- Improving Communications with U.S. Members

- The H1-B Guest Worker Legislation




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Please go now to IEEE-USA's Home Page at to find the first
of a series of monthly President's Columns by IEEE-USA President Merrill W.
Buckley, Jr. on the H1-B guest worker legislation. IEEE-USA will also be
sending you electronic versions of this column.
Also "New and Notable @ IEEE-USA," is a blurb on our national symposium on
electric reliability technology solutions to be held in Washington, DC on
May 24.
And check out information on several bills currently pending in Congress
that would increase the current caps on non-U.S., temporary guestworkers
admitted through the H-1B visa program.
Please return to the IEEE-USA Home Page for future photo coverage of this
month's Congressional Visits Day as well as an archive of feature stories on
electrotechnology careers and public policy.
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Improving Communications with U.S. Members
The IEEE, as the largest technical professional society in the world, must
continually work to improve its internal communications.
Having served in a number of IEEE volunteer positions, I find that IEEE/USA
and its professional activities hold my greatest interests. In my opinion,
IEEE-USA volunteers and staff are doing an outstanding job and what we are
doing is what the overwhelming number of our U.S. members want us to do.
This said, however, there is considerable frustration in that too many
members indicate they are unfamiliar with the details of our policies,
positions, products, and services. This must be corrected and we are
working hard at it.
You can be a big help and I seek your participation. Communicating with
230,000 U.S. members in a timely fashion and in a way that captures their
attention can be very expensive. But, you have already set up one of the
IEEE's best information networks -- through your newsletters -- and they go
to everyone.
Beginning with this letter, you will receive a monthly IEEE-USA President's
Column, which we encourage you to include in (or with) your newsletter
mailings. The topics will be timely and to the point. We would like your
members to interact with what we say, if they so desire.
You can use this for Section discussions. We are always open to all
opinions and suggestions.
Thank you for any help you can give us.
(first column follows)
>From the President of IEEE-USA
Merrill W. Buckley, Jr.
The H1-B Guest Worker Legislation
Why is an issue "HI-B Guest Worker Visa" important? And why is IEEE-USA
taking a position on it?
These are important and controversial questions and they deserve straight
answers. In
this--the first of a series of IEEE-USA President's Columns--on different
topics, I will try to answer them for you.
First, the H1-B is a non-immigrant visa that allows foreign workers, mostly
in high-tech fields, to live and work in the United States. Because the
normal green card system does not work well, the H-1B has increasingly
become the easiest option for would-be permanent immigrants. Yet it remains
a temporary visa.
So, the H1-B issue is critical in several ways. First, it directly affects
U.S. electrical, electronic, and computer engineers, programmers, and many
other high-tech fields. Clearly, large numbers of new workers in technical
fields have an impact on those who are already here working in the same
areas. It is also a concern for students who will be graduating in this
marketplace in the coming years. How could it be otherwise? We must also
respect the opportunities for senior engineers, minorities, women, and the
financially disadvantaged who would like to enter our profession.
Second -- the conditions under which new high tech workers are admitted and
allowed to remain in the United States affects the future of our profession,
as well as our national economic and social well-being. Because the H1-B is
a non-immigrant temporary visa, a policy based on the H1-B becomes an
endless series of quick-fixes to the permanent problem of renewing our
profession in the United States.
After all, the United States is a land of immigrants, not guest-workers.
Immigration has benefited us enormously throughout our history, but the
universal experience with guest worker programs is that they fail. In every
case, large numbers intend to stay. So why don't we fix what's broken? The
Ellis Island model for immigration worked well.
The IEEE-USA was organized to be the career services and public policy arm
for the 230,000 U.S. members of the IEEE. When the members, volunteers, and
IEEE-USA Board agree that a particular matter (whether it is pensions,
precollege education, or immigration policy) is worth it, on behalf of the
U.S. members, we make the effort. The H1-B is such an issue.
As engineers, we know the best solution is the one that solves all the
problems. What are the problems the H1-B visa is supposed to solve?
Employers want to hire skilled workers from the global marketplace. The
H1-B workers they hire overwhelmingly want permanent residency - the green
card -- and U.S. high tech workers want two things: (1) that they compete
equally with foreign-born workers, and (2) that they continually improve
their skills for a life-time career in their profession.
The IEEE-USA has simply put all of this together. "Green cards, not guest
workers" is an alternative that provides employers, H1-B workers and U.S.
workers alike with what we all want.
For information, go to:
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IEEE-USA is holding its 2000 Professional Development Conference at
Marriott's Camelback Inn Golf Resort and Spa in Scottsdale, AZ, 1-4 Sept.
With the theme, "The Millennium and Beyond," the conference explores
professional and career issues of interest to new and experienced engineers.
Topics range from career planning and professional skills management to
engineering leadership, mentoring, financial planning, organizational
ethics, diversity and public policy.
The third millennium is spawning new technologies and business models that
change the world engineers face. To help engineers thrive, sessions are
slated on career planning, networking, and entrepreneurial skills, as well
as building customer relationships and satisfaction. Additional sessions
will focus on developing the skills engineers need to move into leadership
positions such as project, time and influence management. Legislative issues
that affect engineers' careers will also be covered.
Further, the conference offers opportunities for younger engineers to
interact with experienced engineers. The IEEE's Graduates of the Last
Decade (GOLD) program will sponsor sessions specifically geared for younger
The program includes a mix of plenary sessions with keynote speakers,
concurrent one-hour tutorials, two-hour workshops and poster board sessions.
Registrants earn continuing education units (CEUs) for conference
participation from the International Association for Continuing Education
and Training (IACET).
For additional information, go to; or
contact Linda S. Hall at (e-mail), +1 202 785 0017 ext. 8325
(voice), or +1 202 785 0835 (fax).
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If you're not already one of the more than 5,000 subscribers to IEEE-USA
TODAY and IEEE-USA EYE ON WASHINGTON, issued monthly and biweekly,
respectively, then you're not up-to-date on the latest targeted news on the
organization's career and policy activities.
The 14 April IEEE-USA EYE ON WASHINGTON includes blurbs on House legislation
to promote teacher development and private-sector involvement in math and
science education, plus a White House report on reversing
under-representation of ethnic and gender groups in the sci-tech ranks.
The 17 April IEEE-USA TODAY includes blurbs on the organization's improved
online job board and resume referral service at, as
well as on how to be listed in the 2000 DIRECTORY OF ELECTROTECHNOLOGY AND
Subscribe now to one or both of the update services at
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1828 L Street, NW, Suite 1202
Washington, DC 20036-5104
Tel: +1 202 785 0017
Fax: +1 202 785 0835
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Updated 04/29/2000