Dr. Norm Matloff on the Gang of 8`s Trojan Horse
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May 19, 2013, 08:11 PM
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 Dr. Norm Matloff writes to his email list:

 Gang of 8 Trojan horse

A very much-appreciated article in Friday’s San Francisco Chronicle, titled "Green Card Plan for Students Stirs Worry," [By Carolyn Lochhead, May 17, 2013 ](unfortunately, subscription only).[ note: Try this link.]

What is different about this article from all other others about the Gang of 8 bill? This one is about the MOST dangerous of the tech-related provisions in the bill, "staple a green card." Yes, this part of the bill would be even more harmful than the H-1B expansion.

The bill would in essence grant automatic green cards to all foreign STEM graduate students. This would be a huge blow to U.S. citizen and permanent resident STEM workers, and to U.S. STEM itself. Its adverse impact would eclipse the impact of expanded H-1B, bad as the latter would be.

Keep in mind that the difference between H-1B and green cards is that under the latter, the worker becomes a PERMANENT FIXTURE IN THE LABOR MARKET, i.e. the impact is CUMULATIVE. Though today many H-1Bs are also sponsored for green cards, most are not. So, the Gof8 bill`s granting of automatic green cards would within a few years swell the STEM labor market like crazy. THAT WOULD GREATLY SUPPRESS STEM WAGES.

As most of you know, although my research has shown that on average the foreign STEM students are not "the best and the brightest," I do strongly support facilitating the immigration of those who ARE in that league. But this legislation would make it HARDER for us to attract those top talents: The suppressed wages would make it unattractive for the outstanding students in other countries to study and later work in the U.S., exactly contrary to what Congress wants. Talk about perverse effects! Meanwhile, the mediocre students in other countries would see an easy green card, and come here in droves.

The universities would see this as a bonanza. They would increase foreign student tuition, knowing that the green card seekers would pay it. A concomitant effect would be that the universities would lower their foreign student admissions standards.

The overall result of all this: A REDUCTION IN STEM QUALITY IN THE U.S.

My view of the public statements of the Gof8 and those of the industry lobbyists (which "for some odd reason" are strikingly similar) is that clearly certain parties are deliberately highlighting the H-1B parts of the bill in order to distract attention from this outrageous STEM green card provision. The latter is always described in the innocuous language "The bill would make it easier to get a green card"—an egregious understatement, as the bill would indiscriminantly give blanket green cards to all the STEM grad students, regardless of field, regardless of quality of school/student.

As I said, that understatement, paired with the flurry of statements on H-1B, is clearly no accident. This is intended to distract attention from the enormous impact the STEM green card provision would have, just as all the Good Cop, Bad Cop focus on the Indian outsourcing firms is meant to distract attention from rampant abuse among the mainstream employers.

In short, the STEM green card section in Gof8 is a Trojan horse. I generally avoid such strong language, but the situation is quite obvious, in my opinion.

Note by the way that I`ve been predicting over the years that the unwarranted demonizing of the Indian firms would not only be used to sneak in an increase in foreign workers for the "Intels," but also in the end Congress would not even clamp down on the "Infosyses." Well, the Web page was pointed out to me this morning. No way is Fragomen, the largest immigration law firm in the U.S. going to allow anything more than cosmetic sanctions on the Indian firms.

The Chronicle article notes that I do find one good thing about the STEM visas—it would remove the ability of the employers to "handcuff" the foreign workers, because they would presumably get their green cards within months. I should point out, though, that this is the case only for the current language in the bill, which could easily change. Many employers, especially in Silicon Valley, place tremendous value in their current ability to handcuff their foreign workers.

I`ve used terms like "in essence" in describing the STEM visas above. Here is why I have that qualifier. First, the bill would require the foreign student to have a job offer "in a related field." But that could be anything, say working as a clerk at Radio Shack. Second, the bill technically does limit the qualifying colleges, but the last I heard (from a Hill staffer and an administration official) was that it would include over 200 schools! Most students at most of these schools would be of mediocre or weak ability. So yes, the bill would in essence open the floodgates.

One of the popular buzzwords today is "transformative." It`s usually used in the positive sense, but the Gof8 STEM visas would be radically transformative in a negative sense, a historical event marking the decline of STEM in the U.S. Again, strong words, but I believe the situation is clear.


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