Jumping Over Facts to Conclusions
Sometimes you read an article and think “something doesn’t quite follow here.” An April 7, 2012 article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram titled “Fort Worth engineer who got Obama’s attention still doesn’t have a job” is one such article.
The article lays out a tale with which one can readily sympathize: an engineer loses his job in the midst of the Great Recession, and remains out of work three years later. He receives expressions of interest from companies and recruiters all over the country, but cannot pursue them because a custody agreement requires he stay in the area where he now lives. It’s an impossibly tough dilemma: wedded by a vitally overarching family commitment to a geographic location where your skills are not in demand, and unable to pursue opportunities in places where demand for your skills does exist.
But the article fills in some more information. The engineer’s job loss was being used by immigration opponents to argue that H-1B specialty occupation professionals should not be allowed into the United States because here is an engineer who needs a job. This was raised with no less than the President of the United States in a video chat.
This chat exchange received considerable publicity, and immediately the engineer was being contacted by potential employers from all over the country. Alas, none of these employers were in the North Texas area. And the engineer couldn’t leave the area. So the calls have stopped and the engineer stays unemployed.
But here’s what doesn’t follow. The article goes on to quote Senator Grassley and the engineer’s wife as saying that the engineer is out of work because of foreign nationals on H-1B visas. The fact that the engineer cannot go where the jobs are does not seem to be considered a factor. Leaping over barrels of facts to a conclusion that doesn’t follow from the facts, the fault is placed at the feet of foreign-born professionals who will go where the jobs are.
In those leapt-over barrels is the acknowledged fact that employers all over the country were beating down this engineer’s door. Why would they do that unless there are jobs available in some fields and employers wanting to fill them with U.S. workers who have the right skills? But these employers cannot pull up entire operations (and lay off their existing workforce) in order to move to the locale of a single person; the person needs to move to the job. If the person cannot move to the job because of a family obligation, that is to be respected.
But no one should blame “the foreigners” for it.