.

I'm not the one who claimed he was subsidized. I was responding to someone who made that claim as part of an argument against keeping him in the country.

He actually worked at Cummins first after getting his masters in 2006, and later went back to school for his PHD and then went to work at GM. His Linkedin is 100% open, so you should really do some basic research before questioning someone's background and if they're 'valuable' enough for your standards.

> 12 years of education mostly financed by US taxpayers

Clearly, you have no idea how the education system works in US. Most probably, only his PhD education was funded by a research agency for doing research, or if he was unlucky, like many PhD students he had to do TA apart from doing research for a living salary. Undergrad education is almost always not funded for any international student.

> ... presumed to be worthy of permanent citizenship.

Your tone seems to imply you do not believe he should be granted citizenship.

What requirements do you have for granting citizenship that this guy doesn't meet?

He's spent nearly two decades in this country being a productive member of society - at a level most citizens don't ever achieve in their lifetime.

Why do you feel he shouldn't be allowed to permanently belong here?

He was an undergrad for 4 years. He was in grad school for over 8 years. He then worked for 4 years at GM. So by the time he is 41 he has worked 4 years. He is laid off, with 4000 other people. Most of them were able to line up new jobs. He was not. If his engineering talent is as great as people here are suggesting, employers would be lining up to hire him. There's a massive talent shortage. Competent engineers do not stay unemployed. His main accomplishment is that while at a university in West Virginia he, and other students, did some emission testing on a project suggested by his graduate advisor. Contrary to claims in the thread, he did not discover cheating, that was found out by others. He did some emissions testing. That's great. We do need emission testers. How many? Don't know. Does he have exemplary skills in this? Where is the evidence.

The H1B program is not for permanent employment or a guarantee of citizenship. We have other programs that are more suitable for that. He spent 17 years here, 4 which he actually worked, and his work was not good enough to get a single job offer after layoff despite having a PhD (albeit from an almost totally unknown and undistinguished university).

You wish to argue he is entitled to US citizenship now. Why?

It appears that the US has more worker visas than any country in the world. I was just reviewing the numbers and couldn't find any countries that allow more people in on work visas. Likewise for student visas. We have one of the most generous immigration policies, if not the most, in the entire world. And the US lets in people from all countries, with a huge disparity - people from India are massively overrepresented. We are more generous with Indian nationals than any other origin.

Yet constant claims of racism, of hating the evil United States, of making one demand after another, of complete entitlement. Totally thankless, hateful, racist people making these comments, and totally contradicted by the actually measurable facts. It's absolutely shameful and disgusting to see this hate, disrespect and contempt for America.

Not just US citizens but all legal immigrants pay taxes.

What he did in his grad school, mind you, is certainly much more than random immigrants or even US citizens do in their lifetimes.

> much more than ... US citizens do in their lifetimes.

And what was it he did?

Here's an article about their testing.


This article makes very clear Dan Carder initiated and was in charge of the project. The article also gives shout outs to the grad students Marc Besch and Arvind Thiruvengadam for driving, and quotes Hemanth Kappanna as saying that they they attributed the discrepancies to technical defects or design flaws in the cars rather than deliberate wrongdoing: "It was interesting, but we never thought it would blow the lid off Volkswagen. Never, ever." This now has become a thriller of a hero unmasking a fraud through diligent insight and breathtaking research. Who devised this study, directed it and did the key research?

Mentioned in today's article is that Kappanna helped fill out the grant application. OK, that's something. And that is "more than US citizens do in their lifetimes". I am not convinced that is true. I will agree though that most US citizens don't in their lifetimes do 12 years of college followed by a brief undistinguished 4 year career, all by age 41. Most people in the US who are 41 have worked more than that. Most people in the US don't have the privilege and opportunity to attend college for 12 years. Wouldn't you agree? Is this what you are referring to when you talk about US citizens doing far less? You clearly have sneering disregard and contempt for US citizens, which is a common position these days, particularly from people raised racist societies based on hate and systems of entitled generational privilege such as the caste system, in contrast to the US's culture and legal system which repudiates all of that, instead being the land of opportunity, with nearly all of the population descended from recent immigrants, coming from every nation and ethnic group on earth.

I don't have any disregard for Americans or for that matter for any person based on their nationality or religion. I used "Americans" since this about American immigration system.

I do have a problem people trying to diminish the credentials of a person whom they do not know and have no idea about circumstances of his professional or personal life. He did not get asked to publish in NYTimes. Many immigrants are returning to their home countries, how many have stories have you seen published ?

I am surprised that this guy hasn't been given job offers at other places. He did good things, is ethical, and is clearly skilled. It's a shame that people like this are not properly 'rewarded' for their good deeds. Exposing the evil of others should always be.

Yes. Those good things included saving scores of peoples' lives. Diesel particulates are very bad for the lungs, and he helped put a stop to so much of it.

He deserved an award, not to be sent "home" after 17 - seventeen - years in the US.

> Diesel particulates are very bad for the lungs, and he helped put a stop to so much of it.

Dieselgate wasn't about particulates, and unlike petrol cars every diesel car of the last 10-15 years has a particulate filter...

Now petrol cars are getting particulate filters too, because new emission standards (e.g. Euro 6c) include particulate restrictions for petrol engines, which they didn't previously have, and direct injection engines utterly exceed those restrictions.

"Dieselgate wasn't about particulates, and unlike petrol cars every diesel car of the last 10-15 years has a particulate filter..."

Not true here in the UK - I buy and sell secondhand cars of this vintage as a side job, and not all the diesels I've seen have DPFs (I'd say it was 50% have them) - lots of models didn't have them, including quite a few vans (which pollute more due to bigger engines, lower mpg, etc). And anyone who's bought anything of this age range also knows that the DPFs are a reliability nightmare. Lots of people removed them (which is now at least tested on the MOT, although it's possible to remove it in a way that is not detected by an MOT test).

But most importantly, although dieselgate wasn't about particulates, it still means getting diesels off the road, which is a good thing. If particulates had been accurately measured in vehicles after a few years, I'm sure many more would be off the road, particularly 1st gen DPF cars.

The problem is that most people now equate a vehicle with a DPF as being a nightmare, and then by association don't care about the effect on the environment as the effect on their wallet is a more pressing need. Much the same as EGR valves, which are a reliability issue on most vehicles regardless of fuel. People block them off, leading to increased NOx pollution and better fuel consumption, and when it can cost hundreds of pounds to get it replaced (if it has to be calibrated to the ECU, etc, often a main dealer trip is involved), it's not surprising that this happens.

The sooner we can all go electric, the better, IMO. And I say that as someone who has considerable skill and experience in repairing and maintaining ICE cars.

And yet, where I'm from(Poland) it's extremely common to have the DPF removed from a new diesel car, pretty much any workshop will do it and fit a DPF emulator instead so the computer doesn't complain. All of that to avoid a potential cost few years down the line to have the filter cleaned/replaced. I'm utterly disgusted by how common this behaviour is.

It's not legal in the USA either, but it's very popular to do with diesel pickup trucks. Look up 'rolling coal' on YouTube

I wouldn't say it's very popular... I rarely see trucks that are sporting DPF deletes, though I guess if you live somewhere like Texas with an insane truck culture, it's probably more popular than elsewhere.

Wouldn't you need to have the DPF retrofitted prior to any periodic vehicle control (as mandated by the EU), pretty much neutralising any savings?

No, to my knowledge you can pass the annual technical test without any issues even with the DPF filter removed, unless the engine has other issues and is literally emitting black smoke - the particulate emissions without the filter are not enough to trigger a fail(essentially the threshold is so fantastically high that modern diesels are far below it, dpf filter or not).

Not anymore, since this year when you have DPF removed you will not pass the combustion quality check.

-Oh. That was unexpected. Thanks!

Honestly I've never heard of DPF removals before (edit: reason being mandatory car inspection usually finds this modification where I live, apparently it used to be a thing for some time and then the inspection protocol was changed). I only heard about people bypassing the AGR (exhaust recirculation), but that's independent of diesel/petrol (both have them nowadays).

That being said DPF issues seem to mostly impact people who only use the car for short distances; I've lived with DPF diesel cars for ~10 years and no issues. That being said any ICE powered vehicle is completely unsuited for travelling short distances, not just from an ecology point of view. Some more than others, though, it seems.

Modern diesels are supposed to have particulate filters installed.

Yet just yesterday, in “ultra low emission zone” Central London, I saw a Ford diesel van with a 16 plate (meaning, it’s a late-2015 Model at the earliest) spewing a cloud of black soot every time it pulled away at an intersection.

It’s clear that there are still too many DPF removals going on, and lax controls about monitoring emissions from supposedly-compliant vehicles.

(Motorcycles are another huge issue. They may be compliant with noise and emissions regs at the factory gate, but too many people swap the exhaust for a loud, polluting, illegal one.)

What!? Cars/trucks that have been modded this way ought to have a mandatory crush penalty. Complete forfeiture of the asset, zero compensation.

Then let's see how popular the practice would remain.

Diesel cars should have a mandatory pre sale environmental inspection to root out buyers getting stuck in the 2nd hand market.

> Cars/trucks that have been modded this way ought to have a mandatory crush penalty. Complete forfeiture of the asset, zero compensation.

I feel like you might get a wee bit of pushback on the idea of crushing people's modes of transport because they stuck a non-regulation exhaust on there. All-or-nothing regulations such as the one you propose are rarely sustainable. Even CARB (the California Air Resources Board), the bane of California automotive enthusiasts, isn't that draconian.

>I feel like you might get a wee bit of pushback on the idea of crushing people's modes of transport

This is England we're talking about. American respect for individuals and their private property does not apply and Europe tends to come down hard at anyone that dares thumb their nose at authority by intentionally breaking the law.

... unless it is actual violent crime - there the American legal system comes down at perpetrators a lot harder than European ones do.

Only the ones committed by minorities.

Why should people be allowed to act so selfishly? It would stop the practice dead in its tracks, and from then a non issue. I dare say that makes it worth it.

Furthermore making it strictly illegal to perform the work would assist.

Because the few people who would have their cars crushed vote. They are not a large group, but small groups voting as a block are enough to change an election. If a politician wants to keep her job she will be careful angering groups like this.

Also, in the US the 8th amendment prohibits excessive fines. It is likely that courts will look on crushing a nearly new car as an excessive fine.

Seems a bit like the ol' "cut off someone's hand for stealing" punishment, doesn't it? IMHO the punishment should fit the crime, in this case a fine commensurate with the estimated carbon impact of the illegal modification.

Societies that have draconian punishment for minor infractions tend to take the view that their punishment is fitting and proportional because it's much harder to steal stuff without hands.

Where is gets interesting is when they take a hard-line stance on some things but not on others. Like you get a slap on the wrist for theft from another commoner but if you're caught stealing fish from the lord's stream without the proper license you're strung up by your thumbs in some castle dungeon for a month.

"It would stop the practice dead in its tracks,"

Of course, because executing people when they have the tiniest amount of drugs on them has also worked so well across the world rolls eyes

Wait - I thought we were talking about crushing cars?

My point was that severe, disproportionate punishment is the law-and-order crowd's wet dream (for moral reasons) but not effective policy.

It's highly uneducated (or dare I say cheapskate) move on the part of the keeper of that vehicle. EU6 rated diesels are supposed to do self maintenance on DPF ie they start burning rich mixture to bring the temperature up (and this is observed in cold weather)

From what I personally observed on my EU6 Diesel (a very common VAG 2 litre diesel... sadly ?) that, the net effect of that comes out as approx 50-100 mile reduction in the range. The reason being more fuel being used to up keep the DPF.

In summer (June till October) I observed about 600 mile range from a full tank. Between November and up until February I observed 500 mile from a full tank (between 62 to 64 litres)

I was alarmed by the difference and then tried the "Economy" mode. I guess it detunes the peak output to 150ps (from 190ps) and also disengages the engine from the gearbox i.e. the car seems to be coasting in neutral when the accelerator pedal is not pressed.

With that, I was able to get 550 miles from a tank so far and recently the weather has warmed up again and the on board computer shows a potential range of about 600 miles.

I do make sure to never drive with a heavy foot and even on motor way try to stick below 70mph limit as long as it is safe. However, most of the miles done in that car are strictly urban (max speed not exceeding 50mph)

The cost of ownership of electric car didn't quite work out for us as a family when we downsized from two cars to just the one (keeping in mind the cost of public transport in UK)

I still somehow think that Diesel is the lesser evil compared to Petrol. It has (hopefully) lower CO2 emission. The problem is NOx which is (hopefully) neutralised by SCR and Particulate which is neutralised by DPF. And you need to burn less of it over the same distance.

But sadly it is hard to conclude what's what when the governments and industry keep showing different facets of their relationship every half a decade or so.

AIUI DPF regenerates naturally if the engine is loaded enough and automatic regeneration with extra fuel use is only necessary when that doesn't happen enough. 70 mph (~110 km/h) is only slightly faster than regular rural roads (though many are limited to 70 km/h), maybe average Autobahn trips at comfortable speeds (130-170 km/h [80-105 mph]) do make a difference here. I'm pretty sure I don't reach similar constantly high rpms (e.g. on my car 160 km/h in sixth is a bit above 2000 rpm) and loads on the engine in other driving situations.

Your description matches up with my experience. I think I am wasting fuel in cold weather. IIRC I haven't been in a situation where I drove over 2k rpm constantly.

In the Economy mode, the ECU decides to shift into 5th gear at about 31mph and then I let the car coast.

I would think 2k at 160kph is where this engine would be too if ever I drove at that speed. 99% of the times the max I have done is about 110kph where it is in 7th gear at under 2k rpm (having read about the engine and the owner's manual, that 7th gear is out of power band and is effectively overdrive, not possible to accelerate in 7th even gently)

Really commonplace, alas. Did a quick search for Transit DPF (just to see about later transit issues), and one of the first results was this company:


Proudly professing their removal service, and with a caveat at the end to say that it makes the vehicle illegal for road use and is for off-road use only.

I don't think it should be allowed, personally, but I'm sure there are libertarians who think they have a right to pollute...

Strange how no one talks anymore about how much more efficient and more suited diesel engines are when it comes to everyday traffic than petrol engines. It's become all about particles, and yes, diesel is more dangerous to humans if not filtered correctly. But at the same time, diesel engines are using less fuel and there is no reason why we shouldn't use DPF when they are available. I switched to a diesel car not long ago, and I can safely say that as long diesel cars are being manufactured, I'll never go back to petrol.

I think for city traffic ICE cars (and more generally, cars) are just unsuited. Stop and go, very low speeds etc. are just the worst case for both fuel usage and pollution (low load = low exhaust temp = catalytic exhaust processing doesn't work properly, problem gets bigger with the engine; e.g. truck exhaust processing basically doesn't do much at all in cities). And you get a choice of "do I want to wear the engine or do I want to minimize exhaust and fuel"...

For general driving I find it easier to drive a diesel for low consumption compared to petrol. I also like how diesels tend to have nice long gearing, leading to low RPMs and less noise. Pick-up from low RPMs is also quite nice, a diesel has no issues to start accelerating from, say, 1200 rpm (with practically all constant speed driving falling between 1000 and ~1600ish rpm for me, to see more you'll need the Autobahn).

For petrolhead(?) purposes I have to say that diesel tend to sound like a loose bag of bolts when you rev them (which you normally won't do), obviously it's not going to sound like a race car. In that regard tiny (1 liter, 1.2 liter) non-DI, non-turbo petrol engines tend to surprise... :) though at least some of these are way worse at fuel efficiency than you'd expect.

>low load = low exhaust temp = catalytic exhaust processing doesn't work properly

It's not 1970 anymore. Those cats are right behind the exhaust manifold for a reason and that reason isn't to save money on piping.

Audi A8 diesel on the autobahn is fun. Smooth ride at 250 kph :)

The way DPF works results in more <PM10 particulate than not having a DPF at all. (It does burn most of the soot, but results in more small particles at then end, and we know that those small particles are the ones that are causing most of the troubles in the lungs and blood stream)

Can you cite anything that proves it’s worse

Tom Denton: Automotive Technician Training: Theory page 213

no proof, just a statement though, but the same phrasing is seen all around the net, even on the DPF wikipedia page (without source though)

Devils advocate for this one; to put a little meat on sibling comments.

A whistleblower has demonstrated that there are circumstances where they will short-circuit the chain of command and attempt to attract external intervention. The only way a corporate hierarchy can react to such a person is to see them as a risk to be managed; ideally by not hiring them. Large scale corporations have hiring processes with all sorts of weird informal risk-mitigation measures built in (which is usually expressed as discrimination on weird traits).

So people with that sort of whistle-blowing initiative who want to be employable need to build a strong informal network of people who will hire them because they think they understand what circumstances would trigger that behavior and that they are not present in the hiring corporation.

What they heck, why are people in these comments calling him a whistleblower?

He wasn't working for VW when he helped discover VW's fraud. He was working for a non-profit!

He’s not a whistleblower, and didn’t short circuit his management chain. FTA he was an engineering student at WVU the time, not employed by VW.

He has ethics, we can't allow that at our CORP.

-- Some CEO probably.

Yeah, I'm sure the 4,000 person layoff was just to let go of this one engineer...

It's not about the 4,000 being a cover up in itself.

It's about using a convenient 4,000 layoff to get rid of them too.

(Or worse, not even that, but just blindly getting rid of them, with no particular consideration).

They should be celebrated and/or promoted, not included in lay off lists...

But it included this one engineer

Top 4,000 most ethical engineers ;-)

This may be true, but it's not how good business, corporations and executives should behave.

When profit is king...

Perhaps other places don't want their shady practices exposed.

You'd expected them to be rewarded for doing a good ethical deed that hurts the company they were working for?

I'm not sure other companies would jump to hire him, that's not how capitalism works...

In some situations in the US, whistleblowers receive a portion of the money the government makes from fines.


He is ethical, and known to expose wrongdoings.

No way in hell that he is getting hired in that industry.. and even if he is - no way that he'll have any kind of access to incriminating information.

He should be hired by regulators. They need more people who can expose wrongdoings.

Underrated comment. This seems like a great closure for this, which is a seriously embarrassing development

The sad fact is, the regulators are so underfunded they probably can't afford to hire him.

Cherry on top, in a perfectly cynical (and hopefully hypothetical!) world: "After five years at the regulator, the car industry had paid him more than he would ever have earned as their employee"

>No way in hell that he is getting hired in that industry..

So you're saying that no one in the auto industry is ethical, and that they deliberately hire unethical people? Out of the millions of employees across the country and globe? Deplorables, all of them?

That's rich. Silicon Valley is hypocritical and out-of-touch.

They are all ethicall, it's just might not have the same ethics as you. Ethics is relative afterall.

Hiring a known whistleblower is a risk not worth taking, even if you are not doing anything wrong. The risk vs. reward ratio is just too high.

I am sure that this is the logic executives like to go through, but whistleblowers aren't people who compulsively reveal company secrets. They reveal secrets which the public should know about, and usually have to be very large and important in order to justify the personal risk involved.

If your company is so ethically bankrupt that you can't afford the risk of someone who would only reveal things that are of critical importance to the public, then maybe you aren't the "good guys" anymore.

> If your company is so ethically bankrupt that you can't afford the risk of someone who would only reveal things that are of critical importance to the public, then maybe you aren't the "good guys" anymore.


Fortunately, a great many companies are not hiring him, so it’s not like not hiring him will expose that we’re doing tons of illegal stuff.

Is this a variation on "you don't need to be afraid if you have nothing to hide" thing?

It's more like "you don't need to be afraid of whistle-blowers unless you're killing people through your actions". VW didn't make a small mistake -- their evasion of emission standards has directly resulted in thousands of preventable deaths due to air pollution (they also decided to unethically poison monkeys in order to "prove" that the gasses weren't toxic). Again, whistle-blowers don't just reveal secrets willy-nilly -- there is significant personal risk to being a whistle-blower and very few people make such decisions lightly.

The thing is -- everyone has something to hide, which is why that adage is wrong. But not everyone is hiding a scheme they've cooked up to flaunt laws (and lied to regulators for years when they came knocking) which resulted in tangible deaths as a result. If you are worried that you have a scheme like that on your books, then yeah you should avoid hiring whistle-blowers.

You're right about the logic of corporations when it comes to hiring decisions. He probably doesn't have much of a future in automotive.

His career has taken an ironic downtown, ironic enough to land him as the centerpiece in a NY Times article. That will certainly help his profile.

They were studying vehicle emissions for a grad-degree. Why would he be a whistle-blower?He didn't work for VW when he was studying that ?

Who's a known whistleblower?

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