By Joe Guzzardi
September 20, 2013
Billionaires for Cheap Labor—that’s how Facebook’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg’s Washington D.C. trip should have been labeled. Zuckerberg met with Congress’ most influential leaders to push for comprehensive immigration reform, suddenly his favorite cause.
Rolling two lies into one sentence, Zuckerberg insisted that increasing the H-1B visa cap “isn’t the big point” but that “addressing and helping out the 11 million undocumented is actually a much bigger problem.”
Silicon Valley, including Facebook, has for nearly two decades used the H-1B visa to displace American workers with cheaper, younger foreign-born labor. Facebook, like every high tech employer, has a vested economic interest in increasing the cheap overseas labor pool.
Earlier this year, Zuckerberg formed FWD.us which describes itself as dedicated to moving immigration reform forward. Zuckerberg hired an in house staff of seven registered lobbyists and 20 outside advocates from Capitol Hill’s five most influential public relations firms to advance his anti-American worker agenda. A total of twenty-seven lobbyists dedicated to reforming immigration that will legalize at least 11 million illegal aliens and import millions more overseas workers spells bad news for unemployed Americans.
In April, Zuckerberg’s lobbyists scored a major victory in their ongoing efforts to undermine struggling Americans. By urging legislators to insert a few key words into the Senate’s immigration bill, S. 744, Facebook’s lobbying team enabled the company to circumvent an existing requirement that it make “a good faith effort” to hire Americans before petitioning overseas workers. As an added bonus, because of the repurposed Senate language, Facebook could also avoid paying higher wages to H-1B visa holders.
Facebook, advancing a third lie, wants Congress to believe that without more foreign-born workers, IT will collapse. Analysts have compiled a mountain of evidence that no IT labor shortage exists. In its 2013 study, the Economic Policy Institute wrote that "the United States has more than a sufficient supply of workers available to work in STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Math] occupations.” The EPI found that for every 2 U.S. students who graduate with STEM degrees, only one is hired into a STEM job. Furthermore, among those not hired 32 percent said that no IT jobs are available and 53 percent said they found better job opportunities outside of IT. These responses prove that the IT market is glutted and that its wages are substandard compared to other industries.
Zuckerberg’s alleged compassion for 11 million illegal immigrants is misplaced. He should consider hurting Americans instead. For the last three years, 57 million working age Americans (16-65) have been either unemployed or out of the labor market. Coincidentally, 57 million represents the total of new immigrant workers that S. 744 would allow to compete with distraught Americans for the small handful of available jobs. More depressing statistics Zuckerberg would rather avoid: median household income remains flat, continuing a decade-long pattern; nearly 47 million American live in poverty, 47 million receive food stamps, a total larger than many nation’s populations. Charity, Zuckerberg should be reminded, begins at home.
With a net worth of $22 billion, Zuckerberg is America’s 20th richest person, exactly the profile Congress loves. Bowing and scraping, big shots like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Leader John Boehner rolled out the red carpet for one of America’s most well-known but craven public figures.
Neither Congress nor Zuckerberg cares about Americans’ struggles. What they do care about is more money and more power. Whether Zuckerberg can successfully convince Congress to pass an immigration bill tripling legal immigration’s current annual flow is uncertain. What is known is that Americans, despite Zuckerberg’s widely disseminated misinformation, want illegal immigration ended and legal immigration dramatically reduced.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow whose columns have been syndicated since 1986. Contact him at [email protected]