Friday, August 26, 2005

The U.S. Needs More Foreign Workers


Political pressure for an immigration crackdown seems to be building, with allegedly serious people even debating a 2,000-mile wall along the U.S.-Mexican border. Meanwhile, in the U.S. economy, the demand for foreign workers continues, as shown by the collapse of the H-1B visa program...

Each year, the U.S. issues a set number of H-1B visas to educated foreign professionals with specialized skills. Earlier this month the Department of Homeland Security, which administers the program, announced that the annual H-1B cap of 65,000 already has been reached for next year. In fact, it was reached in record time, or 14 months prior to the fiscal year in which the visas would be used...

Contrary to the assertions of many opponents of immigration, from Capitol Hill to CNN, the size of our foreign workforce is mainly determined by supply and demand, not Benedict Arnold CEOs or a corporate quest for "cheap" labor...

A central irony here is that opponents of lifting the H-1B cap also tend to be the biggest critics of outsourcing, which is fueled by the arbitrary cap. But the H-1B debate also exposes those who are giving lip service to immigration "reform" while doing nothing to fix the problem because they'd rather exploit it for political purposes. American companies don't have that luxury. They operate in the real world.


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