Obama’s immigration plan falls short of Indian IT hopes

As President Barack Obama camapaigned to sell his immigration plan to shield up to five million people from deportation and retain high-skilled immigrants, largely from India and China, analysts called it a mixed bag.

Obama’s plan, according to the White House, “focuses on cracking down on illegal immigration at the border; deporting felons, not families; and accountability through criminal background checks and taxes”.

It would also “make it easier and faster for high-skilled immigrants, graduates, and entrepreneurs to stay and contribute to our economy, as so many business leaders have proposed”.

Nearly six million Mexicans make up over half of an estimated 11.2 unauthorised immigrants in the US.

India is a distant fourth top source country with 450,000 living in the country without papers, according to a new Pew Research Centre report.

BPO and call centerWhile about 8.1 million unauthorised immigrants make up 5.1 percent of the US labour force, many of them engaged in low paying jobs that Americans don’t want to do, Indians cornered nearly two thirds of the total work permits for skilled workers in 2012.

What he’s offering is a “common sense” first step to fixing a “broken system,” Obama Friday told a rowdy crowd at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas, where two years ago he had outlined his post-election promise to finally reform immigration in his second term.

“Our immigration system has been broken for a very long time, and everybody knows it,” Obama said asserting his plan was “not amnesty” as alleged by his Republican critics.

Obama claimed he tried everything to work with Congress and chastised Republicans in the House for refusing to vote on the immigration reform bill that passed the Senate.

“I cajoled and I called and I met. I told [House Speaker] John Boehner, ‘I’ll wash your car. I’ll walk your dog. Whatever you need me to do, just call the bill.’ That’s how democracy is supposed to work,” he was quoted as saying by ABC News.

Earlier, Obama signed two presidential memoranda associated with his actions on immigration in his office on Air Force One shortly after landing at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.

Commenting on Obama’s order, The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) said it will have only moderate benefits for the technology industry.

To help the technology sector, Obama has agreed to increase the number of foreign graduates of American universities with STEM – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – degrees stay in the US to ease employment pressures and enable qualified students to stay in the country, it noted.

But it does not address industry hopes of keeping these individuals here on a long-term basis, CFR said as it does not increase the number of H-1B visas for high-skilled experts, currently capped at 65,000.

The Washington Post agreed that “the rule changes would make it easier for those from abroad to get a toehold in the US tech industry but will not address one of the tech industry’s top policy priorities: increase in H-1B visas.

Arun Kumar / IANS

  • jakeleone

    Realize that the reason we run out of visas each year is because Outsourcing companies stuff in an excess number of requests.

    If Offshore Outsourcing companies were barred from the H-1b visa, we would never had a year, since inception, where we ran out of H-1b visas.

    In U.S. Court documents, a Senior InfoSys hiring manager is quoted as saying

    “Americans don’t know (profane expletive)!”.

    When a recruiter was about to show that InfoSys Senior Hiring Manager the resumes of several qualified U.S. citizen software engineers. The recruiter was then directed to only consider the resumes of people from India for all engineering all jobs on U.S. soil.

    InfoSys is the second largest user of H-1b visas.

    InfoSys contracts with the Government, Microsoft, Google, Cisco, Apple…

    Not one of these companies or government agencies have ever asked InfoSys about its discriminatory hiring practices.

    Zero, that’s the number of U.S. Presidents that asked U.S. government agencies to ask InfoSys (or any other Offshore Outsourcing company) to abide by U.S. Civil Rights laws when contracting with the United States.

    Minority (Blacks and Hispanics) participation in IT, has slipped to a fraction of the Minority IT graduation rate. Thanks to the H-1b visa, and racial discrimination that the H-1b visa facilitates. Because apparently “Americans don’t know (profance expletive)”.

    Well there is another group of people in our country that apparently doesn’t know (profance expletive)!

    Our Tech CEOs and our President.

    Recently Wadhwa is quoted as saying:

    “Speak to anyone in Silicon Valley, and they will tell you there’s a talent shortage.”

    We have to ask, how can they know that when they contract for labor from companies that deliberately exclude the resumes of qualified U.S. engineers for jobs on U.S. soil.

    Realize CEO’s are clueless by design, they don’t want the public to know the aweful truth.

    You need to read the CIR report, you need to read the court case against InfoSys, you need to understand that the people Wadhwa talks to (CEOs, VP) don’t know (profane expletive) by design.

    They are deliberately (conveniently) clueless on the issue of how the H-1b visa, U.S. Government Program, is actually used.