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Reich writes: "The battle over immigration reform is often about economic fear - fear that immigrants are hurting the economy for native born Americans."

Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)
Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)


The Truth About Immigration Reform and the Economy

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog

29 June 13

 

 

 

he battle over immigration reform is often about economic fear - fear that immigrants are hurting the economy for native born Americans. But that fear is based on several economic myths:

MYTH ONE: Immigration reform will strain already overburdened government safety net programs like Social Security and Medicare.

Wrong.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office finds that immigration reform will actually reduce the budget deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars.

Why is that? Because while they seek citizenship, undocumented workers will be required to pay into Social Security and Medicare even though they won't be eligible for them.

They're also younger on average than the typical worker, so even when they're citizens they'll be paying into Social Security and Medicare far longer.

MYTH TWO: New immigrants take away jobs from native-born Americans.

Wrong again.

The economy doesn't contain a fixed number of jobs to be divided up among people who need them. As an economy grows, it creates more jobs. And what we've seen over the last 200 years is that new immigrants to America fuel that growth, and thereby create more jobs for everyone.

We've also learned that new immigrants are by definition ambitious. They wouldn't have borne all the risks and hardships of immigrating to the United States if they weren't. And that ambition and hard work help the economy grow even faster.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that immigration reform will increase economic growth by more than 3 percent 10 years from now, 5 percent in 20 years.

Ambition also helps explain why the children of new immigrants earn more college degrees, on average, than the children of native-born.

And why their incomes are higher than their parent's incomes.

All of which also helps grow the economy and create more jobs.

MYTH THREE: We don't need new immigrants.

Wrong again.

The American population is aging rapidly. Forty years ago there were five workers for every retiree. Now there are three. If present trends continue, there will be only two workers for every retiree by the year 2030.

No economy can survive on a ratio of 2 workers per retiree.

But because new immigrants are on average younger than native-born Americans, they'll help bring that ratio back down. They're needed so we can continue to have a vibrant economy.

Get it? Three wrongs don't make a right. The right answer is immigration reform is not only good for undocumented workers. It's also good for the rest of us.


Robert B. Reich, Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration. Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written thirteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock" and "The Work of Nations." His latest is an e-book, "Beyond Outrage." He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause.


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+23 # xflowers 2013-06-29 09:02
But you didn't mention the HIB visa situation in IT. While the purported goal is to allow companies to import the best IT people from around the world, the effect is to keep American IT workers at lower wages or out of work altogether. There are looming effects that are even more serious. Many college students attuned to what is going on in the economy are avoiding the field altogether, which will not only increase shortages of qualified people but will shift research and development elsewhere. I
 
 
+1 # Buddha 2013-06-29 11:08
And what proof do you have that "wage stagnation" for IT has anything to do with immigrants with H1B visas? Why do you think an immigrant with those qualifications would come to this country and then work for LESS money than American citizens with the same qualification? If things were reversed, would you? Would you immigrate to another country and than accept a "lower than going rate" as if you are somehow worth less than a native-born applicant? Sorry, but it isn't immigration that is stagnating wages in the developed world, it is instead globalization and neo-liberalizat ion to trade and labor laws that have torn down barriers for doing such jobs elsewhere. For example, the company I work for just canned its entire IT department and is CONTRACTING out that function to an Indian IT company. It also decided to off-shore its Accounts Receivable department to a low-wage European nation, who offered huge incentives to hire their workers and drop our higher paid American workers. And that is a huge trend right now, with functions like IT able to be contracted out or off-shored to companies in low-wage nations, it puts more people in our country out of work. And that large amount of people out of work with those qualifications means less wages that a company who decides to keep IT in-house needs to offer to draw that talent.
 
 
+6 # xflowers 2013-06-29 16:51
I don't see where we disagree. I don't personally blame the people seeking HIB visas. And I do see it as a byproduct of globalization. It's happening in all kinds of ways. Some come to work here, some contract out in their home countries, some do both for a time. Some are brought here by consulting firms and moved about from place to place like migrant labor. Husbands and wives sometimes have to live apart. How do I know this? I've seen it here, that's how I know. Regardless of how it's done the effects are the same on the American IT workforce. I'm simply speaking to the lie being argued that there are not enough IT workers here. There are, but there will not be in the future for the reasons I cite. Most young people are trying to find occupations that will provide them stable, lifetime employment. While many of the people who got into IT early on find themselves screwed. Companies not only want cheaper labor, they don't want to pay to educate and train either. They are seeking a revolving labor pool that they will never have to pay to educate or retrain.
 
 
+5 # xflowers 2013-06-29 16:56
I should add. I know one of the H1B visa holders who is very concerned about her wages. She doesn't know if she is being paid less because companies typically ask their employees to remain silent on the subject. And for some reason employees typically go along with the practice. She is suspicious that she is being paid less, however, because she never sees any raises.
 
 
+5 # Activista 2013-06-29 23:53
Of course the H1B visa holders are exploited - so are older IT workers. And quality of software is going down - look at Microsoft - largest H1B employer - nothing of quality is produced - examples are Windows Vista and Windows 8 ...
 
 
+4 # RLF 2013-07-01 06:29
You will have work again when you are willing to take china/india wages...welcome to the working class. It has been happening to us for the last 40 years while you white collar people laughed and voted republican and allowed the democrats to become republicans. Time you tasted your own medicine because you slept and said this was OK for the working class and only bitch now because it is affecting you. Letting a bunch of new cheap workers in won't make it better...it will just allow the nice comfortable management of your company to live here in the US and not have to go to India. The only way we have kept the country going while our wages go down has been to hire more and more illegals making crap to take over more and more of the service economy. 1st gen. immigrants historically work for less...it is only their kids that say BS to that.
 
 
+2 # Buddha 2013-07-02 20:31
You and others still aren't getting it. We had a far higher rate of immigration in our nations's past and yet our economy grew and those immigrants, whether or not they supposedly "took jobs" and accepted lower wages than a native, ultimately assimilated and their families enjoyed economic mobility, "The American Dream", we all did. But today, net immigration is essentially nil...and yet, wages are STILL stagnant, aren't they?

There are many very real factors that are stagnating wages across the developed world, immigration is but the the Red Herring the Oligarchic Class is deliberately flopping on the table to stoke nativist resentment, all to distract everyone from addressing those far more important issues. Without unions returning to enough power to demand a fair share of corporate profits for workers, without tax reform that rewards domestic employers with lower taxes while raising taxes on off-shoring corporations and ending multinationals from sheltering earnings overseas, without raising the minimum wage to to a livable level to ensure ALL workers are properly rewarded for their hard labor, without public investment in our nation's infrastructure and schools, it won't matter if we put enough killer robots on our border such that a mosquito can't get through, our wages will still be stagnant. At the end of the day, it isn't Jose who is holding down our wages, it is the Ownership Class and their tools in Congress doing it deliberately for corporate profit.
 
 
+6 # edwin_ 2013-06-30 22:27
has not worked for me I'm an engineer & have been laid off 6 times when an h1b recipient has come to the USA to take my job. still waiting for the h1b recipients to grow the economy. do the math there are not enough jobs to go around for US workers

http://www.cringely.com/2012/10/23/what-americans-dont-know-about-h-1b-visas-could-hurt-us-all/
 
 
+6 # RLF 2013-07-01 06:21
This article is like a lot that come from economists. High on stereotype and simplification that coddles business and goes for "growth". They better start to come up with a model that suggest reducing populations or the planet is toast...literal ly.
 
 
+2 # Gere 2013-06-29 09:05
I trust Dr. Reich. So should the members of the House. So the bill should pass quickly or only be slowed down while being improved to the benefit of new imigrants. If not, who is paying off the voters this time and why? If they do the right thing, it would be the first time and hopefully the beginning of a new day for this Congress.
 
 
+6 # tswhiskers 2013-06-29 09:10
Hispanics work hard, doing the work the rest of us wouldn't think of dirtying our hands or bending our backs to do. They work hard and are paid pennies. My difficulty has been with the Mexican govt. which has always found it much easier to send its people up North than to level out its economy so every Mexican can earn a reasonable living without leaving home. Actually, it looks as if Congress has been looking at Mexico's economy and trying to emulate it, altho I doubt that the lower and middle classes would take kindly to running illegally to Canada and sending their paychecks home.
 
 
+6 # Michael Lee Bugg 2013-06-29 11:30
Tswhiskers, congratulations ,you have just said what I have said for years - if the Mexican business owners would pay their workers better wages few of them would want to come here! It is also true that American businesses and farmers have wanted illegal immigrants to come here because they are cheaper, and the Republicans have wanted them for the same reasons,to hold wages down and to break the unions!
 
 
0 # MidwesTom 2013-06-29 14:54
The inverse to this is that American companies would not be moving to Mexico if wages were lower here. Eliminate the border and either wages fall everywhere, or our Wage structure will drive the companies now in Mexico to other countries with lower wages,while we are then burdened with even more people living off of the government.
 
 
+4 # Nominae 2013-06-29 21:08
Quoting MidwesTom:
The inverse to this is that American companies would not be moving to Mexico if wages were lower here. Eliminate the border and either wages fall everywhere, or our Wage structure will drive the companies now in Mexico to other countries with lower wages,while we are then burdened with even more people living off of the government.


Well sir, you have company for that point of view. The TPP wants exactly what you suggest. To remove ALL borders in North America, along with all those pesky NATIONAL environmental laws, trade restrictions, import/export laws et. al.

The "test case" is to make all of the North American continent one country, under corporate control and corporate law. As many decades as they have kept this organization and it's aims secret, I am amazed that you really don't NEED to take my word for it, you can actually GOOGLE information on the TPP, the SPP, and however many names and false flags it flew under before that.

If you have any trouble, access the web at "Democracy Now". They have been exposing and reporting on the TPP since it was the SPP, and even when it was whatever name it had before SPP.
 
 
+2 # RLF 2013-07-01 06:35
Hispanics DO work very hard and get crap for it. Their work has allowed the wages of the rest of us to stagnate and our lifestyles have remained essentially the same. The argument that an a americans won't wash dishes is total crap. They won't wash dishes for slave wages. Without illegals, wages would have to go up and THAT is why they are passing immigration laws on the hill. "Wage inflation" they call it. It really means the working class make more money and the rich take home less.
 
 
0 # Buddha 2013-07-02 20:35
Much of that immigration isn't per se the fault of the Mexican government, it is a side effect of NAFTA. Millions of Mexican family-farmers all of a sudden were forced to compete against mechanized American Agri-business, and they simply couldn't. American crops flooded their markets, driving them off their land, and El Norte was the only place where they could then ply their trade...ironica lly, mostly working in our fields, our lawns, etc.
 
 
+6 # wwway 2013-06-29 09:41
Immigrants built this country. Canals, rails, etc. In the last century they've come to clean our hotel rooms, pick, process and then serve our food. They clear trees for power companies. They stand on street corners waiting for someone to hire them in crews to do yard work, build a deck,....
Why aren't Americans doing these jobs? Why aren't American kids doing these jobs in the summer time? After school? We all know why. Make your list.
The following is what is usually heard in my demographly conservative white community. "Mexicans are lazy, no good for nothing...bla.. .bla...blas." "Need someone to help you because you don't want to hire an expensive (white) contractor?" "Go down to this street corner and hire a group of Mexicans." "They'll do a great job!"
Why? "Because the white boy doesn't want to work!"
Seriously. It's time to stop spoiling our kids and blaming Mexicans for taking their jobs.
 
 
-5 # Rick Levy 2013-06-29 20:03
Legal immigrants built this country. Illegal immigrants are tearing it down. Get your priorities straight.
 
 
+1 # Activista 2013-06-30 00:03
Rich legal immigrants with rich New York lawyers are exploiting this country and people - are tearing it down.
Workers from Central America are building houses ...
"In the first two years of the recovery, the richest 1% seemingly impossibly captured 121% of the income gains, while incomes for 99% of Americans declined, with the median household income dropping by 7.3 percent."
 
 
+1 # Rick Levy 2013-06-30 19:49
"Workers from Central America are building houses .."

See "Thinking's response below,point #2.
 
 
0 # Rick Levy 2013-06-30 19:55
My wife, like other foreigners who plays by the rules, was a legal immigrant who worked as department store clerical and as a pre-school teacher. She did not have any New York" lawyers (and will know what not the so veiled bigotry behind that reference means).
 
 
+2 # RLF 2013-07-01 06:43
Central american workers are building houses because they work cheaper than americans...so that Americans with ever lower wages can afford those houses.
 
 
+5 # RLF 2013-07-01 06:41
The 16 year old, inexperienced white boy can't compete with a 27 year old illegal who doesn't pay taxes. No one will hire him. This is as much of a reason that kids don't work summers as anything. It takes time to teach a kid construction (which I grew up doing) and teach them a work ethic. We don't have time because we are working 70 hour weeks because our wages are so low. This circular system has been driving incomes down and it is only now that it is starting to affect the white collar class that people are paying a bit of attention. Wake up folks...start thinking for yourselves...th e knee jerk puts you in the Obama/corporate camp.
 
 
+7 # Thinking 2013-06-29 09:42
1. "Myth 1. Safety net will be strained." My county has been rationing health care for the poor.
2. "Myth 2. Immigrants take jobs away from native born." My husband has observed in the construction industry that wages have been held down by the hiring of illegal immigrants and that companies that use illegal labor have put companies using legal labor out of business because their costs are lower. This has also dried up benefits such as days off, health insurance, retirement etc. Recently an illegal worker told my husband to get dental care from a untrained and certified dentist. There is competition for jobs and downward pressure on wages and benefits.
My niece's former husband did not confirm the generalization that immigrants are ambitious;
3. "Myth 3. We don't need new immigrants." Changes in demographics such as aging are not sustainably solved by immigration. A stable population size needs to be able to support retirees; a continual population explosion and unfair treatment of the newest workers should not be relied upon to make otherwise unsustainable social programs work. New waves of immigrants are always needed as the children of immigrants flee the degrading jobs for better opportunities. A population explosion harms the environment as well.
 
 
+4 # Sandy 2013-06-29 10:44
One answer is to not have an 'illegal' class that can be exploited, so that's an argument for immigration reform. And I agree there needs to be good health care and decent livable wages for all. It's true population growth in and of itself is an anti-environmen tal way of looking to solve the problem of supporting seniors, but I think keeping a good balance between the aged and young is a valid and insightful point.
 
 
+2 # Thinking 2013-06-29 11:34
Legalizing the current illegals won't help with the exploitation, because, as Reich explains, the social security system depends on an underclass for its solvency and, as he didn't say, the economy has adjusted to depending on low-paid workers (here and abroad) to keep prices lower than American are willing or able to work for without slipping in their standard of living. That's why after the last amnesty several decades ago, the government let in 12 million more illegal immigrants. Farmers and slaughter plants, homeowners with lawns, families with kids to watch and houses to clean, consumers of cheap food and clothing want cheap workers and they want an underclass -- that's what the low pay, as well as the public testimony, mean.
The rule of law and the legislative negotiation of a democracy are actually a matter of fairness and principle to American workers.
 
 
+3 # Thinking 2013-06-29 11:34
Legalizing the current illegals won't help with the exploitation, because, as Reich explains, the social security system depends on an underclass for its solvency and, as he didn't say, the economy has adjusted to depending on low-paid workers (here and abroad) to keep prices lower than American are willing or able to work for without slipping in their standard of living. That's why after the last amnesty several decades ago, the government let in 12 million more illegal immigrants. Farmers and slaughter plants, homeowners with lawns, families with kids to watch and houses to clean, consumers of cheap food and clothing want cheap workers and they want an underclass -- that's what the low pay, as well as the public testimony, mean.
The rule of law and the legislative negotiation of a democracy are actually a matter of fairness and principle to American workers.
 
 
+3 # Rick Levy 2013-06-29 20:06
2. "Myth 2. Immigrants take jobs away from native born

I usually support Reich. But he's way off on this one. Maybe he's thinking about his own profession. I don't suppose that many illegals are taking jobs from native born economists.
 
 
+1 # Activista 2013-06-30 00:06
"In the first two years of the recovery, the richest 1% seemingly impossibly captured 121% of the income gains, while incomes for 99% of Americans declined, with the median household income dropping by 7.3 percent.... More and more people are working in respectable but low-wage positions in food service and retail. Low-income jobs ($7.69 to $13.83 per hour) made up one-fifth of the jobs lost to the recession, but accounted for three-fifths of the jobs regained during the recovery."
www.alternet.org/economy/4-major-ways-rich-pile-and-exploit-rest-us-more-money-and-profit
 
 
+2 # RLF 2013-07-01 06:46
Thank You Thinking! Myth 3...you got it! 2 workers for every retired? Then the workers better be making a huge wage to pay taxes to help the retired...probl em is...this take money directly from the pockets of the wealthy...they won't have it so they will have immigration reform.
 
 
+1 # mjc 2013-06-29 09:46
Excellent presentation and a gift of information and rebuttal to those who are so very concerned about their native American status. I might add one further caveat: given that American children today are growing up in an educational system which has very little stimulus to add to studying and getting further education, immigrant children in the classroom could help to erase some of the smugness and laziness of the present students in the system.
 
 
+7 # m... 2013-06-29 09:57
Fear of Immigration... Fear of just about everything in America.., in Americans these days, is DRIVEN to all time highs by Corporate Media...
Its the same for the extreme divisiveness. The extreme anger. The extreme politics... The extreme inaction of Congress.

We've become Extremely 'Different' over the last 30 years...
 
 
+3 # RLF 2013-07-01 06:49
I'm not afraid of immigration, I'm tired of it driving my wages down so that the rich can become richer!
 
 
0 # Activista 2013-07-01 12:17
"We've become Extremely 'Different' over the last 30 years..."
Fear of immigrants and Muslims ... this is what drives Neocons to victory. And MONEY is controlling "extreme divisiveness. The extreme anger. The extreme politics... The extreme inaction of Congress"
we became Apartheid States of America
 
 
+4 # reiverpacific 2013-06-29 10:08
Put thisto the greed-driven US corporate world who keep sending jobs overseas, using sweatshops and slave-labor conditions they couldn't get away with but are increasingly working hard to bring this back here so that US workers would have little to to no rights and less than living wages, They now hire better-educated Indian high-tech specialists and engineers on a special visa.
Personally, I love Indian food and culture -but not their long-standing treatments of women, arranged marriages and the "untouchables" which tend to remain back home, so I enjoy the influx of Intel employees to Portland, Oregon. Makes the dining scene extremely diverse, as do the Mexicans where I live on the coast, who do most of the shit agricultural and hospitality industry work, pool their resources family-style and often buy up and resurrect failing restaurants, employing locals and their kin and contributing to the tax base. I don't know ONE out of work "immigrant" here, so those who accuse them of "coming for welfare", what welfare would that be in the most welfare-starved industrialized nation on earth, especially to those who really need it? -Except of course for these starving corporate "persons", which as we see, do nothing to create jobs but in fact only increase off-shoring (and stashing of the increased profits thereby).
It's all smoke and mirrors by the owner-media, innit!
Now if the government would address the plight of the native peoples of this land, the most neglected of all!
 
 
+4 # Buddha 2013-06-29 11:11
All good points. Unfortunately, they are going to fall on deaf ears in the "white racial resentment" and nativist crowd. Hating on immigrants is an old American tradition, and you can find comments of the day on famine Irish, Chinese railroad workers, post-WWI Italians, etc etc, all saying the same thing as is being said today, "they hold down our wages", "they take our jobs", "they hurt our economy", blah, blah, blah. Those nativists have been wrong for 150+ years, they are just as wrong now.
 
 
+3 # Vardoz 2013-06-29 11:58
40,000 police guarding the border when illegal immagration is at an all time low!!!!- spending billions of our tax dollars to pay off more contractors as 1 in 4 American children are going to bed hungry, they want to cut food stamps and WIC as poverty and inequality are on the rise. They make us want to vomit!Just another example of how little these bastards care about the peoplethey are suppose to represent!!!! They are lunatics and it is so tragic that they have this level of power!
 
 
+1 # reiverpacific 2013-06-29 21:02
Quoting Vardoz:
40,000 police guarding the border when illegal immagration is at an all time low!!!!- spending billions of our tax dollars to pay off more contractors as 1 in 4 American children are going to bed hungry, they want to cut food stamps and WIC as poverty and inequality are on the rise. They make us want to vomit!Just another example of how little these bastards care about the peoplethey are suppose to represent!!!! They are lunatics and it is so tragic that they have this level of power!

You are right of course but we must keep pushing forward to counter the influence of those stuck in their self-dug trenches, who will fairly soon be a kind of fading dinosaur component of the population as it becomes more youthful, diverse and less blinkered, as will the divide-and conquer reactionary politicians who want to keep it that way for their own reasons, as dumb as their atrophied followers.
 
 
+1 # wobblies 2013-06-29 13:10
Dr. Reich~

Myth #2: Additional workers will increase aggregate demand if the income that Illegal immigrants earn stays in the country. In fact, they are much more likely to send income home. Second, you seem to be assuming that the asserted number of illegal immigrants is 11 million: that number is based upon Census Bureau data and that illegal immigrants are going to admit to being here illegally on those forms. 3rd, when illegal immigrants take jobs from American, those eligible workers are, by definition, denied that opportunity to work. 4th, as pointed out by others, increasing the number of wage slave looking for work drives down the cost of labor. Therefore, everybody is hurt.
 
 
+4 # Kathymoi 2013-06-29 15:01
I'm for immigration reform. Just one comment. There are fewer workers today than there are retirees. Isn't that because there are fewer jobs, many if not most jobs having been shipped to third world countries or China or India, where wages are dirt cheap for American corporations? Even the jobs that remain in the US, like being a sales clerk at WalMart or a hamburger clerk at McDonald's, just don't employ as many people as were needed in a more diversified business world of the past. If there were more jobs, I think we have enough young people to keep up with the pace of retirements. We don't need immigrants to change that ratio. We need jobs to change that ratio.
 
 
+2 # edwin_ 2013-07-01 08:58
you are correct Kathy. The politicians want to : 1)keep wages down to help out the rich CEOs 2) get more votes 3)put a Band-Aid on Social Security
Meanwhile the politicians will not admit the harm that they have already done by giving CEOs tax breaks to ship jobs overseas
 
 
+1 # egbegb 2013-06-29 16:58
I must ask one question. If legalized immigrants pay into SocSec and Medicare but cannot receive benefits, can they receive welfare benefits. Many of the illegal immigrants in this country earn a minimum wage. If one has a family (wife/husband plus two kids) will they all be on SNAP and housing assistance. Did the CBO talk about the amount of money America will pay to support the minimum wage earners in the newly 'legalized' population?
 
 
+1 # Maturus 2013-06-29 18:35
I don't think that 'ambition' is the correct term for RR to use to describe the difference between the children of immigrants and native-born. What is apparent in the UK, and, I suggest, here, is the emergence of an underclass which lacks any aspiration - the belief that there is something better than what they have been born to. It is the aspiration to have a better life that drives immigrants and by and large they work to gain that better life. They also tend to form a relationship within which to raise a family and this example inspires their offspring. Unfortunately we now have 3rd and 4th generations of single parents (so flame me: mothers and absent fathers) who cannot inspire their children to aspire to anything different. This problem does not require the intervention of transient politicians - it needs something far more fundamental if the victims of the social engineering of the past half century are to be rescued. Sadly for today's immigrants, they may live to see their grandchildren sucked into the same malaise.
 
 
+3 # PaineRad 2013-06-30 01:04
Once upon a time, immigration was used as a wedge to keep American wage increases down. That was then.

This is now. Corporations do not generally need immigrants to put pressure on workers to accept stagnant and falling wages. With almost no unions in the private sector and with so much unemployment, under employment and involuntary retirement, America's CEOs have been dictating the employment terms for 40 years. As a result they have reset "prevailing wage" standards and have decimated expectations.

The areas where immigration does still work to stagnate wages are in the special visas. The H1B is only one, but it is used primarily as a means of obsoleting programmers and engineers. Most, not all, of the big IT firms really hate 40 yr old code writers who acquired their skills 15 or 20 years earlier. Where firms one gladly provided educational/upd ate benefits, many today would far rather import young, newly trained folks from India, etc. A decade later, they too will probably be set adrift. The H1B is supposed to be used to fill jobs for which skills are lacking domestically. The reality is that the companies using H1B visas are either ignoring local folks with those skills or are creating the "shortages" by providing little opportunity for skill updates/upgrade s.
 
 
+1 # Activista 2013-06-30 23:55
Most, not all, of the big IT firms really hate 40 yr old code writers who acquired their skills 15 or 20 years earlier ...
.. there are plenty of fast code writers .. then promoted to managers and then they only hire their clones ... fast code writers ... and quality of software and software architecture is crap ...
How many times I accessed RSN and web page was not available ... why?
 
 
0 # chicagoflygirls 2013-07-03 09:23
Workers must realize that they will need to take their OWN classes, do their OWN education upgrades. You are right, with every college class that graduates you are becoming more obsolete unless you do something about it. In specialized fields, perhaps you can join with other fellow workers and form an onsite class to learn new programs.

And press for fairness in hiring with your bosses. Let them know you are watching and that you expect cooperation...a nd of course, be looking for work constantly...so you know what is out there for you. Many workers are finding ways to know when management is lousy and a company is not a good place to work. On-line Guerilla warfare may be the way to go with a truly nasty workplace.
 
 
-1 # tm7devils 2013-06-30 01:04
Anyone who thinks that Mr. Reich doesn't know what he is talking about...raise your hands.
FOOLS!
 
 
+2 # NagemGSD 2013-07-01 08:45
I can see both sides of the immigration issue but my concern stems from the "value" of being a citizen of the United States. If people can come across the border illegally and eventually become citizens then why can't people from Canada or any other country, for that matter? To me, citizenship is "cheapened" if not regulated to some extent.
 
 
+1 # edwin_ 2013-07-01 09:16
@Nagem, good point . just try and work in another country . I had to jump thru hoops to commission our companies' equipment and the country made me hire a local company.
meanwhile, our unemployment rate is high , grads cannot find jobs and the politicians want to give more jobs away
 
 
0 # chicagoflygirls 2013-07-03 09:38
Don't say CANADA, unless you note that Canada didn't wreck it's banking system. Canada has lots of immigrants who are powering their economy, where native born populations are also aging quickly. And Canada HAS health insurance and labor protections. The US is no longer anything like Canada because we fight wars all the time and elect tea party dopes who only care about guns , no taxes and abortion.
 
 
+1 # edwin_ 2013-07-01 11:59
Myth #4 ...most of this article
 
 
+2 # dkonstruction 2013-07-01 13:44
While Reich's heart is in the right place and from all I've heard and read by him he seems like a good guy his thinking if find is often muddleheaded.

1) to deny that an increase (whether from immigrants -- legal or otherwise -- or American citizens) in the low-wage labor force does not serve to help keep wages down by putting downward pressure on wages is just naïve at best

2) to say we need new immigrants is true up to a point but at the very least ignores possibility (and I would argue the need) to cut the work week. If we cut the work week sufficiently to employ everyone it is not clear to me that we "need" new immigrants (which is a very different question from whether we want them for other reasons).
 
 
+1 # thethinker 2013-07-01 21:03
I think Mr. Reich is losing it. I couldn't disagree more with him on this column. First non-myth - while immigrants pay some taxes and into some social programs when legalized, when they become citizens after 13 years they will become eligible for many expensive government programs and become very costly for taxpayers. Second non-myth - high immigration does drive down wages for minorities, less educated, and youth. This is well documented. Third non-Myth - a social security system based on a high number of workers versus retirees is a ponzi scheme that must come to an end. Mr. Reich - you used to stand for American workers, but now seem just like another corporate schill. Why the turn?
 
 
+2 # Pavulous 2013-07-02 01:23
Cherry picking the CBO's report? The CBO also said that unemployment would increase and wages would be lowered..Also, since the CBO only covers the first 10 years, it only counts the contributions "immigrants" are paying into Social Security and Medicare but the costs that come after they start to draw benefits is conveniently left out? Why? Reminds me of not including the war in the cost of the budget.

What happens at the local level where most of the costs in the first 10 years occur? If native born low wage workers are net tax receivers, how is that non English speaking low wage workers are good? Please explain.

As you must know , increasing the GDP does not necessarily make any current American better off. Harvard economist George Borjas, the leading expert in immigration and its effect on wages, has stated that the benefits of immigration go to the immigrants and their employers and hurts Americans who do the same occupations as the immigrants. India has a bigger GDP than Sweden. Why aren't they better off ?
 
 
0 # chicagoflygirls 2013-07-03 09:14
The issue with jobs is the wholesale "Walmarting" of our labor force. Many, many companies are turning their former employees into contracted, disposable "part time" help, with no job security. And that is taking place in both minimum wage and high tech jobs. Notice all the companies with over 50 employees screaming about the Obamacare rules that they should offer their employees health insurance. Businesses think, 'if WalMArt can get away with offering crappy jobs with no security, why not my business'. Immigrants may well not come here for that kind of uncertain future. Mexico had a GDP growth rate that was 3 times our last year. In 10 years YOU may be working overseas yourself, if you have the skill set. American workers need to build their own businesses where ever possible, and never rely on an employer. Without Unions you have no protection... ever. Good, ethical, employers are very hard to find.
 
 
+1 # brux 2013-07-05 16:28
This is a really odd video.

The only reason any of this is marginally true is because of the regressive nature of our tax system, which Robert Reich is against ... so why would he be for this immigration bill if it were not for some political or propaganda reason? I don't really understand?

I don't buy that having millions of new Americans who will bring in millions of others putting us back in the same situation in another 30 years and burdening us with more people to take care of.
 
 
0 # Jesus666 2013-07-10 21:35
No amnesty to illegals!!!
Yes, we could use immigrants, but not the illiterate indians from Mexico and Guatemala! You wanna see what it would be like to let 11 miilion more of them stay? Go to Los Angeles--not to West LA but places like Pico Rivera, South Central, Lynwood... place looks like a third world dump.
 

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