NBC Nightly News Makes Case for more H-1B and Instant Green Cards

NBC Nightly News ran a biased report on the need for a professional visa increase. The title of the article begins the big lie:

Can America keep best, brightest immigrants? America’s visa restrictions lead to reverse brain drain

The basic premise of the title of the story is utterly false because, as I have explained countless times. The United States rarely, if ever, expels or deports the best and brightest students from the country. We have the most generous programs in the world to entice foreign graduates from leaving even at the cost of stealing minds from other nations and giving away jobs that American need to maintain a middle class life style.

A ridiculous assumption is made that U.S. immigration officials make things difficult for foreign students.

The San Francisco Bay Area — the home of Silicon Valley, Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley — has always been a magnet for the best and brightest from foreign lands, but now many are wondering, why do U.S. immigration officials make it so hard for them to stay?

U.S. immigration rules are big roadblocks for the enterprising foreigners.

First off, those officials are only following the law so they shouldn’t be singled out, but more importantly nobody in the U.S. is making things difficult for foreigners to stay. The United States is the most generous nation in the world when it comes to allowing foreign workers to immigrate into it’s nation. No other nation comes close to issuing the large number of temporary and permanent visas to allow foreign students to live and work in the U.S.

The video includes a long interview with Kunal Bahl who claims that his only option was to leave the USA. No explanation was given about why he couldn’t get a visa so we have to assume it was for a good reason. Once he fled back to India he helped to form a successful company called SnapDeal.

Bahl’s company has created 300 jobs — and counting. But he sometimes wonders “what if …?” What if the country where he got his education, where he helped start a company while still in business school, had let him stay?

“I put my chips in the American basket and said let me try my hand here,” said Bahl, who earned an engineering degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a business degree from its Wharton School.

But Bahl’s visa ran out, and he took his skills back to India.

There seems to be a deluge of similar anecdotal stories in the media. The inference is that the jobs Bahl creates in India could have been in the U.S. but that’s assuming Bahl wouldn’t outsource most of the staff to India and he wouldn’t hire compatriots such as himself by using H-1B visas. The articles never explain exactly why brilliant foreign students were exiled from the U.S. because in most cases the reality isn’t very exciting: students who leave the U.S. either didn’t want to live here or they left because they were unemployable.

In addition to anecdotal examples NBC quoted “experts” like Vivek Wadhwa. In the following quote Wadhwa peers down from his ivory tower to sneer at Americans that complain when they see foreigners taking their jobs:

“We’re strengthening our competitors, we’re weakening ourselves,” said Vivek Wadhwa, a visiting professor at Berkeley and research associate with the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School. He has been warning of a “reverse brain drain” for years.

“There are a lot of very good human beings who are unemployed, who have lost their jobs,” Wadhwa said. “It’s easy for them to blame foreigners. What they don’t understand is people like me, when I came to this country, I came to study. My first company created 1,000 jobs. My second company created 200 jobs.”

Using Vivek Wadhwa as an example of a foreigner who produced jobs for Americans is an odd way to prove a point for two reasons:

  1. Vivek Wadhwa’s tenure as CEO at a company called Relativity didn’t result in job creation — in fact just the opposite occurred. When Relativity appointed Wadhwa as CEO the company was viable but by the time he was fired the company was near bankruptcy. It would be more accurate to use Wadhwa as a case example of a brilliant foreign academic who used our generous immigration system to stay in the U.S. after graduating from our schools, and then who failed as CEO of a high-tech company that was almost driven out of business. Wadhwa is an example why foreign students shouldn’t be given such easy access to our job market or to our corporate administration.
  2. Wadhwa’s company Relativity did create jobs. although it’s not clear that Wadhwa deserved credit for that. Not mentioned is the question of who got the jobs — Americans or Indians. Wadhwa preferred to hire H-1Bs because, as he said, they were cheap.

In Vivek Wadhwa’s own words he explains that he hired H-1Bs to replace Americans because they were cheap labor:

Entrepreneur-turned-academic Vivek Wadhwa is up front about his use of offshoring and importing foreign talent in a previous professional life as founder and CEO of two technology companies. “I was one of the first to outsource software development to Russia in the early ’90s. I was one of the first to use H-1B visas to bring workers to the U.S.A.,” Wadhwa says. “Why did I do that? Because it was cheaper.”

The next wave of globalisation: Offshoring R&D to India and China, CIO, by Stephanie Overby, 06 November 07

So the question that begs to be asked is why did NBC run this biased one-sided report? There are indications that Congress is about to begin a major push to expand the H-1B visa program and possibly broaden the number of foreign workers who can get instant green cards.

There is a lively discussion following the NBC article. If you want to contact NBC directly to talk to them about that dreadful article click here.

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