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Eric Weinstein at MIT: We started the H-1B mess

Weinstein later exposed on Twitter the real purpose of H-1B was to supress wages + take away worker’s bargaining power.

Wage tampering or “wage-fixing” is a federal crime.

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“The H-1B visa is ostensibly for people with special expertise that can’t be found in the U.S. But it’s actually not, and never has been.

It’s used to bring people in under slave-labor-like conditions, thereby forcing American high-tech experts out of their own industry.

Since it’s creation, H-1B has driven something like a million and a half American high tech experts out of their jobs. The origin and intent of the H-1B visa was described in a paper from the late 1990s by Eric Weinstein, who at the time was a Math Fellow at MIT. The paper’s entitled “How and Why Government, Universities, and Industry Create Domestic Labor Shortages of Scientists and High-Tech Workers“. Although Weinstein never went to the trouble of getting it published, he did have it reviewed by his peers at MIT. It can be downloaded from the National Bureau of Economic Research at the URL: http://users.nber.org/…/ar…/weinsteinhowandwhygovernment.pdf (Note: The date at the bottom of each page is not really when the article was written. As a long-time Unix/Linux software engineer, I instantly recognize the format of the footer as having been produced by the venerable Unix utility “pr”, which is used when formatting a text file for printing. So the date only indicates when it was most recently formatted, now when it was written. I believe the paper was written in 1998 because I learned of the existence of this paper from a footnote in the 1999 testimony regarding H-1B given to Congress given by U.C. Davis Computer Science Professor Norman Matloff. In the printed version of his testimony, Weinstein’s paper was cited with a date of 1998). It’s 24 pages of very densely-written prose, so let me give you the nutshell version. (Yeah, I know – if this is the nutshell version, that nut must be humongous! But this is as much as I could condense it without losing critical parts of the story.)

The design of H-1B has been a very effective recipe for turning them into indentured servants! And what employer would want to hire an American citizen if they can instead have employees with no rights, working in a slave-like condition of servitude? Weinstein’s paper doesn’t say much directly about high tech engineers because H-1B wasn’t originally designed with high tech in mind. It was targeted at a phony shortage of math and science PhDs that the NSF was projecting would happen a decade hence. But once it became law, it didn’t take long for high tech companies to discover that they could use it to bring in cheap labor from overseas“.