Letter from Silicon Valley

Anonymous, American Renaissance, October 1998

There has been much discussion about the advisability of letting in more foreign engineers to work in American high-tech companies. Here is a report from an American engineer who wishes to remain anonymous.

The well-publicized downturn in the semiconductor industry finally took its toll on my company and I was laid off on July 1st. Since then I have been looking for work. Yesterday’s interview for an engineering position at a Milpitis chip company had quite an effect on me. All the engineers there are foreigners from East Asia. I believe the interview was an exercise in futility, an act of going through the motions.

One of the interviewers asked me how I would feel about being culturally isolated at the company: “Many of us speak Chinese to each other. We’re all from the Orient.” I said something PC. The three Chinese interviewers were nice and intelligent people, but very foreign, and the interviews were uncomfortable and awkward. We neither connected well nor had much in common. I answered their technical questions well, but the problem is culture and nationality, not engineering. I think the interview was just for the purpose of using me as proof that they “searched” for an American whereas what they really want is to hire a Chinese H-1B worker. [H-1B visas are granted to workers with special skills that presumably cannot be found in the American workforce.]

A recent interview with a Sunnyvale chip company was similar: The company is all foreign-born Asians. I had a thorough tour of the company, so I know. One of the interviewers was almost incomprehensible with his thick accent and poor English. I was thinking, “Why do I have to put up with this in my own country? Why is he the one with the power over me?”

I had a similar experience at a Fremont chip company, where three of the four interviewers were Indian. The one white asked me how I would feel working in an all-Asian environment.

I’m in a state of shock. It really hit me after the Milpitis interview. I drove home in a trance, my mouth dry and open. The radio was on, but I didn’t hear anything. After I pulled into my driveway, I didn’t get out of the car for five minutes. I just sat there, stunned.

Reality has set in: I will have to leave California. The situation here is beyond what I can tolerate. I cannot work in an all-foreign environment, where I have nothing in common with anyone, where every communication with co-workers is strained and difficult. I’m not just a worker, I’m a human being. As soon as I walked in the door, I got on the phone to a high-tech recruiter. I told her, “Help me to get out of this place as soon as possible.”

It’s too bad, because I love California. While growing up in the Midwest and attending college in another part of the country, I dreamed of coming here. Now I realize it’s not part of the United States anymore, and I’m being pushed out.

I’m just one person in the large stream of American engineers who have left or are planning to leave. A co-worker at my last company is transferring to the company branch in Austin, Texas. His sole reason, which he made clear to everyone in our department, was to work in an environment “that doesn’t have so many immigrants.” He’ll be a loss to the Silicon Valley office because of his excellent technical abilities.

He told me privately how his patience was wearing thin trying to deal with Asian engineers at the chip companies he served. The attitudes of some of them (mainly Chinese) really got on his nerves. Apparently, they’re often pushy and rude, and treat Americans like foreigners in our own country.

During its first 25 years, nearly all of the Silicon Valley engineers were native-born. Americans invented Silicon Valley. We invented and developed all the technology we use in our daily lives. The valley and companies like Intel, Motorola, IBM, etc. would not exist if it weren’t for us. Jobs in those companies should be for us. But because of industry demands for cheap labor, and a corrupt national government, there has been a revolution: Since the mid-1980s, the valley has been transformed from a cohesive, productive, American place to work, into a nightmarish scene of foreign takeovers. These foreigners are not better engineers than we are. We just have suicidal immigration laws.

Silicon Valley is beyond hope. Every company is inundated with foreigners. If 75 percent of the engineers around here aren’t foreign, then I don’t have blond hair and blue eyes. If the number of H-1B numbers does rise to 115,000 a year, as many company owners want it to, that would be the final nail in the coffin for Americans living here.

I recently gave up the idea I had for a “Euro-American” or “American Citizens’ High-Tech Employment Group.” It’s too late for that. Foreign Asians are now the gatekeepers of the Valley; they’re the ones who call the shots on who gets hired or fired. And they hire their own people–that’s why companies are all-Asian. There would have to be a large number of Americans in high-tech positions for a Euro-American group to have any effect. That situation no longer exists.

Imagine an army in full retreat, fleeing from a massive attack from the enemy. One of the retreating soldiers steps out and throws a little rock at the attackers, who respond with mortar shells and artillery. That little rock represents the potential effectiveness of a pro-American hiring group. It would amount to nothing, because the number of American engineers here is shrinking to nothing. And Americans in other states know of the catastrophe that has struck the area, and don’t want to be part of it.

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