The House Packs Another Bill with Immigration Provisions

Founder’s Corner

Dear All:

The adage goes “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”  And based upon what we saw last week from the open border enthusiasts and their lackeys in the U.S. House of Representatives, this appears to be their battle cry.

Stalled in their previous attempt to attach a host of immigration provisions to the now defunct Build Back Better Act, House Democrats have turned their attention to the America COMPETES Act of 2022’ (H.R. 4521) and are trying to inject immigration provisions that represent massive giveaways to Big Tech and universities.

The Senate version of the bill, the ‘U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA),’ was passed last June and both the Senate and House versions seek to spend $250 billion on domestic research and manufacturing to make the country more competitive against China.

However, unable to resist the opportunity to turn what was a very helpful and constructive piece of legislation into a complete nightmare, House Democrats inserted the following immigration provisions:

  1. Any foreigner (including their spouse and children) with a PhD in STEM from either a U.S. or foreign institution qualifies for immediate eligibility and exemptions from numerical caps for employment-based Green Cards.
  1. Any foreigner that wants to start a business in the U.S. and owns a minimum 10% equity stake in the business, along with at least a minimum of a $250,000 in qualifying investments from one or more investors, qualifies for newly created visa called the W-1 visa. After 3 years, the foreign “entrepreneur” can self-petition for a Green Card (spouse and children included).

The irony in all this is the intent of the Senate bill was to invest in America and to make Americans and for that matter, America more competitive. Unfortunately, these immigration provisions will only seek to lure foreigners to the U.S. and further invest in their talents.

These excerpts from my recent Breitbart interview clearly reflect how I feel about the provisions and our current state of affairs:

“The U.S. already has an O-1 “genius visa” for accomplished foreign professionals. But the large new programs in the House bill would gradually import an “overclass” of credentialled foreign scientists and managers.”

“We would be importing a class of people that will ultimately be the managerial class who will oversee Americans, because that’s what higher education does in America, that’s what skills do in America. This is dangerous … it will actually make America less competitive because it’s hollowing out the citizens who are part of the social fabric of this country.”

“Roughly half of the skilled workers in U.S. laboratories are foreign “postdocs,” often on OPT or J-1 work permits. They are favored over many Americans because laboratory directors can work them harder than U.S. citizens and pay them with hopes of government-provided green cards. The huge number of foreign postdocs ensures that our many young Americans are denied places in university research.”

The U.S. produces plenty of STEM PhDs each year. In fact, we have a huge surplus, and there are more STEM PhDs granted each year than there are tenure-track faculty positions.  Areo Magazine argued in an article published last year that to save STEM innovation and fix the dysfunctional PhD racket, the U.S. needs to slash the number of PhDs it produces.

“Many science and engineering PhDs who land academic jobs after their postdocs find themselves shuttling between low-paying adjunct positions with meager benefits, with little hope of obtaining a long-term appointment.

Why does this dysfunctional situation persist? A recent Bloomberg article suggests that it is because PhD students “contribute substantially to the university system [by] providing a source of cheap, highly skilled labor for both research and undergraduate education.””

The last sentence is important and revealing –“PhD students contribute substantially to the university by providing a source of cheap, highly skilled labor…”

Imagine if you could tap into an additional pool of laborers who are willing, compliant and cheap and all you have to do in return is provide an immigration benefit attached to the job offer?!

Well, this is what universities are doing under current immigration policy. They’re benefiting from students eager and willing to pay full-freight tuition in return for landing an employment authorization document through Optional Practical Training (OPT).

And companies and institutions reap the benefits as well.  They get a compliant, cheap worker who can’t and won’t jump ship or upset the apple cart because their immigration status is linked to their job.

Adding insult to injury, the America COMPETES Act wants to double-down on this practice by creating unlimited Green Cards for any foreigner that has a PhD!  This will result in flooding the already saturated PhD market and giving universities an even greater supply of cheap labor to choose from.

Many years ago, while enrolled in a Japanese literature in translation class, a fellow student stated their desire to earn a PhD. To this, Professor Yasuda responded, “better get them while they are giving them out!”

If Professor Yasuda could only see what’s become of that venerated degree. I’m afraid if this continues there will be a time when the PhD is no longer the philosophiae doctor degree but the congesta alta doctor degree, or in common parlance, the Piled High and Deep degree!

I’ve written how universities are crafting programs that pander to the “pathway to citizenship” crowd  —  programs like STEM MBAs. I wouldn’t be surprised if lower-tier universities start offering fast-track PhD programs to attract foreign students. The fact there are more foreigners working in the U.S. through the OPT program versus the H-1B visa shows there’s certainly an appetite for these programs and potentially others.

Having failed to learn what a scam the EB-5 investor visa program was – that’s the one foreigners could basically buy a Green Card if they invested around $1 million in a commercial U.S. enterprise – it’s concerning but not surprising that House Democrats essentially want to launch something similar.

The W-1 visa program, requires a minimum investment of $250,000 and the difference is the amount is invested in a “startup” which the foreigner starts in the U.S. and in which they hold an executive level position.

Silicon Valley heavily lobbied for an “entrepreneur visa” and Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA 19th District) is behind it. While the W-1’s intent is to attract foreigners to launch tech startups in the U.S. in exchange for an easier pathway to citizenship, the provision neglects to clearly define a “startup”.

In other words, what’s to prevent a foreigner from utilizing the W-1 visa program to open a 7-11 franchise? They could claim the 7-11 is a “startup”.

I’ve addressed the two major immigration provisions in the America COMPETES Act, but sadly there are others. For instance, House Democrat Deborah Ross (NC) and Raja Krishnamoorthy (IL) added a provision that allows stapled-Green Cards to college diplomas for the children of H-1B/L-1/E-2/E-1 visa holders.

It’s appropriate I’m writing this the day after Groundhog Day.  I’m reminded of the movie of the same name in which actor Bill Murray’s character is forced to relive Groundhog Day over and over, and over again. In the end, Murray evolves to become a better man, thereby escaping his repetitive fate.

The question for us is how do we escape the repetitive fate imposed on us by the open borders crowd? Can we ever end the incessant scheming and underhanded tricks Congress exerts so much of its energy on in its displacement of U.S. workers?

For starters we can change out Congress. But for the time being, we must educate and implore our senators to strike these provisions from getting into the final bill and being passed into law.

In closing, if you enjoyed this week’s newsletter and appreciate the work we do, please donate to the cause. And join us this evening on Twitter Spaces at 7:15 PM EST for our bi-weekly immigration update.

In solidarity,

Kevin Lynn
Founder
U.S. Tech Workers

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