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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

MCCAIN STILL NOT ABLE TO REVERSE DAMAGE WITH HISPANIC VOTERS

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Whether John McCain really meant it or was just trying to sway right wing anti-immigrant Republicans when he said he would no longer support his immigration reform bill, Hispanics are not giving him the benefit of the doubt.

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  1. alex's Avatar
    http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9116928

    Greg, they caught our Indian friends in some not-so-kosher activities. Care to comment?
  2. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    Alex - Maybe you're new to my blog, but if you search the archives, one of the themes I've pressed is that H-1B laws don't need to be changed before they are actually enforced. I'm not a lawyer involved in this case and don't know the facts, but to the extent abusive, illegal behaior is occurring, regulatory authorities should do their job and go after the bad actors.
  3. Another voice's Avatar
    John McCain was put between a rock and a hard place, he had to choose between the Hispanic vote and the anti-immigrant republican base. I think it was a miscalculation on his part to go for the anti-immigrant vote and republican base. These republicans would not have voted for Barrack Obama and they would in the end much rather see a McCain administration than an Obama administration even if McCain supported CIR. So if McCain would have supported CIR and capture the Hispanic vote the fight would be a lot closer and he could have a chance and CIR would have been a certainty as both candidates would have committed to it from the get go. McCain can thank the republican strategist for the bonehead move on this issue.
  4. Sadashiv's Avatar
    Indian friends? May be I missed something. I did not see any particular country singled out in the report. If there is fraud, any reform to prevent it is good and most welcome. However there are much needed reforms to address delays in processing of green cards too. Hope USCIS looks at them as well.
  5. alex's Avatar
    Biggest consulting companies are Indian, and it has been known for a very long time that they file fraudulent H-1B applications. It has been common knowledge that many apply for H-1B visas for people they only intend to send to US for a few months or for training, and majority of these H-1B's aren't even used. Others just "bench" people and don't pay them. If you need more evidence, go to IV (Indian Voice) forum and read about people who are on the "bench" and who ask questions about how to preserve their status.
  6. Gogol's Avatar
    Alex - I want you to close your eyes for a second and visualize this scenario.

    You came to US in 1996 to do your MS. You finished your MS and started working on H1B since 1998. You get married, have couple of kids and bought a house. You have been waiting in the line for GC. You have been paying your taxes and waiting in the line patiently for the last 8 years for the GC. You are at the mercy of your employer. Economy is bad, so you get fired. You lose the job. You are out of status. And you are supposed to pack you bags and leave the country, which you made you home for the last 12 years, along with your American born kids and wife.

    HOW FAIR YOU THINK IS THAT?

    One of the quick solutions to reduce H1B abuses is to reduce the wait time for green card. No system is perfect. Every system got its own issues. Tackle them. Provide solutions if you can. Don't throw mud with prejudice.
  7. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    "Biggest consulting companies are Indian, and it has been known for a very long time that they file fraudulent H-1B applications. "

    Never knew that McKinsey and BCG were Indian companies. Something does not tie up in your world.

    Reducing the number of H1 visas is a sure way to increase violations - no manager in their right mind would try to hire someone who needs a new H1 now. 21% of the petitions they checked had some violations, often technical - but it does not say how many had more than technical violations. If someone mistyped their I-94 number, does that mean that the rest of the petition is BS?

    The law should be changed to accomodate up to 6 months in status after last paycheck. It is totally stupid to assume that downturns in the economy will never happen, and than companies would not downsize - that's how the economy grows, after all. Coupled with wider availability of H1B, this measures will ensure that worker's get a better deal.

    Now, making the law stricter is often not the way to improve situation. You can put a speed limit of 25 mph on a highway - will that crack down on speeders, or will make vioaltions more widespread? Same with H1b - the speed limit is already at a crawl level.
  8. ASDF's Avatar
    Is Alex the old RL or one of his buddy?
  9. Sid's Avatar
    Guys, let's not get too defensive. We've known all along that some smaller consulting companies/body shops have been abusing the H-1B system although the extent of the frauds was not known till now. The fact that the DOL/USCIS has done almost nothing to crack down on the fraud has hurt both American workers and legitimate users of the program. If Grassley can push these agencies to fix the parts that are not working, there won't be any need for drastic steps like the Durbin-Grassley bill. By not accepting that there are problems in the H-1B program, the pro-H-1Bs have brought unreasonable bills like that upon themselves.
  10. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    Sid, I agree, but let's not get caught in the tunnel vision. If someone is from India and works in the compter area (like many of those on the forums because, lets be honest, they got the worst ticket in the EB immigration line, and thus look for support), then you will see some abuses. If you are [full disclosure - like me] not from India and don't work in the computer area, then the situation is different. I do not personally know H1 people who were abused by their employer. I know people who were downsized, and went back to their home countries after severance was over, but I have never heard of anyone on the bench, even though I know quite a few H1 people in software/hardware companies - but those are Fortune 500 household name companies. Thus, even if there are some abuses, they are generally overblown, and would have not occured should it be easier to change jobs on H1, which would only be possible if H1 regulations were relaxed, not tighten down. It is quite obvious that the Durbin-Grassey bill is full of it, and would result in MORE abuses, not LESS. The bill makes sponsoring H1s and switching jobs even harder, and as a result, makes it A LOT EASIER to abuse a person with no options, as opposed to someone who can flip you the bird and walk out of the door.

    The report is also does not look complete - how many people on H1s were paid MORE than their petitions state? I would like to know that, because I was paid more than my petition stated in most years I worked on H1.
  11. Sid's Avatar
    I don't think you've read the document that detailed the findings by the USCIS.

    http://grassley.senate.gov/private/upload/100820082-2.pdf

    Read about the major types of fraud and the percentage of cases that were found to have some kind of fraud (13.4%) or technical error(7.3%). It is not statistically insignificant.

    I'm from India, a software engineer and in EB2, so yes, I've also been affected by these kind of frauds, besides the other great fraud called labor substitution, where LC subs were sold at 10-20K a pop by these shell companies to people who wanted to get a GC but didn't have the patience to follow the rules and wait in line for ages.
  12. Sadashiv's Avatar
    If there is reform to address fraud in H1B program it is most welcome. But why reform only one aspect of the program? Currently H1B program imposes unreasonable restrictions on the employee, the most important being that no job promotions are possible until you get green card. With current decade long delay in getting a green card, it is not reasonable to block career growths of H1B employees that long. Not only will companies be utilizing the H1B employees, but the employees themselves get frustrated. The whole pipeline of H1B to green card needs reform. Not just fraud aspect.

    Sadashiv
  13. Sid's Avatar
    Sadashiv,

    I agree with you but it's a bit of a chicken and egg problem. If the USCIS had cracked down on these abuses, the lines would have been shorter for the rest of us. The longer the lines, the higher the propensity to commit fraud. It's a negative feedback loop that's making the situation worse. It all started with the LC backlogs and can only end with the visa recapture.
  14. BeeDee's Avatar
    "Biggest consulting companies are Indian, and it has been known for a very long time that they file fraudulent H-1B applications. "

    Actually if you read the report, it reveals that there may be little to no fraud by the big consulting companies.

    The report states that fraud by companies with revenues exceeding $10 million is 7%. After accounting for the margin of error stated in the survey (+/- 5%), this means that fraud by big companies is : (7-5)2% =< FRAUD >= (7+5)12%. 2% of this fraud is already caught by USCIS, which means that undetected fraud by big companies ranges between 0% and 10%.

    I think this is not surprising as the bigger companies have goodwill and reputation to protect. The smaller players are another matter altogether.
  15. BeeDee's Avatar
    "If the USCIS had cracked down on these abuses, the lines would have been shorter for the rest of us."

    I would not hold my breath waiting for any crackdown. These small shops are owned by citizens and permanent residents and likely are privately held. I bet that the appropriate calls and payoffs are being made to avoid or dilute any attempt to put in a fix.
  16. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    " I've also been affected by these kind of frauds, besides the other great fraud called labor substitution, where LC subs were sold at 10-20K a pop by these shell companies to people who wanted to get a GC but didn't have the patience to follow the rules and wait in line for ages."

    "If the USCIS had cracked down on these abuses, the lines would have been shorter for the rest of us. "

    Is it just me, but it apears that there is nothing sweeter to an immigrant then pull down another immigrant to get his place closer to the goodies? I see that you do undertstand that the whole thing is caused by outrageously low quotas and overzealous regulations, but instead of fighting for higher quotas and regulation that makes more sense, the first instinct is to go after one of us. Thus, all the bickering among the immigrants that prevents them from coming out as a single force.

    P.S. I have not heard of LC substitution ONCE before I read the forums. I did not know if was even possible - and I know quite a few EB mmigrants, including those from India and China. You think, it is widespread, and quite honestly I think it's a case of tunnel vision again.
  17. Sid's Avatar
    LNLW,

    My first instinct was not to pull down other immigrants. I wasn't aware of many of these issues till I became active on IV. Over the last year, I've participated in many campaigns at the local level by standing in front of grocery stores and collecting signatures from random strangers. Like many others, I had bought into the idea that these frauds are statistically insignificant (and have even argued with anti-H-1Bs about the same) although the amount of anecdotal evidence seemed to suggest otherwise. LC substitution was very common in consulting companies and it was heavily abused. Why do you think USCIS ended it on July 16th, 2007?

    In IT there are two separate universes. In the bigger software companies try to follow all the rules and hire bigger law firms that follow all the rules. For example, the lawyers would try to match the profiles properly before doing an LC sub. They have more to lose if they violate a law.

    The story, however, is completely different for these smaller companies (often shell companies or consulting firms). Besides not paying the employees when they're on the bench and paying them below the prevailing wage, they also sold LC subs, hire unscrupulous immigration lawyers who ask the candidates to doctor their resumes or get a new experience certificate from an ex-colleague to match the PERM application for an LC sub. I don't think I need to tell you that these firms and their employees are predominantly Indian.

    I do not consider getting a forged degree certificate or doctored experience certificate to be a legitimate way of getting an H-1B or GC. Document fraud is around 20% of all violations as you might discover if you actually read the report. If you consider this to be a selfish ploy on my part to pull down other immigrants, so be it.
  18. BeeDee's Avatar
    "P.S. I have not heard of LC substitution ONCE before I read the forums. "

    It is not myth. LC substitution was used by big (Fortune 500) and small employers alike. I know because my employer at one time had an official policy for this and I know someone who benefitted from it around the last recession in 2000.

    Substitution was allowed as a way for employers to recoup the cost of recruitment, legal and advertising fees in case the alien employee decided to pursue other opportunities after the labor certification was filed. It makes sense when seen this way.

    Unfortunately the USCIS allowed the substituted alien to retain the priority date of the original LC instead of using the date of the I140 filing as the priority date. Coupled with multi year waits for a green card, this then created an incentive for people both employee and employer to game the system.
  19. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    "Why do you think USCIS ended it on July 16th, 2007?"

    I believe, it happened because people no longer had to wait for 5 years to have their LCs approved. At least, it is my understanding of the original main reason why LC subs were allowed - who was going to wait for 5 years for a job to see if their supposed permanent job qualified for the LC? And I am with BeeDee on this one - it was a legitimate way to substiture one employee for another (remember, it is the job that gets certifed in LC, not the employee), but the mistake was that the PD was assigned based on the LC receipt, not on I-140 receipt date. A good example of such policy would be implementation of 245i, where one may not classify for the waiver based on a receipt date from a sub LC - regular processing should have been done the same way.

    "Besides not paying the employees when they're on the bench and paying them below the prevailing wage, they also sold LC subs, hire unscrupulous immigration lawyers who ask the candidates to doctor their resumes or get a new experience certificate from an ex-colleague to match the PERM application for an LC sub. I don't think I need to tell you that these firms and their employees are predominantly Indian."

    But was not happening because they were Indian. It was happnening because they were desperate. And they were desperate because the laws are backward. On top of it, since you came from a slightly different background, if you could choose, would you choose to be one of these people? I mean, yes, they may have gotten their green card faster - but what did they have to give up in the process? Quite honestly, I would have chosen to wait for additional 2-3 years then deal with unscrupolous people like that - while retaining my priority, which is to work for the employers that value my qualifications and let me develop my skills (yeah, there are still a few of them left who sponsor H1s). In fact, I guess I did choose to do just that, and I suspect you chose to do the same. So, why the outrage? Some desperate people chose to sell their life away for a piece of plastic - we should be rooting for laws that make sure people don't have to do it again, not throwing stones at them (and I am an atheist, so not trying to guilt you into loving thy neighbor). So, yes, I applaud your efforts on petitions (did some of it myself), but let's turn down the antagonism against our own. Nobody's perfect, after all.
  20. Sid's Avatar
    No. That is incorrect (the reason for eliminating LC subs). I agree that LC subs were perfectly legal and most of the bigger firms used it in the way it was intended but it created a perverse incentive for many people to cheat. The USCIS found out that many Indian consulting companies were openly selling LC subs on classified sites for the Indian community (Sulekha for e.g.) and charged some of them (a drop in the ocean) and put them in prison. This is a known issue on many immigration forums, not something that I've invented.

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