I think every US citizen should read about this stuff. Don’t go in with the view that you’re being asked to feel bad for this guy; the salaries being pulled down are mind-boggling relative to not just the relevant countries of origin but to other American workers1. As a system, it’s a trash fire, and it’s one we’re responsible for as citizens.

However, people with progressive or lefty values2 ought to look at this as a totally broken system for reasons other than the ones he cites.

The risks and restrictions mean that corporations have a semi-captive labor force, which then has ripple effects. No, H1B recipients are not “taking jobs away”, no, they’re not “indentured servants”, but when the biggest tech employers have these employees they can lean on more, that does really change what they can get away with for everyone. If you haven’t seen this in action, if you don’t know anyone who’s had their status hung over their head, I’m happy for you, but it’s real.

It feels like people with green cards can compete (and… perhaps do other things?) on equal terms with citizens, without employers getting to hang things over their heads – morally that just seems like the right way for things to work, right? Like, if you care about labor and workers at all?

  1. If you’ve spent your whole life in the same basic class band, I won’t be able to make you understand just how bizarrely transformative the numbers are to life. Please just believe me that it’s a whole different fuckin’ umwelt

  2. Weirdly scorned by the author here? Whatever, the political opinions of anyone making as much as him (or me) should be taken with a boulder of salt.