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Biden immigration rule will harm American college graduates, expert warns

The Biden administration’s new STEM visa expansion makes a ‘mockery’ of the system, immigration analyst says

American college graduates will be harmed by new STEM visa rules being put in place by President Joe Biden’s administration, an immigration analyst warns.

The Department of Homeland Security has expanded the “STEM Designated Degree Program List” to include Industrial and Organizational Psychology and Research Methodology and Quantitative Methods among other additions.

“The STEM list is absurdly broad, allowing more foreign graduates to obtain 3-year work permits,” Robert Law with the Center for Immigration Studies told The College Fix via email.

“There is no shortage of Americans with STEM degrees and many of the majors on this list make a mockery of what STEM is supposed to be about, namely the hard sciences,” Law said.

Other additions include business-oriented degrees like Business Analytics and Financial Analytics. American college graduates will be harmed by this expansion, Law said.

“An increased supply of labor reduces wages and opportunities for Americans, many of whom have significant student loan debt they will struggle to repay,” Law said.

He said that students in the Optional Practical Training visa program “are cheaper because they are exempt from payroll taxes” and this undermines American wages.

OPT applies to foreign students on a visa to study here, and has not been set up by Congressional action.

“The F-1 visa is to allow foreign students to obtain an education in the United States, but the expectation is they return to their home countries,” Law told The Fix. “OPT/STEM OPT is the largest guest worker program never passed by Congress; it is an executive branch creation that allows hundreds of thousands of aliens to work in the United States for years in circumvention of established immigration cap.”

The DHS did not respond to a request for comment.

Immigration system should put Americans first, Law says

The Fix asked Law what the priorities should be for the American immigration system.

“Our immigration system should recognize the American people as its primary stakeholder,” he said.

“This means we should set legal immigration levels that do not harm the economic opportunities of Americans and ensure that new immigrants can assimilate successfully,” Law said.

“The U.S. government must strictly enforce our immigration laws and not permit any level of illegal immigration,” he told The College Fix.

Immigration advocates champion proposals, back away from commenting

The Fix reached out to two groups that are advocates for expanding student visa programs and immigration in the country generally. Both initially offered to provide comment but then did not respond to follow-up emails.

The American Immigration Council sent out a statement in early February praising legislation in Congress to make it easier for Hong Kong residents who get American college degrees to come here and work in STEM. The legislation is similar in aim to the new Department of Homeland Security regulation.

When asked for comment on the new OPT program, the AIC initially offered to provide comment. “I’d be happy to connect you with someone,” spokesperson Maria Frausto told The Fix in mid-February when asked if someone could comment on the new STEM proposal. Frausto ignored three more emails sent in the past month.

Likewise, Cato Institute offered to provide comment but later ignored follow-up email requests for comment.

Immigration policy director Alex Nowrasteh has repeatedly written about the need to increase visas and make sure more STEM workers can come here. He forwarded questions sent by The Fix about the new proposal and the priorities of our immigration policy to David Bier, an immigration research fellow at the libertarian think-tank.

“I can answer your questions, I think. Thanks!” Bier told The Fix on February 23. He did not respond to a March 14 follow-up email.

MORE: Zillennial conservative leaders voice support for hawkish immigration measures

IMAGE: White House

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About the Author
Charlotte Waldron -- Miami University