I appreciate Mr. Matloff's response to the correspondence I have had with Mr. Sanchez. I first should remind Mr. Matloff that Mr. Sanchez brought my faith into the debate (which was certainly inappropriate). I would certainly have been happy to stick to just the relevant arguments on whether the H-1B visa is good or bad for this country. With that said, I was happy to offer my religious views because I see them as consistent with the work I do every day as an immigration lawyer and I was annoyed that Mr. Sanchez would seek to lecture me on the tenets of my own faith.
Mr. Matloff is not incorrect in saying that justice is a central theme of Judaism. But I think many readers of Immigration Daily would agree with me when I say that his attempt to portray the H-1B programs as a form of slavery or indentured servitude is ridiculous. No one is holding a gun to an H-1B visa holder's head forcing her to work in America. The whole world is competing for top talent right now not only for the skills that they possess, but also for the energy they bring to their new countries. Fortunately, America's vibrant, free economy and open society make us an intelligent choice for this global pool of specialty workers. It is patronizing to say that these workers are not smart enough to think for themselves and I really don't think many people will be convinced by Mr. Matloff's contention that the immigration restrictionists take their positions out of a concern for the H-1B visa holders themselves. I doubt there are many who follow this issue closely who would honestly say that this is about anything other than protectionism.
By the way, I doubt most business immigration lawyers are practicing in this area out of some desire to help poor immigrants from the third world. We're in it because we think that business immigration is good for the American economy. I'm sorry if seasoned immigrants like the ones you mention in your letter don't like competition from newer immigrants. But I certainly think competition is the reason why our economy is so strong. My central argument in my argument with Sanchez was that free trade - and business immigration is simply free trade in services - helps grow the pie for everyone and keeps the overall unemployment rate down. Protecting the labor market may save jobs for some, but it stealthily stifles the wider economy and causes pain for others.
Finally, I am bothered by something that Mr. Matloff subtly brings out. He's a professor in Northern California, a place that probably is going through a tougher situation than any other part of the country. It also has an extremely high concentration of workers in one industry - high tech. I would urge that the H-1B debate not be viewed through the lenses of Silicon Valley. The H-1B visa is not the "high-tech" visa that the media portrays. It is used by people in many other fields and by many parts of the country that still are experiencing real shortages of specialty workers. One industry (which is largely concentrated in one metropolitan area) is setting the tone for this national debate. Doctors, teachers, nurses and a host of other professionals are going to pay the price for protecting jobs for a small group of high tech workers adversely affected by the business cycle.
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