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H-1B Foes Challenge Bush Administration In Court 464

Posted by kdawson
from the by-some-definitions-of-emergency dept.
theodp writes "Computerworld reports that the Bush administration's recent decision to extend the amount of time foreign nationals can work in the U.S. on student visas is being challenged in a federal lawsuit by H-1B visa opponents. The suit, filed in US District Court by the Immigration Reform Law Institute and joined by The Programmers Guild and other groups, charges that the administration — acting through the Department of Homeland Security — exceeded its legal authority with a no-notice-no-comments 'emergency' rule change that extended the Optional Practical Training work period from one year to 29 months. Critics say this is little more than an effort to skirt around the H-1B cap limit. Because extended stays are limited to those whose degrees are in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields, educators are speculating that the rule change will drive international students away from non-STEM majors."
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H-1B Foes Challenge Bush Administration In Court

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  • Weak (Score:2, Insightful)

    by negRo_slim (636783)
    The fact of the matter we need to increase educational spending so we lessen the need for things like H-1B's. Let alone bickering about a supposed increased cap.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jcr (53032)
      The fact of the matter we need to increase educational spending

      Bullshit.

      The USA outspends many countries that get far better results from their schools. The NEA has been beating that "more funding" drum for decades while they fight tooth and nail against anything that might possibly bring any accountability to our public schooling cartel.

      -jcr
      • Re:Weak (Score:5, Informative)

        by xaxa (988988) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @04:43PM (#23619897)
        We brought accountability to the UK school system a while back. Children were tested (nationally) more often (age 7, 11 and 14, as well as the exams at 16). Schools were rated based on the children's results, and "bad" schools told to improve Or Else.

        It hasn't worked (well, the government's agency sets the exams, and makes them slightly easier every year, so they say it's worked. But university professors get angry because they now have to teach science undergraduates maths that used to be taught in school).

        Teachers were (of course) worried that the children wouldn't pass the exams, so they concentrated their efforts on teaching how to pass the maths exam, rather than teaching maths. Only maths, English and science are examined (at 7, 11 and 14) so less time was spent on all other subjects to make time for exam preparation.
        This results in children enjoying school less -- partly because of the reduced curriculum, but mostly because of the increased pressure.

        The ranking of schools isn't useful anyway -- schools in poor areas do worse, schools in rich areas do better, it's extremely difficult to do anything about that. The government's solution is to close two nearby bad schools, build a new "superschool", and then say "there were N bad schools, now there are only N/2!"

        Wales decided they didn't like all the testing, so they got rid of the tests (the 7, 11 and I think the 14). The Welsh government person in charge of education says it's brilliant, which didn't go down well with her equivalent in London. Especially as they're both in the Labour party -- the London (i.e. setting policy for England) minister strongly supports the testing.

        Overall, keeping politics out of education seems the best idea. Some independent schools are starting to offer the IB instead of A-levels.
        • Re:Weak (Score:5, Interesting)

          by ShinmaWa (449201) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @05:51PM (#23620465)

          Children were tested (nationally) more often (age 7, 11 and 14, as well as the exams at 16). Schools were rated based on the children's results, and "bad" schools told to improve Or Else
          The United States has a similar system called No Child Left Behind [wikipedia.org]. Not too surprisingly, the exact same things that happened with the UK's version is currently happening in the US: testing fraud, teaching to the test, and even the encouragement by schools for less able students to drop out to help bring up the average school test scores. Of course, the overall effect is an actual reduction in the quality of education in the United States.

          It's always amazing to me how a demonstrably bad idea gets mimicked over and over again.
          • Re:Weak (Score:5, Insightful)

            by clampolo (1159617) on Monday June 02, 2008 @01:11AM (#23623363)

            The real problem is that people think that all people are equal. It just isn't true. Some people are just dumb and/or lazy. They can't learn anything. Keeping them in school is the worst possible thing you can do. They are enraged at how they repeatedly fail, so they just disrupt the school. The best option is just to chuck them out as soon as possible

            And there is nothing wrong with standardized tests. "teaching to the test" is a pretty silly cliche. These standardized tests have questions about BASIC math and BASIC reading. If a school isn't teaching this, then what in the hell ARE they teaching? If a school can't get their students to pass these simple tests then 1) the students are idiots 2) the teachers are idiots 3) both of the above

            • Re:Weak (Score:5, Insightful)

              by jandersen (462034) on Monday June 02, 2008 @03:23AM (#23624017)
              No, the real problem is that people think that equality is about everybody being exactly the same - which I personally think is a distortion manufactured for the purpose of disparaging all serious discussion about inequality.

              Equality means 'all men (and in these modern times women too) are born equal under the law' - ie that the same law applies t oeverybody, no matter whether you are rich or poor, clever or stupid. Nobody in their right mind has ever imagined that all people are exactly equal when it comes to talent, intelligence etc.

              The problem with standardised tests isn't the idea of testing students' skills, but the sad fact that once you have the tests, that is all you strive for. If there were no tests, the schools would ideally strive to simply provide the best they can, whereas when you have the tests, you strive to score as much as possible. It's like intelligence testing - if you are tested unprepared, the test may show something about how intelligent you are, but if you are allowed to study the test and prepare for it, you can suddenly demonstrate an huge intelligence, except of course that the result is now worthless.

              I am all for testing and making the quality of schools comparable, so the parents have a better chance of choosing the right school for their children, but the standardised tests are simply bogus - a bad attempt at solving some problems, or even a tool for deceiving the parents and the public.
            • Re:Weak (Score:4, Interesting)

              by blahplusplus (757119) on Monday June 02, 2008 @04:36AM (#23624387)
              "The real problem is that people think that all people are equal."

              It goes deeper then that though it's north american insitutional and business culture that is the problem. See here:

              See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gG3HPX0D2mU [youtube.com]

              Listen to the comments of "calficication" of kids in the school system and adults in the workplace. It makes a lot of good points about self management and responsibility.

              The idea that the average person thinks everyone is equal is a farce, equal BEFORE THE LAW maybe but no one in their right mind thinks they're equal in ability, looks, etc.

              "Some people are just dumb and/or lazy. They can't learn anything. Keeping them in school is the worst possible thing you can do"

              I agree that some people are dumb, but I don't agree that some people are just "lazy", they are disengaged because most of the time we don't allow their curiousity to blossom by killing it early through 'school'.

              The other problem is that we don't have a place for certain kinds of people in the job market that will pay decent wages. That is the REAL problem, technological displacement.

              Modern schools are often harmful and disengaging enviornments, for many it's positively toxic to someones development. No amount of accountability will deal with forced schedules and irrelevant curriculum, the lack of alignment of student curiousity and interest with what they want to learn vs the boring pablum clueless teachers, businesses and government elites, pushing their pablum as 'education'. Many slashdotters can no doubt attest to the low quality of the curriculum and their teachers and school simply not being relevant to what they are interested in, so they 'carve their own path'.

              I think something is to be said by not killing childrens motivation and curiousity, which we do very young.

            • Uh, do you work in the school system? Do you have any experience or evidence to back your assertion that "teaching to the test" is a silly cliche? I worked as a tutor for math/physics/chemistry for high-school students while I was in university, and I can tell you that teaching to the test is a very real problem. I can give you lots of examples where I wanted to spend more time on making sure a student had a genuinely good fundamental comprehension of a subject, to make sure that they'd be properly prepared
          1. Reading
          2. Riting
          3. Rithmetic
          4. Relationships
          5. Reviewing
          6. Responsibility
          7. Reflecting
          8. Researching
          9. Reporting
          10. Reasoning
          11. Retention
          12. Resolve

          If I want to employ somebody at any level I need every single one of these.

          By the way: Now you know the objectives you can ask how they are/should be achieved. For example you can't develop Responsibility without trust...And you have to reward it. So Do you ever see that on TV? Do parents or teachers know how to do it? - - - Discuss.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by phantomfive (622387)
          Sounds horrible. However, there does need to be some accountability. In California, we instituted an exit exam from High School. You have to pass it to graduate.

          At first, I was worried that it would cause problems like those you've mentioned, but the test is so easy that an eighth grader should reasonably be able to pass it (pre-algebra, write a two and a half page essay). Realistically there has to be a base level of quality coming out of the schools. The key is don't make it so hard that teachers
      • by debatem1 (1087307)
        Any helpful suggestions? And don't say private schools.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by jcr (53032)
          And don't say private schools.

          Most private (and parochial) schools get far better results at a lower cost per student. Why do you think that is?

          -jcr
          • Re:Weak (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Waffle Iron (339739) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @05:30PM (#23620313)

            And don't say private schools. Most private (and parochial) schools get far better results at a lower cost per student. Why do you think that is?

            Because they can pick and choose their students.

            If you don't have to bother with problematic students, of course you're going to get better results at a lower cost.

          • My own public vs. private school experience suggests that bad private school teachers are fired, while bad public school teachers stay around for ever. However private schools are populated by students with 1) relatively affluent/educated parents 2) who give a shit. The bad teachers who teach in public schools require more work from the parents least willing and able to educate their children. This exaggerates the difference in outcome.
          • Re:Weak (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Duhavid (677874) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @05:40PM (#23620399)
            It couldn't be because ( on average ) the people wealthy enough to send their kids to private and parochial schools have more time to spend with their kids, and reinforce what the school is trying to do?
            ( I.E. more leisure time, more likely to have one parent not working )

            And related to that, parents that understand how much their educated led to their wealth, providing additional motivation to push/pull the kids in education?

            Smaller class sizes in private schools?

            More ability to apply technical assistance to leverage the instructors/instruction?

            And if we go with all private schools, I cant help but think that the already large gap between the wealthy and the not wealthy will grow larger, I would argue to the detriment of both groups ( if the "have-nots" have less, where is the market that the "haves" will sell to? )
          • Re:Weak (Score:5, Insightful)

            by rossifer (581396) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @05:52PM (#23620485) Journal

            Most private (and parochial) schools get far better results at a lower cost per student. Why do you think that is?

            There's no mystery there.

            1. because private schools can discriminate based on their admission, performance, and behavior criteria (they don't have to take everyone)
            2. because private schools have lower student:teacher ratios
            3. because private schools are almost never NEA (union), which allows them to fire poor performing teachers much more quickly.
            4. because the parents who choose to send their children to private schools tend to value education more than your average parent, which correlates with higher expectations and more support from home

            Those four reasons lead to a less toxic environment in the classroom, which leads to better motivated teachers (even with the pay cut most private school teachers take), better motivated students, and: far better results.

      • Re:Weak (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SideshowBob (82333) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @05:05PM (#23620111)
        Do you know how poorly teachers are paid? I do, I'm married to one. They make peanuts compared to what they could make in virtually any other field with the same level of education. So when the NEA talks about a funding problem, they're talking about teacher compensation. How can you attract the best talent when you don't pay competitive salaries?

        The only structural problem with schools are the bloated administrations (which are not unionized.) But that doesn't even begin to explain why the schools are failing. The real problem is our culture. Parents treat the schools as (at best) a baby-sitting service. Too many of them simply don't care how well their children do academically. Failure and success begins with the parents.

        Private schools generally pay their teachers *less*, so the teachers in them are no more talented. To the extent that private schools do better, it's because they cherry-pick the best students. You will fail if you simply try to privatize the schools on a large scale. That would just be shifting all the current problems into the private sector where it will be compounded by profit motives and shady accounting (seen the prison system lately?)

        I get so sick of hearing that libertarian BS from people that don't even know the first thing about the real problem.
        • Re:Weak (Score:5, Insightful)

          by jcr (53032) <jcr&mac,com> on Sunday June 01, 2008 @05:14PM (#23620195) Journal
          You will fail if you simply try to privatize the schools on a large scale.

          The key is to restore competition to schooling at the elementary and high school level. We have world-class colleges, including the public ones, because colleges have to compete for customers.

          -jcr
    • by Shivetya (243324) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @04:03PM (#23619641) Homepage Journal
      We need to start looking at reducing administration costs of the school systems and using the money on teachers and student needs. Look at most major cities, their cost per student can be double what outlying areas have and the majority of it can be traced to anything but teachers and students. What good is throwing money at public schools if the money isn't going to improve our children? Too many city schools are jobs programs for friends of the political powers. Dumping grounds for cronies. If that county school can graduate more students at a higher GPA and their students do better in higher education all the while costing the local taxpayers less how is the city's problem money related?

      I would prefer more options for parents to send their children to schools of their choice. This means the dreaded "voucher". Make it so the money follows the child and not the school. This might be the only kick in the pants some school systems will understand. We have great teachers. We spend more than enough to educate the children we have, we just spend it wrong.

      The easy solution is to "throw money at the problem" but that is used as an excuse to rid ourselves of the responsibility for making the hard choices. All we get with this thrown money is more cronies. I read my local "paper" to see schools with trailers and look at the changes that go on the system. What do I notice most after capital improvements? How many more people in non teaching positions crop up. Suddenly there are committees paid out of school funds to do work already done elsewhere or not needed. More money means more government employees, not necessarily teachers.

      Sorry, no more money. Account for what they have. They owe to the children. We owe it the children.

      Education here is not the reason we have H1 visas. We have those because politicians put more value on the money of corporations than the people who elect them. Do any of the three current candidates support scrapping this?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Billly Gates (198444)
        The issue is illegal immigrants crowding the city schools. A single bad student or one with limited english can drop the whole class average by a large margin.

        In california where I work for a school district I am seeing this problem. Thanks to No child left behind we are seeing funding cuts as well and 1 out of 4 students are illegal or there parents are illegal in my district and no its not inner city either.

        In rural areas they do not suffer from this problem so a single student who scores only 15% at grad
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by debatem1 (1087307)
        I went to a private school. Trust me, private schools are not the solution.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by NuclearError (1256172)
          I disagree, simply because this would increase competition if vouchers were given. If a private school produces far more students that get into top 30 universities, either public schools will have to direct efforts to educating their students or face a loss of funding as parents use a voucher to put their child in a private school.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          I went to a private school. Trust me, private schools are not the solution.

          Come on mods, why is this user's opinion "informative" with the only information being that they attended private school? this person listed almost no justification for their opinion and is in no way informative! I would love to be able to discuss this with you but you didn't say anything other than your opinion!

          I also went to private school but I think that they are a good thing for the education system, i doubt they are a silver bullet that will solve all problems if we only had vouchers but tha

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by tsm_sf (545316)
        It's interesting to note that only when people discuss education does the phrase "throw money at the problem" come up.
    • Re:Weak (Score:5, Informative)

      by Trailer Trash (60756) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @04:35PM (#23619841) Homepage
      My kids go to a private school for about $4000/year each. Right now, the public schools in this area are spending $8500/kid/year, and claiming that they need more money to bring the schools up to par (our schools are among the worst in the state). I probably don't have to tell you that the private school kids test far above the public schools, even though the school also accepts a number of "at risk" kids each year through a scholarship program.

      If money were the answer, our public school system here would be turning out einsteins.
    • It's not a lack of money, it's a failure of system.

      Instead of encouraging the gifted, the money is pumped into classes for those that are either unwilling or unable to learn. It sounds hard, but some people are just plain dumb. So be it. That money goes poof because you can't make a horse drink, no matter how much water you drown it in.

      Second, schools dumb down tests to meet the requirements to get more money. Now, how does that improve learning? Sure, all your students get straight As, wonderful, but that
      • by xaxa (988988)
        Is high school final age 18 or 16? I think even the UK's students at 16 have an exam with probability and basic trig, but not the others. (The UK is probably the worst of these wonderful European exams.)

        See for yourself: this [edexcel.org.uk] and this [edexcel.org.uk] are the GCSE (age 16) maths specimen papers. They're "higher tier", which means you can get grade A*-D (do worse and you fail). "Foundation tier" papers are graded C-G.

        Has anyone got a link to the maths exam American 16 year olds would take?
        • by xaxa (988988)
          For completeness, here [edexcel.org.uk] are the maths exams taken by 18-year-olds in England and Wales (if they choose to take maths at all, since it's optional after age 16! They can also choose to only take it for one year, in which case they do the first two papers in that PDF at age 17).
  • by MilesNaismith (951682) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @03:46PM (#23619521)
    H1B has turned into a huge scam for corporate slavery. Employers know they can get cheap labor and throw them away when done. Most visas go to giant corporations like MicroSoft. If we want to "welcome the tired and huddle masses" then re-open Ellis Island and take them in and give them Green Cards or Citizenship papers and let them walk into a free country and decide what to do. This equine excrement that ties them to the sponsoring employer should be viewed for what it is which is a disposable cheap worker program.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Dionysus (12737)

      Most visas go to giant corporations like MicroSoft.

      I was under the impression most visa went to outsourcing companies like InfoSys.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Dionysus (12737)
        According to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org], the top 2 H1B companies are Indian outsourcing companies, InfoSys and WiPro. Of the top 10, 7 are Indian.
        (Microsoft, IBM and Sun are the Americans)

    • by nasor (690345) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @04:19PM (#23619745)
      In New Zealand they have an elegant solution; the minimum salary for a foreign worker who is there on their equivalent of the H-1B program is $55,000. That ensures that companies are only likely to bring in foreign workers if there is a genuine shortage of people with their particular skills. Your salary is usually a pretty direct measure of how scarce people with your abilities/training are and how much demand there is, so anyone who is coming into the county to fill a shortage in a particular field should almost by definition be getting a relatively high salary.
    • by Hankapobe (1290722) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @04:38PM (#23619859)
      What bugs me is when corps say that they can't get exceptional IT staff from America (IBM HR person in the Wall Street Journal) [wsj.com]

      Certain skills still are in strong demand, says Ms. Chota, adding that the company can't find enough qualified graduates with degrees in computer science and those who have knowledge of both business and IT. "In the U.S., unfortunately, there are not enough great computer-science graduates," Ms. Chota says.""

      Um excuse me? So, Americans are not good enough for IBM. Even though they go to the same great American universities just like the smarter foreigners.

      So, which is it?!?

      • by plasmacutter (901737) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @05:16PM (#23620213)
        The CS program attendance plummeted at the same time salaries and job security in the field plummeted.

        The talent is there, they don't want to work in a field where companies don't want to reward them.

        They can't get americans to buy their crappy pay, benefits, and job security, so they want to farm out slave labor they can have deported at their whim.
        • The CS program attendance plummeted at the same time salaries and job security in the field plummeted.

          Even then, IBM can't find enough great IT folks out of the bunch left? I mean, now the folks attending are going to be the ones that really want to be there: they're not chasing the $$$. So, they'd be even better!

          Note the weasel words she uses - there are not enough great computer-science graduates,...

          She never defines "enough" or "great", only that IBM has to go overseas for "enough great" IT folks.

          People like her really piss me off. Just wait. IBM will figure out that they need to outsource their HR

        • by p0tat03 (985078) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @06:27PM (#23620745)

          How is this insightful? I know plenty of fellow graduates (Canadians) who are making $100K+ fresh out of college. That's not "crappy pay" by any measure I think (these are undergrad degrees, not masters or PhD). Their benefits are also among the best - I know plenty of H1B people at MS who are probably getting *better* medical insurance than they had in Canada! Their vacation and stock plans aren't too shabby either.

          I have observed first-hand the shortage of tech workers. We're talking top-tier tech workers, not VB script monkeys. There are PLENTY of great grads coming out of American schools - but it is *not enough* to fuel what I see is a surging demand for skilled coders.

          So stop twisting IBM's words. It's absolutely true - there are plenty of talented students coming out of American schools - but not enough. Just because there aren't enough MIT grads to go around doesn't mean IBM needs to start hiring community college code monkeys.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Rutulian (171771)
          They can't get americans to buy their crappy pay, benefits, and job security, so they want to farm out slave labor they can have deported at their whim.

          Oh cry me a river!

          From the US Dept. of Labor [bls.gov]:
          In May 2006, median annual earnings of wage-and-salary computer applications software engineers were $79,780.

          In May 2006, median annual earnings of wage-and-salary computer systems software engineers were $85,370.


          How can you possibly suggest that a salary like that qualifies as "slave labor?" That's well above th
    • lies and more lies (Score:4, Interesting)

      by nguy (1207026) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @06:15PM (#23620653)
      H1B has turned into a huge scam for corporate slavery. Employers know they can get cheap labor and throw them away when done.

      That's a big stinking lie because H-1b visas have been portable for several years now; H-1b employees can simply change jobs.

      take them in and give them Green Cards or

      That's a nice theory, except that immigration foes have already made that impossible; the green card process has become so lengthy and involved that the way to get an employment based green card is to come in on an H-1b, immediately apply for a green card, and hope everything works out in time.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by rachit (163465)

        That's a big stinking lie because H-1b visas have been portable for several years now; H-1b employees can simply change jobs.
        Not very simple, *especially* if you are in the middle of the process of getting a green card, then you are really tied to the employer until you are at your final stages. In general, most people don't want to mess with their employment, because god knows what mess ups can happen with the INS.

  • I thought the Bush Administration was very upfront about the motivation for this 'emergency' rule (To get around the H-1B stalemate). Summary sounds like it's breeding controversy where none exists.

    Now whether or not we NEED more H1Bs... that's a point of debate.
  • If they really cared about filling jobs, they'd ease the restrictions on immigration. But you'll never see that, because then workers would no longer be beholden to the sponsoring corporation. They could shop the market and earn the market rate.

    And besides, why is "Homeland Security" making economic decisions, anyway? Are foreign students suddenly less a "threat"? What changed?

    Nah. If you want a free trade Republican to show his true colors, just ask him, why should money and goods cross borders freely, but
    • And besides, why is "Homeland Security" making economic decisions, anyway?
      Economic Security.

      Are foreign students suddenly less a "threat"? What changed?
      The status of the citizen is what changed. Citizenship is made to be a penalty, not a benefit.
    • Nah. If you want a free trade Republican to show his true colors, just ask him, why should money and goods cross borders freely, but not people?

      Let me guess:

      I want your money, and I want your goods, but you can keep your sorry non-white ass out of my country.

      Is this roughly what you're hinting at?

      It might appear that I'm trolling, but I'm very much not -- I'm honestly interested if this is what 0xdeadbeef means.

      Cheers,

    • by thermian (1267986) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @04:34PM (#23619835)
      Are foreign students suddenly less a "threat"? What changed?

      It may have something to do with hundreds of millions per annum being lost because all those now 'suspect' chinese students that used to go to university in the states have started to go to Europe instead.

      Its been great for England, my gosh yes, the extra revenue was seriously needed, but not so great for the US. Last I heard some US Universities were having serious problems trying to make up for the loss of that money.

      Oddly enough European society has completely failed to collapse, and we haven't found ourselves dealing with hordes of evil Chinese people plotting to take over our countries.

      Personally it helped me learn how to make some really good Chinese meals.
  • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara...hudson@@@barbara-hudson...com> on Sunday June 01, 2008 @03:51PM (#23619563) Journal

    Because extended stays are limited to those whose degrees are in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields, educators are speculating that the rule change will drive international students away from non-STEM majors.

    Anything that reduces the number of lawyers is good, right? Except, of course, since this means that fewer will go into law, existing lawyers will have less competition, so more opportunity to a$$rape their clients. So this is bad, right?

    • by DaveV1.0 (203135)
      No, because that means more international students taking up spots in STEM programs, which reduces the number of American STEM students in America, which further reduces American competitiveness and increases our reliance on foreign brain trusts.

      Not to mention that it also lowers wages in the U.S. and also means more American students becoming leaches, I mean lawyers.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Opportunist (166417)
      Fewer lawyers could also mean that they all can make a living and don't have to resort to make-money-fast schemes like sending cease and desist notices about.
  • by gadabyte (1228808) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @04:19PM (#23619739)
    regardless of what you think of immigration, education, H1B's, and DHS, why are so many comments about immigration, employers, etc - and not governmental abuse of power?

    if anyone would like to explain how using emergency powers in a non-emergency setting isn't abuse, please, step up to the plate.
  • Until the Bush administration, through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, made the change earlier this year, foreign national students typically worked for one year after graduation on their student visa while their employers filed for an H-1B visa. Tech industry groups, however, had sought the extension because of the backlog for H-1B visas.

    Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. You ever have one of those friends who, when asked why, would say "because"? The Department of Homeland Security now seems to be "beca

    • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Sunday June 01, 2008 @04:58PM (#23620049) Homepage Journal
      Essentially, Homeland Security is now in charge of all immigration issues. State, which properly oversees such matters, has been reduced to a hollow shell (and not just on immigration; the Bush administration has basically been waging war on the entire department since the run-up to the Iraq war.) DHS is a hydra which has taken on many formerly well-defined functions of other departments and handles none of them well.
    • by Zarf (5735) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @05:06PM (#23620115) Journal
      DHS controls ICE see: http://www.ice.gov/about/faq.htm [ice.gov] my ICD and API docs come with a nice big seal from DHS. So yes, the number of issued visas is under the DHS purview. The particulars of how a visa is granted, why, and to whom are not under direct control of DHS... merely the number, adjudication, and tracking.

      Prior to 2003 these authorities were held by the DoJ but they shifted to DHS.

      Who is inside the country is a data point that DHS is decidedly interested in. This is a reality I work with every single day as I develop software that tracks the whereabouts of visa holders.

  • YR Online section? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by xaxa (988988) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @05:20PM (#23620245)
    How is this online? (Section: YRO.) Shouldn't it be in Politics?
  • I'm pretty shocked by this.

    First in how the US government actually wants to keep highly skilled and educated people in the USA where it's just going to dilute the pervasive ignorance and fear that have made Americans the dangerous fools they are today.

    Second i'm shocked that any highly skilled and educated people are even going to the USA, It's certainly far fewer than the huge numbers that are leaving the USA to escape the repression of the 'patriot' act and the destruction of the US Constitution.

    I think t
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 01, 2008 @05:58PM (#23620527)
    There is a shortage of H1Bs in the first place because a lot of Indian consulting companies (bodyshoppers) get a majority of the H1B quota and the students with OPTs are left in the lurch (aka an OPT is pretty much worthless now).

    How do these companies get away with it? This is how it works. You are:

    1. Married to an H1B holder and can legally work. The bodyshopper gets you an H1B visa and tells the INS that *you* are employed by this consultant but you do not get any pay till the consultant gets a contract from some company and you start earning money. Yes, this is illegal but 99% of the consulting companies in the US do this. The employee bears it since this is the only way to get valid status.

    2. Are outside the US and want to come in to work but do not have a job. However there is this Indian consulting firm and read the rest of point 1 above

    3. In the US but have been laid off and you cannot have a job without a visa and vice-versa. Read rest of point 1 above

    4. Are a student about to graduate with an OPT which is worthless (1 year duration) since the consulting companies with their "fake jobs" have gobbled up all the visas.

    OPT with it's 1 year duration used to mean something but with these blood-sucking consulting companies in the US, the students either hope to get a job in a good company out of school and pray the company processes H1 after the OPT duration is up. Prolonging the OPT is a fix for the students who come to the US and rough it out unlike the body-shopper import employees.

    Although I said Indian consulting companies, the evil trend isn't restricted to Indian companies. Volt Computer Services (largest supplier of contractors to Microsoft, most companies in Bellevue/Seattle, etc etc) does this. I myself was a victim of Volt hiring me during my OPT period, using me for the duration of my OPT (MS paid Volt 60$ per hour and Volt paid me 20$ per hour) and then when my OPT was up, they said "Adios amigo". They contacted INS and said I was no longer their employee, gave me a ticket voucher for 1000$ and said buhbye. I had to find an Indian consultant willing to take me in so he could suck more blood from me.

    It's all a fucking dirty business. I have to post this anonymously since uhhh one of employers still gets contractors from Volt. I however got into my current company through another consulting company which will remain unnamed; however Volt made sure they became the near exclusive supplier of contractors.
  • idiocy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nguy (1207026) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @06:04PM (#23620567)
    The most hurt by this will be Americans. These graduates won't disappear from the face of the earth, they'll just be working for Microsoft, IBM, Google, etc. in Europe, India, and China, make their inventions there, start startups there, and pay their taxes there. No US job will be saved by this action; to the contrary, as more and more R&D moves overseas, the supporting jobs will move with them.

    Of course, if the H-1b foes persist in this, it also completely screws people who have lived in the US for many years. But they aren't Americans, so who cares, right?
  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Monday June 02, 2008 @12:31AM (#23623145)
    Myths and Realities About the USA H1-B Program

    Myth: H1-Bs are the "best and brightest"

    Reality: If that were true then the typical H1-B would a Nobel prize winning scientist. The truth is, the typical H1-B is an average student, hired right out of college with only a four year degree. The typical H1-B is no more qualified than the US graduates who are not getting jobs. The H1-Bs are just cheaper. And because of the lottery nature of the H1-B process, employers do not even know who they are getting. So how do employers know that they are getting the best and brightest?

    Also, isn't it funny that almost all of the "best and brightest" come from countries where people earn as little as $1 a day? If it's really about the "best and brightest" then why aren't there more European H1-Bs?

    ----

    Myth: H1-Bs are needed because of the critical shortage of US technology workers

    Reality: Serious academic studies clearly indicate that skills shortage is a myth.

    > These studies done at Duke aren't alone in their assessment that there is in fact no skills shortage. They're backed up by other studies conducted by RAND Corporation, The Urban Institute and Stanford University, among others, all of which settle upon the same conclusion: There is no shortage of educated IT workers.

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1081923#PaperDownload [ssrn.com]

    This according to a well researched article at baselinemag.com:

    http://tinyurl.com/yoy2rw [tinyurl.com]

    ----

    Myth: H1-Bs do compete unfairly, because H1-Bs are paid the prevailing wage

    Reality:

    > According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) as the measurement of U.S. wages, and the H-1B LCA disclosure data to measure H-1B wages, 90% of H-1B employers' prevailing wage claims for programmers were below the median U.S. wage for that occupation and location, with 62% of them falling in the bottom 25th percentile of U.S. wages, said Miano [founder of the Programmer's Guild].

    > Ron Hira, an assistant professor of public policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology (currently on leave) and a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute, pointed to USCIS's most recent report to Congress, which shows that the medium wage in 2005 for new H-1B computing professionals was just $50,000 -- even lower than the entry-level wages that a newly graduated tech worker with a bachelor's degree and no experience would command.

    http://tinyurl.com/4bvwyh [tinyurl.com]

    According to the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service's (USCIS) annual report to Congress in 2005, the aggregate data for computing professionals lend support to the argument that the practice of paying H-1Bs below-market wages is quite common.

    http://www.sharedprosperity.org/bp187.html [sharedprosperity.org]

    H1-Bs are hired at four different skill levels, "4" being the highest. But most H1-Bs are hired for the lowest "1" level jobs - regardless of what kind of work the H1-Bs actually do.

    ----

    Myth: In the USA enrollment in technical disciplines is declining. Proof the USA needs to hire more foreign workers

    Reality: This myth is designed to confuse cause and effect. Employers are not forced to hire offshore because enrollment is down. Rather, enrollment is down because of aggressive offshoring by employers. But even with enrollments down, there are still more than enough US workers.

    > Due to both outsourcing and insourcing, many young people are concluding that technology is a bad place to invest their time," said Mark Thoma, a professor of economics at the University of Oregon in Euge

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