I was flabbergasted to hear Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk telling students at a university campus lecture last week that “We should staple a green card behind your diploma.” He repeated this nonsense at Ohio State University during a “Culture War” tour stop this week, asserting that any foreign national who graduates from any “four-year college” should get a green card if any “American employer” needs to fill a job.
“I don’t think it makes sense to export that person to go back to Korea or, you know, Sudan or whatever,” Kirk argues, because it “doesn’t make logical sense” to “export intellectual investment that we made within our own university.”
So much for America First.
Here is what Millennials and post-Millenials need to know about the suicidal open-borders campaign by cheap-labor corporatists to undercut American graduates.
As my co-author John Miano and I reported in our 2015 book, Sold Out: How High-Tech Billionaires & Bipartisan Beltway Crapweasels Are Screwing America’s Best & Brightest Workers, the push for giving F-1 foreign academic visa holders permanent residency and an automatic path to citizenship is spearheaded by Big Tech CEOs with an insatiable appetite for low-wage foreign IT workers.
Microsoft and Intel have lobbied Congress for this special-interest green card deal (along with busting the cap for H-1B tech visas) for years. The plan garnered the enthusiastic support of open-borders President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and loser Hillary Clinton on the Left and Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), the Koch network, and loser Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on the Right.
Take note: Kirk’s proposal is even more extreme than Silicon Valley tech lobbyists’ pet project. While Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg want to staple green cards to the so-called STEM diplomas of foreign graduate students in high priority academic fields, the “conservative” spokesman supports handing out green cards to any and all foreign students who graduate with “a skill.”
Kirk doesn’t just want to inundate the IT job market with low-wage Chinese, Indians, Koreans, Sudanese, “or whatever.” He wants to open the floodgates in all labor markets, whether or not there is a purported labor shortage. (In truth, it is doubtful that there is a labor shortage in any industry. See here, here, and here for a debunking of the IT worker shortage myth.)
Kirk displayed his cluelessness about immigration policy and law by claiming at OSU that green cards provide only “temporary” residency (it’s permanent) and don’t lead to U.S. citizenship (they provide a direct path). He also showed an abject lack of “logical sense” when he argues that America should put all temporary F-1 visa holders on the path to citizenship because we shouldn’t “export intellectual investment that we made within our own university.”
The original intent of the F-1 program was to invest in foreign students’ education in order to benefit America by creating goodwill ambassadors who return to their home countries, not to create cheap workers for U.S. companies. Kirk and the tech lobby argue that since we educate F-1 students, we shouldn’t send them home. Yet, every foreign student is required to certify on the I-20 form, as a condition of admission, that:
I seek to enter or remain in the United States temporarily, and solely for the purpose of pursuing a full course of study at the school named on page 1 of this form.
What part of “temporarily” and “solely for the purpose of pursuing a full course of study” does the Talking Points USA leader not understand?
The roots of the foreign student visa program can be traced to the advocacy efforts of the Institute for International Education (IIE)—founded by Nobel Peace Prize laureates to foster cultural exchange—and its successor organizations, the National Association of Foreign Student Advisers/the Association of International Educators (NAFSA), and the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE). Among IIE’s early activities: lobbying for the establishment of the foreign student visa, designing the visa application form for the State Department, founding the Fulbright Program, countering Axis propaganda, and reconstructing European universities destroyed by war.
The noble idea of educating international students and exposing them to American culture to “foster understanding” and “peace” rested on those students going back to their homelands after graduation to share their positive experiences and apply what they had learned to improve their own countries. But over the years, the F-1 program morphed into conduits that are entirely different from its original mission. It has become a massive cash cow for American higher ed and schlocky Internet consultants who sell their tips for getting around our immigration system and yet another foreign worker pipeline for corporations.
Here’s a chart of F-1 visa approval stats from 1987-2013 that we published in Sold Out:
From 2014-2018, America granted an additional 2.6 million-plus F-1 student visas. Newsflash, Young Kirk: They’re not coming largely from Korea and Sudan. The majority of F-1s are computer programming and engineering majors from China and India. Thanks to a regulatory monstrosity known as the Optional Practical Training program (OPT), more than half a million foreign “students” who came in on F-1s have been authorized to work in the United States with little monitoring, no wage protections, no payment of Social Security payroll taxes and no requirement for employers to demonstrate labor market shortages. The OPT program places American tech workers at a competitive disadvantage. On the upside, it is a great deal for American corporations. Microsoft First!
There are about 10,000 educational institutions accredited by the federal government’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) to accept foreign students. Oversight is lax and the national security implications are obvious. Incentives to police F-1 holders are weak, despite several high-profile espionage and terrorism cases involving student visa violators (including the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the Times Square bombing plot, the Boston Marathon bombing, and the 9/11 attacks). Despite requiring foreign students to demonstrate they intend to go home after their studies are complete America still has no way of tracking whether visa holders actually have gone home after their visas expire. Our government simply does not know how many illegal alien student visa overstayers are currently in the country.
How rigorous are federal accreditation standards for the schools issuing diplomas to F-1s? The Wall Street Journal described it as a “useless process” in which “almost no institution misses the mark.” Approved schools include beauty academies and career training programs. F-1 student visa mills are rampant.
Do you see the problem yet?
These F-1/OPT workers are in direct competition with Americans.
There is no cap on the number of F-1s issued.
Untold millions of F-1 visa overstayers are on the loose.
And coupled with OPT, the student visa system operates as a backdoor guest-worker program that will dwarf the notoriously fraud-ridden and loophole-riddled H-1B visa program, discriminating against and replacing American workers forced to train their inferior foreign substitutes.
John Miano and I found that U.S. tech companies have become so brazen in their pursuit of this new cheap foreign worker supply that they advertise for OPT workers while explicitly excluding American applicants. One IBM corporate recruiting site put out a call for SAP programmers in Boise, Idaho, on OPT with “India work authorization” and listed the job’s work location as “India” so that Americans searching by location wouldn’t find it.
Big Tech lobbyists on the Potomac cocktail circuit successfully secured OPT regulatory changes (made with no administrative notice, no Congressional debate, and no vote) that allow aliens on STEM OPT to work for up to 35 months (up from 12 months) and to remain in the country while unemployed to look for work, further increasing the supply of foreign labor. The Obama Department of Homeland Security also announced an expansion of the academic fields eligible for the STEM OPT extension from roughly three hundred to four hundred—without public notice, without public comment, and without even bothering to publish the new rule in the Federal Register. My co-author John Miano’s legal battle against the OPT racket and on behalf of American workers has dragged on for more than 11 years now with no end in sight.
Here’s a Pew Research graph of OPT work authorizations for F-1 student visa holders from 2004-2016:
So American students get screwed. Social Security and Medicare get cheated. Foreign spies and jihadists get another entry point. Universities get control over immigration policy. Corporatists get cheap labor. Where’s the benefit to the conservative audiences Charlie Kirk entertains on the lecture circuit?
“Asians,” Kirk told the crowd at OSU, including “Indian-Americans and people from Southeast Asia” commit the “least amount of crime” and “embrace the American cultural identity.” Assimilation, he infers, will produce electoral gains for the GOP.
But what Kirk and the Beltway green-card staplers won’t respond to are facts and math. Asian-Americans went 80-20 for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in 2016. According to the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, 78 percent of Asian voters surveyed showed strong support for stricter gun control laws. Half of Asian Americans said police are racist. The AALDEF survey found 65 percent showed support for illegal alien amnesty and the LGBT agenda. Enrollment in the Democratic Party was highest among South Asian ethnicities; 84 percent of Indo-Caribbean, 83 percent of Bangladeshi, 79 percent of Pakistani, and 64 percent of Asian Indian American voters were enrolled as Democrats, compared to 59 percent of all Asian Americans surveyed nationally.
Let me spell it out for the slow learners: Stapling green cards to unlimited diplomas of foreign F-1/OPT workers exempt from payroll taxes is a recipe for American companies outsourcing jobs on American soil and stabbing American college grads and post-grads in the back.
That’s a sadistic and suicidal way to win the “culture war,” put “America First, and “Make America Great Again.”