Federal investigators arrested five people for helping Chinese nationals cheat their way into U.S. universities — and then perhaps into U.S. jobs and research laboratories.
“The indictment charges the defendants with conspiring to use false passports, using false passports, and aggravated identity theft as part of the scheme to impersonate Chinese nationals who were required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) to obtain a student visa,” said the official announcement.
Student visas are the first step into the U.S. jobs market for many Chinese and Indian graduates.
The alleged ringleader, “[Liu] Cai paid for and registered 14 Chinese nationals for TOEFL exams over a one-year period in 2015 and 2016. Following the tests, Cai allegedly paid three co-defendants approximately $400 per test from his PayPal and Venmo accounts,” the report said.
“On top of allowing students to cheat their way into our top universities, schemes such as this exploit our nation’s legal immigration system and threaten our national security,” said Joseph Macias, Special Agent in Charge for Homeland Security Investigations in Los Angeles. “We will move aggressively to identify and prosecute those who engage in fraud and corrupt the immigration process for profit.”
The sweep comes as White House officials face intense lobbying by business and university groups who want more foreign students to be pumped into U.S. universities, workplaces, and research centers.
The students are delivered via visa-worker programs, including the Optional Practical Training and the Curricular Practical Training programs which allow roughly 400,000 foreign students and graduates to hold jobs in a wide variety of sectors. Many of those graduates subsequently get H-1B work-permits, which put them on track to eventually get green cards.
Weird but true: GOP and Dems in Congress are offering fast-track green cards to encourage 300,000+ vr. low wage Indian workers to take jobs from middle class American voters & graduates. FWIW I don't think the pols & staffers recognize what they are doing https://t.co/4TIUFzhC9b
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) March 1, 2019
The huge inflow of foreign workers helps to push Americans out of high-tech jobs and to hold down salaries for American graduates. In 2018, for example, salaries for experienced U.S. professionals grew by only two percent, even as salaries grew by four percent for blue-collar and middle-class Americans, according to a March report by Goldman Sachs
The job theft is accelerated by widespread cheating among foreign workers, who fabricate resumes, lie about their expertise, and even fraudulently claim expertise in lip-synched video interviews, say U.S professionals who have been pushed out of jobs by cheap visa-workers.
Some of the foreign workers secretly pay wages to their U.S.-based employers because their main goal is to win employer-sponsored green cards, according to indictments.
In January, federal officials arrested many Indian visa-workers and charged them with participating in fraud to preserve their work visas.
Feds use a fake university to bust college-grad labor traffickers who funneled at least 600 Indian grads into jobs around the US. The trafficking was hidden within the quasi-legal workforce of 1.5 million H-1B, OPT, L-1, TN, etc. white-collar visa-workers. https://t.co/EBenDh5wE3
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) January 31, 2019
The incentive for foreigners to cheat is high because the 140,000 green cards distributed each year to foreign workers by the U.S. government are extremely valuable.
For example, the green cards allow foreigners to leave their poor, crime-plagued, caste-ridden home countries and to bring their families, parents — and all of their descendants — into the wealthy, low crime, high-trust, socially open American society, just for the price of working a low-wage white-collar job for ten years.
New study shows foreign college-grads are far less skilled than American graduates. But investors & CEOs prefer to import 1.5 million+ cheap foreign visa-workers – H-1Bs etc – instead of hiring US grads. So Congress sides with biz and US grads lose careers https://t.co/BSRfdQT1Im
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) February 26, 2019
The incentive for Chinese and Indians to cheat will be expanded by pending legislation, titled H.R.1044 and S.386.
Advocates for the legislation say it will not raise the annual number of green cards but will just lift onerous “country caps” which limit the award of green cards to Chinese and Indian visa workers. For example, Indian visa workers can now only get 23,000 of the 140,000 green cards which are annually given to foreign employees of U.S. companies. Advocates also say the extra green cards will end the backlog of 300,000 Indians working and waiting in the line for green cards.
But the removal of the “country cap” limits greater Indian share of the 140,000 green cards may encourage more Indians and Chinese to take more U.S jobs from more U.S. graduates, according to a 2018 report by the Congressional Research Service. The promise of “shorter wait times for [green cards] might actually incentivize greater numbers of nationals from India, China, and the Philippines to seek employment-based [green card] status,” a CRS report warned legislators. “If that were to occur, the reduction in the number of [workers in jobs with approved green card] petitions pending might be short-lived,” said the December 2018 report.
The outsourcing legislation is being pushed by Colorado GOP Rep. Ken Buck in the House and by several GOP Senators, including Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Sen. Jim Moran (R-KS), Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), and Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND).
The alleged cheating by foreign workers has also prompted multiple lawsuits by sidelined Americans.
The federal report on the alleged Chinese cheating said:
The five defendants were taken into custody this morning without incident. They are:
- Liu Cai, 23, of Woodland Hills, who allegedly facilitated the scheme, took at least five TOEFL exams himself and is residing in the United States on a student visa;
- Quang Cao, 24, of San Francisco, who allegedly took at least four TOEFL exams with false identification, and who was arrested today in Stockton, California;
- Elric Zhang, 24, of Los Angeles, who allegedly took at least five TOEFL exams as part of the scheme;
- Mohan Zhang, 24, of Cerritos, who allegedly took at least two TOEFL exams under the names of foreign nationals; and
- Samantha Wang, 24, of Corona, who allegedly took at least two TOEFL exams.
Read it all here:
Justice Dept. arrests Indian CEO for college-grad labor-trafficking in Seattle, via the H-1B visa-worker system. Tip of the iceberg, say H-1B critics. Let's have unlimited white-collar inflow, say business groups. https://t.co/3LK1yctzSX
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) August 31, 2018