Ugh. I'm so sick of all this nationalist bullshit. Why are we so afraid of the global economy? People should be free to move between different countries and seek employment at will. Ultimately, it's better for the world if we break down these artificial barriers.
Because when it comes to jobs, we don't even have a national economy. We have a local one. By the time you get into your 30s, most people have zero interest in packing up everything and moving to another state to get a job, much less another country. That barrier isn't artificial. It's ingrained in human nature.
When it becomes too easy for people to move to another place and take jobs, the inherent result is age discrimination. People who are younger and more mobile come in and take jobs that were needed by people who are less mobile, when the mobile people could just as easily have taken or created jobs closer to home.
It would be different if the world's wages were somewhat balanced, because then the number of young people leaving the U.S. for jobs would be balanced by the number of people entering. However, this is not the case. The U.S. pays higher wages to compensate for a higher cost of living. Therefore, those young people moving into the U.S. and taking jobs from older folks constitute a real burden. And at least in our lifetimes, there will never be balanced wages worldwide. There will always be some new third-world country to exploit for cheap labor. And workers in those countries will always benefit from coming to the U.S., where wages are higher. So tearing down those artificial barriers to labor entering the U.S. will always cause serious harm to workers in the U.S.
Worse, tearing down those barriers does nothing to improve the world on the average, at least for the foreseeable future. Because there will always be cheap labor pools to exploit, raising the standard of living in one country will only continue up until the point where they start demanding more money. At that point, they'll just bring the educational standards of another country up to the point where they can start exploiting it, and leave folks in the first country homeless and starving. The only true way to raise the quality of life around the world is to ensure that no one anywhere is willing to work for less than a living wage. This is, of course, hard to do.
If you want to see a demonstration of why a lack of barriers is a bad thing, you need only look at the Silicon Valley with respect to the United States as a whole. There are no barriers to moving to California from other states with lower cost of living and lower average salaries, so lots of young people move here to make more money. The result is that age discrimination is rampant, the cost of living has skyrocketed, and there aren't enough jobs to keep people from losing their homes. And now you're talking about making the problem worse by making the entire world flood to the Silicon Valley.
As far as I'm concerned, if a company wants to hire workers outside the U.S., they should create a division in another country and hire those employees locally. This has several benefits over H1Bs. First, it is less likely to result in a reduction in jobs in the U.S., because separate business units tend to work on separate projects, and have separate staffing needs. Second, it does not drive up the cost of living in the U.S. by artificially inflating demand for housing. Third, it puts a lot more money into the economies of those other countries, because those workers are spending money in businesses near their homes, rather than here. That makes it much more effective at driving up the standard of living in those other countries than bringing workers here would.
Why don't companies do this? Because they don't want to drive up living standards in other countries. They just want cheap labor from those countries. If they drive up living standards in those other countries, then workers from those countries would eventually start demanding higher salaries, and they'd have to go and find another country to exploit before too long.
In short, government's whole reason for existing is to protect the powerless from the powerful. Employers are relatively powerful compared with their employees, so government actions that limit the ways in which those companies can abuse employees are generally a good thing, whether that means protecting U.S. workers from losing their jobs to foreign workers or protecting foreign workers from the often abusive working conditions that they encounter as foreign workers working in the United States by forcing those companies to start divisions in other countries and hire the workers locally instead.