Sunday, May 21, 2006

Sustainable numbers + Greencards

I have joined other Americans concerned about the future of the IT profession. Some of the major concerns are offshore outsourcing and the H-1b visa. Because I take a position that opposes the current H-1b visa, many people assume I am anti-immigrant. They would be wrong. I have in the past supported green cards in place of the H-1b visa.

Unfortunately, many people in this debate are xenophobic and a few are outright racists. I won't mention names but their positions set the pro-labor movement back and discredit our organization. These are the same people who oppose the IEEE-USA's position of greencards instead of H-1b visas.

I believe that the anti-immigrant movement needs to separate themselves from our movement. Our motives are different and temporary alliances should be broken.

The H-1b visa program is broken. But the solution is not xenophobia or the deportation of people. The first part of the solution is to establish a system that is sustainable in terms of numbers. I propose such a system here:

The next step is to bring H-1b workers into the labor market as equals. Employment sponsored visas create a class of indentured servants. They need the ability to participate in the free market just as other Americans - they should not be tied to an employer who controls their very existance here. We should be choosy who gets the visas since they are limited - skills and education do matter. Doing this is simple and requires few changes in laws - simply expedite the path to a greencard, and raise education and experience requirements.

Saying things like this jeapordizes my position within the movement as it has been overcome by an anti-immigrant agenda. I have had anti-immigrant activists make threats and attack me personally. The reason is that they are unable to think critically about these subjects and have let rhetoric get the best of them. When you ask some what to do about those here on H-1b visas they say that we should deport them. Frankly, I don't want to be a part of an anti-immigrant movement. I want to associate with a pro-labor movement. If you are an activist and don't like that, that's just too bad.

If these (as of now unnamed) activists persist in personal attacks I will expose them for what they are. If advocates for IT professionals are to be successful we must move forward without the extreme elements - these people are preventing our growth and endangering our ability to influence policy.

And for the record, when I say pro-labor it is not in reference to a union. Not that I oppose unions, just that they are not a part of my agenda given the general lack of support for them in IT occupations.


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