The nation’s security will be imperiled if American college graduates are not required to share their job opportunities with even more lower-wage foreign graduates, according to an investor-backed message to Congress.
“The risks for American leadership are clear,” said the May 9 letter to the top four leaders in the House and Senate. “China is the most significant technological and geopolitical competitor our country has faced in recent times … Without [even more foreign graduates], it will be very hard for America to win,” said the signers, who are more than 40 advocates and former managers and leaders in the federal military, immigration, and science agencies.
The letter was sent to Congress as it tries to combine different Senate and House bills into a bill that will fund U.S.-based technologies and factories to counter China’s high-tech sector.
The letter asked Congress to let investors staff U.S.-funded facilities with an uncapped number of foreign workers with doctoral degrees from foreign and U.S. universities:
The House version [of the bill] passed with a provision (80303) exempting from green card caps those with advanced STEM degrees, the tech talent that America needs to compete with China. We urge the committee to retain this provision or some appropriately modified version in the final bill, so as to help address the national security and global competition issues addressed in this letter. As the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence put it, such targeted STEM talent reforms are “a national security imperative.”
The letter claims there is a shortage of U.S. experts in artificial intelligence and “semiconductor-related programs” and that U.S. national strength is based on importing “the world’s best and brightest.”
National Security STEM Talent Letter by Breitbart News on Scribd
But the letter sets no limits on the desired inflow. Instead, it suggests that investors want ordinary foreign graduates for a very wide variety of jobs that are sought by American graduates. “Global STEM talent drives American leadership in critical sectors that underpin the defense industrial base, from computing to aerospace … America’s efforts to onshore critical supply chains will not succeed unless it also onshores the talent necessary to compete,” the letter says.
In fact, the House bill would allow investors and employers to import a massive flood of ordinary foreign graduates to take the ordinary jobs needed by ordinary American professionals. Breitbart News reported February 1:
The draft “America COMPETES Act of 2022” would allow foreigners to win an uncapped number of green cards by studying to become ordinary chemists, doctors, engineers, and statisticians — or accountants, tax experts, computer security experts, statisticians, ecologists, and many other types of professionals.
“It’s insanity — the idea that you would create a bill that supposedly improves America’s competitiveness [against China] by outsourcing all of the [skilled] labor is just nuts,” said Rosemary Jenks, government relations director for NumbersUSA. “It’s dystopian.”
The bill emerged from the House shortly after the Senate blocked the Build Back Better bill, which tried to create new pipelines for foreign graduates to get U.S white-collar jobs.
U.S. graduates have already lost many millions of jobs because of government policies that help investors export white-collar jobs.
Millions of U.S. graduates have also lost careers to the imported population of roughly 1.5 million contract visa-workers, via the H-1B, H-4, TN, J-1, and L-1 visa programs, and the expanding Optional Practical Training university program.
The pro-migration policies have helped to flatline salaries for nearly all college graduates since 2000, even while inflation and housing costs rise. “Most college graduates have actually seen their real incomes stagnate or even decline” since 2000, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote April 29.
The cheap and compliant foreign workers help Fortune 500 executives raise their profits and stock values, say, advocates. For example, a 2020 report claimed President Donald Trump’s temporary cutoff of new H-1B and L-1 workers cost the Fortune 500 $100 billion in stock values.
But the compliant foreign workers also let executives displace and demote myriad outspoken American professionals. The population replacement reduces the focus on long-term research, quality, security, accuracy, and safety at companies such as Intel, Boeing, and Theranos.
“This immigration plan is also an assault on the Midwest,” said Robert Law, director of regulatory affairs at the Center for Immigration Studies.
Immigrant populations tend to cluster in the coastal cities — [because] that is where the money is. And [jobs are] extracted out from the interior of the country. [Midwestern] jobs will go away, everything is reallocated [to the coasts] and the entire middle of the country is squeezed out.”
The letter does not say who organized the push for more white-collar migration. But it cites several projects and groups that are touted or funded by coastal investors, such as Eric Schmidt, an investor and former CEO of Google. On March 28, Schmidt touted the House bill, saying:
We need this [funding] bill passed and we collectively have got to figure out a way to get all the really, really smart people in this area to work on this. That also, by the way, includes high skills immigration to get people who want to work in the United States to work in these fabs [computer chip factories].
Elsewhere, business groups are using a draft bill for Ukrainian aid to open many U.S. white-collar jobs to foreign graduates with masters’ degrees. President Joe Biden’s border agency is also widening the inflow of foreign college graduates, mostly via the Optional Practical Training program.
Many journalists accept the business claim that there is a “labor shortage.” Few recognize the existing population of underpaid, underused, or sidelined Americans, or even many employers’ reluctance to invest in automation. For example, Alison Snyder, the managing editor at Axios where the letter was first posted, wrote on May 9:
Between the lines: “People are recognizing very critical national security goals can’t be achieved unless international STEM talent has a way to come and stay in the U.S.,” says Remco Zwetsloot, who researches STEM immigration and U.S.-China technological competitiveness at CSIS.
Several of the letter’s signers declined to answer questions about their push. They included Michael Chertoff at the Chertoff Group, Randy Beardsworth at Catalyst Partners, Paul Rosenzweig at Red Branch Consulting, Joseph Votel at Business Executives for National Security, and Julie Myers Wood at Guidepost Solutions, and Stewart Verdery at Monument Advocacy.
Other signers include David Deptula, Elaine Dezenski, Richard Fontaine, Steve Chu, and Ken Gabriel.
In reality, the inflow of foreign graduates has pushed many outspoken U.S. technology professionals out of well-paying careers. Their exit has prevented them from accelerating the nation’s technology development. A 2021 study by the Census Bureau reported:
The vast majority (62%) of [American] college-educated workers who majored in a STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] field were employed in non-STEM fields such as non-STEM management, law, education, social work, accounting or counseling. In addition, 10% of STEM college graduates worked in STEM-related occupations such as health care.
The path to STEM jobs for non-STEM majors was narrow. Only a few STEM-related majors (7%) and non-STEM majors (6%) ultimately ended up in STEM occupations.
“It should be clear to everyone that business owners and business managers have a vested interest in increased immigration so that they can have a larger labor pool and lower wages,” said Rosemary Jenks, government relations director at NumbersUSA. “We need to set that aside and have Congress actually do what’s right for the American people,” she said.
Some politicians and science leaders have publicly opposed the push for more foreign graduates, and have instead touted the need for career tracks to get Americans into high-tech careers.
On March 28, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo diplomatically shut down Schmidt’s demand for more “top tier” workers, saying, “As a former governor, I could not agree more with you about that. These are jobs, these are good jobs and these are jobs Americans should have.”
If Congress seeks to import workers, “we need to do it smartly, in order to once again ensure that those new workers aren’t competing with our existing workers for jobs, competing for wages and salaries,” Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) told Punchbowl’s Anna Palmer in a January 25 interview. Young is one of the lead Republicans in negotiations over the China bill.
Even some science leaders admit that the nation’s science managers are too dependent on cheap foreign workers, such as J-1 visa workers. “We’re going to have to educate our own,” Marcia McNutt, a geophysicist who is the president of the National Academy of Sciences, said in 2020.
“The [foreign workers] who come here, by and large, come for personal financial gain,” said Law, adding:
This notion of full assimilation to the American way of life is just not there in a mass scenario. The loyalties and [business and family] connections often remain to the home country, so money is funneled out of the United States economy to their home countries. This notion that you can just essentially buy loyalty by offering immigration status in the United States for a population is completely misguided.
The China migration plan “is simply about stock markets and the ability to buy the next mega-yacht or whatever else it is that the CEO class wants,” Law said.
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