OPINION: Donald Trump and H1-B

I don’t like Donald Trump. One of my friends calls him petulant, which is the best descriptive word I’ve heard. However, I voted for him. I would have voted for any opponent other than Hillary, including Bernie Sanders or Elisabeth Warren. I’m a conservative Republican, but I would have voted for a socialist before a crook or a nut. It was a narrow decision to pick a nut over a crook. Every day that that we aren’t in a nuclear war, I thank God.

In any case, Trump is the duly elected President and I support the office, if not the man.

I applauded Trump’s strikes against Syria and the Afghanistan tunnels, and his apparent diplomatic success with China over North Korea.

Today, he announced restrictions in the H1-B visa program. This program gives special work visas to foreigners who have skills supposedly not available among US citizens. The H1-B program has been much abused. It has become a way for American companies to hire foreign technologists, mostly computer programmers, for less than the market rates for Americans.

Twenty-five years ago, I was hiring computer programmers. I owned and managed a small, custom software company. Over seven years, I hired a dozen Americans, two Chinese, one Vietnamese, one Indian, and one Bolivian. I fired two Americans and one Chinese because they weren’t capable. The ratio of good to bad programmers didn’t seem to depend on nationality.

I sold my company to a Danish competitor who couldn’t compete, but could raise money. I got enough money for my company to retire, and after the usual two years to assist in the transition, I moved to Pagosa Springs. During the transition, the Danish company hired a lot of Indians and Colombians. Some of my old customers called me up to ask what was going on. The new project people couldn’t get the job done. I spoke to the Danish manager, who said, “We can hire three Indians for what we pay an American.”

That’s what Trump says he’s stopping. Anyone who has called technical support for a computer or software product will applaud him. There are plenty of Indians, Colombians, etc. who are very capable. They aren’t taking low-paying jobs with American companies. They are starting their own companies. American companies are abusing the H1-B visas to hire the dregs for lower pay.

I wish Trump success.

Jerry Modisette

Jerry Modisette, PhD, was at NASA Houston during the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo flights and performed the tests selecting the Mercury heat shield materials. He also has extensive experience working in the petroleum industry. He lives in Cabezon Canyon, west of Pagosa Springs.