Two different congressional delegations (codels, in DC parlance), with a total of 27 members of the House, including Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), are headed for the very part of South India which is the home of 42 percent of the worldwide population of H-1B workers. This is likely to strengthen the hand of those defending the status quo in the H-1B program.
Coincidence? Maybe. The Times of India happily reported earlier: "a record number of 27 U.S. congressmen will visit India later this month."
And where will they be going? Mumbai, the largest city? The troubled but beautiful Kashmir? The majestic Himalayas?
No. After a de rigueur stop in New Delhi, the capital, the larger delegation will go to Hyderabad, and the smaller one to Bangalore — both in the southern Indian heartland that produces such a huge share of all H-1Bs hired worldwide. If one hails from one of four states in Southern India, one has a 24:1 better chance to be hired as an H-1B than a person living anywhere in the rest of the world.
The bias, as we reported, isn't for Indian nationals generally, it is narrowly focused in favor of young males from four heavily Hindu states in the south of the nation (Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Telangana). Some of the Indian outsourcing companies that hire large numbers of H-1Bs have strong ties to this region.
This narrow ethnic, regional, sex, and youth bias of H-1B hiring contradicts the IT industry spokesmen who keep saying that they must have more H-1Bs so that they can hire the best and the brightest in the world.
What the employers do, in fact, is to hire what must be something like 800,000 aliens, thus displacing U.S. workers, many in the IT industry, and lowering wages.
Just as the hiring of the H-1Bs is concentrated, there is another concentration in one of the two codels, the eight-member one led by Goodlatte. Four of the group are members of his full committee, and two of these are also on the immigration subcommittee. Henry Johnson (D-Ga.) is a member of the full committee and Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas) and David Cicilline (D-R.I.) also are on the subcommittee. The other travelers are Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), George Holding (R-N.C.), Jason Smith (R-Mo.), and Dave Trott (R-Mich.). We know less about the other codel, which includes 19 members and was organized by the Aspen Institute, a think tank.
While the two codels are in South India they will certainly hear the Indian view of the H-1B program, a favorite topic of the Indian media whenever there is a slightest hint that this scheme might be changed.