Q&A: Congressman explains his opposition to H-1B visas
Tancredo's views put him at odds with White House
Computerworld - Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), chairman of the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus, has long been an immigration watchdog and opponent of illegal immigration. On July 9, he introduced H.R. 2688 "to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to repeal H-1B visas for temporary workers." Tancredo's dogged advocacy of immigration reform has made him a maverick within his own party. His bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee, where it never was scheduled for a hearing. He recently spoke with Computerworld about his opposition to unfettered immigration and guest-worker visas.
Please tell us about your proposed legislation and why you filed it. It's a very simple bill. It simply abolishes that category of visas which has been so abused. In the last five, six years, the use of H-1B visas has exploded because industry has discovered it's a way to cut labor costs, to displace American workers and reap financial rewards. We've got 800,000 to 1 million people in this country with H-1B visas. The INS [Immigration and Naturalization Service of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security] doesn't keep track of them; we don't really know how many are here. Out best guess is that very few have returned home. Another 500,000 to 700,000 jobs have been exported overseas by the IT industry. The IT industry has taken a huge hit. We've exported jobs and reduced the pay of those that are left -- all this because companies have seen a loophole that allows them to displace American workers.
We're worried about this because American citizens are out of work or underemployed in jobs paying far less than they were making before, in less-skilled jobs. A lot of these folks from offshore are coming here and learning the jobs and then being sent back home with all of the knowledge they've gained here. Then all the jobs move offshore.
Mark Willoughby, CISSP, is a 20-year IT industry veteran and journalist with degrees in computer science and journalism. For the past seven years, he has tracked security and risk management start-ups and is a managing consultant at MessagingGroup, a Denver-based content development specialist.
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