CBS` 60 Minutes Fires First Shot In New H-1B Battle

Break the bad news to your
children gently.

Tell them the way 60 Minutes
sees things:

Abandon all hope of working in
Silicon Valley. Those jobs are reserved for the best and
the brightest; the graduates of the Indian Institute of

That`s the gospel according to
Lesley Stahl`s

January 12th piece
“Imported from India”.
According to Stahl, I.I.T. is the most demanding
university on the planet and its graduates the most
talented, hardest working people on the face of the

“What do we import from India?”
asks Stahl. “Really smart people!” “Imagine,”
gushed Stahl, “Harvard, Princeton and M.I.T. all
rolled into one.”

“American companies,” Stahl
continued, “love I.I.T. graduates.”

No one from Harvard, Princeton or
M.I.T. was interviewed. But 60 Minutes assured
viewers that the curriculum from I.I.T. is the most
rigorous in the world.

Vinod Khosla
, co-founder of Sun Microsystems [send
him mail
] and I.I.T. graduate made this
observation: “If you are a
WASP walking in for a job, you wouldn`t have as much
pre-assigned credibility as you do if you`re an engineer
from I.I.T.”

And, stop the presses! We are
blessed that so many of those doors are right here in the
U.S! More than two-thirds of I.I.T. graduates migrate to
America—most of them on H-1B visas.

The 60 Minutes segment
represents the first cannon shot in what looms as a bitter
battle over H-1B visa legislation set for October.

Consider this salvo from Khosla:
“…the American consumer and
the American business in the end is the beneficiary…”

The industry is lobbying for an
increase in the 195,000 level established in 2000; weary,
displaced American software workers who want their jobs
back want the total to revert to its original 65,000—or

Seasoned immigration observers
recall that originally H-1B visas were intended to
“temporarily” satisfy a supposed “shortage” of qualified
American software engineers.

But, as always, temporary became
permanent. Soon after the original H-1B legislation was
enacted, fully qualified American workers found
themselves on the outside looking in.

So the stage is set for a tough fight:

money grubbers
who must argue that they need more
imported workers—even though Silicon Valley has

laid off
hundreds of thousands of workers—against
disgusted Americans who want less immigration across the

But this time around won`t be a
cakewalk for billionaire moguls who love cheap,

indentured overseas labor
. According to University of
California at Davis Professor

Norm Matloff
, an H-1B expert, there are a lot of
reasons why.

Matloff thinks that the industry may
have been lucky to get its increases in 1998 and luckier
still in 2000. Now, with the well-publicized lay-offs in

Silicon Valley
and a high public skepticism about
immigration and

visa abuses
, slipping an H-1B visa increase through
Congress will be harder.

Too, Matloff points to an increased
level of anger and activism among

U.S. programmers
. Internet websites like
have unified the unemployed.

Oddly, a decade ago, when

60 Minutes produced “North of the Border”
, the
same Lesley Stahl pointed to the H-1B visa as a graveyard
for American

software workers

What a difference ten years can

Stahl in 1993:
“You`re actually
saying, I think, that–that there are computer companies
that are firing Americans in order

to bring the lower-wage foreigners in…

And: “…that there is a deliberate
attempt here to–to take the Americans off the payroll
and bring in someone who they`ll pay half or less than

Stahl wasn`t the only one who got the drift—then.

Demetrious Papademetriou
, former Immigration Official
and now an open borders

, [send
him mail
] told Stahl in 1993:

“These are basically
run-of-the-mill people with a degree and some skills, and
it seems to me that it is important that we distinguish
between people who are truly skilled–who have unique,
specialized skills–and people who simply provide labor.”

Stahl`s report reflects an astonishingly arrogant
“We are the best, we are the brightest”
attitude on
the part of I.I.T. graduates. We Americans are simply
inferior. Here`s what Sun`s Khosla thinks of American

“When I finished IIT-Delhi
and went to Carnegie Mellon for my Masters, I thought I
was cruising all the way through Carnegie-Mellon because
it was so easy relative to the education I had gotten at

Remember, this lecture comes from
one of the most backward nations in the world—and is
delivered to one of the most progressive.

Immediately after “Imported from
India” aired my e-mail in box filled up with
correspondence from offended VDARE.COM readers.

Wrote one:

majority of H-1B`s that have come here over the last 2
decades are from well-to-do families that put their kids

private schools
and that eschew contact with
lower-caste Indians….

state of public education in India is in crisis and many
of the communities where we work do not have adequate or
functioning primary schools. In addition to ongoing
pressure to improve the public school system, the

program provides children with modest access to
daily learning, either in complement to their existing
schooling or in its absence."

have they all come here if they are so brilliant?  Why
aren`t they staying and building India into a world-class

and what is the H-1B program subsidizing?

“Basically, what I am saying is that the 60 Minutes
presentation is a front for another assault on America
and Americans.”

Joe Guzzardi [email
him], an instructor in English
at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly
column since 1988. It currently appears in the

Lodi News-Sentinel