Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants

By David Bacon | Go to book overview

Eight
WHOSE NEW WORLD ORDER?

High Skills and Low Salaries

By 2000, employment in Silicon Valley had not only dropped, but conditions for workers in electronics plants had changed drastically over the previous decade. Thousands no longer worked directly for the companies that formerly employed them. Instead, they were hired through temporary-employment agencies, some of which even maintained oices in the plants themselves. And contract employment no longer affected just workers on the lines. In engineering positions, semiconductor companies increasingly relied on guest workers.

Kim Singh was a high-tech worker who got his job through the H1-B program. He left India on a temporary-work visa to become a contract employee in Silicon Valley, thinking he would find a good job in electronics. Instead, he found a modern sweatshop. Singh worked for three diferent companies. Each got him a job using his H1-B immigration visa, which allowed him to work in the United States as a software engineer.

The first company, he said, withheld 25 percent of the salary from each of its immigrant engineers. “None of us received the money after we left,” Singh alleged. At the second company, “I worked seven days a week, with no overtime compensation. The only ones required to work on weekends were the H1-B immigrants.” The third company rented an apartment for four H1-B engineers in San Jose, charging each $1,450 a month, while holding on to their passports. This company “threatened to send some back to India if they didn't get contracts.

-233-

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Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents iii
  • Preface v
  • One - Making Work a Crime 1
  • Two - Why Did We Come? 23
  • Three - Displacement and Migration 51
  • Four - Fast Track to the Past 83
  • Five - Which Side Are You On? 119
  • Six - Blacks Plus Immigrants Plus Unions Equals Power 167
  • Seven - Illegal People or Illegal Work? 199
  • Eight - Whose New World Order? 233
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