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DHS Best-and-Brightest STEM Program Under Fire

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the degree-mill-poaching dept.

Businesses 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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108 comments

LET THEM STAY (2, Insightful)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about 2 years ago | (#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!

Re:LET THEM STAY (2)

lexa1979 (2020026) | about 2 years ago | (#40218081)

actually, this is not really offtopic...

Re:LET THEM STAY (2, Interesting)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about 2 years ago | (#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?

FULL CITIZENSHIP RIGHTS FOR ALL IMMIGRANTS!

Re:LET THEM STAY (1)

arisvega (1414195) | about 2 years ago | (#40218381)

I cannot see what the issue is: is it to sell this story as a problematic for patriots? USA was always standing for "acquiring the best" and this rule is here to exactly work this out, in this new era where xenophobia is getting a second, and IMHO rather unfortunate, wind.

If anything, this is patriotic. What, is anyone afraid that those people granted work without a VISA will make a run for it when their months are up, and give up their opportunities for high profile positions and hefty salaries to escape immigration and start flipping burgers on an unregistered job?

Re:LET THEM STAY (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#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.

xenomania (1)

sanman2 (928866) | about 2 years ago | (#40218585)

I think xenophilia is a mild term - xenomania is a more appropriate description.
Btw, I'm a non-white Asian, and I approve of your message.

Re:xenomania (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40219111)

I think xenophilia is a mild term - xenomania is a more appropriate description.
Btw, I'm a non-white Asian, and I approve of your message.

being "non-white-Asian" does not give your argument or support credence.

Re:xenomania (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40223055)

Allen, is that you?

Re:LET THEM STAY (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 years ago | (#40220531)

Every position held by one of these visa holders is a position that an American citizen does not hold.

This belief is so common that economist's have a term for it: The Lump of Labor Fallacy [wikipedia.org].

If our educational system was able to teach even a single fact about economics, it would be that the economy is not a zero-sum game. Yet so many people don't even learn this one principle.

Re:LET THEM STAY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40221437)

It is zero sum, when other nations are looking to make it that way. And China IS making it that way. When you fix your money, subsidize, dump on export markets, and raise trade barriers from 89 general to over 400 that are directed mostly against western goods, over 10 years, then you are in a cold war. And yes, per the 2000 Clinton/China accord and the WTO, China was required to stop all of that. They have actually gotten MUCH worse, as though they are in a hurry to match their military build-up.

Re:LET THEM STAY (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 years ago | (#40222189)

And China IS making it that way.

China's trade surpluses are rapidly disappearing. The USA's trade deficits are not. If the rest of the world doesn't have a problem trading with China, and the USA runs large deficits with many countries other than China, maybe the root of the problem is in America and not China.

they are in a hurry to match their military build-up.

America's military spending is about twenty times what China spends.

Re:LET THEM STAY (3, Interesting)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:LET THEM STAY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40221491)

Or you note the fact that the same stipend that is offered to Americans are offered to foreigners, in which their nation and/or family supplement it so that it it livable. We need to drop the stipends that we offer to foreign nations. Likewise, we need to raise the money to our own. The amount is almost down to the amounts that we got back in the 80's and 90s. That is insane.

Re:LET THEM STAY (1)

jxander (2605655) | about 2 years ago | (#40222281)

Your argument fails at the very first assumption, that we are in a simple meritocracy.

The first point you miss is money:

If a foreigner (via this program, H1B visa, or any others) is only half-as-good as an American, but is willing to work for one third the pay ... well ...

Also consider the future, through trends established with a program like this. If we give outsource all the low-level tech jobs, low level American techs won't have a starting point. Not every college grad is going to immediately land a top level Engineering gig. Being able to hold down a steady job as tech support, call centers, circuit-board stuffers, etc can be a stop-gap measure while they look for a better job and/or continue their education.

That's not to say we should completely eliminate outsourcing or H1Bs and merit based programs like this, or that all foreign workers are only half as good. Nothing like that. The programs are all fine and good if used correctly; as a merit-based system to find highly talented workers and intelligent minds that want to immigrate here. Currently they're just used to find cheaper labor...

Re:LET THEM STAY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40221307)

One thing I like to point out is that it's not totally a zero sum game. The flip side is if a company can't hire engineers they want in the US, they'll create the job openings over seas where they can. Anyway weaker dollar would do far more for American job creation than anything else hands down. It's not that hard, the US should print an ass load of money and spend it on government projects to fix bits of infrastructure. That creates inflation, which weakens the dollar and reduces household debt burdens, which gives households more money to spend, which creates demand, which creates jobs/

Re:LET THEM STAY (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 years ago | (#40222547)

Every position held by one of these visa holders is a position that an American citizen does not hold ... more people are asking why our money is going to benefit other countries' citizens, instead of our own?

The easy and obvious way to solve this problem is to give those people citizenship.

Patriotism is poison to the workers! (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about 2 years ago | (#40218469)

Workers have no fatherland! Defeat U.S. imperialism! Workers of the world, unite!!!!!!!!

Re:Patriotism is poison to the workers! (0)

Pf0tzenpfritz (1402005) | about 2 years ago | (#40219097)

Patriotism is poison to the mind...

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori...

Re:Patriotism is poison to the workers! (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about 2 years ago | (#40222899)

INDEED, brother! Nationalism is vile, repugnant, backwards garbage! The rule of the working class will usher in the true dawn of human history, based on the brotherhood of all peoples! Flagwaving bigots who stand in the way of the socialist future are the most contemptible scum!!!!

This is *NOT* about hiring the best (4, Interesting)

walterbyrd (182728) | about 2 years ago | (#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 (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 2 years ago | (#40218627)

My country belongs to me and exclusivity protects my interests while giving away the store does not.

If YOU want to live in a Third World country, you have plenty of other options.

The reasons people want to LEAVE such countries are the same reasons we shouldn't let ALL of them in or we just duplicate the problems they fled in the first place!

Of course that doesn't concern you.

Re:LET THEM STAY (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about 2 years ago | (#40218671)

Unless you are a capitalist it is not "your" country. "Third World" countries are poor because the working people there are super-exploited to make the Wall Street imperialists rich. The working people from "poor" countries come here because capitalism brings them here to be exploited here along with workers born here. Nationalism is poison that divides and weakens the working class in our struggle against the bourgeoisie! Defend immigrants! Full citizenship rights for all immigrants now! Smash ICE Gestapo terror!

Re:LET THEM STAY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40218823)

If you are not a capitalist, then you should not be in the "first world" anyway. GTFO, freeloader. I hear Venezuela is nice this time of year.

Third world countries are poor because 'poor' is the natural state of man. Only one of the two other "worlds" ever was actually wealthy, and that wealth was due to capitalism.

You enjoy the comforts of capitalism but you want to denigrate the very mechanism which has created unparalleled advancement in the human condition.

*reads profile* Oh, you're a fool. Nevermind.

Re:LET THEM STAY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40219989)

I think that for the first time for 100 years, the fools are in majority in your Jurisdiction.
Having chosen to move from the "first world" to the new capitalist world (ie: not the west), I strongly encourage you to close the borders and attain a fully closed-border mindset (including confiscatory taxes, trade unions and restrictions on trade).
It would make it even easier for me to compete in the global marketplace (it's been getting a lot easier lately).
FATCA was the most recent of fatally stupid decisions that *really* made things easy for me (reduced my competition significantly).
The more competitive advantages you're willing to hand over to me and my company, the better!
If my competition is offering to shoot themselves in the foot, I won't be the one trying to convince them that this would be a stupid thing to do.

Re:LET THEM STAY (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 years ago | (#40222607)

The reasons people want to LEAVE such countries are the same reasons we shouldn't let ALL of them in or we just duplicate the problems they fled in the first place!

Sure, but TFA is decidedly not about letting "all" in - it's about letting the cream of the crop in. Which sounds like a sensible immigration policy for any country.

Though, really, what's needed is some reasonably efficient filter that doesn't let in people whose cultural baggage is outright incompatible with the basic tenets of the society they're immigrating to. Was it Netherlands that had recently introduced a "porn test" to screen out Islamist fundies? We need more of that kind of thing across the entire Western world.

Re:LET THEM STAY (4, Insightful)

cdrguru (88047) | about 2 years ago | (#40218813)

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 (4, Insightful)

Korin43 (881732) | about 2 years ago | (#40219439)

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*.

Re:LET THEM STAY (2)

misexistentialist (1537887) | about 2 years ago | (#40220277)

Actually it's probably a negative-sum, because a lot of migrants not only take jobs, but they send their wages out of the country, and often receive more in government benefits than they've paid for. They may lower prices, but the cost of labor is a tiny fraction of prices, and any business's priority is amassing profits first. No, 5% cheaper broccoli does not justify disrupting law and order, undermining the political system, and engaging in human trafficking on a massive scale

Re:LET THEM STAY (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 2 years ago | (#40223245)

If you look at countries that are actually prospering (unlike Mexico), such as Canada and Australia and New Zealand, you'll find that they treat immigrants very differently based on their skill levels. People with no skills and education, they don't want in those countries, because they'll be a drain on their social-welfare systems. However, highly skilled people in highly-demanded professions, they roll out the red carpet for; engineers are one big sector for this. There's not enough "knowledge workers" in those countries, and they want more. It's called a "brain drain": smart countries always want to take the "best and brightest" from wherever they can get them, and it generally helps their economy greatly to do so. However, smart countries also are highly discriminatory in who they allow in, because they don't want people who are going to cause more problems, so that's why they don't allow anyone in who's a felon or is dirt-poor and has no skills.

Re:LET THEM TAKE US JOBS!! (2)

walterbyrd (182728) | about 2 years ago | (#40219367)

It is not as if the US is suffering it's highest long-term unemployment since the great depression, or anything like that.

The truth is: 93% of visa workers are ordinary people, doing ordinary jobs. The GAO has proved this.

Visa programs are not designed to let in the "best and brightest" they are designed to replace US workers with cheaper foreign workers.

Re:LET THEM STAY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40220453)

down with offtopic flamebait

Re:LET THEM STAY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40220623)

Maybe you morons should read this trolls post history before modding this "insightful".

Wow (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 2 years ago | (#40217965)

Oh, DHS, is there anything you can't screw up?

Re:Wow (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40217985)

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Re:Wow (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40218069)

So Slashdot maintainers, I've never seen more spam in the comments than from MyCleanPC. It's probably about time you add a MyCleanPC moderation rating, and make it -5.

This will allow actual Slashdotters to continue to find valuable AC posts, and not have to see this bullshit any longer.

I'm starting to think the maintainers have a vested interest in seeing MyCleanPC proliferate based on the sheer number of spam comments. Fix it or lose a long time reader in the near future.

Re:Wow (2)

Loosifur (954968) | about 2 years ago | (#40218115)

Yeah, you know, I've always wondered why there isn't a mod option for "Spam", considering how often it shows up.

Re:Wow (2)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 2 years ago | (#40218429)

Because you don't get mod points often and they don't want people wasting them on Spam, that's what the little flag in the bottom right is for these days. Obviously people use their mod points to kill it anyway, so it's probably a moot point, but I think that's the idea. And besides, 'offtopic' is accurate enough if you think about it.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40219997)

if anybody worth a shit still maintained the site, they'd just add a comment filter and reject anything with the mycleanpc url's in it.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40218025)

Oh, DHS, is there anything you can't screw up?

Profiteering.

Re:Wow (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40218041)

Some have penis envy, here on slash dot we have rich envy. Evil profits again? ehhh

Re:Wow (1)

jank1887 (815982) | about 2 years ago | (#40218797)

spending my tax money in a way antithetical to the betterment of the country, economy, etc., in order to improve the profit margins of certain industries? yes, I believe those could be termed evil profits. or at a minimum rather unethical profits if we don't want to paint with just black and white.

Re:Wow (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 2 years ago | (#40223335)

Yep, I love how the "free market" "small government" fans are always defending profits that come solely because of government intervention, or from government handouts to specific industries.

QUESTION: HOW DOES ONE WAG A TONGUE ?? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40217979)

I am trying but cannot do it !! HELP !! My GF needs me to know this stuff !!

But businesses don't need a few young geniuses... (4, Insightful)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:But businesses don't need a few young geniuses. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40218051)

You don't think that technology, engineering and bio-engineering companies might be interested being able to hire the smartest people they can find anywhere in the world? Hell, I work in the UK for a top 10 company and even they wanted to ship my boss out Palo Alto for a couple of years, because it would have moved him closer to the management team and been more convenient for the business all around.

"A cheap workforce" and an unnatural obsession with H1-B workers is really just Slashdot groupthink.

Re:But businesses don't need a few young geniuses. (1)

Alex Belits (437) | about 2 years ago | (#40218085)

You don't think that technology, engineering and bio-engineering companies might be interested being able to hire the smartest people they can find anywhere in the world?

Why would they want such a thing? All their competitors are in US, so as long as those competitors don't have smart people, it's ok to hire stupid ones.

Re:But businesses don't need a few young geniuses. (2)

HanzoSpam (713251) | about 2 years ago | (#40218369)

We already have 320 million people in this country! I'd really, really be interested in knowing what skill set isn't represented here, such that we need to import it. Yes, I understand that we're discussing highly skilled people here. However, highly skilled isn't necessarily interchangeable with highly in demand. We already have plenty of Ph.D level people in STEM fields currently unemployed. What makes the foreign talent so much more attractive?

Re:But businesses don't need a few young geniuses. (3, Interesting)

ATMAvatar (648864) | about 2 years ago | (#40218479)

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".

Re:But businesses don't need a few young geniuses. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40220443)

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

I've seen job postings for experienced PhD'd biochemists and molecular biologists that advertised a pay of $17/hour. When it comes to wage suppression, visa programs are redundant because we have tens of thousands of unemployed scientists desperate for work.

Re:But businesses don't need a few young geniuses. (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 2 years ago | (#40223377)

Yes, but people who do science are supposed to do it because they love it! Not for the money. So they should be happy to receive a pittance, because the people in management are doing their jobs because they love money, so they deserve to earn more of it, by giving puny salaries to the scientists.

</sarcasm>

Re:But businesses don't need a few young geniuses. (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 2 years ago | (#40218597)

Its not about the import, its the imprint the young minds got when they return home.
That cute, lazy, rich, poor, gifted 20 something might recall his/her time in the US and buy up big as some CEO, political leader or allow a deal as a lawyer in their 50's/60's.
It cuts past left/right/faith/dictator/nationalism as it was part of their life. The US know to invest in that gift long term.
The US is producing generational 'friends' around the world i.e. foreign talent has potential, another US grad from an elite coast university is just another grad who might do something ...just like every other "best of a generation" US grad.

Re:But businesses don't need a few young geniuses. (1)

jank1887 (815982) | about 2 years ago | (#40218817)

It's not just the PhDs their bringing in (and unemployment in high tech fields requiring advanced degrees is a good deal lower than the rest.) Still, FTFA:

"With youth unemployment being as high as it is, the Obama administration should be focusing on attracting the smartest immigrants that will add value and complement the workforce," said Costa.

"Adding workers with ordinary skills from vocational schools that few people have ever heard of - just because they hold STEM degrees - does nothing to further that goal," he added.

Re:But businesses don't need a few young geniuses. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40220189)

You don't think that technology, engineering and bio-engineering companies might be interested being able to hire the smartest people they can find anywhere in the world? Hell, I work in the UK for a top 10 company and even they wanted to ship my boss out Palo Alto for a couple of years, because it would have moved him closer to the management team and been more convenient for the business all around.
"A cheap workforce" and an unnatural obsession with H1-B workers is really just Slashdot groupthink.

Most people who work "Blue Collar" jobs have neither the desire, motivation, talent, or knack for doing "White Collar" work. Some do, but can't get access to the education they need to get a better job for a variety of reasons. But this idea that 100% of the population is both capable and willing to never do Blue Collar work is not just stupid, it's really fucking arrogant, and defies common sense and nature.

Some people will never be able to do more than sweep the floors. Some people could, but don't want to. That's fine, there's value in doing work of any type. Instead of looking down on those jobs and sneering at the people doing them, you need to understand that they run your entire life. Without them you would have no idea how to stay alive.

People are people, all over the world. You have some who are very intelligent, some who are very dumb, and a lot of average ones in the middle. You have some personalities who can simply not do white collar work even though they are more than intelligent enough. You have some in the same boat in regards to the blue collar jobs.

People hire illegals because they can abuse the shit out of them, pay them next to nothing, and avoid paying taxes. The illegals take the jobs because it's all they can actually get hired to do, they don't have some kind of ingrained racial desire to all do that kind of work anymore than anyone else.
Many immigrants who are here legally will endure a LOT of unfair practices in the workplace, often because they don't understand their rights and/or do not know how to stand up for themselves. When you grow up in a country where talking shit to your boss gets you shot in broad daylight, you tend to not complain when the guy in the US tells you to work a couple hours of unpaid overtime. When you're a woman who comes from a country where you would be taken into Times Square, stripped naked, and beaten while CNN and FOX looked on with applause, just for speaking without permission of your husband, you tend not to say anything when the boss won't stop trying to get you to "check under his desk".

Re:But businesses don't need a few young geniuses. (3, Informative)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about 2 years ago | (#40218159)

Sadly, the linked articles support this:

For instance, OPT employers aren't subject to the same rules governing H-1B workers, who must be paid the prevailing wage.

The U.S. has approved about 35,274 OPT extensions and denied only 613 since the program was started.

what a snob (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40218023)

My school is the best! If you don't go there you suck! You not the best or the brightest.

What about U.S.Citizens (3, Insightful)

sycodon (149926) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:What about U.S.Citizens (3, Interesting)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#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:What about U.S.Citizens (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#40218145)

When I was in university, the 1) groups all self-segregated in the lecture hall. A quick glance over collected students and you could see the pockets of ethnicity.

Re:What about U.S.Citizens (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40218075)

Foreign students pay full out of state tuition which helps keep the public universities afloat financially. If that wasn't the case then the tuition would rise for all students, which would lead to only rich students getting in. There is a balance to be had between too many foreign students and higher in-state tuition. Lets not get all xenophobic and lose our ability to reason.

Re:What about U.S.Citizens (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | about 2 years ago | (#40218311)

U.S. out of state students pay out of state tuition. There are more U.S. out of state students than foreign students.

Nice try troll.

Re:What about U.S.Citizens (1)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | about 2 years ago | (#40218571)

U.S. out of state students pay out of state tuition. There are more U.S. out of state students than foreign students. Nice try troll.

Not really. Many of them become state citizens after the first year, ergo paying in-state tuition. Granted that the OP is exaggerating foreign students' contribution to keeping tuition low. BUT so are you. At the risk of bringing up a cliche, the truth is in the middle.

Re:What about U.S.Citizens (1)

sycodon (149926) | about 2 years ago | (#40218079)

OK, while the sentiment of my post is still true. It's off topic because I have not had my coffee and totally fucked up.

Please mod me off topic.

Re:What about U.S.Citizens (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 2 years ago | (#40218117)

Not really off topic, because access to university is tied in with the DHS claims that there are shortages of US workers with these skills.

Re:What about U.S.Citizens (4, Insightful)

Sangui5 (12317) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:What about U.S.Citizens (1)

Alex Belits (437) | about 2 years ago | (#40218107)

They were created for and their job is to provide a higher education for the American public.

And considering how retarded the majority of American public is now, in a decade those universities would teach alphabet if not for foreigners.

What about U.S.Citizens? They study Marketing. (3, Insightful)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | about 2 years ago | (#40218545)

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:What about U.S.Citizens? They study Marketing. (2)

will_die (586523) | about 2 years ago | (#40218643)

For the US students being passed over yes it has been happening and increasing the last 2-3 years.
It is really bad in California where you have been getting some news about it, even heard about it where I live in Europe.
The reason is that that foreign students pay the full tuition costs and since states have been cutting funding the foreign students are cash cows.
You could make the case that with the money they are paying they are not taking slots that US students would of had because the slots would not exist but really what is happening is the school has a certain number of slots and if they get them filled by people who are paying full costs then those people are going to get in.

Re:What about U.S.Citizens (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 years ago | (#40220803)

Public Universities should not be accepting foreign students over U.S. students.

Foreign students usually pay full tutition. So by admitting more foreign students, the universities can afford to admit more U.S. students, who usually have much of their tuition subsidized by the taxpayers. The limiting factor is money, not the number of chairs currently in the classrooms.

Re:What about U.S.Citizens (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 2 years ago | (#40222569)

The limiting factor is money. They can fund only so many seats in the classroom. Those seats attract asses, it's a natural law, of course. By getting a higher proportion of foreign students, they make more money to fill those chairs rather than lose it to scholarships. And foreign students don't just whip out their checkbooks, their government does. And their government usually wants them to come home after getting their degree.

Let's face it, American higher education is all about the money.

The Horror of Bipartisanship (3, Informative)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 2 years ago | (#40218047)

A major expansion of the program occurred in 2008 under Bush and is now expanded again by Obama. Over 400000 OPT Visas from 2006-2010, so this is the same scale at H1B. The DHS press release has the usual, if questionable, justification: this is only for the best of the best of the best and there are no US workers with these skills.

Lies and quiet scheming have replaced honest discussion with US citizens.

Re:The Horror of Bipartisanship (1)

Alex Belits (437) | about 2 years ago | (#40218113)

Lies and quiet scheming have replaced honest discussion with US citizens.

How can you replace something that never existed?

Re:The Horror of Bipartisanship (1)

HanzoSpam (713251) | about 2 years ago | (#40218291)

I do find it peculiar that in a nation that already has 320 million people in it, none of them qualify as the "best and the brightest".

Re:The Horror of Bipartisanship (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40219287)

the full description is: "The best and brightest at minimum wages."

Why would anyone be interested in this? (3, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | about 2 years ago | (#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:Why would anyone be interested in this? (2)

tyleroar (614054) | about 2 years ago | (#40218155)

Why would they have to leave after 29 months? Surely they could get a work visa after 29 months of study at a prestigious university.

Re:Why would anyone be interested in this? (1)

Xacid (560407) | about 2 years ago | (#40218171)

From what I gather after that period of time you should have actually applied for and received your student visa.

Re:Why would anyone be interested in this? (2)

jpapon (1877296) | about 2 years ago | (#40218215)

"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.

It buys you time to get in on three more visa lotteries, and it also gives you 29 months to try to find an employer that can get you an H-1B.

Re:Why would anyone be interested in this? (1)

Sangui5 (12317) | about 2 years ago | (#40218345)

Lots of people who really are 'the best and brightest" take OPT; when used correctly it is a "bridge" visa to something more permanent. E.g. a student graduates, takes 90 days (or less) to find a job, starts at an employer under OPT, the employer starts the H-1B application process, and within 6-9 months the students qualifies for H-1B. This is especially useful for people who graduate after the current year's H-1B allotment has run out; they can't possibly successfully apply until the next year, so the extra time OPT provides is critical. Then, from H-1B status, you can apply for a green card, which while it may take a few years depending on your country of origin.

OPT is also one of the visas used for foreign students to do summer internships. It is fairly common for graduate students in the tech industry to do at least one summer internship, which can be done either with an OPT visa or a CPT visa; however, the time limits between the two are somewhat linked, & CPT visa time can eat into one's eligible time for an OPT visa. This is probably the rationale for the extensions.

However, it does seem like the schools listed are abusing the extensions; any employer with a competent HR department can get H-1B approval in a short enough time that the standard 17 month OPT is sufficient. Using the 29 month extended time indicates that the students likely aren't "good enough" to bother with the expense of the H-1B process. I think that many of those taking the extensions aren't good enough to easily qualify for permanent status, but 29 months is better than nothing.

MOD parent up (1)

awtbfb (586638) | about 2 years ago | (#40221523)

I've seen OPT used properly and effectively for very talented foreign students. I've been around very good universities and I can confirm OPT is critical at keeping top-tier foreign students here in the US. The most common cases are (a) the summer grad school gap when changing schools and (b) a gap between graduation and an employment visa. The former may seem trivial, but it can allow a student to finish up a research project at University A before moving on to University B (e.g., undergrad to grad, MS to PhD, etc). Losing three months of an integrated, talented student has significant impact on a research project. For the latter, I've met numerous students who used OPT as key step towards gaining eventual permanent status.

Re:Why would anyone be interested in this? (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about 2 years ago | (#40218379)

Also, the 'prestigious research universities' are probably sitting back waiting for the 'best and brightest' to apply, while Stratford and Bridgeport probably have people actively trying to promote and entice students to come and avail of the opportunity.

Re:Why would anyone be interested in this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40220963)

While some people in /. are against the program. I'll try to clarify what the 29 months meant:

When US companies have a good year they want to hire more people, when that's not the case, well, they won't hire.

So some companies have been having good years, and the quota of H1-B visas fills up and the workers on OPT queue up for next years. Since, as you said, "why anyone would be interested in this?", the DHS has been increasing the length of the OPT so that people can go through the H1-B application process. Note that, when the process occurs, applications open on April (at some point, quotas fill up the same day), and approved H1-Bs become available only until October. So additionally, people that received their OPT in April, (before when OPT only lasted 12 months) got their application for H1-B filled next April, and had to leave the company and the country until his/her application was accepted and entered in the system (that may hit 6 months easily, if you're lucky)

Mainly, the people with higher immigration rates, such as people from India and China, question themselves the same way you do, and go back.

This angers me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40218149)

There are Americans that are out of work and our own government is behaving like industry and importing labor!? Really!?

Re:This angers me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40218445)

Those Americans are generally not qualified to do the jobs in question.

I interview people for highly technical, PhD level work. For every qualified American I've hired, there have been easily 15 or 20 from China, India, or Russia. I'd prefer to hire the Americans, honestly, but there just aren't very many.

Re:This angers me! (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 2 years ago | (#40222763)

A lot of the 'up and coming' PhD's in American traditionally came from the middle class. Destroy the middle class, like what's been happening here in the States for the last 40-some odd years, and the sources dry up. Sure, there's government funding for 'underprivileged' students, but there's not a lot of it, and most of those students get shuffled off to a state university. Also, the funding cuts off as soon as they get a 'salable' degree, like an associates or bachelors. In most fields, an associates won't even get you to the door.let alone in the door.

Who Benefits? (4, Informative)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | about 2 years ago | (#40218173)

American companies complaining they can't hire resources in these fields (without mentioning that they want to pay jack shit) perhaps?

Strikes me as a bit of an H1B dodge...

Ranking Universities? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40218359)

Is there actually any real ranking of universities available to the public? I suspect that there is not. Often students find out too late that individual departments need accreditation and often are not accredited even though the University or College as a whole is highly thought of. Then there is the huge issue of exactly who issues accreditation. Private colleges are notorious for having nonsense accrediting bodies that only rate private schools for a healthy fee. In essence your chances of truth in education are worse than from the used car salesman at the local Car Circus.

From the press release (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 2 years ago | (#40218605)

>> These reforms reflect the Obama administration's ongoing commitment to promote policies that embrace talented students from other countries ...while ensuring talented students and workers in the United States continue to get screwed.

How much longer under November again?

Re:From the press release (2)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about 2 years ago | (#40219031)

Unfortunately, this started under the Bush Administration, so I'm pretty sure that screwing talented students and workers in the United States is one of the things that both parties can agree on.

Plain Wrong! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#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 portability by reduction in fee, maybe even make it zero. This will ensure high churn. When there is higher churn there are lower level positions which open up for everyone. The H1b is capped at 65,000 a year so that's not the only source. The American workers will get these entry level jobs and can hope to move up. Making the permanent residence employee independent but longer than employee sponsored one will keep the incentive to work for the same company to a minimum but allow the employee an opportunity to move up if there is a real career jump. Remember if they lose their jobs for even a month they have to go back. So it's a compromise. Oh and they have to work in the same area of their H1b filing for years on end. They can't walk up and get a new job in a different area. It's impossible for someone who has lost a H1b job to get another. It's a fact.

So on the whole the entire immigration mess is political and it's xenophobic. The reality for the people on the visa is they are second class slave labor waiting for a permanent residence. It's easy to be xenophobic but America is a country of immigrants the last time I checked. Maybe it's time people stopped looking up to America, it's possibly fading away as a place for talent. Visa rules don't help, they are horrible.

No you are plain wrong. (1)

walterbyrd (182728) | about 2 years ago | (#40219483)

So on the whole the entire immigration mess is political and it's xenophobic. The reality for the people on the visa is they are second class slave labor waiting for a permanent residence.

Don't you think US employers prefer this slave labor? If so, then it's hardly "xenophobic" to realize that US workers are being replaced by such "slave labor" - your own words.

America is a country of immigrants the last time I checked

Visa workers are not "immigrants" they are temporary labor. An immigrant is somebody who leave his/her home country and permenantly settles in another country.

These visa workers are far from the "best and brightest" they are ordinary workers, taking ordinary jobs. This while the US suffers it worst long-term unemployment since the great depression.

Re:No you are plain wrong. (1)

0ld_d0g (923931) | about 2 years ago | (#40220583)

These visa workers are far from the "best and brightest" they are ordinary workers, taking ordinary jobs

I personally know several people who graduated with me and who now work at big tech firms like IBM/Google/Oracle/Apple/Facebook on a work visa and they are definitely not ordinary - which is subjective anyway. Importantly - not only do they get paid the same as US citizens, but they are more expensive to hire because of the legal fees involved in their hiring. So, what evidence do you have for your claims?

This while the US suffers it worst long-term unemployment since the great depression.

The largest class of unemployed people in the US does not compare to these workers. The vast majority don't even have a college degree. And if they do, its in something like the humanities or some other area not covered under STEM.

Re:No you are plain wrong. (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 years ago | (#40222773)

Visa workers are not "immigrants" they are temporary labor. An immigrant is somebody who leave his/her home country and permenantly settles in another country.

H1-B is "dual intent" (to immigrate) visa for a reason. A lot of people on H1-B come to the country so that they can apply for a green card here. The only other choice a typical skilled worker has to get American citizenship is green card lottery, which is, well, a lottery - it cannot be relied upon as a definite path to citizenship.

Give them a special visa (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 2 years ago | (#40220013)

The mistake was making a program that

"allows foreign science, technology, engineering and math grads to work in the U.S. for 29 months without a work visa"

It's much better politics to create a special "29 month education investment repayment work visa" to "allow certain foreign science, technology, engineering, and math graduates to use their valuable skills in the United States, thereby improving American industries and the Untied States economy."

Same result, less political opposition.

Stratford University: aka Stratford College. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40220379)

In the early 2000's, I had the pleasure of working for this institution. With literally no requirements for an instructor other than a degree and a little experience, Stratford College offered for-profit technical degrees for WAY too much money, practically ensuring that students wouldn't be able to pay back the degree they got. Richard Shurtz used to sell his college on a local radio program to try to bump up enrollment. Its transition to university I can guarantee you changed nothing - it's a for-profit school that's sucking off of the goverment's teat.

attracting the best and brightest "spies?" (1)

k6mfw (1182893) | about 2 years ago | (#40220807)

wasn't this same person or was it FBI said foreign spies are infiltrating universities?

"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.

Going back to original topic of bringing in foreign nationals, I think real problem is universities are getting too used to them paying full tuition and pricing out domestic students. Then once we educate these foreign nationals, we kick them out (then their native country gets benefit of their education).

But on question of spies, other countries don't need to send spies because we export our technology and techniques to other countries.

29 months (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#40220811)

That's about the right amount of time to run them through the espionage training program at Langley. And to teach them how to use a shoe phone, the cone of silence and other equipment.

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