High Tech Worker Shortage? No Evidence but Plenty of Bluster

Published on January 21st, 2013

By Joe Guzzardi
January 21, 2013

In all the falderal about Marco Rubio and his almost-identical-to-President Barack Obama’s amnesty for everyone proposal, the Florida Senator’s equally radical legal immigration want list has been overlooked. On the matter of non-immigrant visas for so called skilled workers, Rubio sounds just like his Senate colleague and open borders advocate Chuck Schumer. Both want more.

Rubio, running as hard as a candidate can for a presidential election that’s still four years away, thinks the United States doesn’t produce enough science, technology, engineering and math graduates, known collectively as the STEM field.

Rubio supports issuing automatic green cards to foreign-born students who earn masters and Ph.D. STEM degrees at U.S. universities. In addition, Rubio also wants to create a new visa classification for up to 75,000 foreign-born investors who capitalize new businesses with $100,000 and which employ two full-time, non-family members. Talk about trivializing citizenship—a mere two jobs in exchange for the world’s most coveted status.

Rubio’s ideas have been kicked around for years. The provisions were included in the Startup Act 2.0 introduced in the 112th Congress by Chris Coons (D-Del), Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.). Capitol Hill rumors abound that Rubio will soon join forces, perhaps as early as this week, with Senator Orin Hatch (R-Utah), on yet another tech specific bill aimed at generating more non-immigrant visas. As a junior senator, Rubio is poorly positioned to have a major impact on immigration legislation. But the ambitious Rubio doesn’t mind attaching his star to a influential senior senator like Hatch.

The unanswered question in the rush for more non-immigrant visas and/or green cards for STEM graduates is: Where is the evidence that a worker shortage exists? Congress has only the undocumented, questionable claims made by corporate America and Beltway globalists’.

Rebuttal arguments against importing more allegedly skilled foreign-born workers or attaching green cards to diplomas rarely see the light of day. On Capitol Hill, minds are closed. David Swaim, a Texas immigration lawyer, is convinced that employers favor fast track bills like the one Rubio is endorsing not because of their expediency but because of the de facto indentured servitude green card sponsorship creates. The recent graduate commits to a company for a minimum five year period to complete his permanent residency process. Under that system, the employer has an employee handcuffed; he must comply with whatever his sponsor requests in order to stay in his good graces.

Another naysayer is Rutgers University professor Hal Salzman. In his U.S. News and World Report column, Salzman called giving STEM graduates green cards “misguided” because no worker shortage exists. As evidence, Salzman pointed to the recent HP and Bank of America layoffs which together displaced nearly 50,000 workers. Salzman’s research found that each year, nearly 3 times as many STEM specialists graduate than are hired into a STEM field.

The case for skilling immigration is weak. To find out if America needs more non-immigrant worker visas, impose a five year moratorium. After five years, immigration levels could be set in accordance with true market conditions.

After all, immigration’s purpose—long ago forgotten during the heated arguments between the enforcement and advocacy camps, is to serve the American people and not the special needs of an elite few.


Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow whose columns have been syndicated since 1986. Contact him at [email protected]

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