"As a part of immigration reform, the Administration strongly supports legislation to attract and retain foreign students who graduate with advanced STEM degrees, to establish a start-up visa for foreign-born entrepreneurs to start businesses and create jobs, and to reform the employment-based immigration system to better meet the needs of the U.S. economy. However, the Administration does not support narrowly tailored proposals that do not meet the President's long-term objectives with respect to comprehensive immigration reform."
Essentially this bill "converts" the 55,000 "diversity visas" currently available into "STEM visas."
It looks like this bill originated from the Republican party, so I'm wondering why they didn't just write a bill that allocated additional STEM visas without "cannibalizing" the diversity visas.
Written by Lamar Smith, Mr. Privacy Invader himself -- make sure to read the Privacy issues section of the wiki page
The law had a provision for granting advance parole to people whose immigration proceedings were incomplete so they could leave the country for things like weddings, funerals and so on and get back in to pick up where they left off. However, leaving the country also caused the immigration application to be considered abandoned, and the advance parole could be rejected. It even says on the advance parole application form that if granted, the parole may or may not be worth the paper it's written on - it depends on how the immigration officer at the port of entry is feeling on that particular day.
That should tell you all you need to know about Rep. Lamar Smith.
This is certainly true in the UK. I suspect it's the case in the USA and most other democracies.
tldr, not true in the us. totally different system.
I've come to associate his name with being a bit of a red flag.
HN is mangling the hyperlink for some reason. Copy+pasting will get you to the bill.
I care about my employees and at this stage I can afford to pay them above market rates. I don't have any trouble holding on to them, though occasionally life interferes – one employee moved for personal reasons.
These big companies that donated to the Obama campaign – "Apple, Microsoft, and Adobe" are called out in the article – if they are having trouble hiring highly educated employees while their profits are measured in billions, would they please consider offering a raise to their current employees?
I'd be surprised if they could demonstrate they raised their salary by 50% and were still unable to fill their open positions. Yes, I know that many companies consider salary one of their biggest cost centers, but I believe that misses the essential feature of hiring an employee: they become part of the company. Employees are compensated with cash; stockholders are compensated other ways. Especially in a large, profitable software company, it isn't _actually_ hard to pay your employees above average rates.
Max Cleland lost his Senate race to Saxby Chambliss in 2002 partially on the back of attack ads that showed images of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein while claiming Cleland didn't support President Bush's "vital security measures."
In reality, the votes in question involved things like Cleland voting against a Republican and for a Democratic version of a proposal, or larger bills that contained poison pills.
It was downright shameful -- and John McCain called it exactly that -- but it was effective.
Saxby Chambliss, on the other hand, is a true patriot who proves this by yelling and screaming about it and never letting some pedantic BS about the "Constitution" obstruct his plans to remake America into his utopian vision as expressed by the movie "Idiocracy".
Also, while this is framed as an immigration bill, the Democrats won't take too much bad PR in important (Hispanic) immigrant communities because the vast majority of those aren't the tech job type.
Holding out for a comprehensive plan is probably a good move for Obama because he can include this as an incentive to vote for it. If they don't get some sort of comprehensive plan, it's still good because the Democrats could basically just introduce this without the zero-sum part and then the Republicans will be the ones against both skilled and unskilled immigrants.
Well, the diversity visas were the most brutal possible attack on sanity ever passed by a legislature. "Oh, you came from XYZ wretched backwater, here's your VISA...on the basis of your wretchedness." Sad, sad, sad, to live in such dismal times.
But that's not the case.
Better for who?
That's the "diversity" part, and the list includes many rich countries too.
In the worst case it's a tiny drop wrt. to general immigration, and I'm ready to bet it tends to in fact attract highly motivated people.
But fact checking this stuff would cost CNet rageviews.
But let me explain a bit further.
Most American visas are related to a specific job, or a family connection, or education. You can't just turn up and stay -- you have to have a reason, and a ton of documentation. But that's not how immigration has, historically, worked: the original American colonists and those that followed them through the 1700s and 1800s didn't arrive knowing where they'd live and what job they'd have. They arrived hoping to make a better life for their children, with no clear plan of how. That's what these visas are for.
The situation is complicated slightly further because these are restricted to low-immigration-rate countries. Basically, there are a billion Indians and more than a billion Chinese: even a very small percentage of them applying for a visa lottery would mean that 99% of visas went to people from those countries. Therefore, to get immigrants from a broader range of countries, visas for people from countries that send a lot of applications every year are handled separately, under their own quotas. The remaining countries are all lumped together and given a group quota: these are the "diversity" visas.
If you would like a more fundamental answer to why immigration is good, I'm happy to oblige, just ask :-)
Personally, I believe that no human is fundamentally better than another and that we don't own the planet but merely inhabit it. This means I also believe we all deserve to be treated as equal citizens of a global nation. I realize that in practice you can't just dissolve all the borders at once, but nevertheless less restrictive border controls which includes things like increased immigration push things towards that ideal.
This trade in labor is good for all the same reasons that any other trade is good: the commodity (labor) goes for the best price to the supplier to those who will most benefit from it, as indicated by their being willing to pay the most. Both parties benefit, it's a clear win-win, no problem. Right?
It gets a little more complicated in the case of immigration, for a bunch of reasons. Firstly: are the suppliers and sellers in this transaction nations, or individuals? You can look at it both ways:
If the parties in the trade are nations, then the benefit is rather lopsided to the receiving country: they get a new, productive worker, and any money they give that worker is mostly spent inside the receiving country, boosting that economy further. The sending country gets nothing -- even though it spent money educating that worker, providing them with healthcare, etc.. In practice, however, many immigrants send money back to family in their home country, a substantial flow of money known as remittances.
If the parties in the trade are individuals, the win-win nature is also obvious: the company gets a worker that they would otherwise have been unable to afford, the worker gets a better-paying job than they would have got in their home country.
But there's a third way of looking at it, and this is where things get tricky.
I could also have phrased the above as "for cheaper than a local worker". In practice, that's not usually how it works. Hiring an immigrant is generally more expensive and inconvenient than a native -- if a company could find a native worker to do the same work for the same price, they would rationally do so. However, the ability to hire immigrant workers at that price does prevent the company from raising the price it's willing to pay.
More simply: while the company wins, and the immigrant wins, a third party worker in the receiving country has, in one sense, lost: they could have got the job if they were willing to work for the same price as the immigrant, but not if they wanted more.
Immigration holds down labor prices, and this is where the trouble starts, because the connection between lower labor prices and greater prosperity for all is indirect and poorly understood.
When labor is cheaper, the goods those workers make can be sold for less (and, in a competitive market, will be). This means anybody buying those products is directly better off -- immigration has saved them money. They will then take that money and spend it on other things, and those sellers will spend it again on yet more things, until eventually somebody gets around to buying the goods being made by the third-party worker. He sells more of those goods, and so makes more money than before.
So any individual third-party worker is worse off because of immigration -- instead, everybody in the country shares a little bit of the benefit, and the total value created is greater than if the immigrant had never arrived, because there are two workers instead of one.
Resistance to immigration is, fundamentally, an acknowledgement of the selfish impulse to be personally better off, rather than making the whole nation richer. That makes it a big good economically, and a tough sell politically.
Any other general goods -- roads, fire services, etc. -- are paid for by taxes, and immigrants pay all the same taxes as citizens.
Diversity visa immigrants are definitely entitled to all the support and benefits. They are also not required to work to keep their status. I have not seen the DV statistics so I would be very happy if somebody corrected me here, but I imagine the unemployment among a bunch of random people who moved to a different country should be pretty high: it should be pretty hard to find a job in a different country without special skills. Often without even basic language skills.
They're not random people though. It's a selection of people who have the drive and willingness to uproot and move to another country. I'd expect unemployment to be lower.
Now if you were talking about refugees (an actual random sample of people who don't have a reason for moving), I'd agree.
You are right that the diversity visa holders are eligible for benefits. In practice, however, immigration doesn't happen if people can't find jobs. During the 2007-2009 period, all immigration, including illegal immigration, dropped to zero, and may even have gone into reverse:
The idea that people move to the united states in order to rely on the USA's incredibly shitty welfare system is just laughable.
Finally, this is 55,000 people a year. Do you think an increase in 0.01% of the US population is going to make any appreciable difference to any federal program's budget, even if all of them immediately applied for welfare? You could let in 10 times as many people and it would still be a rounding error.
"Do you know about monkey tribes? Monkey tribes are very organized, with a leader at the top. Now, once every few years without fail, a renegade monkey leaves his tribe and tries to join another one. The members of the new tribe greet the renegade monkey by beating it to a bloody pulp. And yet those renegade monkeys, those heretic monkeys if you will, are a providence from nature. Why? Because they keep the bloodlines from becoming too thick, from too much inbreeding within the tribe. So, you could say that those heretics are essential for survival. Heretics are essential for survival."
I spent the majority of my undergrad studying immigration policy, and I can sympathize with the WH's point that chipping away at immigration reform will only complicate broader reforms that eventually need to happen. The bill as written sounds a little unfair as it removes thousands of diversity visas and allows the educated a quick jump to the front of the line.
I understand economically why this would be desirable, but it isn't true reform.
We need both high skill and low skill labor in massive quantities; and as a country, we're dancing around a ridiculously broken immigration system.
The same argument is made about illegal immigration: these immigrants fill low-end jobs that don't pay well; but their availability ensures that these jobs will never pay well.
Please don't get me wrong: I'm not opposed to immigration or this bill.I'm just asking about the impact; I'm not taking sides, so no flames please.
- Unlike low-skill manufacturing jobs, most technology jobs are not commodity work. To put it another way: if the US gave out visas to 55,000 people who got an acting degree, I doubt Brad Pitt would have to take a paycut on his next movie.
- A lot of the companies sponsoring this bill are software companies, but STEM isn't just software engineering. The applicants here are in a wide variety of fields. How many of them will specifically get a computer science degree with the explicit goal of getting a job at Google? Some, sure, but not all 55,000. They'll go into other fields and other industries and I don't think the total volume of talent in each particular STEM industry will be enough to significantly impact wages.
- Whatever these people were going to do in the US in terms of entrepreneurship, if they can't get a visa they'll just go back to their home country and do it there. So it's just as possible they'd start their own companies and need to hire software engineers, which would actually have upward pressure on wages.
2) Engineers who come into the US tend to start an insignificant number of new businesses, which, in turn, employ other engineers.
3) Countries that severely limit work visas have not turned into meccas of software development.
4) Companies will only increase pay up to a certain ceiling. At some point either the product economics don't make sense, or finding a dedicated development team in Romania/Poland/Ukraine is worth it even with communication overhead.
STEM is not a zero sum game. Adding personnel does not simply cut the pie into more pieces, it grows the pie. It's OK to get fewer dollars if those dollars can buy a self-driving car or a cure for Alzheimer's disease.
-- Sticking point.
If we're taxing current citizens, and we have 50% exit taxes, why not entry taxes? When demand exceeds supply increase the price.
Those DV lottery winners pay US taxes while having no citizenship rights, so you have literally no idea what you're talking about.
And there are already plenty of routes for rich people to obtain visas, just by proving that they have a lot of money. These visas are for workers.
Every year a number of EB-5 visas go unclaimed (which cost around $550K per family).
> Billions of dollars could be raised by turning these into entrepreneur visas or charging per visa ...
Billions of dollars would be like pissing on a supernova. Putting out the fiscal fire will take trillions of dollars in economic reform and growth, and immigrants have historically been a big part of American boom times.
That said, the guys who could afford to pay that would better than these "lottery" admits. Young STEM grads would also be good. Canada and Singapore have far more rational immigration policies, where there is consideration given to whether a given immigrant will be a net tax-payer or tax-recipient; young STEM grads and entrepreneurs with money are favored categories -- and they do not give away coveted visas at random.
People act as if the US has infinite money to just give away, that we can be never-endingly generous with no consequences, that the quality of person we take in has no impact. Then they turn around and post on Hacker News about how you need to watch your burn rate and only hire the best for your startup.
Essentially these are candidates that have self-selected as being willing to start anew in a new country, working hard to improve their lives in the process. In return, your culture is enriched and your economy is boosted by a fresh set of ambitious, hard-working 1st-generation immigrants. Some of these immigrants may go on to become engineers, teachers, doctors, cab drivers, entrepreneurs, nurses etc. But they won't drain your social safety net, they will contribute to it. They're here to work, to make up for lost time, and to make a better future for their offspring. As immigration policies go, I think this is one of the better ones.
As someone who has had to respond to two RFEs so far - once for my initial H1B application and once for my green card application, I get the feeling that I am not wanted in this country. I have seriously contemplated moving back overseas more than once.
it's sad that this was the point cnet chose to highlight as the subheading. bankrolling a politician's campaign should not create in him a sense of obligation.
Rest assured he is still going to support amnesty for unskilled illegals who are more likely to vote Democrat for years to come.
EDIT: It is pretty funny how the downvoters fail to acknowledge the basic facts about the politics of the issue and instead fall for the Administration's excuses and rush to condemn "conspiracy theories". There are no theories here, just basic facts.
And stop this immigrants-voting-schtick conspiracy theory. The impact their inclusion would make would doubtly even be within the margin of error. People have much better things to do.
I think dmk23 is right. Since Obama got elected there seems to be a higher rate of denials for H1B applications and renewals, without clear guidelines why. Looks like pressure from above. See http://www.indianexpress.com/news/obama-warned-over-h1b-visa...
It does seem like Obama favors unskilled immigration (amnesty for illegals and the like) over skilled immigration, which I think frankly, is stupid and short-sighted, pandering to his increasingly powerful latino (mostly Mexican-American) voters.
You need more of both.
It looks like Wisconsin's industry is geared largely toward livestock and dairy, with fruit and vegetable crops largely composed of things like cranberries, corn, and potatoes:
California, on the other hand, apparently produces "nearly half of US-grown fruits, nuts and vegetables."
It's my understanding that migrant workers in CA are largely employed picking fruits, vegetables, etc.
Again, I'm by no means speaking authoritatively here, but there's certainly more to this than simply comparing the dollar-value of each state's combined agricultural output.
Edit: I was just trying to make a point that being in the country illegally does not seem like a necessary condition of food production and WI is a fine example of it.
I also have no doubt that if WI had more illegal immigrants available they could be employed in the agriculture just as much as they are in CA. It just happens the closest border to WI is with Canada and Canadians don't seem to be very enthusiastic about working illegally in the America's Dairyland.
e.g., a single worker operating a piece of machinery can harvest hundreds of acres of corn. A tomato, on the other hand, has to be hand-picked so that the fruit isn't damaged in the process. That requires substantially more workers.
The Republicans are between a rock and a hard place politically on immigration. Latinos are the fastest-growing demographic in the country, and Republican hostility toward immigration reform is starting to cost them in elections. e.g., Obama pummeled Romney among Latino voters in Florida by an over 2-to-1 margin. 
The Republicans have essentially painted themselves into a corner on the issue and are in a no-win situation. If they continue to aggressively oppose immigration reform, it's going to hurt them with an increasingly-important demographic. If they concede and compromise, Obama and the Democrats get to claim themselves as the champions of immigration reform, which still hurts the Republicans, though to a lesser degree.
Obama knows he has major leverage over the Republicans on this issue; it doesn't make political sense to make concessions they can paint as wins if it's not the reform he's actually after.
By refusing to cooperate on this bill, it signals that the White House and the Senate are unwilling to let the Republicans pick and choose on reform, meaning that the issue is going to be addressed in the more comprehensive manner that the Democrats feel is necessary.
Too bad he didn't want single payer.