Garland Texas began a program several years ago of hiring teachers on H-1B visas and now has a problem on its hands according to the Dallas News.

Apparently the school system told the Spanish-speaking teachers that they would be able to stay permanently in the United States because the school system would sponsor them for green cards. What the authorities ignored was that immigrant visas are different from guest worker visas in that the employer has to make a good faith effort to hire qualified Americans and permanent residents for the job before they can make the claim that there is a shortage that requires the permanent job for the foreign worker.

Now the school district is in a major public relations mess as several of the long-term foreign teachers are facing the prospect of losing their jobs and the ability to stay in the United States. Included in the news account is the lament of one of the foreign teachers, “I have been here for 10 years. My daughter was born here. She doesn’t know any other country other than the United States.” What is odd about that statement is the fact that the H-1B visa is valid for only three years and may be renewed only once for an additional three years.

This public relations mess would have been avoided if the H-1B program had the same requirement as the immigrant visa program that the visas could be issued only if U.S. workers were unavailable. But, if that were the case, the H-1B visa program would be superfluous, and many of today’s unemployed professionals would likely have jobs.