Saturday, March 1, 2008

High Skill Immigration Zone Proposal

Richard Harmon, an immigration attorney from Cleveland, Ohio, and others are circulating to the Presidential candidates and policy leaders an idea on high-skill immigration law reform.

The are proposing new legislation that would create "High Skill Immigration Zones" as a catalyst to attract high-growth companies and high-end immigrant talent to locate in economically struggling cities, such as those in the rustbelt.

For more information, click here and here.


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What the proposals don't say is who's going to pay for it all. Are the taxpayers of these cities going to be building these businesses or are entrepreneurs going to do it? Are the "incentives" that the taxpayers will give to these companies going to cost more than the benefits they'll receive back? A town in North Carolina just gave Dell $900 million in breaks to locate a warehouse there that's going to provide some ridiculously low number of jobs and never give those kinds of dollars back. That's pure corruption on the part of officials, in my opinion-- stealing from hardworking taxpayers and giving handouts to huge companies.

I wouldn't want this proposal to be something along those lines.

Posted by: Libertarian Girl | Mar 1, 2008 8:12:03 PM

Nice thought, but I doubt that it will work out, since the true reason for corporations to permit more work visas is to undercut the wages of U.S. citizens. It's doubtful that they will go along with a program that will make them subject to close government scrutiny, so the reaction of private industry will reveal the true nature of their intentions.

Posted by: Horace | Mar 2, 2008 8:02:39 AM

From the reports it's quite hard to tell what's proposed here. If the requirements put even more limits on the freedom of H-1B visa holders I'd be skeptical of them. Such limits are already distorting economically and dubious from the perspective of justice. If the reforms would restrict not only the employer a visa holder could work for but the city he or she must live in we'd be that much closer to a German 1960's style guest-worker program rather than moving in a more rational direction. (I don't oppose guest-worker programs in all forms but think they should be as free of distorting and unjust features as possible. This doesn't seem to be a move in the right direction, though it's hard to tell from the limited information in the articles.)

Posted by: Matt Lister | Mar 2, 2008 8:41:59 AM

The reactions to Richard Herman's proposal for policy reform weight towards skepticism and cynicism. I've yet to read any substantive criticism of the idea because most people have a poor understanding of the H-1B visa program.

Rust Belt cities such as Pittsburgh do a great job of attracting foreign born students interested in high-end tech skills. However, upon graduation these students must return home because the terms of their student visas have expired. The same thing is happening in Canada, a country struggling to attract such talent from abroad.

If you are looking for a great way to promote outsourcing, then take a look at our current system of immigration law.

The simple fact is that American companies are demanding more H-1B visas. They will locate wherever they can find this talent. I'd rather see them expand operations in Rust Belt cities than abroad.

Regardless, training people and then exporting that human capital to another country doesn't make any sense. That's a more effective way "to undercut the wages of US citizens."

Posted by: Jim Russell | Mar 2, 2008 9:15:46 AM

"Regardless, training people and then exporting that human capital to another country doesn't make any sense."

This is a moral issue that immigration lawyers rarely concern themselves with. Pirating the best and the brightest from other countries reduces any hope that third world nations will ever escape the yoke of poverty. And what's wrong with educating foreigners and sending them back as seeds for their homeland's prosperity? As far as the needs in this country for technically compentent people are concerned, we'd do better to invest in the education of our citizens, something that corporate America is loathe to do because that would result in perpetuating the prevailing level of compensation. Corporate America thinks like Alan Greenspan, who recently expressed the opinon that our best and brightest are overcompensated. This attitude has been recently exposed on the internet, where immigration lawyers were shown giving a seminar to prospective employers on strategies to circumvent our citizen-first hiring regulations. These employers were told how to advertise and interview in such ways to effect the disqualification or discouragement of prospective citizen employees, opening avenues for hiring foreigners at lower wages under a work visa program. Such unethical practices will eventually be presented before Congress, who, becoming wise to these (probably common) shenanagans, will be very reluctant to expand such programs. Hopefully, employers and their minion immigration lawyers will rightfully suffer for their dishonesty and the citizen-first policy gain some teeth.

Posted by: Horace | Mar 2, 2008 5:29:49 PM

Pirating the best and the brightest from other countries reduces any hope that third world nations will ever escape the yoke of poverty. And what's wrong with educating foreigners and sending them back as seeds for their homeland's prosperity?

And what's wrong with letting them stay in the United States and work after graduation if they are so inclined? Globetrotting talent might go home. It might go to another country a bit more eager to have them.

The primary issue is job creation in the United States, not mandating whom private universities can educate. Furthermore, telling private businesses whom they can and cannot hire might be the most anti-American stance I've encountered. Next I'll be reading proposals to nationalize different sectors of American industry.

Posted by: Jim Russell | Mar 2, 2008 8:10:00 PM

"The primary issue is job creation in the United States,..."

No, the primary issue is filling jobs created in the United States. Our tax laws permit salaries to be deducted by businesses as expenses. As voting citizens, taxpayers have a say as to the nature of tax deductions. If businesses want a tax deduction for a salaried employee, they'd best consider hiring a citizen first.

Posted by: Publius | Mar 3, 2008 5:27:17 PM

If businesses want a tax deduction for a salaried employee, they'd best consider hiring a citizen first.

That's absurd.

Using your logic, the Federal Government should tell every citizen who gets any tax deduction how to live their lives.

Tax deductions do not provide a mandate for regulation. Any tax itself is imposition enough.

Posted by: Jim Russell | Mar 3, 2008 8:33:26 PM

You are correct, Mr. Russel, but as you well know taxation has been used to effect social objectives. We have deductions for dependents to assist parents, tax credits to promote energy efficiency and direct energy producers into developing new sources, etc. There is no reason why we can't make a business expense conditional upon a good faith effort in hiring citizens, to reinforce the current visa regulations of making a good faith effort to hire citizens before foreigners. I think I'll write my congressmen today.

Posted by: Publius | Mar 4, 2008 4:14:58 PM

Given that there were over 600,000 foreign students were studying in American colleges and universities in 2006, with 33% or all research doctorates awarded in 2006 to foreign born students holding education visas. Isn't it obvious foreign students pirate U.S.educations in schools supported with my tax dollars, whose infrastructure American tax dollars and subsidies built, whose tax free endowments do little to reduce the cost of education? And now that U.S. universities must compete with European schools; and China and India are well on their way to educating their own, U.S. schools will tell us we need to increase the number of foreign student visas, allow the spouses of foreign students to work. American colleges like corporations will prostitute their own daughters to earn a buck.
As far as they myth of seeding of democracy see

I made just too much to receive financial aid for my twins spending $45,000 per year for a measly $4,000 deduction does not promote any reasonable social objective, except to wonder why work so hard. I wouldn't gripe so much if I would be allowed to deduct 100% of the investment, like a business, in their education as future workers and taxpayers? When slackards get "access [minorities and low income] education" fully government provided at 100% and foreigners get access to my state schools with flexible admissions standards and jobs afterward that drive down not only my wages, but also the wages of highly skilled foreigners seeking permanent residency. see

Posted by: Mary Meyer | Apr 17, 2008 2:02:03 PM

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