Mark Zuckerberg’s Lobby: Give Green Cards to All Foreign Graduates of U.S. Universities

University graduates
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U.S. tech companies want to hire more skilled professionals, so the government should give green cards to foreigners who graduate from U.S. universities, says a report released Tuesday by FWD.us, an advocacy group for Mark Zuckerberg and other wealthy West Coast investors.

The report claims:

the tighter labor market means U.S. employers are struggling to fill critical jobs, limiting productivity and putting global leadership at risk. These labor shortages are especially pronounced in emerging industries like artificial intelligence (AI) that rely on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills.

“The most straightforward solution is to allow graduates with a U.S. degree and a job offer to start working and begin the green card process immediately,” says the report, adding  “This would relieve pressure on the H-1B program and keep it more focused on truly temporary workers, while facilitating permanent residency for well-educated and highly-skilled individuals who have already lived in the U.S. for some time and can fill permanent roles.”

The FWD.us report is just one part of a broader campaign by companies and investors to convince legislators that they must quickly pass a labor-supply bill in 2021. That short timeline would minimize legislators’opportunity to debate the value of flooding the labor market for college graduates. It would also minimize Americans’ ability to organize opposition to the FWD.us plan, which would likely cut middle-class wages and spike housing costs.

The lobbyist chatter about the need for more skilled workers “is about the second term,” said Daniel Horowitz, the editor of Conservative Review. Voters who back President Donald Trump’s America First agenda need to organize this year to defeat next year’s push for cheap labor, he said, adding:

The president needs to hear from his base — now is precisely the time to stand up and not stand down out of fear of pressuring the President. … He wants to be pressured [because] it is very hard for the President to go in one direction when 100 percent of the pressure inside the administration is headed in the other direction. The mistake that Trump supporters make is they wait until it is too late to stop the President from feeling compelled to go with the swamp … The time to get to the President is early and often.

“American graduates have to organize now to push back anticipated demands for more work visas by Business Roundtable and Chamber of Commerce types,” said Marie Larson, a technology graduate and a founder of the American Workers Coalition. “American graduates need a seat at the bargaining table because there is no greater stakeholder than American graduates — they are the ones whose livelihood is at stake.”

FWD.us was founded by wealthy investors, including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who also helped to expand the H-1B visa program.

The H-1B program lowers American wages by keeping roughly 700,000 Indian and Chinese graduate visa-workers in a wide variety of U.S.  jobs.

Overall, roughly one million Indian graduates hold American jobs because they are enrolled in the H-1B, OPT, J-1, L-1, H4EAD, and post-doc programs.

These one million-plus outsourcing workers have been used by CEOs, university managers, and investors to stabilize their U.S. workforces and raise their stock-values — but at the cost of reducing many Americans’ opportunity to innovate and experiment.

This huge workforce also helps flatline salaries for American graduates. In 2019, for example, lower-skilled Americans gained high wage increases amid reduced migration, but high-skilled Americans got low salary increases amid the import Indian workforce.

The FWD.us report also claims that immigrants are needed to fill 300,000 unfilled tech-jobs:

STEM fields have unemployment rates below the national average and more than 300,000 more jobs than there are workers to fill them, according to estimates from New American Economy.

Mike Bloomberg created the New American Economy advocacy group. At a February 26 CNN town hall, Bloomberg echoed the FWD.us plan by saying he would provide green-cards to every foreigner who graduates from a U.S. university:

One of the things in immigration is you’ve got to do some things quickly … You’ve got to staple a green card on every degree when they [foreign students] get out of college, particularly if they’re studying STEM [Science, Technology, Enginering and Math]…  We need more immigrants, not less immigrants. And a lot of them come from China.

Another founding member of the FWD.us group is former Google chief Eric Schmidt.

The FWD.us report cites his February 27 op-ed in the New York Times, which said the U.S. should counter competition from China by importing foreign scientists — such as Chinese scientists.

The headline of the op-ed is: “Eric Schmidt: I Used to Run Google. Silicon Valley Could Lose to China,” and it admits that Schmidt and his peers are being out-competed by China:

… in recent years, Americans — Silicon Valley leaders included — have put too much faith in the private sector to ensure U.S. global leadership in new technology. Now we are in a technology competition with China that has profound ramifications for our economy and defense — a reality I have come to appreciate as chairman of two government panels on innovation and national security. The government needs to get back in the game in a serious way.

Important trends are not in our favor. America’s lead in artificial intelligence, for example, is precarious. A.I. will open new frontiers in everything from biotechnology to banking, and it is also a Defense Department priority. Leading the world in A.I. is essential to growing our economy and protecting our security. A recent study considering more than 100 metrics finds that the United States is well ahead of China today but will fall behind in five to 10 years. China also has almost twice as many supercomputers and about 15 times as many deployed 5G base stations as the United States. If current trends continue, China’s overall investments in research and development are expected to surpass those of the United States within 10 years, around the same time its economy is projected to become larger than ours.

Schmidt also admits that he and his peers have failed to attract, recruit, and train enough American innovators, saying, “We should undertake major efforts to train up-and-coming scientists and engineers.”

The failure to build up domestic skills has left Schmidt and his peers dependent on the willingness of foreigners to work in U.S. firms, Schmidt suggests:

A majority of computer scientists with graduate degrees working in America were born abroad, as were most current graduate students studying computer science in U.S. universities.

But Schmidt argues that America’s technological advantages can be preserved by continued reliance on these foreign experts:

They are a source of national strength. A vast majority want to stay and contribute to American innovation. We must make it easier for them to do so. There is no need to wait for comprehensive immigration reform: We can change the immigration process for highly skilled people now to reduce the red tape, backlogs and uncertainty that threaten to drive tech talent to other countries — including to our strategic competitors.

Schmidt’s reference to “red tape, backlogs, and uncertainty” is likely a reference to the S.386 bill being pushed Utah GOP Sen. Mike Lee.

Lee’s bill would fast-track roughly 300,000 Indian visa-workers into green cards and then citizenship, regardless of the impact on American graduates.

The 300,000 Indians are part of the much larger workforce of roughly 1 million Indian visa-workers. The Indians have been imported to replace many of the boisterous American professionals who provided the skills and innovation which powered Silicon Valley in the 1980s and 1990s.

Lee’s S.386 bill also offers the promise of fast-track work permits to the next wave of Indian graduates who accept lower wages to work in Americans’ jobs. There are no caps in the OPT and H-1B programs, and Lee’s bill could roll back complicated “country caps” curbs on the award of green cards to foreign workers.

So far, Lee’s S.368 bill has been blocked by several GOP and Democratic Senators, by a few business interests, and by new groups of U.S. professionals. The high-stakes economic fight gets minimal coverage from white-collar journalists in the establishment media.

But FWD.us, the Chamber of Commerce, Bloomberg’s group, major universities, and other lobbies are expected to push for a quick passage of S.386 shortly after the election, say lobbyists from all sides of the fight.

Neither Schmidt’s op-ed nor the FWD.us report suggested that companies should expand the U.S. workforce by offering higher salaries and benefits to American graduates.

Those benefits could include legal changes to end the large-scale Indian outsourcing that has pushed many American experts out of Silicon Valley companies and into the unemployment line.

 

 

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