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DHS Best-and-Brightest STEM Program Under Fire 108

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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  • by SJHillman ( 1966756 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @08:31AM (#40218063)

    I went to a state school and foreign students were split roughly into three equal-sized groups. 1) The ones who avoided anyone else not from their part of the world, thus not helping the school's cultural diversity 2) The ones who "Americanized" a little too hard and spent most of them time drunk, arrested or deported and 3) The ones who actually helped the goal of spreading diversity by experiencing American cultural while still introducing others to their own. Of course, I'd take all of them over the mobs of inner city kids they shipped up from NYC to go to school for free who inevitably flunked out after the second semester.

  • Re:LET THEM STAY (Score:0, Interesting)

    by For a Free Internet ( 1594621 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @08:37AM (#40218123)

    TRULY! But slashdort is a play-ground for reactionary computer nerd "libertarians" who worship capitalist state repression against the working class, so what do you expect?


  • by ATMAvatar ( 648864 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @09:24AM (#40218479) Journal

    What makes the foreign talent so much more attractive?

    Because when hired under a visa program, they can be strong-armed into lower wages under threat of letting the visa lapse.

    Because there's a continued assault on STEM education here in the states, an utter lack of parent involvement and encouragement, and a rather pitiful showing by students' test scores.

    Take your pick, but the right answer is "all of the above".

  • Plain Wrong! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @09:51AM (#40218721)

    There is a lot of false on this thread. An OPT is crucial for the best and the brightest. A F-1 student is not granted the intent to immigrate. They are considered as visitors. Even during OPT they are F-1 students who are supposed to return home after the OPT. OPT status lets the students move jobs and companies don't have to pay through their nose to get someone who is working elsewhere working on an OPT.

    A H1-b on the other hand has a dual intent. Every single time an employee leaves a company and switches to another the company has to pay $2000 to $5000 in H1b fees and there is almost a doubling of that as the lawyers fees. So it's $10,000 for a transfer. This means these employees don't switch jobs. They will work with increasing workloads at a lower pay scale. The H1-b program helps companies to lock down talent. The lower end jobs are all filled with this now. They will stay lower end forever on a H1b unless a green card is filed for. Guess what? The green cards take donkeys years for some countries. 10 or 15 in some cases. They can't really do anything but be slave labor during that time. Some of these people did come here on merit scholarships. They have to retard their careers to stay on. Many choose not to stay on to get a green card. A H1-b needs to be paid way way more than the prevailing wages now. There is a labor certification and the wages cited are ridiculous. It's double the current actual wages in some cases. So the H1-b program is the least useful for the best and the brightest. They are the best and the brightest but you don't pay that to someone based on one interview. You want to see them work. It's not possible through a resume screening or through an interview.

    H1-b fee increases are horrible to say the least. The OPT extension is only on three areas. The OPT students are the least of the problem. They compete as equal entry level workers. A H-1b out of his job for even a day is out of status. He won't even have time to sell his furniture. There is an off the books grace period of 30 days. Yep off the books 30 days to ship out after selling all they paid for at fire sale prices. The H1-b makes them neo-slave labor. This is the reality. This comment will probably be modded down.

    The solution is to either do away with the H1-B and F-1 visas or to make it easy for H1-B's to switch jobs. An automatic entitlement to file for a green card after 5 years on H1-B as opposed to the company sponsoring H1-B. It's no more harmful than lottery visas. In fact if someone has been on a H1-b for five years now they are possibly better than their equivalent American worker. They earn less and do more work due to the difficulty of switching now. So why do away with excellent workers.

    The other problem is F-1 and H1-B are related. If foreign students don't feel they have a shot at permanent visa many of them won't come to US. It's probably horribly expensive for some of them from countries where the income levels are 1/50th of American levels. They spend everything they have to get here. If there is no OPT the American university system will crumble. Some countries have already started opening up their doors to joint degrees in their countries. Singapore is an example. This will prevent the outflow of foreign exchange. The American professors will still be paid but fewer returns for the university ecosystem in US. Students spend money to live in US, if they earn they pay their taxes. All of that is gone. It's a big deal. So in real economic terms the US has been stupid and regressive with the H1-B fee hikes. The OPT trick is a gimmick. The admissions in non stem programs with 12 months OPT has gone down drastically. That's thousands of dollars which the universities are not making. It's thousands the American students have to cough up. Most of the foreign graduates are taking up just a few additional seats which will now be vacant.

    What's necessary isn't the reaction of companies are cheating on H1-b filings. The xenophobia has to end. It's liberalization of the regime with H1-b po

  • by walterbyrd ( 182728 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @10:47AM (#40219403)

    The GAO has proved that 93% of visa workers do not work at the advanced level, and 54% of visa workers are entry level.

    These visa programs are designed to replace US workers with cheaper offshore workers.

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

    by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @12:29PM (#40220887)

    If America is indeed a meritocracy, that means then that Americans are not as qualified to hold that job as the foreigners are. So now you are faced with a couple of decisions:
    * you make hiring decisions not based on merit, but based on whether a person is related to you. In other words, you turn the US from a meritocracy into an aristocracy.
    * you decide that the foreigners are getting too much of a leg up, because any bonus to immigrants gives them too much of a leg up over Americans. In which case, you are tacitly admitting that the US is really just the same as all other countries, and American exceptionalism is dead.
    * you decide that all economists are wrong, and that there really is just a static set of jobs available, that putting someone unqualified in a position has no impact on the overall economy, and by the way, isolationism works just splendidly.
    * you decided that the economists might be right, but that you just don't like foreigners. In which case, you just proved the old saw that nobody hates new immigrants like old immigrants.

    In other words: get the fuck out of my country. Oh, and all you upmodders - the same goes for you.

"My sense of purpose is gone! I have no idea who I AM!" "Oh, my God... You've.. You've turned him into a DEMOCRAT!" -- Doonesbury