The hypocrisy is a bit thick in here. A list of 145 tech executives recently signed an open letter blasting the immigration policy of Republican nominee Donald Trump for not encouraging an “inclusive country that fosters opportunity, creativity and a level playing field.”
Included as signatories are least five billionaires and dozens of millionaires. Excluded from the letter is big tech’s big interest in maintaining the supposed “high skilled” visa program that, in some cases, results in American workers being forced to train foreign replacements in their own jobs, often to work for significantly less money.
Here’s CNN Money on why Silicon Valley labor importers might oppose Donald Trump:
Critics of increasing the number of visas contend companies should employ U.S. workers first, or believe Silicon Valley uses the system as a way to hire foreign workers at lower wages.
The visas have been a topic of conversation in this year’s presidential election. Republican front-runner Donald Trump wants to raise the minimum wage for H1-B workers, which he says “will improve the number of black, Hispanic and female workers in Silicon Valley who have been passed over in favor of the H-1B program.”
God forbid big tech has to hire Americans, much less black, Hispanic and female Americans (which Facebook readily admits it has had some serious problems doing).
Even the progressive news site Mother Jones got in on bashing big tech:
More than 80 percent of H-1B visa holders are approved to be hired at wages below those paid to American-born workers for comparable positions, according to [the Economic Policy Institute]. Experts who track labor conditions in the technology sector say that older, more expensive workers are particularly vulnerable to being undercut by their foreign counterparts.
Big tech contends, in both the letter to Trump and in general, that these kinds of immigration policies foster innovation. Silicon Valley players frequently note that several big tech companies have foreign founders. But Mother Jones reports that the numbers show less than 3% of H1-Bs attempt to become American citizens. Instead, they just continuously rotate in and out of the country, working for wages significantly lower than average Americans.
Immigration reform is clearly at the center of the debate between Silicon Valley and some of the GOP presumed nominee. Mark Zuckerberg (who did not sign the open letter) and other tech leaders are behind an effort to increase caps on immigration quotas to allow for more “high-skilled workers to be able to work in the U.S.” Trump has voiced his concerns with immigration policies, calling for stronger borders and a strengthened immigration system.
And what do billionaires care but for the bottom line?
One signatory, Vinod Khosla, co-founder of SUN microsystems, is worth $1.5 billion and is very much opposed to a Trump presidency. Another signature in the letter belongs to Othman Laraki, who founded Color Genomics and is worth $1.2 billion. Another billionaire on the list is the founder of Ebay, Pierre Omidyar who is worth $8.1 billion. Omidyar has donated at least $200,000 to the NeverTrump PAC according to FEC filings and has been adamantly opposed to Trump. He also dumped $250 million on renowned anti-American columnist Glenn Greenwald to start the media company “The Intercept” … from Brazil!
The DCNF looked into the salaries and donations of those who participated in the open letter and found that a majority of the people on the list are not feeling the same economic woes that millions of Americans feel. While the average salary of tech industry employees is just short of $100,000, the average wage in America was approximately $46,400 in 2014, according to the Average National Wage Index.
Outside of billionaire investor and PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel, who is a vocal supporter of Donald Trump, Silicon Valley is overwhelmingly opposed to the Republican nominee. According to a June report, just 52 tech workers donated to Trump’s campaign up, compared to 33,000 who donated to Sanders and over 2,000 who donated to Hillary Clinton.
This report, by Ted Goodman, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.