A common myth circulated about immigration regulations contends that without such regulations, employers would cruelly exploit immigrant labor, virtually enslaving them and paying them a mere pittance. These regulations, this argument goes, actually serve to protect immigrant by keeping them trapped in other, less free countries, often mired in poverty with only a fraction of the opportunity they would see here, no matter what their skill level.
While a silly argument on the face of it, labor will always flow to where it is best treated and paid, and barring actual physical force, employees can move around and find another job if they are free to, but it still makes the rounds when conservatives argue for strict immigration enforcement.
Exploitation does occur, however. It occurs either because unscrupulous employers can exploit their employees' legal status as a means to make them tolerate harsher conditions or infrequent pay; or in this particular case, it stems from the immigration regulations themselves:
Once you get one of those work visas, if you lose your job, it expires in 48 hours. If you quit or get fired, you have 2 days to find another job or you’re an illegal. And oddly enough, there was always some kind of delay with the lawyer if someone got too close to getting their green card.
So they would import these fresh-out-of school programmers, get them settled, and then stick them on projects that were mandatory 70 hours a week at least, and would have them by the balls until the project shipped or they got laid-off. One of those projects was on 7x10 for the entire 2 years that I worked there.
Immigration regulations allow a legal way for the unscrupulous to genuinely exploit immigrant labor; rather than search for another job, immigrants are forced out of the country or into breaking the law if they cannot find a job mere hours after leaving their current job. If anyone wishes to decry the exploitation of immigrant labor, one need only look at our current regulations; not how things would be if these regulations were repealed.