The presidents of more than 400 state and private universities have formed a quiet partnership with a top-level group of wealthy investors to help foreign graduates, even though the same alumni will take prestigious jobs from the American graduates of those institutions.
Officials at the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration refused to answer questions from Breitbart News about the conflicts of interest posed by their anti-American alliance with the West Coast investors at FWD.us.
The FWD.us lobby group was created in 2013 by wealthy investors to help boost the inflow of visa workers and legal immigrants into the United States via the 2015 “Gang of Eight” amnesty. The foreign workers raise stock market values by serving as cheaper workers — including software programmers and delivery drivers — and also as consumers and apartment renters.
The FWD.us founders include some of the wealthiest men in the world — such as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg — as well as many successful investors who create new companies to sell shares to investment firms on Wall Street. Immigrants are very beneficial to these investors, who expect they can spike their stock values by roughly $20 for every $1 they cut from company payrolls or add to company sales.
The investors at FWD.us have formed their partnership with the Presidents’ Alliance to defend the Optional Practical Training program, which provides temporary work permits to roughly 400,000 foreign graduates each year
The investors like the OPT program because it helps flood the market for professional skills, so nudging down salaries. In 2017, for example, 3,655 foreign graduates got jobs at Amazon, 1,707 got jobs at Intel Corp., 1,501 got jobs at Google, and 1,022 got jobs at Microsoft.
In turn, some of these temporary OPT hires got longer-term jobs via the H-1B program, according to federal data at MyVisaJobs.com. In 2018, Amazon asked to hire 1,091 H-1Bs, and nominated roughly 25 OPT workers for green cards.
The OPT hiring is used by foreign managers at U.S. companies to hire fellow nationals and to discriminate against American graduates, according to several Indian-born and American managers at U.S. companies.
Universities love the OPT program, and the paired Curricular Practical Training program, because the programs allow them to sell roughly 400,000 work-permits to foreign graduates in exchange for funds marked as tuition fees. This lure of work permits helps the universities get almost $40 billion in extra tuition fees each year.
In 2017, 6,199 foreigners got work permits via New York University, 6,060 got jobs via Northwestern Polytechnic University, and 5,844 got jobs via the University of Southern California, according to federal data.
But the OPT program is being threatened by a lawsuit from American workers who say Congress never approved the program. The program was expanded by White House officials working for President George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and it illegally hurts the salary and career prospects of Americans, says plaintiff lawyer John Miano.
University officials — including the presidents of state funded colleges — are defending the OPT program as a good thing for foreigners who want to take jobs from the Americans whose taxes help pay the presidents’ salaries.
“OPT is a critical program of immense benefit to our international students,” said a statement from Jane Fernandes, the president of Guilford College. “Any actions taken to limit or decrease student participation in this program will significantly harm U.S. higher education [and the] Loss of the OPT program will reduce our ability to recruit excellent international students and benefit from their presence.”
“OPT offers an incredible opportunity for international students to consider the United States for their higher education,” said a statement from Kent Ingle, the president of Southeastern University. “Any rollback on funding for OPT offered to F-1 students would hinder the many who aspire to earn an education or internship in the United States.”
“The end of OPT would dramatically hurt and undermine the success of international students,” said Joseph Steinmetz, Chancellor, University of Arkansas. “It is incumbent on institutions of higher education to ensure that international students are able to engage in all aspects of educational development and training,” he continued.
There is growing evidence of extensive OPT fraud by students, colleges, and employers. For example, many progressives viscerally denounced the November news that hundreds of Indian graduates are being expelled from the United States because they violated federal rules to get OPT work permits. News reports also showed a variety of fly-by-night firms were serving as token OPT employers for Chinese and Indian migrants who want to live and work in the United States.
NBC outlet shows more evidence of massive fraud in the #OPT work-permit program for 300K graduates per year.
FBI & ICE are investigating. But the investors are fighting back b/c every $1 cut from college-grad salaries creates $20 on Wall Street.https://t.co/MlkjcCNduy
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) December 2, 2019
Opponents of the OPT program post growing evidence that the program is being used as a labor trafficking program by U.S. companies, and also by Indian-born managers in U.S. firms who want to hire fellow Indians instead of Americans.
Here's an example of a job posting for a Software Developer position in Edison, NJ. The job is specifically looking for OPT candidates (foreign students with work permits), & offering free training & accommodations, & guarantee of H-1B visa sponsorship. Americans need not reply! pic.twitter.com/WT6HMGQUPq
— U.S. Tech Workers (@USTechWorkers) December 1, 2019
Arizona GOP Rep. Paul Gosar has drafted legislation that would end the OPT program, and creating hundreds of thousands of good jobs for American graduates:
I have been ringing the bell on how everyone says we need STEM but there is a 50% unemployment rate for our STEM citizen grads. Why? #OPT Check out these ads, online now, preferring or requiring OPT. This program is illegal. Immoral. End OPT. pic.twitter.com/UQ3efwhm2E
— Paul Gosar (@DrPaulGosar) November 20, 2019
Meanwhile, FWD.us and other investors are trying to dramatically expand the OPT program by passing GOP. Sen Mike Lee‘s S.386 bill. The bill lifts so-called “country caps” on Indian graduates, so inviting more Indians to snag the huge prize of citizenship by taking more OPT jobs.
FWD.us and the Presidents’ Alliance are also trying to protect Obama’s DACA program, which exempted roughly 800,000 illegals from deportation and also provided work permits to the almost 800,000 illegals. Few of the DACA migrants go to college, but FWD.us is using the DACA controversy to spike opposition to the White House’s pro-American immigration reforms. The Supreme Court is assessing a lawsuit to aid the DACA migrants, but the court may damage the universities’ OPT program by restricting the White House’s award of work permits to illegals.
The university presidents are also pairing with FWD.us to allow many migrants to get occupational licenses for blue-collar jobs. The licenses would allow FWD.us investors to hire cheap migrants in place of American electricians, plumbers, natural-gas technicians, HVAC professionals, and many others. This elite push would reduce the wages paid to skilled labor, and so further widen the growing economic divide between those elites and ordinary Americans.
The universities’ profitable trafficking of foreign graduates into the U.S. labor market has pushed many American graduates out of good colleges, and then towards lower-wage jobs, in lower-track careers, in second-tier towns. In November 2019, California lawyer Randy Berholtz wrote an article for the San Diego Union-Tribune saying:
First, we are taking needed positions away from San Diegan, Californian and American students. My daughter’s guidance counselor at a San Diego high school told her students not to apply to UC San Diego because she felt that even though they had top grades, they wouldn’t be accepted there owing to its difficult admission policies.
Second, we are educating students from a fairly hostile communist country with which we are embroiled in a trade war and we may eventually be involved in a major military conflict at some point. In addition, there are many cases of China students, researchers and the like who have been linked to an organized effort by that country to spy on and steal important inventions and other trade secret information from American entities.
Third, it appears that UC admissions officers have decreased their efforts to attract other American students from outside of California in favor of students from China. I am originally from the coal regions of Pennsylvania where poverty rates are in the 50% to 60% range. Students from my hometown and region would love to attend UC San Diego as well as students right here in outlying cities and communities in San Diego and the rest of California.
One of my daughters had very high grades from a well-known high school in San Diego and did not get into UC San Diego. She instead was admitted to the Claremont Colleges. My Shanghai colleague’s daughter, however, was admitted as an undergraduate into UC San Diego, which just isn’t right.
Federal data shows that 1,955 foreign graduates got OPT work-permits in 2017 from the University of California at San Diego.
“We are now in a vicious cycle of screwing Americans,” said Miano, a lawyer with the Immigration Reform Law Institute, adding that tuition:
is now so out of control that American universities do not provide educational value for their cost. So universities want … to provide immigration benefits [to foreign students] to make up for the lack of educational benefits. So they can continue to raise their prices. So American students can get more in debt and not be able to find jobs when they graduate.
The self-serving economic alliance between FWD.us and the university presidents underscores the deepening alliances between progressive elites in business, politics, and education — often for goals which threaten the careers, salaries, and well-being of American graduate.
For example, left-wing Democrat Rep. Julian Castro has campaigned for higher migration through the 2020 Democratic primary. Castro describes himself as a progressive, but he was a founding board member of a billionaires’ lobbying group similar to FWD.us — the New American Economy. That group was formed in 2013 by Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch to push the “Gang of Eight” amnesty.
The FWD.us partnership with the universities allows the investors at FWD.us to help steer and tout the universities’ advocacy. The universities usually have an enormous influence on their local legislators and statehouses — but this lobbying risks a rebuke from Americans students and their tax-paying, voting parents.
However, few establishment media outlets will recognize the universities’ obvious conflicts of interest. But a growing number of American students recognize the threat posed to their careers by the universities’ eagerness to trade work permits for foreigners’ tuition fees.
The presidents’ group admits the elite alliance.
In March 2019, Miriam Feldblum, the co-founder and executive director of the Presidents’ Alliance, told a meeting that “FWD.us is a very close partner with the President’s Alliance.”
For example, the group’s “Communications Toolkit for Colleges and Universities” says, “The Presidents’ Alliance thanks FWD.us for their extensive support in creating the template for this toolkit.” Another of the group’s webpages, titled “Partner Resources,” says, “FWD.us, an Alliance Partner, produced two fact sheets on protecting Dreamers and TPS & DED holders.”
Todd Schulte is the director of the FWD.us advocacy group, and recently has been touting companies’ claims against Miano’s OPT lawsuit:
— Todd Schulte (@TheToddSchulte) November 26, 2019
In April, Miano visited with the Presidents’ Alliance:
— Presidents' Immigration Alliance (@PresImmAlliance) April 1, 2019
Follow Neil Munro on Twitter @NeilMunroDC.
If you’ve got any news or tips, please email the author at NMunro@Breitbart.com.