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DHS Best-and-Brightest STEM Program Under Fire 108

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the degree-mill-poaching dept.
theodp writes "In mid-May, the Department of Homeland Security quietly expanded a program that allows foreign science, technology, engineering and math grads to work in the U.S. for 29 months without a work visa. 'Attracting the best and brightest international talent to our colleges and universities and enabling them to contribute to their professional growth is an important part of our nation's economic, scientific and technological competitiveness,' explained DHS Chief Janet Napolitano. But last week, Senator Chuck Grassley called on the GAO to 'fully investigate' the student visa program, citing reports of abuse and other concerns in his letter. Now, Computerworld reports that the DHS STEM Visa Extension Program continues to be dominated by Stratford University and the University of Bridgeport (as it was in 2010), prompting some tongues to wag. It is 'obvious to any reasonable person that the schools producing most of the OPT students are not prestigious research universities,' quipped policy analyst Daniel Costa, 'which means that many of the OPT students across the country are not in fact the "best and brightest."' While conceding that top students can come from lesser-known schools, 'those will be the exception to the rule,' argued Costa, who suggested the government should include performance metrics in the OPT program, such as grades and university rankings."
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DHS Best-and-Brightest STEM Program Under Fire

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  • LET THEM STAY (Score:0, Insightful)

    by For a Free Internet (1594621) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @08:09AM (#40217951)

    And everyone else too. Full Citizenship Rights for All Immigrants! Down with racism, chauvinism and xenophobia! Workers of the world unite! Mobilize workers power to stop the ICE Gestapo kidnappers! Free all the immigrant prisoners in U.S. concentration camps and tear the camps down!

  • by bigsexyjoe (581721) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @08:22AM (#40218013)

    They need a cheap work force.

    Granted young people from prestigious universities might be helpful doing research at US universities. But for inexperienced people to help the US companies, they need enough of them to depress wages.

  • by sycodon (149926) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @08:26AM (#40218039)

    Public Universities should not be accepting foreign students over U.S. students. They may say they want the "prestige" of having a diverse student body or say that they have some hot shot kid from one of the Stan countries, but no matter. They were created for and their job is to provide a higher education for the American public. Especially since they are largely financed by U.S. Taxpayers.

    Private Universities? As long as they are let in under the rules and not given precedence over those who have been in line, fine, go ahead.

    It seems that most of the institutions of higher learning have forgotten what their purpose is and instead strive to have the most bling... people or programs or things.

  • by gweihir (88907) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @08:31AM (#40218065)

    Let me rephrase that: "Why would anyone qualified be interested in that?". Sure, 29 months sounds long, but if you have to leave at the end, it is basically wasted time. The "best and brightest" do typically not fall for that kind of scam. In any sane country, you can extend your stay and, after a time, apply for citizenship with good probability of getting it.

  • Re:LET THEM STAY (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @09:22AM (#40218467)

    Many of us are tired of the all the xenophilia that seems to have taken over our government and most of our institutions. Everything in the U.S. seems to be run for the benefit of anyone in the world except American citizens.

    Every position held by one of these visa holders is a position that an American citizen does not hold. A position, remember, that is at an institution at least partially (if not wholly) supported by American taxpayers. More people are asking why our money is going to benefit other countries' citizens, instead of our own?

    But it doesn't matter what argument I give; you'll call me racist anyway.

  • by Sangui5 (12317) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @09:24AM (#40218495)

    It isn't that unreasonable to be upset at what the article is about; there are abuses of the OPT visa, and those abuses ought be fixed.

    At the same time, it is important to understand what letting foreign students and giving them a shot at employment does. A lot of the US's economic lead comes from the fact that we basically imported the best of Europe's population just prior to and after WWII. The current programs extend this: essentially steal the best and most talented people from around the world by providing them with good opportunities.

    I did my graduate work at a large & relatively prestigious state school; I was the only US citizen in my research group. Everyone else was an immigrant. Except for one person who got lucky and won the green card lottery (literally a lottery) while still a student, every single one of them used the OPT visa at some point. They've all gone on to make valuable contributions to the US, as research scientists, faculty, and founders of a start up. The US is better off for them immigrating, and becoming permanent residents.

    So you should be angry when there are abuses of these sorts of visa programs. If there's too much abuse, these programs will be cut back, or even cancelled, and we'll stop getting the benefit of stealing the world's most talented people.

  • by luis_a_espinal (1810296) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @09:31AM (#40218545) Homepage

    Public Universities should not be accepting foreign students over U.S. students. They may say they want the "prestige" of having a diverse student body or say that they have some hot shot kid from one of the Stan countries, but no matter. They were created for and their job is to provide a higher education for the American public. Especially since they are largely financed by U.S. Taxpayers.

    Private Universities? As long as they are let in under the rules and not given precedence over those who have been in line, fine, go ahead.

    It seems that most of the institutions of higher learning have forgotten what their purpose is and instead strive to have the most bling... people or programs or things.

    Let me stop you right there with three points.

    1. No one is saying that US students are passed over foreign ones. Do you have proof that this is what is happening?

    2. The truth of the matter is that US students are not going in droves into STEM fields at the 4-year level, let alone the grad level. This is the truth. Suck on it and deal with it. The US STEM intelligentsia is disproportionally composed of foreign-born nationals. US students do not get passed over. They simply chose to study for Marketing or Creative Writing.

    3. Why not use tax payers to get the best and brightest from abroad to study here and become US nationals? That's better use of of taxpayers money (my money, your money) than funding yet another graduate in Creative Writing burdened by a $100K loan.

    It was a foreign-born citizen who created USB, and another one who helped create google. And many more created a lot more shit while the rest of us were content studying for useless degrees, while complaining why US students get passed over (which is not true.)

    A little bit more perspective and a little less of this stupid faux victim look-at-me syndrome is what you need.

  • Re:LET THEM STAY (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cdrguru (88047) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @09:59AM (#40218813) Homepage

    Hope you have a job. Because programs like this will insure that US graduates get to earn postdoc qualifications in burger-flipping while foreign students that are eager for jobs paying much more than they could get at home will take what employment there is.

    Look around and see what other first-world countries are doing for immigration. Most have far more restrictive policies than the US does and is far, far harsher for anyone violating their laws. Overstay your visa in Germany and you will likely be arrested and shipped out of the country. Walk into Mexico and you will find that their border is defended by the Mexican Army, and they do defend their border vigorously, with armed response to invaders.

    The US is still allowing huge numbers of legal immigrants in and these people are competing for the same jobs that US graduates are. Absolutely, we can employ cheaper foreign labor in all areas of employment - but we better figure out how to support the jobless that aren't going to get what jobs there are. You see, we finally have the economy that functions without a huge unjustifiable bubble - and at least 30% of the country is unemployed or underemployed. Meaning that STEM graduates are working at McDonalds because there simply aren't the STEM jobs to go around.

    And we want to bring in more people for these jobs that will work cheaper? As I said, hope you have a job - because with programs like this you will be supporting 2-3 non-working people. There simply is no choice in the matter any more. We are going to have to return to permanent government support for the folks that aren't working.

  • Re:LET THEM STAY (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Korin43 (881732) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @10:50AM (#40219439) Homepage

    Hope you have a job. Because programs like this will insure that US graduates get to earn postdoc qualifications in burger-flipping while foreign students that are eager for jobs paying much more than they could get at home will take what employment there is.

    Life isn't a zero-sum game. It's entirely possible for you and me to both have jobs.

    Look around and see what other first-world countries are doing for immigration. Most have far more restrictive policies than the US does and is far, far harsher for anyone violating their laws. Overstay your visa in Germany and you will likely be arrested and shipped out of the country. Walk into Mexico and you will find that their border is defended by the Mexican Army, and they do defend their border vigorously, with armed response to invaders.

    Wow, that explains why Mexico is so prosperous and stable.

    The US is still allowing huge numbers of legal immigrants in and these people are competing for the same jobs that US graduates are. Absolutely, we can employ cheaper foreign labor in all areas of employment - but we better figure out how to support the jobless that aren't going to get what jobs there are. You see, we finally have the economy that functions without a huge unjustifiable bubble - and at least 30% of the country is unemployed or underemployed. Meaning that STEM graduates are working at McDonalds because there simply aren't the STEM jobs to go around.

    Limiting the number of people isn't going to help. Like I mentioned before -- not a zero sum game. More people => more need for stuff => more jobs.

    And we want to bring in more people for these jobs that will work cheaper?

    Do you want to work in a field, picking vegetables? No? Are you willing to pay twice as much for all of your vegetables? No? Then stop making life even harder for the people with the worst jobs. Immigrants work most of our crap jobs because Americans *won't do them for any amounts of money*.

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