Industry leaders of Silicon Valley criticized the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy Act (RAISE) as an inefficient means of importing foreign white-collar professionals to fill a supposed shortage of labor in the American tech field.
Dean Garfield, president of the Technology Industry Council, slammed the legislation in a statement, claiming:
Access to talent is a challenge for the tech industry because not only can we not find enough STEM-skilled Americans to fill open roles, our broken system stops us from keeping the best and brightest innovators here in the U.S. and instead we lose out to our overseas competitors. This is not the right proposal to fix our immigration system because it does not address the challenges tech companies face, injects more bureaucratic dysfunction, and removes employers as the best judge of the employee merits they need to succeed and grow the U.S. economy.
The Technology Industry Council represents various tech conglomerates including Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, and Google in lobbying efforts to secure favorable legislation in Washington for Big Tech.
Tech: NYC, which represents the special interests of technology business leaders in the New York area, also joined in the chorus blasting the proposed immigration reform.
Julie Samuels, the executive director of Tech: NYC released the following statement:
Today’s proposal by the Trump Administration and Senators Cotton and Perdue that could cut legal immigration in half is part of a broad and dangerous effort to restrict immigration no matter the cost to our companies and communities. Not only is this bad policy for building a new future-looking economy and for creating new tech jobs, it’s also bad precedent for our country, which has been strengthened over the years by immigrant founders, their companies, and the diversity of ideas and experiences that they—and all immigrants—bring to our shores. It’s true that the immigration system needs reform, but it should be overhauled to make it easier for entrepreneurial workers to come here to build companies and create jobs.
Silicon Valley elites have long advocated increasing immigration inflows into the United States. They argue that such policies are needed to fuel dynamism and innovation in a burgeoning economic sector. Critics claim that increasing immigration is merely a means for business leaders to increase profit margins through lower labor costs.
Despite claims that the Tech companies face a domestic labor shortage, American tech workers have been fired by corporations such as Disney and forced to train their replacements, holders of the H1-B visa for foreign white collar professionals.
A Goldman Sachs study claims that nearly 1 million foreign H1-B visa holders work in college-level jobs in the U.S., despite the fact that only 85,000 H1-B visas are distributed annually.
In a study entitled, “Understanding the Economic Impact of the H1-B Program on the U.S,” University of California, San Diego economist Gaurav Khanna and University of Michigan economists John Bound and Nicolas Morales make the claim that U.S. wages would be 2.6 percent to 5.1 percent higher without the H1-B visa program due to lessened competition in the labor market.