No need to boost H-1Bs, says GOP Senate immigration head... Wait. WHAT?

I'm so confused. What bizarre, parallel universe is this?

H-1B Jeff Sessions
Credit: U.S.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) is now the chair of the Senate subcommittee on Immigration. But he doesn't exactly see eye-to-eye with his Republican colleagues on the subject of H-1B and L-1 visas for tech workers.

Whereas most in the party would like to see more "guest workers" enter the USA, Sessions and his boss, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), ain't buying it.

In IT Blogwatch, commentators dot the ayes and cross the slashes.

curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.


Our DC chum Patrick Thibodeau sees the situational irony for the GOP:

The biggest enemy facing U.S. Senate Republicans in raising the H-1B cap are...the Senate's two top Republican critics of temporary worker immigration [who] now hold the two most important immigration posts in the Senate.

Grassley...heads the Senate's Judiciary Committee. [He] has been the Republican's most tenacious and unwavering critic of the H-1B program. ... Sessions [heads] the immigration subcommittee...and said the committee "will give voice to...American IT workers who are being replaced with guest workers." [He] last week accused the tech industry of perpetuating a "hoax" by claiming there is a shortage of qualified U.S. tech workers.

[But] Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), chairman of the Senate Republican High-Tech Task Force...is seeking an H-1B increase. [He] introduced legislation...to raise the H-1B cap [and create] an unlimited influx of foreign workers by eliminating a cap on people who earn an advanced degree in a STEM...field from a U.S. school.  MORE


Seung Min Kim adds:

Sessions [is] one of the most relentless critics of the Obama administration’s immigration directives. [His] chairmanship of the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security [gives] the conservative a key platform to advance his immigration policies.

Sessions is also well-known for his advocacy on stricter immigration controls and aggressive pushback against President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration.  MORE


So Jeffrey Bolden simply says "Yeah!":

Score one for the Republicans! I'm a pretty solid democrat, don't live in Arizona but I'm starting to like Jeff Sessions.  MORE


And Ron Christian agrees the qualified tech labor shortage is a myth:

To the outside world, my manager says there is a shortage. [But in] meetings, he states openly that his intention is to replace all new openings with H-1B workers. Entirely coincidentally...all of the attrition last year was amongst regular (non-H-1B) employees.

"Qualified" in this context means "willing to work for third world wages and no benefits."  MORE


But G. Wu opines "the reality of the situation":

The tech industry does want "cheap, young and immobile labor."

Whether or not there is a shortage depends on your point of view. ... There will never be enough...for the people who want to hire programmers at $2 an hour.  MORE


Wait, "immobile"? Kirk Strauser gives his view from the trenches:

The H-1B employees I know - my personal friends, people I hang out with and trust - describe a legal hellscape that's pretty much exactly indentured servitude. One of them managed to escape a bad situation by hooking up with a major corporation who could expedite the process to have the transfer done within a couple of months. That's two months of walking on eggshells so that they didn't get fired and deported.

You're on crack if you think an H-1B isn't a recipe for suckishness. ... The situations I witnessed firsthand were terrible.  MORE


Meanwhile, ixs waxes super-cynical (and slightly sarcastic):

I predict [Sessions] will be swimming in campaign contributions from the tech industry in the future. And of course he'll see the light afterwards and understand how misguided he was as he was lacking crucial information about the desolate state of the US STEM sector and increased allotment of H1B visas is the only short-term solution to the industry's plight.

Certain industries have already shown that with depressed wages it is indeed cheaper to manufacture...in the US again. I am sure a similar solution can be found for the IT industry.  MORE


You have been reading IT Blogwatch by , who curates the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites… so you don't have to. Catch the key commentary from around the Web every morning. Hatemail may be directed to @RiCHi or itbw@richi.uk. Opinions expressed may not represent those of Computerworld. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE.

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