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Zuckerberg Lobbies For More Liberal Immigration Policies 484

An anonymous reader writes "Mark Zuckerberg, along with other notables such as Google's Eric Schmidt, Yahoo's Marissa Mayer and Reid Hoffman, co-founder of Linkedin, has launched a new immigration reform lobbying group called In an editorial in the Washington Post, Zuckerberg claims that immigrants are the key to a future knowledge-based economy in a United States which currently has 'a strange immigration policy for a nation of immigrants.' As expected, they are calling for more of the controversial H-1B visas which reached their maximum limit in less than a week this year, but those aren't the only things they're looking to change."
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Zuckerberg Lobbies For More Liberal Immigration Policies

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  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @02:20PM (#43424869) Homepage

    Immigrants are great, but only so long as they have the same rights as the guy that wants to import/exploit them.

  • (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 11, 2013 @02:20PM (#43424877)
    Pretty much. This H1-B VISA push is called "in-sourcing" by the trade; you bring a bunch of folks from overseas and then you pay them less than what the local talent would want and you push the market down. Then you can hire local talent as well at a discount. If a large number of major corporations want something you'd be right to be suspicious.
  • by Xenkar ( 580240 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @02:22PM (#43424889)

    Wouldn't it make more sense for Zuckerberg to lobby the US government to restrict the amount of H1B visas going to overseas outsourcing firms? Because if they just raise the limit these overseas outsourcing firms will just gobble up more H1B visas and Zuck and company won't be better off for it.

  • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @02:22PM (#43424893) Homepage

    "Mark Zuckerberg Lobbies for Cheaper Programmers Who Can't Quit"

  • S.T.E.M. Education (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MatthewNewberg ( 519685 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @02:24PM (#43424919) Homepage
    It would be nice if these companies would be putting this time and effort into pushing for / funding more S.T.E.M. education in the US.
  • by Spy Handler ( 822350 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @02:25PM (#43424933) Homepage Journal

    Zuckerberg didn't start his own company, he graduated college and got a job as a software developer.

    Zuckerberg PU: "Corporations lobbying the government to import cheap labor from the third world is unethical. It amounts to indentured servitude and it does nothing but lower wages for the local workforce. It is but a scheme to let the rich grow richer and reduce the middle class to menial labor serfs."

  • (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TWiTfan ( 2887093 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @02:26PM (#43424949)

    The great thing about it is that once you artificially drive down wages with H1B's, then you get to advertise more fake jobs for those low wages. And when you don't get enough applicants, you complain that you need even *MORE* H1B visas, driving down wages even more. Rinse. Wash. Repeat.

  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @02:26PM (#43424969) Homepage

    Yes. Quite. Blacklisting 4 Indian companies would leave plenty for everyone else.

  • (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 11, 2013 @02:31PM (#43425031)

    Are H1B visas artificially driving down wages or are protectionist immigration policies artificially driving up wages?

  • Re:Immigration (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hackula ( 2596247 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @02:31PM (#43425033)
    The thing that stands out to be from your statement is that your sister has 2!!! STEM based MAs and still only makes 50k. All sympathies for her, but I can understand why someone might complain that the market is being diluted and driving wages down.
  • by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @02:32PM (#43425045) Homepage

    Americans are happy to do STEM degrees when they lead to lots of high paying jobs with good job security. Bring back long term contracts for STEM employees at high wages and watch how quickly Americans churn out STEM degrees.

  • by retech ( 1228598 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @02:33PM (#43425051)
    No doubt Zuckerberg wants more slave labor to pay the tax base that he and his corp. are evading. I have a better idea Mark, move your ass and everyone else to an impoverished nation. No doubt you'll enjoy the infrastructure, benefits, gov't, and protection that all affords you.
  • by Westwood0720 ( 2688917 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @02:37PM (#43425121)
    Don't forget yer free phone, healthcare, and EBT cards.
  • Please, spare me. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 11, 2013 @02:39PM (#43425153)

    Now everyone else please stay out.

    This has nothing to do with folks who want to move to the US because: they want religious freedom or to escape tyranny or because they want to live in the Western Hemisphere for health reasons.

    You see, this is about exploitation., for one. And this is also about labor market manipulation. Increase supply of workers while demand stays the same and what happens?

    As has been said many times, the wages of developers and other IT professionals do not indicate a shortage of any kind. Wages haven't gone anywhere in over ten years and if you factor in inflation, they have gone DOWN.

    If any employer is having a hard time finding qualified people, then there is something horribly dysfunctional in their recruiting process. Either they are not getting the word out to attract the right candidates or they are unrealistic in regards to the qualifications or salaries for said qualifications that they demand - hence the market manipulation with H1-Bs and immigration reform.

    If they were trying to get a Ph.D in some esoteric CS field that very few people study, then I would possibly buy into that maybe they need a foreign born worker.

    But for a developer? Please, spare me.

    And the funny thing is, the biggest noise makers are folks out in Silicon Valley. Hello! Lockheed just canned a bunch of folks - very talented and qualified folks - who are looking for work. Folks that have worked on things that make your pathetic little "social networking" software look like child's play - so don't BS us with the "they don't have the skills"!

    Have you thought of moving out of the high tax state of California and move to the low cost South? There are folks here just as smart as you folks who can make a nice living on $70,000 doing whatever you need.

    God! You people kill me!

  • (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JDG1980 ( 2438906 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @02:39PM (#43425155)

    That's precisely the point – there is no "natural" state of what things "should" be, since the entire structure of the "free market" is itself the product of government intervention. (Multinational corporations are a direct creation of government, they sure as hell don't exist in a state of nature. Same with IP laws. And in a state of nature, you only control as much property as you and your friends/family can defend with armed force.) So the question then becomes: why should we structure the market to benefit billionaires like Zuckerberg instead of ordinary working programmers?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 11, 2013 @02:40PM (#43425159)

    Americans generally do not want to do STEM degrees, which many other cultures value more highly than we do.

    I'm an American grad student in a STEM Ph.D. program right now. It's not hard to see why Americans don't want to do STEM degrees. There's little to no employment opportunities, and what little jobs there are don't pay significantly more than what you could get with a non-STEM bachelor's degree. I've lost count of how many friends I've seen get their STEM Ph.D. and then go into jobs like bartending, retail, fast food, etc. or, at best, community college teaching because there were almost no post-docs or research positions available and their Ph.D. made them "overqualified" for jobs that would have been more of a lateral move. In fact, they only got the jobs they did by omitting the Ph.D. from their resume.

    I'm strongly considering just dropping out with a Masters' degree, because several students who did that (because they failed a qualifying exam) left and had no trouble finding jobs that paid well--though even some of them had to omit the Masters from their resume.

  • Re:Immigration (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gbjbaanb ( 229885 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @02:43PM (#43425197)

    This is insanity. She had a good portion of her schooling supplemented by the US Government

    I agree, subsidising foreign nationals' schooling is insanity.

  • Re:education (Score:3, Insightful)

    by explosivejared ( 1186049 ) * <hagan.jared @ g m a i> on Thursday April 11, 2013 @02:43PM (#43425201)
    Immigration is good for everyone, though especially for immigrants. Immigrants experience massive wage gains just by stepping over an imaginary line. Nations that receive immigrants receive solid overall growth benefits.

    H1-B visas never fail to bring out the nationalist grief on /.. There is a fallacy that there is a set amount of technology work to do, and if you increase the labor supply, that makes everyone worse off. The labor supply is actually endogenous to the demand for labor. More skilled labor allows people to be able to rely more on skilled labor. It's counterintuitive I know, but it absolutely is.

    Population growth is also endogenous to technological advancement. Increasing the amount of people integrated in a society, increases the chance that we advance.

    Endogenous growth theory [], Paul Romer is going to win a Nobel prize for it one day. Learn it. Free movement of labor has been crucial to the advancement of humanity.
  • (Score:3, Insightful)

    by retchdog ( 1319261 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @02:49PM (#43425269) Journal

    Multinational corporations are a direct creation of government, they sure as hell don't exist in a state of nature.

    that's true only insofar as the government funded most of the information age (this is either because the market wasn't smart enough to do it by itself, or because there's a nefarious plot to force people to rely on the state, depending on your ideology).

    in a world with as much communication technology as we have now, multinational corporations are sure as shit ``natural."

    clue the second: multinationals do defend their property with armed force, in countries where they can't rely on the military and police to do it for them...

  • (Score:5, Insightful)

    by briancox2 ( 2417470 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @02:56PM (#43425349) Homepage Journal
    The sworn purpose of the United States government is to act in the best interest of its citizens and their protection. Letting a company the size of Facebook effectively design immigration policy to the disadvantage of US citizens is actively working against that purpose. That's fraud.
  • Greed, plain greed (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Squidlips ( 1206004 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @02:56PM (#43425351)
    The corporate weasels who are pushing this just want to be able to pay their workers less so they can get bigger bonuses at the end of the year. This is bad for the economy and bad for workers.
  • (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ebno-10db ( 1459097 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @03:08PM (#43425481)
    Indeed, some peons attitude towards this "protectionism" brings to mind an old term: useful idiots.
  • (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) * on Thursday April 11, 2013 @03:26PM (#43425711)

    The sworn purpose of the United States government is to act in the best interest of its citizens and their protection.

    They are acting in the best interest of the citizens. They just aren't acting in your best interest. Letting in more techies is good for America. There are still some losers, such as techie citizens that have to compete, but it is still a win for the overall economy. Face it: you belong to a special interest group that is trying to get the government to act on your behalf by reducing competition, at the expense of the country as a whole.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 11, 2013 @03:31PM (#43425759)

    H1-B's are the personnel equivalent of pirated software. I can't get Microsoft Office for my PC (because I don't want to pay the prevailing price) - so let me bring in Microsoft Office copies from China (pirate copies of course). Odd that companies don't seem to be pushing for liberalizing copywrite and patent laws, which would have a much more beneficial affect on (my) economy.What's good for the goose should be good for the gander.

  • by TopSpin ( 753 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @03:32PM (#43425767) Journal

    People like Zuckerburg use to found colleges and universities in the US. Now they squabble with Congress for cheap imports.

  • by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @03:39PM (#43425831)

    Let me give you a hint, if you're getting your PhD so you can 'get a good job', you don't understand what you're doing.

    You get a PhD in a field because you're retardedly in love with the field to the point that you don't care about being amazingly wasteful and throwing away large sums of time and money JUST to learn more about the subject. Ph.Ds are ENTIRELY ACADEMIC EXERCISES with VERY LITTLE PRACTICAL VALUE in almost every case when they don't entirely revolve around an almost unhealthy obsession with learning more about a specific subject for your own personal enjoyment. A precious few people are actually doing PhD programs that will be more than a way for the school to rape them.

    Yes, the leaders of the fields have PhDs. The PhDs had nothing to do with making them leaders in their fields, they are simply artifacts associated with that type of person. The PhD doesn't make the man, they just are side effects of the process.

    If you get a PhD because of what job it might land you, you are either in Academia or wasting your time. Its probably because a bunch of people who haven't ever had a real job outside of Academia told you it was 'required', but that doesn't make it any better. Might as well ask your insurance sales man if you need insurance.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 11, 2013 @03:49PM (#43425931)

    If job candidates are SOOOO hard to find, then the law should require corporations to pay a tax equivalent to 30% of the H1-B candite's salary - to be used to fund unemployment. This would have the effect of making the H1-B process work as intended - by making H1-B candidates less economical than local talent, they would be hired only when local talent can't be found. After all the stated objective of the law is to obtain locally un-obtainable talent - not to drive down wages.

  • (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 11, 2013 @03:49PM (#43425935)

    The word you are looking for is treason.

  • by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @03:52PM (#43425953) Homepage

    I see no reason as an American that I should persue economic policies that make me a "commodity". Whether to have free trade in labor or no trade in labor is a matter of government policy. And last time I looked I lived in a democracy. In so far as free trade benefits me, then fine. But if the goal is to reduce my wages then screw trade.

    And no your 8 old year or you for that matter can't code me under the table.

  • (Score:5, Insightful)

    by femtobyte ( 710429 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @03:53PM (#43425969)

    The problem is that this pattern isn't limited to one sector of the economy; it's everywhere.

    Perhaps in isolation you could say "favor capital over labor in the hi-tech sector to drive down wages to make it cheaper for everyone else --- it's worth paying management $1M more, if they can cut wages by $2M." The problem is, at the same time, it's "favor capital over labor to drive down wages in manufacturing"; "favor capital over labor to drive down wages in retail"; "favor capital over labor to drive down wages in service industries"; etc. --- at the end of the day, the "everyone else" you're trying to "help" can't afford even the cheaper services, because they've lost their own wages and/or jobs. The only people who benefit are the tiny capital/management class, who "earn" their wages for taking money away from everyone else. Unless you look at the system as a whole --- where it's obvious that slashing wages for the majority of people doesn't help the majority of people --- you'll be fooled into your addled style of thinking.

  • (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dracos ( 107777 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @03:55PM (#43425991)

    We've had three decades of subtle propaganda that misrepresents corporate interests as American interests. Corporate america has shifted from treating employees as assets to treating them as liabilities. Our corporate law forces corporations to seek short term profits uber alles, bringing in cheaper foreign labor is just one aspect of that. The entire scheme is short-sighted.

  • (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @03:58PM (#43426027)

    you're goddamn fucking right!

    if we don't protect ourselves, we won't HAVE a middle class.

    you corp bootlickers really want that? think it thru, please. erosion of our middle class hurts everyone in the long-run.

    I do think the country owes me (as someone who was born here and spent nearly 50 years paying taxes, working, investing in my own country and infrastructure) more than they owe some disconnected foreigner who comes here for short-term gains and then goes back home again.

    the 'free market' has not shown itself to be self policing so the gov HAS to step in and ensure fairness to the people who LIVE here.

    yes, it owes us that. we paid into the system in many ways and its only right we get first dibs on the pay-outs. that includes having a decent job that can pay the bills and keep us in the standard of living that we have EARNED. yes, earned. this is not asking for any handouts!

  • Lower wages. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CountBrass ( 590228 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @04:01PM (#43426055)

    The SOLE reason arseholes like Zuckerberk want to relax immigration controls is to keep wages low.

  • (Score:1, Insightful)

    by TsuruchiBrian ( 2731979 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @04:17PM (#43426233)

    I am an American software developer. If someone is willing to do the same job as me for half the price, then that means that the skill I'm selling is not worth the price I am trying to sell it for. I don't feel entitled to an inflated salary by virtue of the fact that I am American.

    Anyone coming here to work is now also required to have the same higher cost of living that I have. If they are telecommuting from India and enjoy relatively high wages + lower cost of living, that's awesome. There is nothing stopping me from moving to India and doing the same thing.

    It's not the market being pushed down. It's the market converging to it's true value.

    We can feel entitled to higher salaries as a birthright if we want, but it is not going to help us. We can rely on our past dominance for only so long. What we should do is focusing on being better (i.e. being more productive for less cost), rather than working to keep our foreign competitors out of the market. If you can do twice as much work as 2 typical Indian programmers, then you deserve twice their salary.

  • by lars ( 72 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @04:17PM (#43426241)

    You don't think the $200,000+ total compensation packages that companies like Facebook routinely offer (including to H-1B holders, BTW) are "high paying" enough or "secure" enough?

    While it's true that the H-1B system is heavily abused, and that most of the visas probably shouldn't be granted, Facebook is not simply lobbying for more H-1Bs. They're lobbying for more more comprehensive reform that would allow more legitimate high skilled workers into the country, and fewer illegitimate ones. There needs to be a visa for truly high end employees. Facebook probably only hires people in the top 1%, and H-1B lumps them into the same category as people in the 50th percentile.

    In the 8 years I've been in Silicon Valley, the prevailing wage for software engineers at top companies has increased by more than 50%. To suggest that there aren't jobs at companies like Facebook and Google and Apple for high-skilled American workers is crazy. How high would our salaries have to rise for you to admit there's a shortage? When we're being paid like professional athletes?

  • (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 11, 2013 @04:23PM (#43426291)

    What bullshit. "Protectionist" my ass.

    The U.S. is the ONLY economy in the world where government *doesn't* work to make sure that their own citizens are first in line for jobs. Just try to emigrate to the U.K. Try to emigrate to Canada.

    Somehow we have a majority of people that are willing to parrot the corporate position on issues. Protecting your citizen's job first is not "protectionism," it's doing what the god damned government is SUPPOSED to do.

    Maybe if we stopped evaluating people based on their position with respect to arbitrary lines on the Earth's surface, the world would be a better place.

  • (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RabidReindeer ( 2625839 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @04:51PM (#43426677)

    If all of that were true, then CEOs wouldn't be able to extort incomes hundreds of times greater than the average workers even when they are proven failures. Such people aren't "more productive", they simply have better friends.

    I think that if you try and do a reverse H1-B to India, you'll find that they aren't quite as welcoming to people who would displace domestic workers.

    In short, "true value" is a myth. Wage demands versus what employers offer is a tug-of-war. Where positions (so-called value) continually change, but most of the strength is usually on the employer side. Programs such as H1-B are generally viewed as handing yet one more advantage to the stronger side, which is why emotion is so high.

  • (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kimomaru ( 2579489 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @05:15PM (#43427063)
    No, I don't think so. I believe these companies when they say that they can't find hard working native talent because, if you think about it, it's a pain to have to hire someone from another country. It's not like ordering a pizza, there's effort involved. That's a pretty bad statement when a company is willing to go through that hassle because it's easier than dealing with native workers. And I work in corporate America myself, I can tell you that people who like to think of themselves as hard working and talented; 90% of the time they're perception of self is totally not congruent with reality. They're, in fact, neither.
  • (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @05:22PM (#43427171) Homepage Journal

    They are acting in the best interest of the citizens.

    No, they are not.

    The best interest of US citizens would be to make sure that OUR citizens filled those spots at citizen market rates....and ONLY after that supply is expended, do we allow limited immigrant workers in.

    You'd think the govt would want US citizens to get the jobs first...since they live here pay taxes here, and spend money here (rather than sending $$'s home to relatives overseas or across the border).

    Somewhat protectionist? Sure, I see no reason against it. With the unemployment rates we have currently? We should turn the migrant worker spigot off till we get unemployment back to proper levels.

  • by metlin ( 258108 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @05:45PM (#43427451) Journal

    As an immigrant who was once on an H1B, I completely agree with you. Here's the deal: I went to grad school in the U.S., and took up a job in R&D after graduating. My goal, after graduating, was to be part of this country, contribute to its economy and its culture.

    It is hard to say this without sounding elitist, but on some level, painting those who have pursued advanced degrees in this country and for those who are nothing more than warm bodies from IT body shops as being unfair.

    Since then, I have started three companies, one of which was reasonably successful. I married an American girl, bought a house and settled down, and I would like to believe that I have genuinely contributed positively to this economy.

    However, here is the irony of it all: it is far easier for a guy from Infosys or Tata to get an H1B than it would be if I graduated from Stanford with a Ph.D. and wanted to start my own company. The system is so flawed that if I do not have the sponsorship of a big corporation, it is harder for me to get an H1B than a poor Cobol code monkey from India, despite having graduated with an advanced degree from here.

    In contrast, most of those people get low paying jobs pumping out mediocre code, and often end up going back to India with substantial savings. While I can certainly understand their position, they live in their own cultural bubbles and are often not interested in full integrating culturally because they know they aren't settling down here.

    And is IT the only area that really needs people? What about other areas, where people with advanced degrees from the universities of this country can get jobs? Biotech, chem engineering, manufacturing, aeronautical -- you name it. Either limit the program so that it is easier for people to immigrate and integrate, or make the program truly be for talented people who should be part of this country's economy. /rant

  • (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Friday April 12, 2013 @02:51AM (#43430353)
    I don't disagree with the problems the H1B causes for citizens that you cite. However, the secondary intent of the program is to entice bright foreigners to come work in the U.S., and eventually become U.S. citizens. i.e. The reverse of brain drain - bring the best and brightest in the world into the U.S. and put them on the path of becoming citizens. Once they're citizens, they'll raise the productivity of the country more than an average citizen, and increase the tax base (so everyone benefits from their presence).

    So it's not simply a matter of whether or not people here on a H1B take away jobs from current citizens. Its whether the long-term good they could do by becoming citizens outweighs the short-term harm they do by taking jobs away from current citizens. If you have no H1Bs, you'll actually be harming the country by losing bright, talented citizens to other countries with H1B-like incentive visas. OTOH, too many H1Bs and the lingering effects of the short-term harm outweigh the good long-term effects.

    Somewhere in between is a happy medium where the long-term good most outweighs the short-term harm. What's under debate is where exactly that maximum lies. Unfortunately, if the government only listens to the immediate beneficiaries of the H1B program (the companies which are getting cheap foreign skilled labor) and not enough to unemployed citizen professionals, it will tend to err on the side of issuing too many H1Bs.
  • (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tehcyder ( 746570 ) on Friday April 12, 2013 @04:34AM (#43430601) Journal

    The only people who benefit are the tiny capital/management class, who "earn" their wages for taking money away from everyone else.

    That is pretty much the definition of capitalism isn't it?

    The only issue is whether it still leaves the majority of people at the bottom better off in absolute terms, even if the relative gap to the top is greater

    The question then is how important is equality compared with wealth. And assuming that increasing GDP is the only important definition of success is begging the question.

All science is either physics or stamp collecting. -- Ernest Rutherford