Prof: Silicon Valley Immigration Push 'Really About Cheaper Labor'

Prof: Silicon Valley Immigration Push 'Really About Cheaper Labor'

Dr. Ron Hira, professor of public policy at Howard University, argued that Silicon Valley’s push for immigration reform is “really about cheaper labor,” not attracting “the best and brightest” workers because “the typical H-1B worker really has no more than ordinary skills” on Monday’s “Laura Ingraham Show.”

“It’s really about cheaper labor. That’s what’s going on. They’re trying to drive down wages. And if anybody doubts that, just look at the lawsuit against many of the largest Silicon Valley firms…where they had a wage fixing scheme. So while they talk about ‘the best and the brightest’ and ‘the super talented’ coming in on these guest-worker visas…the typical H-1B worker really has no more than ordinary skills and is willing to take lower wages…they [tech firms] fight for lower wages when push comes to shove in the actual negotiations of the bill, so it really isn’t about the best and brightest and folks who are founding firms, it’s about keeping wages down” he said.  

Hira also stated that foreign workers are not needed to make up for a STEM shortage because “if there was really this shortage they keep talking about, what you would see is very different behavior from the firms. One, they would be, as you’re suggesting, investing in their incumbent workforce and their current workers. Instead, what they are doing is laying those folks off. And they would also be investing in the pipeline. This is really important because the STEM degrees, information technology and engineering in particular, have been really pathways to the middle class…By cutting this off, we are cutting off that upward mobility to the middle class for so many of the working class kids.”

He also criticized attaching green cards to the attainment of a master’s degree, declaring “what that does is it basically puts universities as the gate keepers for admission into the U.S. on permanent residence, and they have a conflict of interest because they can make a lot of money basically selling green cards, setting up a master’s program, let’s say, that’s 12 months, you’re going to attract a lot of students who are not coming for the education, but are coming because they’re getting a path to a green card.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett