Cisco Systems, one among the dozens of U.S. tech companies imploring Congress to relax immigration laws and ease restrictions on foreign worker visas, announced last week that it will cut 6,000 jobs in 2015.
The company has made similar job-cut announcements in four of the past seven years, according to the Silicon Valley Business Journal.
Cisco joined with other companies and organizations in July, signing off on a letter to House leadership requesting “meaningful reforms to critical components of our nation’s immigration system.” Tech companies in particular have also led the call for Congress to liberalize the requirements for foreign workers in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields to obtain work visas.
Much recent academic research has been devoted to debunking the tech sector’s claim that there’s a shortage of qualified domestic STEM labor.
“[A]ccording to the National Science Board’s authoritative publication Science and Engineering Indicators 2008, the country turns out three times as many STEM degrees as the economy can absorb into jobs related to their majors,” wrote the Columbia Journalism Review in 2012:
So what’s going on? Simply put, a desire for cheap, skilled labor, within the business world and academia, has fueled assertions — based on flimsy and distorted evidence — that American students lack the interest and ability to pursue careers in science and engineering, and has spurred policies that have flooded the market with foreign STEM workers.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates has been at the forefront of the movement to import STEM labor into the U.S. Then Microsoft announced in July that it would eliminate 18,000 jobs.
A group of policy professors responded to that news with an editorial in USA Today, again calling attention to the cheap-labor corporate agenda.
“Those supporting even greater expansion seem to have forgotten about the hundreds of thousands of American high-tech workers who are being shortchanged — by wages stuck at 1998 levels, by diminished career prospects and by repeated rounds of layoffs,” the academics wrote. “… IT industry leaders have spent lavishly on lobbying to promote their STEM shortage claims among legislators. The only problem is that the evidence contradicts their self-interested claims.”