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U.S. senator blasts Microsoft's H-1B push as it lays 18,000 off workers

Patrick Thibodeau | July 21, 2014
Republican lawmaker takes issue with U.S. corporate belief that there's a STEM shortage.

The timing of his Sessions' rebuttal is clear. It came the same day that Microsoft announced plans to cut thousands workers, the majority connected to its Nokia acquisition. But he was not there to simply chide Microsoft.

Sessions says he is "teasing" the three op-ed authors "a little bit," as he questions whether the U.S. really faces a shortage of STEM graduates.

"What is the situation today for American graduates of STEM degrees and technology degrees?" said Session. "Do we have enough? And do we need to have people come to our country to take those jobs? Or, indeed, do we not have a shortage of workers, and do we have difficulty of people finding jobs?"

Sessions recently sponsored a forum that assembled some of the leading academic critics of the H-1B program. The group assessed the consequences of hiking the H-1B cap from 85,000 to 180,000, as proposed in the Senate's comprehensive immigration bill.

They warned of increasing age discrimination since most of these foreign workers are young, as well as make it harder for U.S. STEM graduates to find work. A cap hike could hurt wages as well. Critics say schools now produce many more STEM graduates than there are jobs for them.

Microsoft wasn't the only company to get in Sessions' crosshairs. He cited a letter by more than 100 large corporations sent to Congress late last year, urging immigration reform. The signees included many companies, such as Hewlett-Packard and Cisco, which have had recent layoffs.

"And just as it is not always true what is good for General Motors is good for America, likewise, what may be good for Mr. Adelson and Mr. Microsoft and Mr. Buffett is not always in accord with what is good for the American people. I know that. They are free to express their opinion, but I am going to push back," said Sessions.

 

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