Much of the discussion over the immigration bill that just passed the Senate focuses on how it will deal with illegal immigration. But much of the financial backing for the bill comes from Silicon Valley, which wants to vastly increase legal immigration, particularly the H1B visa program, which allows American employers to import technical workers from abroad. According to this devastating article about Silicon Valley by Joel Kotkin, H1B visa holders currently take between one third and one half of new IT jobs in America. Although those pushing for more H1B immigrants claim American companies can't find enough skilled workers here, Kotkin notes that America is currently graduating 50% more IT workers than are needed. Indeed, there is no real reason to suppose that Americans lack the ability to become engineers, computer programmers, and the like. It's just that many Americans with the ability to pursue those jobs have chosen other fields, as the H1B program has driven down wages and free trade has gutted the manufacturing sector that used to provide stable employment to American engineers.
But Silicon Valley's advocacy of mass immigration is consistent with its behavior in other areas. As Kotkin notes, many of the companies based there show little interest in employing Americans. Apple employs 700,000 Chinese to manufacture its products, and employment in Silicon Valley as a whole has actually decreased by 40,000 since 2001.
Steve Sailer recently did a fine job dissecting a piece at Slate that attacked American technical workers for opposing increased immigration. One of Sailer's commenters unwittingly illustrated the anti-American mentality that Sailer was skewering: "Immigrants like me who came to Silicon Valley found it easy to adapt and assimilate. We were able to learn the rules of engagement, create our own networks, and participate as equals. These days, the campuses of companies such as Google resemble the United Nations. Their cafeterias don’t serve hot dogs; they serve Chinese and Mexican dishes, and curries from both northern and southern India." This immigrant may have "adapted" and "assimilated," but he didn't assimilate to America. What he assimilated to is an aspiring transnational elite that views America with disdain. We don't need any more immigrants like that, no matter how talented they might be.
Thomas Piatak is a contributing editor to Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He writes from Cleveland, Ohio.