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On the July 9 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, Dobbs reported that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) "repeated her call for an increase in the number of H-1B visas" during a recent speech to the Indian Institute of Technology, adding that Clinton "backs a plan that would raise the number of H-1[B] visas to 115,000 from the current level of 65,000." Dobbs teased the segment by saying, "Tonight, Senator Hillary Clinton facing charges she's selling out our middle class to boost her presidential ambitions. Is the senator putting the interest of India ahead of working Americans?" In highlighting only Clinton's position on the issue, Dobbs ignored positions taken by Republican presidential candidates Sen. John McCain (AZ), former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and Sen. Sam Brownback (KS) in support of plans "that would raise the number of H-1 visas to 115,000 from the current level of 65,000." GOP presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has also expressed his support for the H1-B visa program. Dobbs did not suggest that Giuliani, McCain, Brownback, or Romney are "selling out our middle class" or "putting the interest of India ahead of working Americans." In addition, both Dobbs and CNN correspondent Louise Schiavone suggested that Clinton was a hypocrite for supporting an increase in the number of H1-B visas issued while opposing the outsourcing of American jobs. Neither Dobbs nor Schiavone explained how Clinton's positions on these issues amount to hypocrisy.
On May 25, 2006, the Senate passed the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006, which both Brownback and McCain voted for and co-sponsored. As a May 25, 2006, Washington Post report noted, the bill "[i]ncreases the number of H1-B visas for skilled workers from 65,000 to 115,000 annually, beginning in 2007." The legislation did not pass, because efforts to reconcile the Senate bill with the House immigration bill failed. In addition, on June 28, McCain voted to invoke cloture on the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007, which "would have authorized U.S. employers to hire 225,000 to 290,000 H-1B workers per year," according to a June 30 San Francisco Chronicle article. Brownback voted against the cloture measure, which failed.
During a December 8, 1998, speech to the Mayor's Task Force on Biomedical Research and Development, while discussing "New York City's greatest resource beyond anything else that I've mentioned ... immigration," Giuliani asserted: "The cap on H1-B visas was 65,000 per year; Congress has approved an increase to 115,000 for fiscal years 1999 and 2000. And given where the Congress was a few years ago in its anti-immigrant feelings and attitudes, this is a step in the right direction."
In a February 7 appearance on CNBC's Kudlow & Company, Romney said, "We do have a visa program for people who come in on migrant workers visas. We have H1-B visas." He continued: "Let's bring in people who bring skill and particular abilities that we need in our economy rather than opening floodgates."
Discussing Clinton's speech, Schiavone asserted: "[I]t's transparently inconsistent to rail against outsourcing while at the same time telling businessmen with foreign ties that what the country needs is more of them." Dobbs replied: "Absolutely." Throughout the segment, CNN ran a graphic reading, "Hillary's Hypocrisy?: Calls for More Guest Workers." But at no point during the segment did Schiavone or Dobbs address why it is either "hypocrisy" or "transparently inconsistent" to support increasing the number of H-1B visas issued to foreign workers, allowing them to work in the United States, while opposing the outsourcing of American jobs overseas.
From the July 9 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight:
DOBBS: Wolf [Blitzer, host of CNN's The Situation Room], thanks very much. Tonight, Senator Hillary Clinton facing charges she's selling out our middle class to boost her presidential ambitions. Is the senator putting the interest of India ahead of working Americans?
DOBBS: Presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton, speaking to the Indian Institute of Technology, repeated her call for an increase in the number of H-1B visas. Senator Clinton backs a plan that would raise the number of H-1 visas to 115,000 from the current level of 65,000.
But in that same speech, the senator also raised the concern that American workers have about losing their jobs to outsourcing. Now, the senator is courting Indian-American voters, and they're exerting an increasing influence in U.S. politics. And they have the very highest average income of any group.
SCHIAVONE: The question is asked, what high-tech skills and training do Indians possess at this juncture that Americans don't?
STEVE CAMAROTA (Center for Immigration Studies): If a job outsources to another country, the Democrats aren't reluctant to say, "Hey, that's a problem. Let's think about that. Do we want to do that?" But if the job is lost to a foreigner who comes here, the Democrats are [whistling]. They don't -- they're not interested.
SCHIAVONE: A spokesman for Senator Clinton says the New York Democrat supports the use of H-1B visa fees to train American workers to eventually, quote, "cut back on the need for foreign workers."
[end video clip]
SCHIAVONE: Lou, telling your audience what it wants to hear isn't exactly a new political gambit. But it's transparently inconsistent to rail against outsourcing while at the same time telling businessmen with foreign ties that what the country needs is more of them -- Lou.
DOBBS: Absolutely. And we should point out that about seven out of 10 of those visas are going to Indian companies. The largest companies using H-1B visas are Indian companies in this country outsourcing jobs. And those Indian employees are coming in on average of $12,000 a year less than their -- the prevailing wage for their American counterparts.
You know, it's really quite extraordinary. And not only Senator Hillary Clinton, of course, but the world's -- well, now he's the second-richest man in the world, Bill Gates saying, "Just have unlimited visas. It'll all be good." Quite a place, that nation's capital and your city. Louise Schiavone, from Washington, thank you.
From the February 7 edition of CNBC's Kudlow & Company:
ROMNEY: I don't favor the McCain-Kennedy bill. I don't favor a guest worker program if associated with that you bring families in, they stay for three years, and they get an automatic renewal, another three years, then another automatic renewal. I think in that case, you're potentially opening a door to a vast number of immigrants that, frankly, would prevent us from being able to bring in people from all over the world, immigrants that can help and build our economy.
Look, we're a nation of immigrants. We're almost all descendents of immigrants or immigrants ourselves. That's a wonderful thing about this country, gives us vitality and energy in our -- in our culture and our technology. But we want to make sure that we bring in people from all over the world that have the skills and education that make us a stronger land. And the guest worker program as suggested in McCain-Kennedy is a -- is a course that I think is off a bit. We do have a visa program for people who come in on migrant workers visas. We have H1-B visas. Let's bring in people who bring skill and particular abilities that we need in our economy rather than opening floodgates, which I understand the Heritage Foundation has said that McCain-Feingold would result in some 100 or 200 million immigrants coming into the country. That's too big of a bite.