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Dear Editor:
I do not ignore or downplay the problems with today's green card system, that's precisely why I suggest companies urge its reform, rather than pushing for more H1-Bs. In the 1980s and early 1990s, organizations routinely did sponsor employees for green cards before they started work. Several of my academic colleagues easily received them in less than a year. It can be done. In fact, it is programs such as H1-B which have contributed to the problems with the green card system. When the H1-B cap was raised 4 years ago, Congress and others were fully aware that the system could not handle the processing if even a fraction of H1-Bs applied for green cards. Since many more than that do, we have our current problems with the system. Companies have come to prefer the control H1-Bs give over employees to immediate green card sponsorships. The latter are actually in the best tradition of a free market for labor, they let the employee compete immediately in the labor market on equal terms with Americans, and to seek market salaries untainted by the specter of uncertainty over green card sponsorship. The fact is, H1-B has long since passed from being only for the "best and brightest" in a time of temporary labor shortages, and has become a program companies routinely rely on for plentiful, somewhat educated or skilled (face it, bachelor's degrees mean little these days), relatively cheap and compliant employees.

Ali Alexander



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