Pending Sentencing Spotlights H-1B Visa Abuse in America's Heartland

Don Tennant

To get a fuller understanding of how deeply H-1B visa fraud has permeated this country, it's helpful to consider the case of two men in Clinton, Iowa, who have pleaded guilty to fraud charges filed against them two years ago, and who will be sentenced by an Iowa court tomorrow.


Vineet Maheshwari, a native of India, and Fazal Mehmood (also known as Fazal Awan), a native of Pakistan, were arrested and charged with violations of U.S. immigration law in February 2009. According to federal prosecutors, the men brought workers into the United States under the H-1B visa program for jobs that never really existed. This excerpt from a Quad-City Times article explains what was going on:

Despite having brought in hundreds of employees, predominately from Pakistan, only three visa holders - the office manager, a secretary and Awan's brother - were in the office when federal authorities arrived.


"In the entire time the manager has worked there, there has never been a job waiting for any of these people," according to an affidavit attached to a request to freeze $1.8 million in assets of those involved in the investigation. "When they arrive in Clinton they are directed to computers there in the office and are told to find a job on their own." The men "have accumulated a substantial amount of assets" with the fraud, officials said. "First by collecting money from the various workers at the outset, then by skimming money from their pay, and then by the money they charge the various employers who pay (Worldwide and their other companies) for the work performed "

As disturbing as all of that is, equally disturbing is a lawsuit that was filed against the two men a couple of months earlier, in which temporary worker Sara Felderman alleged sexual harassment. The Clinton Herald reported the case in April 2009:

According to the lawsuit, Felderman began working for the company on June 15, 2007 through a temporary agency. On Aug. 1, 2007, she was hired by Worldwide. According to Felderman's lawsuit, Mehmood made offensive, racial, sexist and harassing remarks to Felderman. She claims that when she complained about Mehmood's behavior, he and Maheshwari retaliated by making her working conditions intolerable by "demeaning, criticizing and harassing her." She claims that Mehmood, in her presence, described her as a "beautiful big-breasted white girl" and offered to give her a marketing assignment because he believed she would get more business for the company.


She also says Mehmood insisted she serve the immigrant employees at the office because she was the only woman there. She states that she complained to Maheshwari about the harassment but that he failed to take any action to remedy it or prevent additional harassment.

That case was slated to go to trial on Feb. 1, 2010, but I've been unable to determine its disposition. If you're inclined to look into it and have better luck, please let me know.


Fortunately, the fraud case is still in the public eye, with The Associated Press reporting yesterday that the men will be sentenced at the federal courthouse in Davenport tomorrow. It will be interesting to see how severe the sentence will be, and how good or poor of a job the U.S. media does in covering it. Hopefully, the sentence will be tough enough to send a strong warning message to other H-1B visa abusers. And hopefully, the U.S. media will do its job and send it.

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Apr 19, 2011 7:00 AM Bob Bob  says:

"how good or poor of a job the U.S. media does in covering it. Hopefully, the sentence will be tough enough to send a strong warning message to other H-1B visa abusers. And hopefully, the U.S. media will do its job and send it."

well, Don, giving credit where credit is due (to you), it will be you, the local coverage, and as far as the national media is concerned, it never happened

Glad these guys are OK with racism and sexual harrassment - that may be an issue in their new home

Apr 19, 2011 8:44 AM Bob Bob  says:

While I have no sympathy for these guys whatsoever, I can understand how someone coming from a corrupt country like India, Pakistan or Mexico would have a difficult time understanding the de-facto American immigration law, which is obviously from their point of view corrupt as hell given the millions of illegal aliens and stuff like the Cohen & Grigsby video - the de-facto policy is 'if it busts citizen wages, go for it', even if the letter of the law says something else.

oh well, in every life a little rain must fall, and hopefully a lot of it will fall on these guys tomorrow

if they ever wanted to know how it feels to be an American citizen, feeling betrayed by the government may be as close as they ever get

Apr 19, 2011 8:50 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to Bob

I expect a minimal sentence probably under a couple of years along with a fine.

It would be nice if this story got major exposure by the national media but that is not going to happen.

Apr 19, 2011 9:04 AM Donna Conroy, Director Donna Conroy, Director  says:

To get a fuller understanding of how deeply H-1B visa fraud has permeated this country...just read your old blogs, Don.

Don, you defended the segregated recruiting for US job openings that employers still enjoy under corporate visa programs.  This assurance of segregated recruiting has brought a tide of human trafficking onto our shores. 

If these corporate visa programs required employers to seek local talent first, these digital traffickers could never have swept ashore.

Don, take personal responsibility. 

You used your columns to support employment discrimination and displacement of Americans.

You used your columns to support human trafficking of unemployed Indian techies and the outsourcing of our nation's future jobs.

Look inward and grow a spine.

Apr 19, 2011 11:07 AM Don Tennant Don Tennant  says: in response to Donna Conroy, Director

I have been very charitable towards you, Donna. But your continued mindless misrepresentation of what I have stood for since the day I wrote my first H-1B-related column, not to mention the crass, insulting manner in which you choose to express yourself, is bordering on infuriating. What I have stood for all along is a civil discussion of the H-1B visa issue that, if anti-anything, should be anti-abuse and not anti-foreigner. I have done my very best to make you and people like you understand that the threatening, hateful, mean-spirited, insulting approach to making the anti-H-1B argument, spiked with the occasional dose of racism and anti-government radicalism, is doing the fight to end H-1B visa abuse incredible harm. And yet you and people like you, rather than having the guts to stand up to those haters, serve as their eager apologists.

And as if all that wasn't enough, you had the gall not just to misrepresent what I had written in my post in which I raised the question about whether anti-H-1B fanatics are prone to workplace violence, but to outright lie about what I had written. You had the gall to falsely accuse me of 'intimidation' and of making 'a not-so-subtle-threat that if an IT professional posts comments you don't like - voila!  You will expose them in their workplace.' I exposed no one. The reader whose comment I cited provided his name and email address in the body of his post. It was there for all to see, and match to a LinkedIn account, as I had done. Yes, I wanted to know more about this person, who advocated the overthrow of the U.S. government and my violent death. And you chose to twist that into some sort of 'intimidation' on my part, and to completely ignore the threatening, menacing nature of the reader's comment.

Even worse, you had the gall to accuse me of attempting 'to paint patriotic Americans--who are standing up for the freedom to compete for job openings in our own country --to violent criminals!' How little you must really think of those patriotic Americans to lump them all into the category of people I wrote about-the anti-H-1B fanatics who engage in threat-making and hatemongering. What kind of distorted, contorted thinking process allows you to read a post that cites a reader who advocates the overthrow of the U.S. government and rounding up 'Republican traitors' like me and subjecting us to 'violent death,' and sees nothing but an attack by me on patriotic Americans? Why was I the one to have to challenge that person? Where were you and people like you? Where was Bright Future Jobs?

And you have the gall to say that I'm the one who should look inward and grow a spine. Shame on you. And your organization.

Apr 19, 2011 11:51 AM Indian_H1B Indian_H1B  says: in response to Bob

Before we get into intricacies such as strawman arguments or statistical significance, let's see if we can approach this the way a child needs to be taught the alphabet.

Dear Bob,

See...Don is an American and Donna is American too. And yet they are at daggers drawn. Isn't it amazing? In the much the same way, not all Indians emerging from that "corrupt nation" are of the same genetic make-up.

Capiche? H-1B abuse may be real, but that there is intellectual dearth in the anti-H-1B camp is quite real.

On a different note...

I wanted to point out an interesting trend to 2012's H-1B usage. A fairly high number of H-1B visas for candidates with graduate degrees from the US were issued in Week 1 (that started on April 1st). The number issued to everyone else was quite low (especially given that the larger pool size). I suspect that the USCIS may have made good headway to finally knocking off significant sources of H-1B abuse. However, it will likely take 2-3 years before the average poster here will see it since they are often posting statistics from 2007 to make their case.

Apr 20, 2011 1:13 AM Bob Bob  says: in response to Bob

suppose David Duke puts a weather feed on his website - is everyone then obligated to disavow David Duke every time they discuss the weather from then on?

'while i believe it will be partly cloudy today, i in no way subscribe to the beliefs of David Duke'

Apr 20, 2011 1:27 AM Dr. Gene Nelson Dr. Gene Nelson  says:

There are 211 LCAs for Worldwide Software Services, Inc. in Clinton, Iowa.  This was the firm that Maheshwari and Mehmood established. I'll wager you that these hundreds of immigrants have not been accounted for. Here are the details:

Apr 20, 2011 1:34 AM R. Lawson R. Lawson  says: in response to Dolores

"Didn't the USA IEEE get hammered by its international parent for supporting US workers at some point? I heard that somewhere."

They were slammed by some of us recently for making a "deal with the devil".  They are able to operate somewhat independently.  There is an IEEE-India free to say whatever they want.

"Exposes are good too, like Donna's digital sit in. Apply to those American jobs (if you are qualified) and document the response (or lack thereof)."

Interesting that you mention this.  Quite a few years ago I conducted an experiment just like this.  I created two personas - both with the same resume but different names.  One was a citizen and one was an H-1b holder with an ethnic (I think I chose a scandinavian sounding name).  I had two vonage lines at the time each with voicemail.  I didn't conduct the experiment to conclusion because I didn't have time, but it would be very simple to replicate.

If a neutral party set the rules and conducted it (say Don or IT Business Edge, or perhaps a university) I think the results would have a greater impact.

All we really need are two phone lines per candidate and a simple measure would be the number of (unique) requests for interviews left on the voice-mail or email setup for each mock candidate.

Some twists could be a more qualified H-1b visa holder, a less qualified, and an equally qualified.  Simple to do - and I'd spend the energy if I thought that the results would be published.  Would probably just get two prepaid cell phones since that is a quick and dirty way to make it happen - and two gmail accounts. 

Most of the work would be building fake credentials and personas, applying for jobs, recording results, and key would be setting parameters that an objective person would deem fair otherwise results wouldn't be taken seriously.

Apr 20, 2011 1:51 AM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to R. Lawson

Or just find a job you'd like to do, make sure your equal or slightly over qualified, document the lack of response, then file a complaint with the DOJ. They do the rest. You look on the Indian job web sites for jobs in America near you that you are qualified for.

Apr 20, 2011 1:57 AM R. Lawson R. Lawson  says: in response to Bob

I think your blowing it out of proportion Bob. 

To my knowledge pedophiles aren't attempting to influence the H-1b, offshoring, and economic fairness debate.  So no, I don't think we need to include that or all the other sins of humanity.

FAIR, an immigration restrictionist group, advocates against racism, so I don't see why we shouldn't:

"there should be no favoritism toward or discrimination against any person on the basis of race, color, or creed; . . .

They are also very vocal against those who commit crimes to accomplish their goals, or those who take the law into their own hands.

Can we not all agree that ( is bottom of the barrel?  Can we not all agree that "Slumdog" as a regular part of the vocabulary is out of bounds?  Can we not agree that "There Will Be Retribution" as a tag line is a threat?

Talk about McCarthyism.  Tunnel Rat is a bully, just like McCarthy was.  The only difference is that we don't take him as serious because he has no real power.  Tunnel Rat is so good at writing, that I still suspect he isn't "one of us" rather someone hired to make us all look silly.  If that is the case, he's fooled a few of us.

Apr 20, 2011 2:20 AM Dolores Dolores  says:

For every genius H-1B we have to let in 1000 or more ordinary workers with the same skill sets as our out of work workers. That just isn't worth it. We desperately need jobs, and cannot spare them any more. Back when our economy was healthier, the loss of 100 or 1000 jobs to foreign workers was not a big deal. We could just go get other jobs. What about our geniuses who are sitting on the unemployment lines? What about our up-and-coming bright young workers for whom the pipleline of growth and challenge opportunities has been diverted to H-1Bs? We can't afford to give up employment slots to H-1B workers on the offchance that one of them might turn out to be a brainiac. Most H-1Bs are just earning a paycheck doing ordinary work, but now that's what we need to get our own workers back to doing. The "No Vacancy" sign needs to go up over our labor pool until we get everyone back to optimal employment. If H-1Bs were all that, we would have surely noticed after a decade.

Apr 20, 2011 2:41 AM Bob Bob  says: in response to R. Lawson

"I think your blowing it out of proportion Bob. 

FAIR, an immigration restrictionist group, advocates against racism, so I don't see why we shouldn't:"

You dont suppose they did that after Southern Poverty Law center smeared them as a 'Hate Group', do you?  That's exactly the sort of thing I'm talking about.  Thanks for the perfect example

I remember seeing an shrewd upper class lady on an old TV show reply to a rude and unreasonable question 'I wont dignify that with an answer'

I think that's an important concept - defending every unreasonable accusation confers some legitimacy to the accusations, and I refuse to get sucked into it without cause

Apr 20, 2011 2:43 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to Bob

Look this is all old news.

You can go to the Dice discussions and see the thread "Indians Only" in "tech market conditions"

The job ad says "Indians Only"

Apr 20, 2011 3:08 AM Bob Bob  says: in response to hoapres

no, no, no hoapres, WE'RE the racists, not them!

So what if there are companies making actual business advertisements 'Indian Only'?

there is someone out there making anti-indian comments on messageboards!  that means WE are the racists, hoapres, unless you specifically disavow it!


Apr 20, 2011 3:12 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to Don Tennant

>> There was a time, not so very long ago, when a discussion among readers of the damage created by the haters would never have taken place in an open forum like this. <<


Sorry Don but bad as it is that you try to label ALL H1B opponents as nutcases or "prone to violence", "racists", etc. you got your facts wrong.

Other boards such as Dice which has been around since 2007 had H1B opponents posting "all over the place"

Nor were they or the vast majority of H1B opponents are nutcases.

>> To me this is a major step in the fight against H-1B Visa abuse

You give yourself too much credit.

Outside the fact that your labeling of "abuse" is inaccurate as it implies that H-1Bs are for the most part legitimate, you got your facts wrong again.

You don't know how journalism works for the most part.

A story becomes newsworthy when enough interest justifies it being reported.  H1Bs have been displacing Americans since the late 1980s and it is only newsworthy NOW because it is pretty obvious that we have the worst economy since the 1930s and when you can find ads saying "Indians Only" that just might raise a "red flag"

Funny that you won't write an article about "Are H1Bs tend to hire only fellow H1Bs"


We won't see that.

Apr 20, 2011 3:14 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to Bob

>> No,...WE'RE the racists

You hit the nail on the head.

Don's labeling all the H1B opponents as nutcases or worse is pretty shoddy journalism.

Maybe that is one of the reasons he is no longer working at ComputerWorld.

>>...unless you specifically disavow it!

You figured it out.

Apr 20, 2011 3:21 AM Gabe Gabe  says: in response to Bob

I think it's probably fair to say that there are folks on both sides of the equation who suffer from no small amount of bigotry. Would that we could use some high school math and cancel out that particular common factor.

Being endlessly accusatory ain't gonna do a whole lot to help the situation. Being thoughtfully constructive might. I'd rather focus on the latter than the former, because even if we don't end up moving things anywhere, at least we weren't trying to hurt others in the process.

Get angry at the companies posting those job offers; not the countries they're based in. Doesn't it seem like we mix the two up far too often? Does it seem fair that folks in developing countries hate America because a Wall Mart came in and destroyed their local businesses? It sure doesn't to me, but here we are in the reverse situation.

Apr 20, 2011 3:28 AM hoapres hoapres  says:

>> .. you will simply stop the flow of talent into the country.

No you won't

The true geniuses won't come in on an H1B visa.

>> ..Again, the US is no longer the destination for smart people for economic reasons

So right you are.

Bright Indians and Chinese can simply stay home for better opportunities.  Realistically I don't see any reason for a bright Indian to come to the US for an IT job.  The extremely super bright (regardless of nationality I point out) still might want to come to the Us to meet fellow super bright individuals.

>>  ...They will continue to arrive in droves because the probability of meeting intellectual peers is high.

May not be as high as you might think.  No doubt the true super geniuse congregate to some extent in the US.  But we are only going to be talking about a handful of people.  By definition genius implies few individuals.  Nothing against the average or bright individuals but they don't need or probably should come to the US.

The Indians and Chinese that are coming to the US in perhaps vain search for employment are the ones that can NOT find a job in their home country.

>> are scuttling the odds of ever getting future generations to join the H-1B pool.

Exactly and that works for me.

Something that few Americans will tell you but think of the US as Rome.  We (defined as the rich that run the show) are going to plunder (in this case get resources be it labor or goods) from the rest of the planet in most cases by pushing pieces of paper called US dollar around until we get "called out on it"

And it looks like 2011 is the year "we get called out on it"

Apr 20, 2011 3:42 AM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to Gabe

"Get angry at the companies posting those job offers; not the countries they're based in. " That's ignoring a part of the global ecology that enables the process. You don't see Icelanders pulling the crap with bending our laws and unseating our citizens from their jobs, do you? Or Sudanese? Or Japanese? That's a little like calling for the arrest of the bank robber, but letting the getaway driver off scott free. No, there's a whole chain of responsibility here. Look up "chalta hai" and the various shenanigans to get work away from Americans become a lot clearer.

Apr 20, 2011 3:50 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to Dolores

You are dealing with Don whose modus operandi is to label ALL holding opposing views as "nutcases"

The latest and greatest example using the phrase "utterly ridiculous" in those contenting that "notion of weak demand for IT skills"

Don can't argue on the issues so by DEFINITION in this case you claim that the "demand for skills is extremely weak" then you are "utterly ridiculous"

You can fool some of the people all of the time, all of the people some of the time but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.

Apr 20, 2011 4:59 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to Dolores

>> The "No Vacancy" sign needs to go up...

How right you are.

Just common sense would tell you NOT to bring in any more H1Bs when you have a dismal IT job market.

Don's retort to that is to label anyone with that contention is "utterly ridiculous"

While I believe that anyone claiming a strong demand for IT skills is flat out wrong, I don't label them as "utterly ridiculous".

If you don't agree with Don then something is wrong with you.

Yes it is that simple.

Apr 20, 2011 6:53 AM Gabe Gabe  says: in response to hoapres

You know, hoapres, I'd be willing to bet that most folks here would respect you and your position a lot more if you didn't couch so many of your posts in hatred and accusations against Don. Do you honestly have nothing better to do than attack some guy that, by his own admission in the title of his blog, is just trying to stir up some discussion? Your rants are starting to get really, really long in the tooth. I mean, in all honesty, are you just trolling us all for the hell of it?


Dolores, you're talking about India's own take on Manifest Destiny. We did it, and do it, too. I brought up the Walmart thing to point out that we're not so different, and lambasting an entire culture for the actions (not the thoughts, mind you, but the actions) of a few is rather disheartening. Pots, kettles, and an absence of luminosity, if you get my meaning.

There's more uniting humanity than dividing us. Whether you were born on one continent or another seems as arbitrary a distinction as whether you were born with one skin color or another. Sure, some folks might be more inclined to be utter and complete asses (case in point: Infosys and the folks breaking the law with them), but that doesn't have anything to do with their culture. As we can plainly see in these very comments (and as I pointed out earlier), people from both sides of the argument have that capacity and exercise it regularly, to the detriment of us all.

Let's put it another way. I'll never understand the appeal of rap, but I respect it as an avenue of cultural expression. On the other hand, I have a deep and profound love of gospel music, despite the fact that I am neither Christian nor black. To put it bluntly, certain aspects of African-American culture elude me. (And, for that matter, certain aspects of Caucasian culture do, too, despite the fact that I couldn't be more pasty white.) Yet we know as a society that it is wrong to judge that culture simply because it is not ours. If a tiny subset of that culture -- who statistically come from very difficult backgrounds, both economically and educationally -- ends up causing trouble, we recognize it, not as a problem of culture, but a problem of environment and those who seek to take advantage of others.

How is our relationship with India and its culture any different? There are parts of it we do not understand. There are a few who come from difficult backgrounds and are trying to do better the only way they know how (the workers that abuse visas). There are a few more who are in it to take advantage of others (the problematic corporations like Infosys). And then there's the rest of their society, which we might not fully understand, but surely we have the capacity to respect, much like we do those cultures closer to home, with whom some of us share very little.

Apr 20, 2011 7:34 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to Gabe

>> ...would respect you...

Life is not a popularity contest.  You have to stand for something or you don't stand for anything.

>> ...accusations against Don


The facts are what the facts are

You have to live with the bed you make.

It is not just one article but an entire slew of Don's articles that make it quite clear that by innuendo at least if not explicitly stated that "If you don't agree with him then something is wrong with you"

This doesn't work with me.

The latest among many is stating those that don't believe IT skills in demand are to use Don's words "utterly ridiculous"

While I don't think IT is a good career choice, or that we don't need more H1Bs, I don't go around claiming that those disagree with me are "utterly ridiculous" or try to exclude them with statements such as "Are H1B extremist prone to violence"

Don's rational was used by opponents of the civil rights movements in attempting to portray as "radicals" everyone protesting in favor of civil rights.

Apr 20, 2011 7:44 AM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to Gabe

India outnumbers us four to one, and their government and industry leaders have stated an ambition to take over tons of work from the west. That means displacing American workers and they don't care. Every H-1B visa in this economy constitutes abuse of the basic concept of H-1Bs. I really don't care whether we did Manifest Destiny at one point, no, not at all. I care about saving my country and my countrymen in the here and now. And that means putting up some barriers to global labor arbitrage. If you study Indian history, you will know that you don't want to be on the losing end of a pecking order contest with India. Don't make me give examples.

Apr 20, 2011 8:41 AM Indian_H1B Indian_H1B  says: in response to Dolores

Your 1000:1 ratio is outdated. That was the point of my first post yesterday. If you study the H-1B usage trends for 2012, for every H-1B from the "general" pool, there was one from the pool of people possessing a graduate degree from the US. Getting an MS from the US school is certainly no indication of genius (Tri Valley University, anyone?) but this is a strong directional trend suggesting that the current H-1B pool is more likely complimenting the US workforce rather than displacing it.

If I were your shoes, I would be angry too. But I would try and be rational about who to be angry at. Wall Street has taken over from 1990 or so. Coincidentally, that's when the H-1B program started. The Wall Street phenomenon has forced people to shape up or ship out and has caused the middle class to make a hard choice. You keep saying that smart kids in the US are no longer joining STEM. That's because they are getting a degree in economics and going back to Business School at 25-26. Why struggle to make 70k in a tech firm when you could be making 200 in an investment bank?

The H-1B is merely a passive target for your frustrations. The US has lost a decade of economic progress purely because of steep and misaligned incentives and the failure of regulation to keep pace with Wall Street innovation.

Here's the kicker: I used to work as a Quant in a Wall Street firm :-). I now am a manager of a team researching green energy innovation. Shocked at how much skill transference there has been from my prior avatar to this one.

Apr 20, 2011 8:53 AM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to Indian_H1B

Well, I have a recent (last few yars) Master's from a respected US university and a skill set needed in every business and institution, yet prospective employers usually don't give me the time of day. I should be much higher up the totem pole than I am now. Can we say flooded IT labor market? So some of the H-1Bs didn't graduate from Tri Valley. Neither did we. Current skill certifications? Me too. Yet when I look on IV they are hopping from job to job to maintain their presence here. How can they do that in this economy? This is a violation of the intent of the H-1B program. They are supposed to have skills we lack. The vast majority do not. We try to change careers - and get ignored. We try to get short term contract jobs - nada. There is something wrong when H-1Bs can stay in America and stay employed while the citizens have so much trouble. Something smells. To those of us who know them, they just aren't that great, so why are they getting the red carpet treatment? Like when Microsoft laid us off and kept them. My project partner in grad school was an Oracle DBA at IBM (H-1B). I knew American Oracle guys who were looking for work at that same time. Wrong, wrong, wrong. The H-1Bs have no right to be here with our labor market in the shape it is. It is not ok for them to replace us. And everyone who tries to pull that Indian trick of "be mad at someone else" is just playing a trick. We aren't falling for it any more. They are not passive innocents in this process.

Apr 20, 2011 8:58 AM Indian_H1B Indian_H1B  says: in response to hoapres

I can assure you that the average Indian in the H-1B that does not work for a slimy IT bodyshop is here not because he cannot find a job in India. India really likes profiles of such guys and welcomes them back with extremely lucrative offers. Many of the guys choosing to stay in the US do so for reasons spanning better work-life balance, the ability to work on strategic rather than tactical challenges, the ability to raise kids away from a hypercompetitive environment, embracing a different culture, meeting really smart people who compete on intellect rather than money, etc.

As to the many, many Indians that work for a slimy bodyshop, I would agree that they may not be able to make it in most places, including back home.

The H-1B has become an unholy congregation of both kinds of Indians and I speak for others like me when I say that I despise the bodyshop kinds. Nauseatingly, many of them indulge in this sham to wrangle a better dowry out of their wives' families.

I don't care that you and the many others here choose not to make the distinction and treat us all as one. However, bashing the H-1B is merely a case of making a trend out of an anecdote. It's logically wrong.

Apr 20, 2011 9:01 AM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to Dolores

To recap, in case anyone missed it: there is a robust, lively job market for jobs here in America. Lots and lots of IT jobs in all specialties advertised for all our major cities and many other locations. Thousands and thousands. There's only one catch: the openings are being offered to non-citizens. H-1Bs, etc. They are advertised in the press that is directed at foreigners, here and abroad. If Americans find these ads and apply, they are almost always ignored. Often the jobs are through bodyshops that want a signed contract and/or bond that are probably illegal under American labor law. But who cares about that, even though the jobs are located here? Check out Sulekha, Naukri, and other online foreign and foreign-focused publications and you'll see what I mean. That's where the jobs really went. Americans need not apply. Plenty of us have found this out.

Apr 20, 2011 9:14 AM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to Indian_H1B

"Many of the guys choosing to stay in the US do so for reasons spanning better work-life balance, the ability to work on strategic rather than tactical challenges, the ability to raise kids away from a hypercompetitive environment, embracing a different culture, meeting really smart people who compete on intellect rather than money, etc." Funny, that's what we wanted to do, here in our own country. We figured we had paid our dues. Our ancestors mostly had to start over again, at the bottom or close to it. They mostly didn't have a lucrative job waiting for them. I notice that the H-1Bs are not clamoring to join our military, as so many of us and our relatives have done. That's a job they gladly leave to us. Our impression of even the better H-1Bs is that America is just one big pot of gold to them, and they have come to stick their hands in deep, and elbow us aside from our modest middle class portion, if need be, to get what they want. If in the meantime they make America a crowded, hypercompetitive steam pot where 100 yers of labor rights progress is overturned and the citizens are shut out of their own nation, 'oh well' seems to be their credo. Yes, they are all alike to us. From our perspective there's little to differentiate one H-1B from another.

Apr 20, 2011 9:26 AM Bob Bob  says:

I think only 2 writings have really well conveyed the experience of a citizen tech worker's experience going through H-1b era

Shirley Jackson's short story 'The Lottery'

and Franz Kafka's 'Metamorphosis'

Apr 20, 2011 10:32 AM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to Dr. Gene Nelson

Gene you make a good point about the 211 H-1Bs. What jobs were these? Were they ever advertised where Americans could see and apply, and did anyone consider their applications if they did? I distinctly recall some activists a few years back asking for the LCAs filed in April to be disclosed to American job seekers, so that they could apply for the jobs before the H-1Bs arrived to fill them in October. The request was turned down.

Don, supporting the H-1B program at all IS a form of support for segregated recruiting so long as it is a syphoning off of jobs so that the jobs are effectively reserved for the H-1Bs. That is the effect of the program. There is no enforcement of any realistic labor market test. Most jobs that are openly advertised these days get 200-300 applicants. I imagine that if the H-1B jobs were forced to be advertised openly for enough time to consider applicants, at least that many Americans would apply and many would turn out to be qualified.

Why can't we enact a real labor market test? Why does the PERM process merely end if a qualified American shows up - but the H-1B gets to stay in the job, while the qualified American isn't taken in to replace him? Another frustrated (and qualified) American job seeker goes home empty handed. 

We need a mechanism to audit H-1B jobs during times of high unemployment and encourage (or even mandate) the placement of Americans in these jobs. H-1Bs are temps after all. They are not immigrants and it's time we - and they - stopped seeing and treating them as such.

Apr 20, 2011 10:37 AM R. Lawson R. Lawson  says: in response to Don Tennant

Can't we all just get along? 

I think you and Donna need to settle this feud once and for all.  How about a truce - the truce being that all future comments from both parties will be sans personal attacks and simply a vigorous debate surrounding the facts?

I don't really care who is right or wrong in this back and forth, or perhaps the most right or the most wrong.  It doesn't add to the discussion so I wish it would stop.

Activists on this issue are primarily people who have been personally subjected to an unfair economic system that encourages their displacement by cheaper foreign workers, and if not that younger workers.  In short, they are mad "and they aren't going to take it any more".  It's a grass roots effort.

They aren't well funded lobbyists trained in the art of media manipulation, so I think the media should give these "everyday people" a break.  Don't expect them to be as PC as you would like, and don't expect them to treat you with kid gloves.  In fact, hold them to a lower standard than you would a corporate spokesperson or lobbyist.  This isn't their day job.

That said, I think activists need to improve their image.  You deserve a break because you aren't professionals, but nobody has a license to be an ass.  I am very disappointed that many of us remained quiet when we should have taken a much stronger stand against threats and other unsavory acts.  Including myself in some cases.  I/We can do better.

Apr 20, 2011 10:56 AM Bob Bob  says: in response to R. Lawson

" I am very disappointed that many of us remained quiet when we should have taken a much stronger stand against threats and other unsavory acts.  Including myself in some cases.  I/We can do better."

I have from time to time stated unconditionally that i dont support any illegal acts, period, be they verbal, written or physical, direct or implied.

That said, I don't engage in condemnation of specific situations, because then the failure to condemn another might be construed as an endorsement.  Plus, it's not my job, and I think overall the issue is a red herring.  And I have no guilt, because I have no association with them

To me, the real issue is the tech workers who know the truth and say nothing at all on the topic, if every single tech worker had contacted their reps, I honestly feel things would be different

Apr 20, 2011 11:15 AM R. Lawson R. Lawson  says: in response to Bob

"That said, I don't engage in condemnation of specific situations, because then the failure to condemn another might be construed as an endorsement."

That's a good point; I agree that we should not take a stand on every instance simply because it would become a full time job.  I don't want to become the blog patrol. 

However, there are some people with patterns of bad behavior that deserve special attention and condemnation.  There are times when we simply can't ignore what's unfolding.

Also, we could communicate what our core principals are after we agree on what that is.  I don't believe that any of us tolerate violence, racism, or hate speech.  Why not produce a document to that effect?  Our own preamble.

"To me, the real issue is the tech workers who know the truth and say nothing at all on the topic,"

My guess is that the extreme elements are pushing away level minds who would otherwise support our cause.  That, and many are intimidated by their employers and afraid to speak out.  Being associated with "racists and extremists" would be career suicide for many of these people, so when people like Tunnel Rat become associated with us and we don't disassociate ourselves from that, we risk being branded racist and extreme.  That may be unfair, but since when is public opinion always fair?

Apr 20, 2011 11:47 AM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to R. Lawson

I would view the theatrical websites like Tunnel Rat's with much more gravity were there any credibility to the notion of threats of violence. I've been following this issue for over a decade now, and I see some jostling for pecking order and some egos amongst the activists. Some folks want to be the leader, when what we lack is active participants. Instead, we get drawn into arguments of who is saying things the right way.

We have a golden opportunity now to unite with American workers of all types. Back when it was mostly us (2000-2003) getting the pink slips, that wouldn't have worked. Right now there are far too many workers chasing far too few job openings, and far too many jobs earmarked for H-1Bs. There is also a rich underground job market for H-1Bs and other visa holders, where they can get hired for growth opportunities on the fly, like we used to enjoy. I'm talking about a vast and lively job market, here in America, just not for us Americans. Donna is right about that, I was seeing it myself. Like, jobs in America, but advertised in India.

The fear of being called "racist" and "extremist" predates Tunnel Rat by about 10 years. It was used at first whenever any one of us dared to say anything.

To point the finger at us and blame us for our own situation is a distraction and an old game. The wolf is at the door for the entire American middle class now. While it is good to make points here, I'm fanning out to mainstream publications and urging others to do likewise.

Apr 20, 2011 11:55 AM Don Tennant Don Tennant  says: in response to R. Lawson

That we're having this discussion has to be one of the most uplifting experiences I've had in my 20 years in journalism. There was a time, not so very long ago, when a discussion among readers of the damage created by the haters would never have taken place in an open forum like this. To me, this is a major step in the fight against H-1B visa abuse.

Apr 20, 2011 12:07 PM R. Lawson R. Lawson  says: in response to Dolores

"To point the finger at us and blame us for our own situation is a distraction and an old game."

To be clear, my intent wasn't to blame anyone for anything or to hold any one person's feet to the fire - rather a bit of self reflection.  I think Donna has done many valuable things for this cause and her bravery and positive actions should be acknowledged and applauded. 

Although we disagree on major aspects of this issue with Don, I think he is also being rather brave and his recent work should also be applauded.  Look, understanding this issue is a journey for each of us and we each see the world slightly different.  We shouldn't expect everyone to agree with our own perception, but we should definitely hold on to whatever common ground we have. 

We have allot of common ground now with Don.  I believe he is just now starting to realize the level of fraud that goes on and his journey and understanding of this problem has just begun.  Even if he never agrees with us on how to solve the problem, I think he now realizes there is a problem.  Hell, we don't even agree 100% on how to solve the problem.

Don isn't a bad guy.  I think he has been very honest with us and with himself.  I think his reporting has been some of the best in the world on this issue.  It has opened up the discussion.

Don wants to have an honest debate and exploration of this issue.  Let's give that to him!  He isn't our whipping boy and we shouldn't beat him up every time what he says doesn't mirror what we think.  Let him go on his journey unharmed by us. 

Apr 20, 2011 12:16 PM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to R. Lawson

What is happening insofar as Don's awakening to the enormity of this issue needs to happen all over America. The export of our manufacturing capacity the export of jobs, the import of foreign workers during times of high unemployment, the devaluation of Americans' degrees and work experience in an increasingly hypercompetitive labor market, the loss of the talent pipeline, the loss of opportunity for Americans - all of these are connected and none of them are accidents. Globalism is a failed ideology, at least for America and we need to back away from it and move towards more self-sufficiency. It's hard to turn the Titanic, though, and too many people are still repeating the globalist mythology because it sounds good. We need to change that - and it is changing, as hardship stalks a once-prosperous land. Heart attacks, suicide, and child abuse are all up in this economy. Food stamps, welfare, and homelessness. I'm old enough to remember when you had to be some kind of a bum not to have a job and a roof over your head in America. What we are in now is big and bad, and I distinctly remember that many early H-1B activists saw it coming very clearly back in the day. All they had to do was extrapolate. But America scoffed. Well, they're not scoffing any more.

Apr 20, 2011 12:35 PM Bob Bob  says: in response to R. Lawson

"Also, we could communicate what our core principals are after we agree on what that is.  I don't believe that any of us tolerate violence, racism, or hate speech.  Why not produce a document to that effect?  Our own preamble."

I think there's some serious scope creep in that statement.  We already have a document (with a preamble) that gives us the right to say what we think, be responsible for only our own actions and be innocent until proven guilty.

It also presupposes the need to be a member of a group before you say anything - would anyone who DIDNT sign on to that document then be  suspected of 'tolerating violence, racism, or hate speech'?  It furthers the mentaility of 'you have the right to be an individual, as long as you do it in a group', which actually has some validity - in my case the group is 'US Citizen'.  I'm just a ctizen on a messageboard, speaking his mind.

Apr 20, 2011 12:43 PM R. Lawson R. Lawson  says: in response to Dolores

To change the subject slightly, I agree with what you say here:

"We have a golden opportunity now to unite with American workers of all types. Back when it was mostly us (2000-2003) getting the pink slips, that wouldn't have worked. Right now there are far too many workers chasing far too few job openings, and far too many jobs earmarked for H-1Bs. "

From a strategic perspective, we have some options.  One option is to support a new organization with very limited membership and very little funding to sustain - and do our best to help them grow.  We have tried over the last decade or two to do just that, and I've seen them come and go.  People with their hearts in the right place, but unable to gain momentum.

Another option is to explore unions.  My experience has been that unions are not warming up to IT workers very effectively, and that IT workers haven't really warmed up to them.  I reached out to them at one point to test those waters; I had silence on their end and grumblings on my end.  They were not eager to help.  Plus, right to work laws in many states have effectively cut unions off at the knees.

I think the "smart money" would be on influencing an organization from within that is already well established and where leadership is elected by members.  Imagine the IEEE-USA but more aggressive on the activism arena and perhaps ousting some current leadership who have capitulated more than they should have, or if not ousting them at least nudging them back in the right direction.

I like the IEEE-USA because they are well branded and well respected.  They also have a large membership base.  They don't have all the baggage we have, and they hold regular elections so there is a known path to influencing them. 

Because few people vote in NGO elections unless they are motivated to do so, influencing those elections aren't that difficult.  That's something a grass roots effort has a good chance of winning.

Apr 20, 2011 12:52 PM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to R. Lawson

Didn't the USA IEEE get hammered by its international parent for supporting US workers at some point? I heard that somewhere.

One way to change the climate would be for every single once of us to spend some time online, looking for every article, blog, whatever that allows comments, looking especially for those that touch on larger economic issues than just out of work or underemployed techies.  And address the tie-in to the larger issues: loss of the means to earn a living in America. Loss of ability to pay debts and support the infrastructure (roads, health care, etc.).

Exposes are good too, like Donna's digital sit in. Apply to those American jobs (if you are qualified) and document the response (or lack thereof). I've gotten no interviews and one apparent conman from desi companies. I thought the Neufeld memo was supposed to stop the bodyshops, but apparently not. And share what you learn. Silence has wrapped around shoddy labor practices for so long that most people have no idea what's going on.

You are correct that unions may be a thing of the past. I've belonged to two and gotten much the same reaction, except for the one that had a local chapter. There I got a lot of the old-timey rhetoric about organizing that apparently works with blue collar folks, but you know how us nerds are.

Apr 20, 2011 12:53 PM Bob Bob  says: in response to Bob

""Also, we could communicate what our core principals are after we agree on what that is.  I don't believe that any of us tolerate violence, racism, or hate speech.  Why not produce a document to that effect?  Our own preamble."

also, do you have any idea what a close parallel this has to the 'Loyalty Oaths' of the McCarthy era?  A lot of people felt compelled to sign them, lest they be a 'suspected communist'.  Their signature waived the right of 'innocent, until proven guilty'

and if we do have anti-racism oaths, do you want one for pedophilia?, drunk driving?  cell phone driving?  cutting in line?  whistling on elevators?

Apr 21, 2011 11:43 AM Bob Bob  says: in response to Gabe

"I really don't care whether we did Manifest Destiny at one point, no, not at all. I care about saving my country and my countrymen in the here and now."

Fair enough, Dolores. I may not agree, but I understand the perspective.


If any H-1b discussion goes long enough, citizen tech workers will eventually be asked to account for every sin that has ever been committed in or by the United States, all of it before they were ever born.

Who else, might I ask, is willing to do that for THEIR country?!?!? And why are citizen tech workiers singled out to be alone on the cross to answer for their countries 'sins'?  And how does having the wealthiest top 1 percent profiting from more cheap labor in the present atone for the top 1 percent of society profiting from cheap labor 150 years ago?!?!  Seems like 'more of the same' than 'Atonement'.

Apr 21, 2011 11:56 AM Bob Bob  says: in response to Bob

well, they got 40 months, for over 100 counts (running concurrently)  Concurrent is another way of saying 'if you're going to do it, do it in volume, it doesnt cost any more'

what a joke, they netted over a million, had they gotten away with it, (and probably most out there do) it was more a decent risk/reward than a deterrant

Apr 21, 2011 12:04 PM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to Bob

Sometimes they will mention things that happened in our lifetimes, but the same principle applies. None of us posting here were involved in Pepsi or Bhopal, or any such thing. In fact, had the US pursued self-sufficiency more than global adventurism, as people like me are urging, some of the mistakes might not have happened or been lessened, or been done by some other global entity.

What one thing would help with the deficit, help fund state and local governments and human service programs (at the same time lessening the need for services) and improve the well being of all Americans? Putting Americans back to work, that's what.

Apr 21, 2011 12:19 PM Don Tennant Don Tennant  says: in response to Bob

Yeah, the sentence was disappointing -- far too light. Here's the link to the story:

Apr 21, 2011 12:24 PM Bob Bob  says:

from one of the articles

"Maheshwari said the passion to live the American dream overshadowed his 'quality of goodness.' "

I see a LOT of this!  Somehow, our government and media has helped put it in the heads of millions of people in the third world that the American people OWE them the 'American Dream', and can expect to get to the top in a decade or so, ending up with more than most families have accumulated in 100-150 years of hard work, and that they are entitled to step on anyone and anything, including our laws and customs to get there.  And if it doesnt work out (or even if it does) 'I can always go back home'

That kind of 'Diversity' does not 'Enrich' me, it impoverishes me.  I cannot 'compete' against someone who plays by a different set of rules (or no rules at all), because the government winks at what they do, and/or they have a place to run when the chips are down - i have no other home country

Apr 21, 2011 12:26 PM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to Don Tennant

At least it was something. To middle aged folks, over 3 years is significant if not draconian. And they have to forfeit a mil. Better than nothing. Just another example of why Americans can't afford all this "help" we are getting.

Apr 21, 2011 12:28 PM Don Tennant Don Tennant  says: in response to Bob

As a strong advocate for diversity, I fully agree with you.

Apr 21, 2011 12:41 PM Bob Bob  says: in response to Don Tennant

thanks done, i should have been more patient and read what the prosecuter said, he said pretty much the same thing (although he still settled for too little, he should have taken it to court and lowered the boom on them)

"Prosecutor Cliff Cronk called their scam 'sophisticated alien smuggling.'

After arriving in Clinton, many of the foreign nationals would be put up in an area hotel, with sometimes six or seven at a time sharing the same apartment, Cronk said.

'I'm not sure I understand this American dream idea,' Cronk said. 'I think it's an American greed idea. You get to lie to the government, cheat your own countrymen and take money from them and keep it. ... The American dream, I think not.'"

Apr 21, 2011 12:48 PM Gabe Gabe  says: in response to Dolores

"I really don't care whether we did Manifest Destiny at one point, no, not at all. I care about saving my country and my countrymen in the here and now."

Fair enough, Dolores. I may not agree, but I understand the perspective.

May 22, 2011 8:41 AM Joe B Joe B  says: in response to Don Tennant

"I have been very charitable towards you, Donna"

I can't see much evidence of that, but as you don't answer her points, it hardly matters.  Could it be you have no answers to the charges?

As for Indian_H1B. suffice it to say that an H1B talking about 'intellectual dearth' in anti-H1B people is plain stupid given the quality of people arrayed against this program, Ron Hira and others.


The whole sorry program needs to be banned..


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