Americans Must Be Grateful to Immigrants, Says University Chief

naturalization ceremony
Rick Scuteri/AP

Americans must be told they should be grateful to immigrants, says a university executive who fears losing revenues amid the public’s strong opposition to corporate immigration.

“Americans owe immense gratitude to immigrants as well, and the country desperately needs continued immigration,” says Ariel Armony, the director of the University Center for International Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. “Immigrants’ status in this country is still viewed as a ‘favor’ granted to the immigrant,” complained Armony, who arrived from Argentina around 1990.

“The country depends on [college graduate] immigrants for highly skilled jobs,” Armony wrote in the Los Angeles Times.

Americans also must be grateful to blue-collar immigrants who do “jobs that are often disdained” by ordinary Americans, says Armony. Migrants also are “performing [a huge part of] the backbreaking labor to build our cities and infrastructure … Without a steady supply of immigrants, we are risking our future as a nation,” he wrote, echoing numerous Democrat politicians and business lobbies.

Armony did not mention the massive evidence that mass-immigration shifts wealth from younger wage-earners to older investors. The shift happens because migration raises rents and cuts the salaries and wages paid to American employees, so boosting employers, sellers, real-estate owners, and stockholders.

Armony’s university gains from the inflow of foreign customers.

In 2018, 4,619 foreigners each paid tens of thousands of dollars to attend the University of Pittsburgh. The payments then allowed roughly 1,072 of those foreigners to get U.S. jobs and for 508 to get three-year work permits via work permit programs for foreign graduates.

The work permits allow the foreign students to compete against U.S. graduates for good jobs — with the extra advantage that their employers do not have to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes whenever they hire foreigners instead of Americans.

Those foreign graduates are vital to Americans, Armony insists:

Take universities like mine. They are built on ideas and brain power. Our success depends on global networks of talent, which would be impossible without immigrants deciding to come to the United States.

Yet over the last three years, there has been a sustained decline in the number of international students enrolling in U.S. universities. Instead, they are choosing to study in countries such as Australia and Canada. The decision of some students not to come to the U.S. has the potential to cost our economy billions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs. Even worse, we are missing the opportunity to incorporate talent into our stock of brain power, damaging our future competitiveness.

Americans need to understand that we are competing for immigrants, and it’s a competition we dare not lose.

Pittsburgh’s share of these foreign workers is a small share of the more 360,000 foreign graduates who got U.S. white-collar jobs in 2018 via the universities. A January report by the Department of Homeland Security stated:

There were 145,564 pre- and post-completion optional practical training (OPT) students with both an employment authorization document (EAD) and who reported working for an employer in calendar year 2018, compared to 152,681 in calendar year 2017—a nearly five percent decrease.

There were 69,650 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) OPT students with both an EAD and who reported working for an employer in calendar year 2018, compared to 64,481 in calendar year 2017—more than an 8 percent increase.

There were 151,525 curricular practical training (CPT) students with both an EAD and who reported working for an employer in calendar year 2018, compared to 132,380 in calendar year 2017, more than a 14 percent increase.

For example, a Breitbart News study estimated that Amazon and Microsoft both employ more than 6,000 Chinese graduates instead of American graduates. Many of these foreign graduates are paid $130,000 a year — plus a citizenship bonus — to hold jobs sought by indebted U.S. graduates.

Numerous polls show the public wants to like and welcome migrants — but also strongly opposes the inflow of foreigners to take jobs needed by Americans.

Some U.S. professionals have organized to protest the OPT and other outsourcing programs.

A group of U.S. workers has filed a lawsuit against the OPT program, saying it was created by prior presidents without any approval from Congress. The much-delayed lawsuit has survived numerous legal setbacks, and it is expected to get a court decision this spring or summer.

The OPT program is being defended by pro-business advocates in President Donald Trump’s administration and also by a coalition of universities and investors.

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