New York Times Almost Gets It Right on H-1Bs

By John Miano on June 17, 2015

We now even have the New York Times editorial board calling for reform of the H-1B program. While I am glad to have them on board, the editorial does make a couple of serious factual mistakes.

First, the Times states that employers are using "loopholes" to replace Americans. These are not loopholes. In 1998, Congress explicitly made it legal to replace Americans with H-1B workers in nearly all circumstances. In 2004, Congress explicitly gave employers the ability to pay H-1B workers extremely low wages.

When the Times writes, "A mass influx of foreigners doing the jobs of the workers they displace is clearly not what the law intended," they are completely wrong.

What happened at Southern California Edison and Walt Disney World was by careful design; not accident.

In enacting such provisions, Congress hoped that the news media would continue to ignore these displacements of American workers. With only a very few exceptions, congressmen calling for investigations are expressing outrage over gambling at Rick's.

Second, the Times claims that needed reforms were "contained in a Senate bill to overhaul the immigration system." WRONG.

S.744 originally contained some largely symbolic provisions to address H-1B abuse. They were stripped from the bill thanks largely to the efforts of Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).

S.744 contained no provisions whatsoever to reform H-1B visas, unless you consider giving employers access to an effectively unlimited number of foreign workers "reform".

The Times editorial board's claim that "worker protection has always been a core ideal of comprehensive immigration reform" is delusional.

The Times editorial board has made the first step: Recognizing abuse in the immigration system.

They need to take the next step: Read a bill before you endorse it.