To the editor:
Regarding IEEE-USA seeks crackdown on H-1B abuses, the IEEE-USA, in calling for broader enforcement authority by the [Labor Department] (DoL), ignores that the biggest threats to U.S. workers cannot be fixed by mere enforcement. It is legal to hire H-1B workers even when qualified Americans are available, and the "prevailing wage" only requires that H-1B workers are paid at about the 17th percentile$25,000 less than the average pay of U.S. workers in the same job classifications.
Furthermore, simply granting DoL the authority to assist U.S. workers does not mean that they will do so. Historically DoL's only H-1B enforcement actions have been on behalf of foreign workersnot on the 500,000 unjustly displaced Americans.
Last month, the Programmers Guild asked DoL to release the FY 2007 LCA (H-1B application) data so that Americans could apply for these jobs before they are filled by foreign workers in October. The DoL elected not to provide this simple export to an Access file.
Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., recognizes the loopholes in the current legislation, and has sponsored H.R. 4378, the "Defend the American Dream Act of 2005." Until the H-1B program is reformed, the wholesale displacement of qualified U.S. workers out of the engineering profession will continue.