H1B Visas
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I grew up in a middle class home (probably at poverty level when compared to American standards, it was pretty OK for Spain though).  Money was often tight.  Despite of being five siblings we had only a handful of wooden toys, and none of us ever had a bicycle.  And yet, we considered ourselves to be the lucky ones who always had food on the table.  Some of our acquaintances were not that lucky.  Salaries were paid monthly in those days, and sometimes -by the end of the month- my mother had only enough money left to offer us " bread and onion soup" for dinner.  I hated that soup!  My father was lucky, he always had a secured job (Policeman).  Not only that, he had several jobs (despite it was a tight labor market after the Spanish Civil War).  He would do a lot of moonlighting just to make ends meet: collector of insurance installments; facilitator of documents for those thousands of Spaniard migrants,  departing for Latin America; etc. etc.... After he retired from the Police, he worked many more years as a Supervisor of Security Guards.
Studying was a lot of hardship.  Father and mother did not have much education.  So, they were of that school of thought who  believe that: basic education is a must, but basic is plenty.   To get an advanced degree was not only too expensive in those days, but it was basically impossible to even try.   And -at the end of all that effort- you would be "over qualified". 

 In other words, there were a few factory jobs around, but not much for highly educated people.  This was Spain, in the late 1960's. I spent many years studying, and getting academic degrees.  It was challenging, it was expensive, it was .... a lot of deprivation (never having enough time to enjoy -relaxed- the company of friends, or even family).

So, how did Juan Xuna end up with an Engineering degree, and a couple of Master degrees?

It had to do with expectations.  Differently to my father, I knew that the Spanish society someday would have to progress, and then good jobs would be available for those few who had careers.  I was... kind of ... right!

My point is:  Even with great difficulties, students will attain their goals, if there is going to be a reward to their efforts.  That is, if it is going to be  LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL !!  

In order to sustaining a healthy higher education level, seeing the end of the tunnel is real critical.  A lot more important than vouchers -or anything else- that we hear over and over these days so much.

Do you believe that High School students would embark toward a College degree if those with that degree either, 

bullet(a) do not find a job proper to their skills, or
bullet(b) do not make enough money to repay the high debt acquired in Federal Loans,
bullet(c) do not have a good explanation on how they would compensate their inner soul for the many years of deprivation (from having a fuller life) ?

Do you remember when universities in Russia were pretty good, and studies paid in full by their Government, and yet few people would take the deal.  Why?  Because after spending half of their lives burning their eyelashes to get a scientific degree, now they would get a life full of obligations and responsibilities, and yet -in a Communist society- they would be making about as much in salary as everybody else, with education or without!   Because of this unfairness, even without knowing it, the Politburo gurus made their country march toward the end of the Communism.

And what in the world this story has to do with H-1B Visas, if anything ? - you may ask.

bullet   It has plenty to do with it.  Believe me!

It is a fact, there are plenty of highly-educated individuals from around the world who are eager to come to live with us here in America.  This is because they feel we have an enviable society, prosperous, progressive, and freedom of expression.    We all know that is true! 

The problem with education -despite it looks as a totally separate issue to the visas- is that many in Congress feel that opening the gates fully -to highly educated individuals from abroad- will be tremendously advantageous to the US.

 So Congress, under pressure from Corporate America,  pushes -year after year- for higher and higher levels of -what are called- H-1B visas.  After all,


  these Immigrants are highly educated, and


their education did not cost anything to America


they will never be requesting social services (they have too much pride to do that) 


How can you beat that?  Wait,  there is more! 


 ... they are also willing to work for a meager salary, sometimes paying a Ph.D. the equivalent of what you would pay a graduate from a 3-year Community College program.


  A win-win situation, Right?

Every country -no doubt- would like to progress, and bring prosperity to its citizens.  Having talented individuals will help with that goal.  When you allow regular impoverish Immigrants to live in your land you really do not know if these newcomers are smart or dumb.  Many might not look too bright, but your perception I am sure could change if they were able to speak fluently your language, or had an opportunity to be educated.  As a Geneticist could have said "the genes might be there, but have not had a chance to get expressed".  Since they are adventurous, and daring, very likely they are brighter than the average population.  However, when you give H-1B visas to Master or Ph.D. degreed alien graduates you are pretty sure these guys are not dumb.  On the contrary these "brainers" have to be in the top-percentile of capable individuals of any nation.

How can you say that these H-1B individuals are not beneficial to a country?

bullet  True, we cannot say that! 

 They are a huge asset to any country! no question.    I am not saying that these people are undesirables.  On the contrary -by the explanations I gave- if you ask me I would honestly say these are the best Immigrants you can ever have.  And we are lucky they are willing to come here, to the USA, in unlimited numbers.

The problem is: we do not have -currently- a way to deal with the demoralization that these professionals cause in our post-graduate technical students, who are betting a lot of money thinking that someday they will be able to pay back the loans with not much effort.  Many are bound to have a heck of a painful realization.

bullet  If we discourage Americans from studying higher education, we will depend in foreign experts for everything.
bullet Pretty much the way we are becoming little by little dependent on Arab oil.
bulletHow could you ever convince the US Congress (mostly made up of lawyers) that this policy of allowing countless numbers of highly educated professionals to come in to the USA -with H-1B visas- is bad for America?

It is practically impossible to do that.  It is a losing battle  Corporations were counting on an ever exploding expansion of technology in the US. For a while it seemed they were right, but the tech bubble burst.  And now some American PhD's and Java Programmers are operating forklifts to avoid losing their homes.  The effect is slow, but it is unrelenting.  The damage is permanent, and it is being done very slowly.

What would happen when graduating students find that all those well-paying jobs that their Counselors told them existed, are not really there?   They will feel cheated.  And they would trickle the message down to relatives and friends.

Thousands and thousands of those good jobs have been occupied by imported "foreign professionals".   Some lucky guys will eventually find a job, but the opportunities that used to exist for a professional (with a typical Master degree or Bachelor degree) are not there anymore.  Now they need a PhD.  And if they are able to earn one, they will be disappointed with the salaries they will be making.  It is going to be barely enough to pay the Stafford loans, and subsist.   Ridiculous!

Unless you have been living in a cave, you will have probably noticed by now that these days an unbelievable percentage of College Professors already are not American. At least, they were not when they arrived with a H-1B visa a few years back.  Today it  does not pay to be Professor, really.  I taught in a College for a couple of semesters and I have to look for a better paid job, because I could not take care of my family.  Many College Professors are Pakistanis and Hindus these days.

Look at the students in Ph.D. programs, many are foreigners as well.  Some foreign students will return to their countries, many will try to change the student visa for an H-1B and remain in America. A great achievement for them, if not THE great achievement.  For many foreigners all of this is worth any effort.

I am not conjecturing, I am speaking -of course- from personal experience. 
bullet I did study towards a Ph.D. in Computer Sciences at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, project that I decided to abandon.
bulletI taught Telecommunications and Computer Sciences at the Inter American University in Puerto Rico.  As Professor I was making about half of what would be a normal Engineering salary.  I quit after a couple of semesters.
bulletI earned a Master in Telecommunications from the University of Colorado, at Boulder.
bulletI did finish MBA studies with excellent grades, at the Inter American University.  For the reasons above, I never did care much for the final degree, and left without making much effort to get it (taking the required board exam).

I spent 20 years in those cubicles -in high tech companies- where Engineers do their thing. Many peers in other cubicles were foreigners who had come to the USA with H-1B visas.  Most often than not you would not get a raise, unless you could afford to threaten the company with quitting.  Sometimes it just happened that I was not "expendable", and I won the increase in salary.

On occasions -though- I was expendable.  Consequently, and with frustration I had to grab my things, and head for the door.  Facing the unknown and putting my family in jeopardy.  The PR people (Personnel Dept. Representatives) would say to me that there were plenty of other Engineers who would be happy to work for less.  I knew that !

Professionals applying for jobs in New York City.

Do not tell me about the great benefits of H-1B visas,   I will not buy it!    It is a slow cancer!

 They would even tell me how lucky I was that I was making a lot more than others.  Since they do not tell  you how much the others make, you -really- would never know if that is true.

In 1994 the per-capita rate in Europe was -on the average- about 60% of that in the USA.  And yet, notice on this table that Engineers over there make higher salaries (or comparable) in absolute terms to those of their American counterparts.  In relative terms -though- European Engineers are much better paid, have a lot more recognition,  and the Engineering title conveys a social status. In Latin America they respectfully use the term "Doctor", or "Licenciado" when addressing Engineers.  No wonder why Engineering Schools here do not find enough recruits!

 What I knew is that I was making one fifth as much as I would be making if working as a Medical Doctor, who would have about the same number of years of studies, and whom have had a lot less Calculus, Thermodynamics, and Quantum Physics to digest.  The difference is that the AMA (American Medical Association) is a powerful organization.  They request a Medical Foreign Board Exam to those who would like to practice Medicine in America.  That way they can filter candidates all they want. And filtering they do,  TOO MUCH I would say! 

Doctors deal with lives, and every person who votes will try to give support to their cause.  They want the best Doctors. Engineers -on the other hand- we deal with machines, and nobody cares. 

There is not Engineering Foreign Board Exam, it would even sound ludicrous to have one.  There is not even regulation on the use of the Engineering title in America.  If you impersonate a Doctor you will go to jail.  But if you say you are an Engineer and you are not one, that is OK.  Everybody does it.  I would say that of those Engineers in the cubicles mentioned above, of those who were not foreigners as much as 60% were not Degreed Engineers. The Engineer title was often a diploma given by the company to an individual in recognition of many years within an "Engineering Organization".  In other words, they impersonate Engineers.   But, is it OK for a 2-year degree Technician to impersonate a 7-year career Engineer  ?       (Computed based on a 4 to 5 years for a B.S.E.E. and 2 to 3 years for the Master). 

 Just imagine how it would be if a Nurse would impersonate a Doctor.  That person would be summarily fired, or worse, could spend a couple of months in  jail for impersonating.

Let's go back to the issue of: long term effect of the H-1B visas in the educational system. 

 Why a professional -who already has a Master degree- should spend another $180,000 on a PhD?

 (This amount is calculated based on $30,000 in tuition and books, and 3 years at $50,000 of average revenues lost per year for full-salary not earned while dedicated to the Ph.D. program).

There are so many young and "imported" PhDs out there that a company -that could use your degree- would normally pay you only $200 more per month when you bring that $180,000 doctoral degree.  Other companies would not hire you at all, because with a Ph.D. you might be overqualified (meaning, not motivated with a lesser job, they would hire somebody looking up to that job, rather than looking down to it). 

Am I bashing foreigners?  How could I? 

I did not come to America with H-1B visa, yet I am a foreign immigrant who moved from Spain in 1971.

I am presenting, as factual as I can, the biggest educational problem of this country, as I see it!

 None of my three grown sons wants to be an Engineer.  Engineering curriculums in America tend to lose recruits year after year.  To mitigate the effect, programs are made easier, eliminating complex theoretical subjects in advanced Mathematics, Organic Chemistry, Physics, Thermodynamics, and so forth.  The curriculums become more and more focused on narrow technologies (that the educational system of any other country in the world can easily match). We will lose our "knowledge edge".    Our post-graduate career curriculums are dangerously practical !!

 As the years go by, these shallow-skin graduates will try to keep up with new emerging technologies by reading, or going for a higher degree.  More often than not, their educational background is not deep enough, and the technology changes so fast that they become obsolete.  This is one of those intangible caveats in the educational system caused by the high limits allowed on H-1B visas.

As you can see, I have an opinion on educational vouchers (if you care to see the "Education" page), but voucher or no-voucher, that is a heck of a small educational issue, when you look from a higher perspective.

Immigration on the Rise
Read across to see how many H-1B visas remain in effect from a given year. Read down to see the cumulative effect in a given year:
Annual total
* Denotes year in which original visas would be expired if three-year extension was not filed with and approved by the INS
1 1998 was the year in which the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act became law and temporarily raised the cap on H-1B visas from 65,000 to 115,000 in FY1999 and FY2000. This starting figure of 325,000 visas assumes all visas issued from 1994 through 1998 remained active for six years (5 x 65,000); thus the figure decreases by 65,000 in each succeeding year as visas expire. (The 65,000 cap level was established in 1990 and by law, the U.S. may not lower the H-1B limit beneath that amount.)

Why an Engineer wants to become a Congressman? 

After having read this page, you would probably be able now to answer that question yourself. It is important that I fight to be your Congressman, and it is imperative that you would support me on that quest! Taking a stand against H-1B visas, is not going to be popular.  I might antagonize a lot of corporations.  I know that!   I understand the political cost, but I will have to take it!

Not only that, at this point we should be thinking of retraining workers.  But companies would not go with the expense of retraining when they can hire -for half that much- a young Chinese, Hindu or Arab person (with an H-1B visa) who has a hot,  brand new, degree on the latest technologies.

Doing so the corporation would be saving money.  Therefore,  they would be able to offer a less expensive product, and a better return on investment to investors.  But, is not this shortsighted ?

What will happen to that Engineer that became frustrated with his profession?

 Let me tell you what is going to happen, none of his relatives or acquaintances is going to be very impressed with his career, and will try to avoid it.  And many will try to avoid College altogether.

I have focused on Engineering, because having been such for 26+ years I think I could be credible to you.   But, if you believe my statements on Engineering,  I could extrapolate and talk to you about the plight of the Computer Programmers, the Therapists (flooded by Filipinos with H-1B visas), the Production Managers, or .... the list in never ending.

There are very few US Representatives opposed to H-1B visas.  After all, probably 90% of Congress is made up of Lawyers.  No foreign Lawyer would succeed in America


Because to be a good Attorney it helps if you have an excellent command of the English language.


Also, you need to speak with an American accent, that Jurors can relate. Foreigners -even from British colonies- cannot do that.  Forget the ones born in a Chinese or in a Spanish speaking country.


Finally, if they studied Law in their countries, their laws are mostly of not use in America.  Credits are not transferable.  Their studies are worthless here.  A Foreign  Board Exam for Law students does not even make sense.

This is the reason why this huge problem in our educational system has escaped the scrutiny of our Government. To the extreme where the Government is not even aware of the damage being done.


Raising funds for my campaign is probably going to be a lot harder than for many other Candidates who did not espouse such strong ideologies.  After all. most funds are raised with Corporate PACs (Political Action Committees)  I am aware of that.  But, if I do not win this election, I will do what President Lincoln did ... come back, and try again and again!

I should not say that there is not opposition at all to H-1B visas.  There is!  But the courageous ones are few.

Here is one, ...Rep. Bob Stump (AZ) - "I am opposed to raising the H-1B cap for several reasons. The government has identified fraud in the program and there is no compelling evidence of a labor shortage.   High-tech firms laid off more than 140,000 Americans last year while simultaneously lobbying Congress to increase the H-IB cap. I am also troubled by reports of age discrimination against middle-aged American computer programmers. I believe the high demand reflects a preference for foreign workers and the cheaper foreign labor H-1B visa holders represent".

Here is another ... Rep. John Bryant (D-TX)  "Basically, what this bill is saying to them is, "goodbye, there is not going to be training for you [Americans]. We are not going to pay any attention to your situation. We are going to address the problems of this country by inviting an extra 140,000 permanent workers into this country, along with their families, to take the places that we might have trained you to take, had we been willing to follow that path."

Editor: JX
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