During a recent National Journal LIVE event, venture capitalist Lars Dalgaard, who is closely affiliated with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s lobbying group FWD.us, suggested that the reason hundreds of American STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and information technology (IT) workers at Southern California Edison utilities company were being laid off and replaced with foreign workers on H1B visas is because they “don’t work hard enough.”
FWD.us has openly lobbied for raising the cap on the number of H1-B visas permitted annually as part of President Barack Obama’s comprehensive immigration reform program, which critics refer to as executive amnesty.
As Breitbart News previously reported, the multi-billion dollar utilities company Southern California Edison has laid off scores of American IT workers, replacing them with foreign labor–specifically workers who are in the U.S. on H1-B visas and who are typically willing to work for far less compensation.
When the National Journal’s Niharika Acharya, who was moderating the panel discussion, asked about the Southern California Edison case, Dalgaard had this to say:
Dalgaard: You know, I’m relatively crude on that. If you want the job, make yourself able to get the job. Nobody’s going to hold you up and carry you around the world. This is what this whole country’s built on…If you’re not going to work hard enough to be qualified to get the job, like someone who doesn’t even live here yet….Well, then, you don’t deserve the job.
Acharya: Well, that might be harsh.
Acharya then turned to the other panelist, P.J. Cobut, who is a Belgian national, the founder of Echo Labs–and here on an H1B visa. SHe asked “do you agree with that?” Cobut replied, “Actually, I do.”
Cobut’s visa is set to expire on June 15 of this year, and a petition called “Let P.J. Stay” has been created to advocate for him to stay in Silicon Valley. He has said he will move his company to Canada if his extension is not approved.
Rutgers University Public Policy Professor Hal Salzman, who is an expert in the area of immigration and the STEM field, recently testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that there are only half the number of STEM jobs available for graduates in that field every year, and thatAmerican graduates will likely be crowded out by H1-B visa holders due to the cost of hiring alone.
The cost of hiring an H1-B visa worker is approximately $30,000 less annually than hiring an American-born or naturalized U.S. citizen in the same field. T
“We don’t need foreign workers. We have plenty of Americans who are fully capable and equipped to carry out these jobs. It’s an absolute issue of corporate greed; nothing more nothing less,” former Edison employee and Marine Pat Lavin told Breitbart News. He said that SoCal Edison was replacing $95,000 annual wage earners with H1-B visa workers who will earn $60,000 to $65,000 instead.
The H1-B program was created in 1990 by Congress. Over the years, the costs of wages were never pegged to inflation, which resulted in a plateauing of salaries and rampant abuse of the program.
Professor Ron Hira of the Rochester Institute of Technology has said, “The Indian government dubs the H1B program the ‘outsourcing visa’,” and adds:
Congress in conjunction with multiple Administrations have inadvertently created a highly lucrative business model of bringing in cheaper H-1B workers to substitute for Americans… The H-1B program is most definitely harming American workers, harming them badly, and on a large scale.
Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz