'How to cheat H-1B' video stokes immigration fires

H-1B immigration law on the hot seat in Washington and online

A "how to cheat H-1B" video by a law firm stokes debate over immigration policies both in Congress and online.

The business of H-1B visas has never been uglier. Just this month two U.S. senators took aim at nine prominent outsourcing companies, demanding that they explain their use of the H-1B program. Recently, the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service hit its limit for 2008 H-1B visas within hours. And earlier this month other U.S. senators introduced a bill that says companies that lay off workers will be barred from using H-1B visas.

Throwing gasoline on the fire, this week Network World’s Buzzblog posted a video of lawyers holding a panel discussion on the ins and outs of helping employers side-step immigration law.

The objective, says Lawrence Lebowitz, vice president of marketing at Cohen & Grigsby: "Our goal is clearly not to find a qualified U.S. worker... our objective is to get this person a green card." Portions of the conference session were posted to YouTube earlier this week and have now been picked up by CNN, among other news outlets.

A sampling of comments sent to Network World will give you a fair idea of what most of the industry thinks of the video:

* “They should know they are documenting how to side-step immigration law. This cannot be legal. It is not only stupid on their part, but it is not ethical at all.”

* “It's simple: Greed is what drives those corporations who look to pay workers Third World prices and have Americans train their replacements. Corporations are run by people who see this as means of doing business.”

* “What you're talking about is fraud against the entire immigration apparatus and nation.”

* “Mr. Liebowitz: I just viewed your speech on how to defraud U.S. workers out of their jobs. You are a disgrace to our country - a TRAITOR to our country. You and your associates should be ashamed of your shocking statements.”

* “The truly sad thing is that there are thousands of these vampires advising corporate clients all over the country how to do this every day. Just open any newspaper -- every single advertisement in there is to comply with the PERM requirements.”

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