As far as I know, unless you have some sort of seriously important reputation and/or have a unique skill set that cannot be found in the US you are basically out of luck. Though in not as bad a shape as the general job market the general programming market is a buyer's market at the moment. There are a lot of people looking for positions right now who are already here and there is little to no incentive to take on the expense and obligation of a foreign worker. Unless the company is very large (like Intel) the overhead associated with the process, in terms of both time and money, versus the benefit they gain from another employee makes it an unattractive option. I went through the whole process myself and eventually got my green card. It is a long, long road, with or without help.
Not a great answer but I wanted to provide some context. I wish you the best of luck with your search. If anything is going to pick up it will be in the new year. Right now everybody is settling in the for holidays and there will be very little action in terms of recruitment.
The "long road" I refer to is the lengthy process of getting your paperwork processed, even if you do find an employer willing to go to bat for you.
If your goal is a green card (at which point you can work for any employer, in any job in the US) then your only real path (as an individual) is to get an H1-B visa and then petition for a green card.
Getting an H1-B is subject to an annual cap of X thousand (changes with each year) and those are allocated using a bunch of different rules, not the least of which is being someone who qualifies as being on the "schedule of occupations" (click here for the first link that popped up on Google on the topic). Basically, you have to have a university degree in the field you want to get a job in or education plus applicable professional experience.
If you DO get one of these H1-B visas it is for a specific employer, doing a specific job. There IS a way to change employers, if your next employer can satisfy all the requirements of the first one (that they require somebody with your specific skills, background, etc. in that particular profession).
The H1-B is issued for a fixed amount of time, with extensions possible but really won't go much longer than five or six years (yes, years).
In the meantime, again assuming that the employer is willing to take on the hassle and expense, you can start the process for a green card.
The first and longest process is the labor certification. This requires the employer to go out and recruit for your job, to prove to the Bureau of Labor that an American cannot be found for your position, and that you are qualified, etc. There is a new semi-automated system in place for this called PERM but you still have to get into the system. When I went through it took almost three years for my certification (after a couple of false starts).
If you manage to get that then the employer has to petition the government to grant you the green card and the paperwork goes through a government bureaucracy (and the delays that that implies).
When that is approved you can then apply to adjust your status and you will be:
- examined by a civil surgeon,
- retina-scanned and
- have an extensive background check performed.
If all of that goes well then you have to wait for them to issue the actual card, which can take six months or more.
That, my friend, is the "long road".
In the interim you are bound to your employer and they have significant leverage over you. It is not unusual for an employer to use this to get you to accept all kinds of things that you would never put up with if you were free to seek other employment. You are also not allowed to change your job for that employer (i.e., no promotions).
On the employers side you are talking about a minimum of $10k USD in lawyer's fees, filing fees, etc. plus the time for their HR folks to handle all the labor certification, etc. in addition to having to provide reams of paper on demand to the government related to you and your job.
In retrospect I'm not sure I would follow the same path again as it caused me a lot of grief on different levels. As of a few years ago I was done with the process and perhaps it has improved (if anybody else wants to jump in here). I am a Canadian and my process was a bit easier because of it. Some people I know from India and China I compared notes with said that there are quotas for issuing visas to them so even when they've jumped through all the hoops they might still be in limbo. While you are in this limbo you are not allowed to leave the US unless you get written permission for a significant life event such as a death in the family. From your user name I do not know where you're coming from so I do not know what rules will apply to you.
TL:DR - the green card process for an individual is very long and expensive. Employers are avoiding such entanglements.