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Letter to Nancy Pelosi on Skill Bill
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Tue, 21 Nov 2006 11:50:37 -0500

Begin forwarded message:

From: Anthony Watson <atrigueiro () yahoo com>
Date: November 21, 2006 11:26:47 AM EST
To: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Subject: Letter to Nancy Pelosi on Skill Bill

Good Morning Doctor Farber:

Have not heard much about this bill that is floating through Congress on the IP list. I could see where it might be a very touchy issue for your list to discuss, but nonetheless I am forwarding the text of a letter I just sent to Nancy Pelosi regarding the proposed H1B visa increase.


Dear Madam Speaker:

It has come to my attention that there is a bill in Congress to raise the H1B visa limit…AGAIN!!!

The SKILL Act of 2006 has been designed to devastate the careers of professionals all across America. The legislation will:

A) Immediately double the number of H1B visas, which are allowed each year to bring in low paid computer professionals from other countries.

B) Increase the number of H1B visas allowed by 20% each year indefinitely into the future.

The SKILL Act of 2006 is actually two bills. One in the House of Representatives (HR5744) and one in the Senate (S-2691).

In my opinion, this legislation is a direct assault on the American middle class by the wealthy corporate gentry who have been buying and selling legislation for generations using men like Jack Abramoff.

I have been a computer programmer in the United States for over twenty years. I am greatly concerned by these bills. Right after the Internet flameout at the turn of the century burned up tons of programming jobs, the H1B visa limit remained at 150,000. There just were no jobs for programmers anywhere in the United States. At least not domestic coders, because all those H1B visas kept getting gobbled up even when there were literally hundreds of thousands of programmers out of work! Those were tough times for American programmers looking for jobs. I felt great relief when the H1B visa limit was returned to the 65,000 level.

Corporate America wants these changes for obvious reasons. After all, it is very tough to balance work and family with deadlines and overtime. Sometimes those darn uppity American workers want to be with their families. The more unpaid overtime that can be squeezed out of a worker, the greater those profits and productivity numbers. We all know the realities that those H1B workers face. If the boss says to work 50 or 60 hours for 75% of the normal salary, you do it or you could be back in the homeland, right quick. Am I exaggerating? I don’t think so, because there could be no other reason for those H1B visas being applied for when hundreds of thousands of American programmers were out of work between 2001-2003.

Additionally, many of these high tech H1B workers become steeped in the corporate culture here in America. Some of them are purposely groomed by corporations to go back and open outsourcing firms. Computers run everything so once you have IT staff steeped in the corporate culture running outsourcing firms; every single job under the sun is vulnerable to outsourcing. I understand the needs of free markets, but I do not think it is fair to accelerate the pace of globalization on the backs of America’s middle class taxpayers.

I cannot express my dismay at the Congress now raising the visa limit just when the job market has finally recovered a little. The Congress is putting Americans out of work and this is very, very unfair. I am very, very worried. This would not be the first time that the government put me out of business and threatened my family with the poor house. I am no stranger to being legislated into poverty.

Back in 1993, there was this great cry from the masses that somehow cable companies were charging too much for remote controls and converters, etc. My opinion was that if you did not want to pay $5.00 for a remote then get up and change the channel, but that is another argument entirely, since now they do not even give you the ability to type in a specific channel on the converter boxes. Anyway, I guess the Democrats saw it as an opportunity to appease the masses and stay in power, so they passed a massive cable rate regulation bill.

Unfortunately for me, I did data conversions for a cable billing company. I had lined up contracts for conversions well into the future, but overnight they all canceled. Nobody wants to go through a data conversion of his or her billing system and rates to a new computerized system in the midst of a massive rate change like that. Overnight I was out of business. I became a hardcore Libertarian at that point. I mean it is hard enough to make a living to feed your family and pay your mortgage without the federal government in Washington, DC legislating your business into oblivion.

The Skill Bill will spell disaster for many middle class families. I have no choice, but to make as much noise about this one as I possibly can. It is a pocketbook issue of the first magnitude!

I just got done reading about how you have vowed to fight for the middle class. Well here is your chance! Kill the Skill Bill!

Yours very truly,

Anthony Watson

Anthony () neo-liberalism org

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