Maltreated H-1B Workers Begin to Find a Voice

There was a thought-provoking article in the SF Chronicle Sunday on the current quandaries faced by high-skilled foreign workers on H-1B Visas in the U.S. A very large proportion of these are Indian (49%), and in high-tech and computer fields (45%).

Currently, the system has problems on every side: first, representatives of software companies (chief among them Microsoft’s Bill Gates) have loudly asserted that they need for the number of available H-1B visas to be increased, as there are currently significant numbers of unfilled positions in many computer related fields (and this is even despite the explosion of outsourcing in the past five years). Secondly, there is confusion about whether H-1B should be understood as a temporary visa, or the first stage on the path to a green card; most Indians I know presume it’s the latter, while the government still seems to think it’s the former. And finally, the system clearly hasn’t been working very well for the immigrants themselves: it currently takes between 6 and 12 years for an Indian on an H1-B to be given a green card, even with employers willing to sponsor them. Confusingly, it takes much less time for H-1B workers from other national backgrounds to be given a green card once they find sponsorship. One of the surprises to me in the SF Chronicle article is the fact that the USCIS doesn’t even really know how many H-1B workers with Green Card sponsors there are:

Stuck in the middle is a federal government that has problems tracking the visas. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the federal agency that oversees this guest-worker program, can’t answer basic questions including:

– How many foreign-born professionals are working in the United States on H-1B visas now?

– What percentage of H-1B visa holders seek green cards instead of returning home?

– How many H-1B visa holders and family members are awaiting green cards?

“The cumulative numbers you are looking for simply aren’t available,” said Citizenship and Immigration Services spokesman Chris Bentley. “These are not issues we track.”

This admission of ignorance is really depressing: it suggests how low on the government’s priority list the H-1B workers really are. “It’s not something we track” is a way of saying, “no one really seems to care about this.”

Fortunately, a new organization has cropped up to advocate for H1-B workers: Immigration Voice. They’ve hired a PR firm to help them make their case in public, and they’re trying to influence the push to reform the H1-B system that is currently starting to work its way through Congress.

On a personal note, I should say that my wife started working in the U.S. (in the Bay Area) on an H-1B visa, and I’ve seen the ins and outs of this deeply flawed system at work. I feel strongly that the H1-B system is essential to the U.S. economy, and that H1-B workers, who come to the U.S. with advanced university degrees and unique skills, ought to be fast-tracked to permanent resident (Green Card) status. As it is, 1.1 million people (according to Immigration Voice’s number) are currently waiting in limbo, unsure whether to plan on staying in the U.S. permanently — and everything that might come with that — or whether they should continue to presume they’ll be heading back to the countries they started from.

Finally, I also think second-gen desis in the U.S. — particularly all the desi lawyers out there — ought to be advocating for better treatment for the Indians who are here on H-1B visas. As of now I haven’t seen much of this.

342 thoughts on “Maltreated H-1B Workers Begin to Find a Voice

  1. Well, even MD, the resident flag waving conservative on SM, thinks Indian yoghurt is better. I do like the imported Greek stuff though….yoghurt, strained, with cream mixed in. The desi coronaries may not like, but the tastebuds do!

  2. 168 · Rahul on May 29, 2007 03:51 PM · Direct link The “we have a culture” part, relatively speaking.. is true. Yes, I know that many first-gen Indians bring back samples of curd from back home because they find the yogurt here quite insipid.
    201 · MD on May 29, 2007 04:52 PM · Direct link Well, even MD, the resident flag waving conservative on SM, thinks Indian yoghurt is better

    After a self-congratulatory pat on the back for this effective long-lived threadjack, I say “Case closed”.

  3. they should have a special visa for exceptionally attractive people. that way we can wave in a bunch of h*tties.

  4. even MD, the resident flag waving conservative on SM, thinks Indian yoghurt is better. I do like the imported Greek stuff though….yoghurt, strained, with cream mixed in.

    Indian yoghurt is not better. It is too lemony and tangy. Damon’s plain yoghurt is much better.

  5. I leave for two minutes and this thread degenerates to my standards. I like.

    runs away

  6. I don’t like America because they call it yogurt.

    This is undoubtedly the funniest line ever written in this blog.

    And thank you, Shodan. I savvy.

  7. You can start with helping Immigration Voice in any which way you can, I’m a member there… I’ve been patiently waiting for 8 1/2 years now (Including 2 years of Masters) to get out of this black hole called “legal” immigration employment based.

    I’ve put many life changing plans on hold cause of this god forsaken path of legal immigration… which apparently will fall apart if the currently controversial bill “CIR” gets through to the President for his signature!

    Its disheartening to see how events are unfolding in the senate, how h1b workers are bashed, how there is no provision for folks already here waiting patiently… even after abiding by all the laws, paying taxes and are here legally!

  8. Canada chalo !! ..hail to the great white north… I have a PhD,,and i want to drive a taxi in Toronto…hurray !!

  9. has anyone ever had “biopot” in england. it is awesome. they should start selling it here in the us. they should give H1B visas to the guys that make biopot.

    Onken Biopot is THE Best yogurt man, better than any Indian Yogurt or Greek Yogurt. I love the packaging as well

  10. Not sure if anyone is still interested in the H1 discussion… but let me add my belated $2 to the thread :) === === === We should look at H1B for what it is. Basic premise being, US economy wants / needs H1B workers. (Not sure if anyone here questions this part.) H1B are well-qualified as certified by the stipulated process.

    The problems, and I use this term loosely, with the current H1B program are many. - H1B, aka temporary work visa – Firstly, I have a problem with the term temporary when we talk about 6 years. More importantly, from an American perspective, what does US expect the temporary worker, trained in the US for 6 years, to do after going back home? Continuing to work on similar assignment from India / home, sounds obvious to me. So why drive away a someone that you needed for 6 years especially when that need, more likely than not, is still present. Assuming the person does not get a GC, you would essentially drive away a trained professional to recruit a new H1B. Does this even sound logical? - As a H1B, it is difficult to bring spouses to the US – visa rejection rate is quite significant. And even if you manage to, the wife (most likely) or the husband cannot work in the US. Doesn’t this defy logic? US wants / invites someone to work in the country and denies the OBVIOUS / basic rights to their spouse. The fact that the wife / husband will come along for the temporary (6 years) period and are expected to stay home (and raise kids?) sounds ridiculous when associated with a modern society like US. - Wage depression – The favorite point for all H1 bashers. It is naive to assume that one factor, visa, contributes to something as complex as wage calculation. Any company competing on a global basis will survive only when the goods / services offer better value than rest of the player. Value in most cases boils down to price, although brands and reputation add to the value perception. In the tech industry, the largest component is the manpower cost = wage. The other big factor influencing salaries is the fight between demand and supply of resources. Then comes the nature of work. Excepting the top few layers, most workers in the tech industry are no different from the worker on the assembly line and therefore easily replaceable. We can continue adding to this list. However, the point I make is that H1 is a LEGAL way to help US industry compete globally. If not for H1, the tech workers would also be part of the 12 million illegal immigrants. They are here because the US economy needs them. However, the way H1 is structured today gives undue advantage to the employer. If the employer decides he can kick the employee out of the US. And there is little legal recourse for the employee. This situation is not very different from that of an illegal workers who live under this constant fear from their employers. Needless to say, the balance of power in favor of the employer also has a significant effect on the wage-levels at the cost of the H1 worker. - Taxation – If H1 is really considered temporary why expect anything more than an income tax? Why tag along all the taxes applicable to a citizen?

    And I haven’t even mentioned the uncertainities experienced by the H1 worker right from the time they walk into the consulate for their visa stamp till the time their status changes (GC, F1 or return back home).

    What most H1 / immigration opponents expect from US policy is not very different from a inward-looking communist state or worse. == === ===

    To the person who cribbed about losing his job to a H1 worker, In a country where people drive 10 miles to get 10-cents-cheaper gas, why do you expect stock-market driven companies to deal any different for a commodity resource?

  11. I dont get why people are against the H1B. The total number of H1B’s is quite small when you compare it to the big picture. Think about that for a second.


    Second, I am an H1B, came to the country when I was 21, studied in USA schools, got an H1B. Now i have spent 1/3rd of my life in USA and am still on an H1B. I do the own the house, own the dog and watch NBA till late in the night having a beer. I dont get how I am so different. All I am asking is that for what I contribute to the US economy is more that the average Joe or the average Amigo. (You know this is true, look at my income tax statement)


    I should be welcomed rather that despised.


    And those ABCDs, get a life, I hang out with ABCDs as I do with white, black, latino, gay whatever… I am here and I am a part of you, whoever you might be. Stop being divisive, since this will just come back and bite you…


    USA is a strong immigrant target country right now for people like me (making more that a good 100K), but if I am not welcome, I can make it somewhere else and please tell me who loses if I leave.

    I come from a free country and want to live in a free country…. I do not hurt anyone and I come in peace… What is the problem to grant me a GC asap… ???????????????

  12. An H1B (218):

    Amen to that. Pray tell, what the fuck kind of yogurt do you like, though? Because that’s far more important than issues that decide things like living in America with dignity and respect.

    I work with a group of H1B holders. Most of them are married, and all of them are hard-working and well-educated, and performing highly technical jobs that are in demand.

    At the moment, most of them are going through one other not-often-discussed side-effect of the H1B issue, which is that they are beholden to their employer for their visa sponsorship, and a great many employers take advantage of that fact. Some sponsor actual immigration proceedings (and those enlightened companies are few) but the majority will only sponsor the visa itself…and then leave you on it for as long as they choose. The company reaps the rewards of the workforce, bills them out at a high hourly rate, and pays them commensurately less than the citizenry in the same positions.

    These days, it seems like everything comes down to class and inequality.

  13. For the sub-thread here of how first-gen-ers talk smack about US:

    I have had English, Irish, Dutch, Swedes and other assorted Europeans talk about how their culture is so superior to the US, and that as soon as they get their graduate degree here/some money saved from their current job etc. they are packing their bags and back to paradise with them. And, what do you know, they are still here after many, many years with most of their complaints intact.

    So please lay off the nonsense about desi uncles and aunties complaining. And if you do want to discuss this, please have a slightly more generalized hypothesis than ‘fobs-took-my-job-and-still-no-gratitude’.

  14. butter chicken: don’t set up a strawman argument. No one here is saying that. There is honest to goodness criticism, plain old griping, longing for home, which no one has a problem with. Chauvinism, expressed by anyone, is yucky. Why can’t some of you get this simple fact?

  15. Salil, Some of us who like to talk about yogurt, but do not necessarily like yogurt , have lived thru the GC meltdown. Heard of black humor?

  16. Germany, like most countries in the world, recognizes jus soli. That is, you are eligible for citizenship if you were born on German soil, even if your parents are not ethnically/linguistically German. Good thing too, or we would all be sensorily deprived of Sabs…

    Thats incorect. Most nations do not have Jus Soli but have Jus sanguinis. Germany does not have Jus Soli. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_nationality_law

    India also abolished Jus Soli coz of illegal immigration from Bangladesh.

  17. Whatever Salil. It’s a comments thread. It’s going to twist and turn this way and that. I’ve been commenting since this thing started and it used to be, people were more forgiving. What is with all the attitude these days?

    I have a good friend whose husband lost his job when it was outsourced; what does one say to that friend? Are desi immigrants the only people we are allowed to feel any sympathy for? As I stated earlier, I am a free trader and globalist; overall outsourcing is a good thing for the economy, according to the studies I’ve read. Still, what to say to my friend and her husband? Or, are we supposed to be good little ABCDs and just shut up because of course our experiences mean nothing?

  18. Or, are we supposed to be good little ABCDs and just shut up because of course our experiences mean nothing?

    Apres moi le deluge

  19. MD:

    butter chicken: don’t set up a strawman argument. No one here is saying that. There is honest to goodness criticism, plain old griping, longing for home, which no one has a problem with. Chauvinism, expressed by anyone, is yucky. Why can’t some of you get this simple fact?

    How about this #2 comment?

    Quite frankly, as a second-gen desi, I don’t have much sympathy for H-1 b holders. You see, I got laid off and was replaced by an Indian H-1b. Was there special skills involved? Nah. The guy’s education was no better than Heald Technical Institute. He just came cheaper through a body shop. The Wall Street Journal did a better job of examining this situation than the Chronicle It’s a terrible irony. Does he have loyalty to the U.S.? Nah, like most H-1b’s, he just wants “dual” citizenship so that 1) he can leave his kids here to attend college in the future. 2) So that he can sponsor his aging parents and get them on the SSI government benefits dole. It’s the best of both worlds. Have your cake and eat it too! The solution is to shut down the H-1b visa program and restructure the American educational system. Of course, you can’t do that by wasting money in Iraq.
  20. This whole thread is apres moi le deluge.

    Remember back in #63 when I said, “FOB, ABCD peeps, let’s all get along?” Good times, good times.

    I have a headache. I quit on this thread, after this comment:

    The immigration system in the US is a mess and this bill ain’t gonna fix it.

  21. MD:

    From your last comment and this:

    why should someone have more solidarity to someone they don’t know, simply because they are more brown, than the country and community they live in?

    I sense an underlying unease with any suggestion that you may have anything in common with the DBDs/H-1s who are the subject of this post.

    Do you think its wrong for DBDs to expect more empathy from ABDs ? Because the assumption is that someone in the ABD’s family must have been DBD!( Unless you came over on the Mayflower or had an ancestor in the Battle of Wounded Knee – wrong Indian then!)

  22. That’s only one comment; butter chicken talked about a ‘subthread’, implying, to me, many comments. That’s not fair to the rest of us who were making completely different comments.

  23. Or, are we supposed to be good little ABCDs and just shut up because of course our experiences mean nothing?

    If someone has a problem with FOBs, I’d rather they come out and say it, instead of playing this funny passive-aggressive game that’s been going on in this thread.

  24. quite frankly, i do not know why the attack has to be personal on DBDs. they are merely taking advantage of opportunities that the government and corporations provide for them. as many have said, this is a result almost sheerly out of capitalism. i understand frustration at lay-offs and outsourcing, but the anger is misdirected because DBDs are easy targets. but if the government did not allow H1Bs to come from india, and if corporations weren’t outsourcing the jobs or undercutting the salaries of american-born workers, H1Bs would have drastically less reason to be here. to admit that capitalism is generally a better system of economy is to admit that sometimes some of us are going to be the losers, rather than others, be those others people in different cities, companies, or countries.

  25. No, Runa, absolutely not. What I find interesting is that if you make any criticism about first gen’ers at all, it isn’t taken well. Look at the whole thread and my many comments. If there is hostility to FOBs, there sure is a whole lot of hostility back to ABCDs. And, I so didn’t want that which is why I commented such in #63. Jeez; what if I genuinely have a different political voice based on my ideas and experience? Do I automatically have to defer to you? Seriously, I’m am soooo not the type of desi you might think I am. I don’t give a damn about race, money, status, class. If I like you, I like you. If I don’t, I don’t.

  26. These days? So…I was nicer back in the day? Well, that’s good to know. It means I’m in step with my plan to become an old man who sits on his front porch in a rocking chair with a shotgun across his lap and yells at random passerby to “keep orffa mah lawn!”

    As far as what to say to “that friend,” I have no idea–probably something along the lines of “that sucks, sorry to hear that,” like people said to me when I lost my totally cool circa-2000-dotcom job at the company that started the aforementioned meltdown and had to go do something stupid and useless for a while so I could pay the rent.

    But I have recommendations for what to say to the companies that take any policy or piece of legislation aimed at righting a wrong or providing something better, and wringing it so thoroughly for every last drop of blood and cash that it fucking screams for mercy. H1B was never meant to be a panacea, nor was it meant to supplant American jobs. There are plenty of people who are on H1B who now have fewer options than your friend’s husband did when he left his job.

    It was not supposed to replace American workers with another group of workers, and disenfranchise them in the process. So yeah, I do feel bad for anyone who loses a job to someone who comes here on H1B. That’s not the H1B’s fault, though. That’s the fault of the company who is so focused on the bottom line that they’ll gut their own workforce to find cheaper bodies that they can control more readily.

    I feel bad for the person who loses their job to someone on H1B. I feel worse for someone who comes here on H1B, starts a life, has a family, and begins to feel like an American…only to have the rug yanked out from under him because his company decides that the immigration process is too expensive, or that they no longer feel the need.

  27. And one last note: I’m an ABCD myself. What difference does it make? Wrong is wrong. You screw over one set of people to screw over some other group even worse, that doesn’t mean the first group OR the second group has some kind of lock on suffering.

    It means the fucking system’s busted.

  28. Salil, if you’ve been around here since this blog started you know it had a different vibe back in the day. Seriously.

    As for the friend, no quotations, the friend exists, who is liberal and politically active, I don’t think I’m sorry is going to cut it. Some people feel that their jobs are threatened and they want to act politically to ‘save’ them. I don’t agree, but it’s a political reality. And it’s not a left-right thing. Populism is Edwards ticket after all. I feel bad for both, but apparently, I am supposed to take sides based on the color of my skin.

  29. 228 – is that a good enough reason? in many ways, that is an admission that we care more for certain people’s plights not because of the personal relationships we have those specific people, but rather because we have specific relations with others who belong to the group (religion, ethnicity etc) of those people. the classic dilemma of cosmopolitanism is : in a burning building, there are two people to save – both are total strangers, yet one is a person belonging to some common affiliation – race, gender, religion etc. whom do you save? many people would choose the person with the common affiliation, but barring a personal relationship, i think this would actually hint at some sort of prejudice for people outside that affiliation.

    i think DBDs can expect empathy from ABDs, but not more so than the empathy of ABDs for others.

  30. MD,

    No suggestion at all that you “defer to me ” in any way .I do not think that you are any “type ” of desi , rest assured ( Mainly because I myself am not any “type” of desi besides being desi and female)

    What I was getting at : I think the one thing that binds us all together in this space is the fact that we are brown and we probably appear the same to anyone who is not.Given this scenario , is it all that surprising that DBDs expect some empathy ? In a strange land is it all that astonishing that one would seek out what seems familiar ?

  31. Of course I feel sympathy, Runa. Of course I do. The immigration system is a mess and it’s natural to feel for immigrants if that is your background. But, I feel for people who grew up here too, because I grew up in the States. In the end, what is best for this country and it’s people and it’s future is what concerns me. That’s all I’m saying.

    Sigh.

    Okay, logging off for real now. Take care everyone.

  32. i think DBDs can expect empathy from ABDs, but not more so than the empathy of ABDs for others.

    What about the empathy of an ABD for a fellow ABD? Is that also exactly the same as the empathy for anyone else? Or are ABDs a separate category for you, separate from all other browns.

  33. If there is hostility to FOBs, there sure is a whole lot of hostility back to ABCDs.

    And herein lies the irony, “ABCDs” directly descend from “FOBs” the very people they mock and wish to distance themselves from… and “FOBs” if they choose to remain in this country (as most do), will have the honor of raising “ABCD” children, the very people they mocked.

    Of course all this is a moot point, because to the white majority, we’re all essentially fresh off the boat/plane/monorail/star treak beaming/whatever mode of transportation comes next.

    I look at the “FOB v ABCD” nonsense this way, imagine a line of 80 people waiting to get into a movie, and person #75 turning to #76 and saying. “Haha how you like me now, I got here first” and #76 saying, “you shouldn’t even be in this line!” If you were #5 in the line looking back, you’d say, “What the hell are wrong with those people?”

  34. You also said …

    have a good friend whose husband lost his job when it was outsourced; what does one say to that friend?

    Usually outsourcing happens because the work becomes commoditized. So you can say ‘get a new job’ as you implied in this comment

    Oh, and one final thing: I generally agree that I don’t have much sympathy for people who are afraid of competition
    Finally, I also think second-gen desis in the U.S. — particularly all the desi lawyers out there — ought to be advocating for better treatment for the Indians who are here on H-1B visas. As of now I haven’t seen much of this.

    No one is justifying those H1Bs with negative attitudes about US (I myself have berated them in person for doing such things) but it doesn’t alter the plight of H1Bs most of whom understand what US is about. There is nothing wrong in supporting someone of your own community as long as it falls within the legal framework. From what Amardeep says there is general lack of understanding of issues faced by new immigrants in desi 2,3-gener community and that is a pity.

  35. What about the empathy of an ABD for a fellow ABD? Is that also exactly the same as the empathy for anyone else? Or are ABDs a separate category for you, separate from all other browns.

    of course not. you seemed to have missed the basic point of my post – that empathy should not yield from group affiliations, but rather personal affiliation. so i feel just as much empathy for an ABD as for a DBD, if that empathy is deserved. i think it is unfair to make such a personal assusmption about me, when at all times i have shown clear respect for DBDs and no bias in favour of ABDs. and in my life, i do not. i do not feel closely affiliated to people just because they are brown – DBD or ABD. for me, personal affiliations are for more important, and justified.

  36. MD:

    Salil, if you’ve been around here since this blog started you know it had a different vibe back in the day. Seriously.

    Well. I can’t argue with that in the least. I’ve said that myself time and again, usually in my cranky Grandpa Simpson voice (“Now, to take the ferry costs a nickel, and in those days nickels had pictures of bumblebees on them. ‘Give me five bees for a quarter,’ you’d say. Now, where were we? Oh, yeah. The important thing was that I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time…”)

    I guess that’s the nature of the beast. Things change. At some point you get old and get too tired to adapt, and then you spend all your time railing about how great things used to be, when in fact I think there’s some kind of Law of Conservation of Sucky which maintains that the universe contains a finite amount of Sucky and a corresponding (and much smaller) amount of Happy Fun Time, and that Sucky cannot be destroyed, but it sure as hell can be created.

  37. Passive aggressive? It seems the ire is pretty blatant!

    As far as taxes go I’m not that sympathetic, sorry. I know I could make some lame argument about “if you drive on roads and use public services” then you should pay taxes, but that’s kind of incidental, in my opinion. I paid a crap load of taxes when I was abroad on a work visa (which is probably most similar to an H1-B here), and I’m not surprised that folks have the same case here. Does it suck? Yes. That’s life.

    Runa, Kush is right about voting, but it depends on the locality. If an area has voted to allow permanent residents to vote in their local elections, then they may do so. I think San Francisco does this (or just voted on this — someone please correct me if I’m wrong). This is why someone in Miami can get slammed for voter fraud while someone in San Francisco can register, at least locally, and vote.

    By definition this is true. To be American (in a cultural sense anyway) implies at least a partial discarding of one’s own culture.

    This is a little simplistic! Maybe I am too Pollyanna’ish, but I would not trade jazz, Woody Guthrie, Carson McCullers or Johnny Cash for the idea of some kind of “purist” culture. Culture is by definition fluid. I think trying to peg it down and measure one as “more or less” cultured is just silly.

    With respect to the culture debate as a whole, I definitely had family members (most of whom came through family reunification) who would lament Amreekan society and its suckitude relative to their beloved India. My sibs and I used to joke and call India the “Grandmotherland” (since it was my grandmother who did the most complaining). That said, for her I think it was a great sense of homesickness and nostalgia. Similarly, I think people, upon returning, are more surprised than they think. My dad used to get super homesick sometimes, but when he returned to India after 20 years (to visit) he cried. Not out of happiness, but because everything he had remembered/loved was gone. He has never been lonely for the desh since.

    And for others who complain, I’m not surprised. Please let’s not forget that historically immigration has been super biased towards money-holding elites. I hear these same relatives scoff about the lack of culture in the desh. If you are rich and uptight, and define your “richness” by your “uptightness,” you’ll find things to complain about everywhere you go.

    At the moment, most of them are going through one other not-often-discussed side-effect of the H1B issue, which is that they are beholden to their employer for their visa sponsorship, and a great many employers take advantage of that fact.

    Thank you, Salil! I’ve been wondering when folks would think about how much we (1st, 2nd, 3rd gen, alike) are getting PLAYED by the new immigration bill. It is ridiculous on a number of levels. Specifically, the H1-B visa sucks for those who are on it, and it sucks for the “native” labor force, also. Instead of railing against H1-B visa holders, why not take a long look at our ridiculous immigration system?

    Thats incorect. Most nations do not have Jus Soli but have Jus sanguinis. Germany does not have Jus Soli.

    Samir, while this is historically true, at least since the 1940s, Germany has been in the process of creating “hybridized” laws around jus soli/jus sanguinis over the past 10 years. The politics around their old jus sanguinis policy is one part xenophobic and one part apologetic and is fully confusing. Also, it’s important to note that the U.S. has a combination as well (if you are born in the U.S. you are a citizen, but if you are born to U.S. citizens abroad and they file in time you are also a citizen).

  38. ak # 237

    I think I should clarify

    Let me use your example:

    If a building is burning and you have a choice between saving me – whom you do not know – and a US Marine – whom you do not know – I would expect you to save the Marine .Because its country and community over imagined kinship everytime.

    My comments were about empathy in the context of immigration because every ABD would have had some DBD in their family go through immigration, no?

  39. Oh, I forgot. For the yogurt-loving:

    Pavel’s Russian Yogurt ( available in the Bay Area) .Simply awesome !

    Agreed!

    Although, as one of those unfortunate desis who is allergic to dairy, I content myself with Wildwood Soygurt. :)

  40. This is a little simplistic! Maybe I am too Pollyanna’ish, but I would not trade jazz, Woody Guthrie, Carson McCullers or Johnny Cash for the idea of some kind of “purist” culture. Culture is by definition fluid. I think trying to peg it down and measure one as “more or less” cultured is just silly.

    The fluidity of culture moves slower than rates of immigration. i.e. a person can change his or her practices, much faster than an entire society changing it’s “culture” It’s easier for the irishman or italian to discard their language, than it is for spaghetti to become a mainstay of American culture.

  41. Samir:

    Thats incorect. Most nations do not have Jus Soli but have Jus sanguinis. Germany does not have Jus Soli.

    Your point is also not entirely correct. Most countries do recognize both jus soli and jus sanguinis, although some countries, like the UK, for example, place certain limits on citizenship based on location of birth. In fact, only a handful of countries (including India) have abolished jus soli altogether.

    Germany recognizes a limited form of jus soli. Birth in Germany does not confer automatic citizenship, but a person born in Germany to a parent who is a legal resident of Germany (for 8 years) is eligible for citizenship, even though the parent is not a German citizen.

    Also, the earlier point was that German “blood” (which I assume means German ancestry) is required for citizenship. That is totally incorrect. If a parent is a German citizen (regardless of ethnicity), a child born to that parent is eligible for German citizenship.

  42. Runa – #246 – but you are still missing my point. given your hypo, in a pure cosmopolitan attitude, i would not have a preference for saving either one of you. i.e. it is only a personal relationship – with you or the marine – that would trump, rather than any affiliation by country etc.

    and about the empathy – i did say there is empathy, but not necessarily more so for the DBD stuck in H1B hell than for anybody else – brown or otherwise – who lost his/her job to the DBD. my point is, i don’t really think the empathy should be more just because of the brown factor. i can empathise with all these people based on their situations, not their ethnic, country or other type of affiliation.