Obama’s immigration tweaks leave Big Tech wanting more

Go Lean Commentary

Caribbean stakeholders hereby comment on US President Barack Obama’s planned unilateral immigration reforms, and it’s not what you might naturally think:

We are hereby opposed!

Wait, wouldn’t a more liberal policy for Caribbean immigrants help our cause to improve the condition of many Caribbean families? “Yes” for the micro (individual), but “No” for the macro (community/country/region)!

Liberal US immigration practices are bad; they accentuate the “brain drain” for the Caribbean.

The focus in this discussion is on the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) labor force. There is a demand for more workers with these qualifications; this demand is in the US and in the Caribbean. The US economy, and society, is more mature than all Caribbean countries; this makes it hard for Caribbean member-states to compete. And now…

… President Obama wants to extend invitations to STEM college students in the US to stay on in the US and NOT return to their home countries.

Say it ain’t so!

The publishers of the book Go Lean…Caribbean, which serves as a roadmap for elevating all 30 member-states of Caribbean society, calls for the need to fight the policy change that is depicted in this news article:

By: Noel Randewich and Roberta Rampton

s immigration tweaks leave Big Tech wanting more - Photo 1SAN FRANCISCO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama plans to make life a little easier for some foreign tech workers, but Silicon Valley representatives are disappointed his immigration rule changes will not satisfy longstanding demands for more visas and faster green cards.

In a speech on Thursday, Obama outlined plans to use executive authority to help millions of undocumented people. He also announced minor adjustments to cut red tape for visa holders and their families, including letting spouses of certain H-1B visa holders get work permits.

“I will make it easier and faster for high-skilled immigrants, graduates and entrepreneurs to stay and contribute to our economy, as so many business leaders have proposed,” Obama said.

The president’s moves will make it easier for entrepreneurs to work in the United States and extend a program letting foreign students who graduate with advanced degrees from U.S. universities to work temporarily in the United States.

But tech industry insiders said the changes, while positive, were limited.

“This holiday season, the undocumented advocacy community got the equivalent of a new car, and the business community got a wine and cheese basket,” complained one lobbyist, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Instead of more temporary H-1B visas, which allow non-U.S. citizens with advanced skills and degrees in “specialty occupations” to work in the country for up to six years, the 200,000-member U.S. chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (see VIDEO below) was hoping for measures to reduce the backlog of H-1B holders awaiting green cards.

“If this is all there is, then the president has missed a real opportunity,” said Russ Harrison, a senior legislative representative at the IEEE. “He could have taken steps to make it easier for skilled immigrants to become Americans through the green card system, protecting foreign workers and Americans in the process.”

For instance, IEEE and technology companies want spouses and children to be excluded from employment-based green-card allotments, thereby increasing availability for other foreign tech workers seeking green cards.

Tech companies from Microsoft Corp to Intel have complained about being unable to find enough highly skilled employees and want Washington to increase the availability of visas for programmers, engineers and other specialized foreign professionals.

“Our focus really is on H-1B visas and trying to expand the number of talented technical professionals that can come to the U.S.,” Qualcomm CFO George Davis said ahead of Obama’s announcement. “The way the regulations are drafted today there’s a lot of room for improvement.”

Major changes would require Congressional action, however, and tech industry executives are worried that partisan rancor over Obama’s unilateral action could set back chances for legislation.

“I don’t view this as a long-term solution, and I hope it doesn’t get in the way of a long-term solution,” said Dave Goldberg, chief executive of SurveyMonkey, a Palo Alto based company.

The AFL-CIO said in a statement it would seek to ensure visa workers are afforded rights and protections.

“We are concerned by the President’s concession to corporate demands for even greater access to temporary visas that will allow the continued suppression of wages in the tech sector,” the labor giant said.

While limited, Obama’s policy changes, such as letting more spouses work, will help some tech workers and their families.

Gayathri Kumar, 29, moved a year ago from India to Phoenix, Arizona, where her husband works at Intel. She has a masters degree in communications and wants to work in television, but Kumar spends much of her day at home, chatting with friends over social media.

“I really want to work. I came here with a passion to work, not to sit at home,” Kumar said. “I’m bored, I’m becoming depressed.”

(Reporting by Noel Randewich in San Francisco and Roberta Rampton in Washington. Additional reporting by Sarah McBride in San Francisco.; Editing by Eric Effron, Tom Brown and Ken Wills)

Reuters News Wire Online Source – Posted: November 21, 2014 –

For this issue, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”.

Caribbean stakeholders need to align with the opposition of Obama’s immigration policy, the Republicans. (The publishers of the Go Lean book, SFE Foundation, represent an apolitical, religiously-neutral, economic-focused movement, initiated at the grass-root
level to bring permanent change back to the Caribbean homeland – no one Caribbean member-state is favored over another). We need to pursue our own self-interest.

The book Go Lean…Caribbean posits that the Caribbean brain drain is already acute, (reported at exceeding 70%), due to “push and pull” factors. Many Caribbean STEM students matriculate in American universities, so allowing more liberal recruiting of our students to remain in the US would increase the “pull” factor. We cannot compete against this added pressure.

Why would the students want to concede to this pressure? Unfortunately, we have a variety of “push” conditions working against the Caribbean counter-defense; we have deficiencies. We have economic, security and governing deficiencies that “push” the native Caribbean student/worker to consider expatriating to the US, or to Canada and many EU countries.

But the Caribbean has its own needs for the STEM work force, and our needs cannot be ignored. This is war; (a Trade War).

The Caribbean is losing … every battle. We must not help our enemy. The book Go Lean…Caribbean serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). The roadmap contains our battle plans, strategies and tactics for this Trade War. The roadmap’s states the prime directives of the CU as the following 3 statements:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines.

The book posits that all of the Caribbean is in crisis with this brain drain problem, and so there is an urgent need to retain our existing STEM talent, and recruit even more. This point is stressed early in the book (Page 13) in the following pronouncements in the Declaration of Interdependence:

xix.   Whereas our legacy in recent times is one of societal abandonment, it is imperative that incentives and encouragement be put in place to first dissuade the human flight, and then entice and welcome the return of our Diaspora back to our shores. This repatriation should be effected with the appropriate guards so as not to imperil the lives and securities of the repatriated citizens or the communities they inhabit. The right of repatriation is to be extended to any natural born citizens despite any previous naturalization to foreign sovereignties.

xxi.   Whereas the preparation of our labor force can foster opportunities and dictate economic progress for current and future generations, the Federation must ensure that educational and job training opportunities are fully optimized for all residents of all member-states, with no partiality towards any gender or ethnic group. The Federation must recognize and facilitate excellence in many different fields of endeavor, including sciences, languages, arts, music and sports. This responsibility should be executed without incurring the risks of further human flight, as has been the past history.

This subject of mitigating the brain drain and adopting empowering immigration policies have been frequent topics for these Go Lean blogs, highlighted here in the following sample:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2907 Local Miami Haitian leaders protest Bahamian immigration policy
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2809 A Lesson in History: Economics and Immigration Policy of East Berlin
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1674 Obama’s Plans for $3.7 Billion Immigration Crisis Funds, stressing the need for reform in the US.
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1596 Book Review: ‘Prosper Where You Are Planted’ – the Antithesis of Emigration
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1470 College Of the Bahamas Master Plan 2025 – Lacking Response for Brain Drain
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1296 Remittances from Diaspora to Caribbean Increased By 3 Percent in 2013 – Not a Good Economic Plan
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1256 Is a Traditional 4-year College Degree a Terrible Investment? Yes, for Caribbean Communities Sending their Students Abroad.
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1014 All is not well in the sunny Caribbean – Economic Deficiencies
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=599 Ailing Puerto Rico open to radical economic fixes – Need for Retention

As a counter-defense to the losing dispositions in the Caribbean Trade War with the US, the Go Lean book details a series of community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to foster the best practices to incentivize STEM careers and mitigate further brain drain for the Caribbean region:

Community Ethos – Deferred Gratification Page 21
Community Ethos – Economic Systems Influence Choices & Incentives Page 21
Community Ethos – Job Multiplier Page 22
Community Ethos – Anti-Bullying and Mitigation – neutralizing STEM as Nerds Page 23
Community Ethos – Minority Equalization Page 24
Community Ethos – Return on Investments Page 24
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future Page 27
Community Ethos – Ways to Foster Genius Page 26
Community Ethos – Ways to Help Entrepreneurship Page 28
Community Ethos – Promote Intellectual Property Page 29
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact Research & Development Page 30
Community Ethos – Ways to Close the Digital Divide Page 31
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Anecdote – Valedictorian and Caribbean Diaspora Member Page 38
Strategy – Customers – Citizens, Business Community & Diaspora Page 47
Strategy – Meeting Region’s Needs Today, Preparing For Future Page 58
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Patent, Standards, & Copyrights Page 78
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Education Department Page 85
Implementation – Assemble all Super-Regional Governing Entities Page 96
Implementation – Trends in Implementing Data Centers Page 106
Implementation – Ways to Deliver Page 109
Implementation – Better Manage Debt – Better Student Loans Dynamics Page 114
Planning – Ways to Improve Trade Page 128
Planning – Ways to Make the Caribbean Better Page 131
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs Page 152
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Education Page 159
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Student Loans – Forgivable Provisions Page 160
Advocacy – Ways to Foster Empowering Immigration – STEM Professionals Page 174
Advocacy – Ways to Foster Technology Page 197
Advocacy – Ways to Impact the Diaspora Page 217
Appendix – Alternative Remittance Modes Page 270

Now is the time for all of the Caribbean, the people and institutions, to lean-in for the elevations described in the book Go Lean … Caribbean. This means heavy-lifting to enhance the economic-security-governing engines to attract and retain our STEM graduates. We especially call on the Caribbean/Latin American chapters of the IEEE organization – depicted in the foregoing article and the VIDEO below – to join-in this empowerment effort. A CU mission aligns with this organization’s charter to promote STEM careers and developments in their members’ home regions. The Caribbean needs the regional delivery of this charter, and their lobbying efforts.

We must try and stop Obama’s unilateral policy reform; a liberal US immigration policy would accentuate the Caribbean brain drain.

The region needs the deliveries, described in the Go Lean roadmap. Otherwise, we have no hope to incite and retain our young people, especially those with STEM skill-sets. As a region, we would simply be condemned to a worsened future, simply “fattening frogs for snakes”. This Go Lean roadmap therefore is vital in the quest to make the Caribbean a better place to live, work and play. 🙂

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


Appendix VIDEO: What is IEEE? – http://youtu.be/fcmCpEpg0lQ
This is a short video presenting the overall organization of IEEE. This video was developed and published during the celebrations of IEEE Day 2012.

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