It Ain't All in the Shadows
While there's a ton of talk about the effects of illegal immigration on the lower class employment and wages (And justifiably so), the effects of abused legal immigration systems have played a much larger role in the damage to the middle class earning power over the years.
The H1-B visa has long been used by companies and corporations, both as a way to replace more expensive American workers with less expensive foreign born workers while acting as an anvil to bang down the wages of still or seeking to be employed American workers, forced to compete with the low wages of the imported labor. Seems fair, right? Importing cheaper workers to replace the more expensive domestic labor, all the while claiming yourself to be a real sweetheart by avoiding moving the whole operation abroad outright.
So why exactly does the H1-B exist?
Seems like a pretty fucked up tool for an economy to have in the toolbox, right? Bring in cheap work to cut labor costs (again, both in the wages of imported workers and in the forcing down of domestic wages). It can't be written like the way it is being used...
"... The US H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields such as in architecture, engineering, mathematics, science, and medicine. Under the visa a US company can employ a foreign worker for up to six years..."
- quoted from the Government explanation oh the H1-B visa.
"... Specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields..."
Now correct me if I am wrong, but that would be like if you found a guy in Indonesia who has just vomited out a revolutionary code language that our top of the world industry just can't live without, or some Indian surgeon who perfected some life saving technique that we'd like to standardize here... Not to bring in run of the mill code writers from the Ukraine, costumer service representatives from India, and slave labor at Disney for everywhere else. Those sort of applications perhaps shouldn't be allowed at all, let alone to be counted as "specialized fields", now should they?
Yet they are, the scumbags corporate suits who push such initiatives to keep their bottom line every growing (for as we all know, if a business wants to make more money without moving more product, cutting labor is the next best thing) ever vigilant that the government goes along with the screw job in the way of campaign donations and graft; the Shawn Michaels to our Marty Jannette, super kicking us through the barber shop window of economic stability for their own greedy needs.
And it's not just something some half crazy pothead can see...
"'The Effects of High-Skilled Immigration on Firms: Evidence from H-1B Visa Lotteries", a study which focused on this very phenomenon, came to just such a conclusion as well.
"Overall our results are more consistent with the second narrative [ed note: as opposed to the standard one we are sold, where these visas increase patent securing by businesses, allowing them to employ more and pay higher wages], in which H-1Bs replace other workers to some extent, are paid less than alternative workers, and increase the firm's profits (despite little, if any, effect on firm patenting)," the three authors of the study write in said study, focusing on the effect of the legal and abused immigration system. (They also note in their results that wages for domestic workers are also lowered because of this policy; forced to compete with cheaper wages of foreign imports).
And the cost don't end at wages with the legal immigrants, as there are other financial concerns involving the immigration issue.
According to the Center for Immigration Studies (again), 49% of the country's legal immigrants (It should be noted here that included as "legal immigrants" are not only those who followed the prescribed process, but also the domestic born children of illegals [and their families] and refugees that we relocate here apparently to firmly attach to our Federal tit and allow them to enjoy their new lives as Americans) were on social services of some sort in 2012 (welfare, food stamps, ect). This number is in comparison to 30% of native born households and 62% of illegal immigrant households (which stunned me, given how often we are told they have no access to those benefits, said to be intended to the Americans, but I digress).
Now as shitty a deal as the H1-B visa issue is, I can see why it would exist as a policy...
But -by my math- this study tells me that we are importing poor people, for some reason; with our social welfare system apparently using the majority of their services on these imported (be it legal, compassion based, or otherwise) peoples. Seems odd, don't it... The staggering majority of the immigrants we invite (or have thrust upon us to some degree to another) into our country finding themselves on the public's tab... Especially when you consider our last Federal Budget noted over a trillion dollars going to social service programs (interesting fun fact: we not only pay out a bit over a trillion in social service payments, we also happen to borrow just over a trillion [and climbing] to cover our deficit. Maybe it's just a roughshod observation, but I'd assume the two are linked somehow.)
Again, we quote the report:
"... Education level plays a larger role in explaining welfare use than legal status. The most extensive use of welfare is by less- educated immigrants who are in the country legally. Of households headed by legal immigrants without a high school diploma, 75 percent use one or more welfare programs, as do 64 percent of households headed by legal immigrants with only a high school education..."
And there you have it! Proof we are importing low skill/ low educated workers, if we are to believe the numbers... Again, we have 94 million people just hanging out- the blood chilling majority of them conveniently low skill/ low education workers. Wouldn't it make more sense to just remove these illegal workers from the hiring pool (or, in the case of legal immigrants, try to maybe reduce the number of low skill, low education imports to the barest of minimums) and allow our own people who currently live here to maybe bid for that work (and, having to now hire domestic labor, the employers would be forced to stimulate interest in said work by making sure it pays a market value for the work. Sort of helps that whole stagnant wages issue we've been wrestling with since 2008 or so...) It would only make sense to do that, hardly seeming to be the goal of a society to get good enough at stemming domestic poverty that they can import other people's poor and useless. One would think that, much like a sports team would use free agency to fill in areas in need of improvement, a nation such as ours (or any really, as most nations do request you provide a reason why they would benefit from your inclusion into their system) would utilize the immigration system as a way to freshen the national blood with injections of educated, productive, and otherwise economically viable new life into the system.
But then again, none of this really makes sense...