May 17, 2000
Dear Mr. ,
Thank you for your letter urging me to oppose legislation to increase the number of temporary work visas
allotted to highly skilled foreign workers under the H-IB program.
I understand your reservations about expanding the H-1B program, and have worked against all previous
attempts to increase the H-1B ceiling. Various bills are currently pending in Congress to raise the H-1B cap.
They offer differing approaches to H-1 B reform and it is too early to predict how Congress will proceed.
I am opposed to raising the H-1B cap for several reasons. The government has identified fraud in the program
and there is no compelling evidence of a labor shortage. High-tech firms laid off more than 140,000 Americans
last year while simultaneously lobbying Congress to increase the H-IB cap. I am also troubled by reports of age
discrimination against middle-aged American computer programmers. I believe the high demand reflects a
preference for foreign workers and the cheaper foreign labor H-1B visa holders represent.
If a high-tech labor shortage truly exists, our priority should be to improve the skills of American workers, not
turn to foreign labor. We must also examine our immigration policy in its entirety. We admit almost one
million legal immigrants annually with no regard to their education and skills. Approximately 35 percent of
legal immigrants lack a high school education. Conversely, 90 percent of new jobs in the next century will
require more than a high school diploma. The answer to America's labor needs cannot be found in cursory
immigration increases. Instead, we must improve our immigration system so that it reflects America's changing
Again, thank you for writing. You may be certain that I will continue to monitor the H-1B bills as they
advance. If an increase is imminent, I will work to ensure that the legislation contains the necessary safeguards
to stop companies from displacing American workers with foreign labor.