Letter to the Editor: Reed is wrong on H-2Bs

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express

Tom Reed is opposed to reforming the H-2B (guest worker) program, according to a recent report. He is opposing increased efforts to hire American workers and to extend similar benefits to American workers as to foreigners.

The H-2B program is a government program which allows employers to hire temporary foreign non-professional, non-agricultural workers when they are unable to fill the positions with American workers.

Possible occupations include: hospitality workers at hotels/motels, chefs, resorts and theme parks, ticket sales, cruise ships, construction workers, maintenance, janitorial, ski resorts, landscaping, golf courses, water parks, security, ride operators, restaurants and bars, warehouse, and retail stores.

I have personally observed abuses of the sister (professional hire) H- 1B program in two different companies. These programs are a fraud to the American public. Both companies hired foreign employees below U.S. wages when there were plenty of local qualified workers. The companies had claimed that they couldn’t find programmers because they had low response to ads placed in remote locations like Idaho.

Only one H-1B employee that I met was qualified and capable; the rest had to have additional training and help to do their job.

One company hired H-1B workers to train them here and move them and the entire operation overseas.

According to the American Electronics Association (AeA), a major industry lobbyist that pushed Congress for increasing the H-1B quota, new statistics show that 96,700 new jobs in computer IT were created in 2001. Since 163,000 H-1B visas were issued in 2001, and according to the INS 53 percent of those visas are computer/IT jobs, 86,390 of the jobs in 2001 were taken by H-1Bs.

In other words, nine out of every 10 new computer/IT jobs in 2001 were filled with H-1Bs.

The H-XB programs only cost local jobs. Tom Reed is entrely wrong when he says that it will cost local jobs to reform the program.

Check the list of jobs above and try to find one that can’t be filled by a local person instead of a foreign worker.

Richard Barney

Penn Yan