Today`s Letter: A Reader Mourns An American Programmer Who Lost His Job –And Took His Life

May 21, 2003

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A Reader Spots Double
Standards At Westfield Middle School


Gene Nelson [Job
losses sap morale of workers
,” by Ellen Lee –
) Kevin was not a drug addict, a
convict, or a ne`er-do-well; he was a trained computer
programmer with years of experience whose job was sent
overseas. The Contra Costa Times story reports
that “led by the information-technology industry, 3.3
million service jobs and $136 billion in wages will move
from the United States to such countries as India and
Russia over the next decade or so.”

the same time, the federal government is cooperating
with hugely-profitable computer companies to relax H-1b
visa restrictions, so thousands more programmers from
India, Pakistan, and other impoverished countries can
pour into the U.S.—to compete with American programmers
like Kevin. In 2002, Nobel Prize-winning economist

Milton Friedman characterized H-1B visas as a
“government subsidy program.”

month ago, Kevin Flanagan found out that he`d be losing
his job at the

Bank of America
`s Concord Technology Center. That
same day, he took his life—in the parking lot of his
former employer.

wasn`t that Flanagan was surprised to lose his job—he`d
seen it coming for months, as his father told the paper.
Flanagan had watched as veteran co-workers were forced
to train newcomers from India—then fired and replaced by
the immigrants. One former employee told the CC Times
that employees at Concord feel like they`re “on death
row. Every day you think, `Is this the day I`m gone?` he

Typically, the Contra Costa Times story did not
draw the connection between the loss of high-tech jobs
and immigration. But one of the story`s sources did;
Peter Bennett, a refugee from the technology consulting
industry, who founded a group called
. On its site, Bennett estimates that
“approximately 800,000 highly-skilled U.S. workers
are now unemployed as a direct result of Congress` H-1B
visa legislation.”

The story also gave the impression that the Bank of
America was shifting jobs overseas and hiring immigrants
to preserve its competitiveness. But the numbers tell a
different story—that of a prosperous bank which has let
greed trump any sense of patriotism or social

The Bank of America (Chairman and CEO

Kenneth D. Lewis
) is a public company. According to

its most recent report to Securities and Exchange
Commission (10-Q)
, the company`s first quarter
revenues this year were $8.85 billion—up $0.3 billion
from the same quarter last year. Data processing
expenses consumed only 2.94 percent of revenue—hardly a
drain on profits.

But that hasn`t stopped Bank of America from using
immigrants to undercut American workers.

The U.S. Dept. of Labor H-1B website
shows that in
just two years, the company has imported about 200
technical professionals, mostly managers. Many received
low pay for the work they perform—for instance, one
“Securities Operations Analyst" who is paid only $38,100

This is just the tip of the iceberg, since most of the
bank`s newly imported employees are likely to be
contractors who report to the imported managers.

How do I know this? I`ve read it in press releases from
“outsourcing” firms, mostly based in India, with names
like as Syntel, Cognizant, Tata (TCS), Exult, HCL
Infosys, Wipro, and Satyam—all list Bank of America as a
client. Between them, they employ thousands of Non
Immigrant Visa (NIV) holders who don`t appear in the
above Federal tabulations.

fact, many new Bank of America contractors fail to
appear on California or Federal tax rolls at all, since
they are paid by foreign firms with foreign currency via
the L-1 program. (But they and their families use
government services, so U.S. citizen taxpayers pay those

More than 17.2 million such visas have been granted
since 1985. Nice work, if you can get it.

learn more about the H1B program and how to fight it,

is a U.S.
citizen and a computer programmer, who has been seeking
employment since 2001. His former employer still employs
H1B immigrant. Nelson


before Congress on the H-1B program. His upcoming book

An American Scam - How Special Interests Undermine American
Security with Endless "Techie" Gluts.

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