April 14, 2015


Eight New Hampshire business people, entrepreneurs, teachers and students traveled to Washington, DC this week to tell NH Senators and Congressional Representatives the devastating impact that proposed H-1B legislation could have on NH jobs.

Scott and Cris Blackstone of Alton, Ronald Tabroff of Bedford, Barbara and Hanna Bancroft and Jennifer Morrison of Hudson and Jeanne Dietsch of Peterborough spoke on behalf of the 1600 New Hampshire members of the IEEE engineering association and for educators and students of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). They had two messages for Congress: 1) Do not cut R&D and STEM education budgets; this will cause a downturn in the economy and dramatically curtail our children’s futures. 2) Substitute green cards for advanced foreign grads educated in American schools instead of extending the H1B visas.

“The reasons to sustain R&D and STEM funding are apparent.” Said Barbara Bancroft.  “New Hampshire businesses, small and large, are disproportionately technological enterprises that rely on R&D funding to create new products of their own and to build customers. They cannot function without a strong pool of well-trained employees.”

The idiosyncrasies of H1B visas are less obvious, but equally important.  H-1b visas are not immigration visas.  They are short-term work permits.  Recently companies have begun using the visas to eliminate American jobs. Instead of hiring bright immigrants and using them to build employment in the US on a green card, companies are using visas to train foreign workers in the US, then sending them and their jobs overseas. These jobs were not minimum wage.  They are often software engineers, one of the sources of contention in the long-running Fairpoint strike.

Ron Tabroff, IEEE Chair of its New England Region, explained, “IEEE-USA supports real high-skill immigration.  Graduate students at our universities should be able to get a green card as soon as they earn their degree.  Green cards make Americans and build America.  H-1bs do not.”

The IEEE-USA represents over 200,000 technology professionals in the United States, including 1,600 in New Hampshire.   We are the men and women who use technology to build our economy, light our homes and create new businesses.  We understand the value of skilled immigration, but we also know the dangers of H-1b visas.

If you have any questions about our experiences in Washington, please contact: Professor Barbara Bancroft, Computer Networking Program Coordinator, at [email protected].