NTF issue paper: illegal165.doc. 5-20.

. Thousands of hard-working, tax-paying Nebraskans have lost jobs permanently or temporarily because of the COVID-19 outbreak. However, liberals want to continue and expand guest worker programs that allow foreigners to take both low-skilled and high-skilled jobs for low wages. These foreigners particularly compete with our NE science and technology college graduates and workers, professionals we want to remain in our state. When unemployment was extremely low, foreign workers were displacing Americans at alarming rates. In this recession, 32 million Americans already have filed for unemployment. However, workers continue to flow in from abroad. Nebraska now faces an unemployment rate that meets or exceeds the peak of the Great Depression. We must stop the influx of these immigrants, whose presence endangers Nebraskans assuming or resuming gainful employment. Nebraskans always have numbered among the most productive and hardest working people. We should not have to compete for below-market wages, kept artificially low by cheap foreign labor.

. President Trump gratefully generally banned immigration to the U.S. during the COVID-19 crisis. However, he exempted guest worker programs. 80% of all Americans support a total temporary ban on immigration.1 Conservative Sens. Tom Cotton (Ark.), Josh Hawley (MO.), Ted Cruz (TX.), and Chuck Grassley (IA.) have urged the President to immediately stop the issuance of H-1B high skilled visas and H-2B non-agricultural, low skilled visas, so that citizens can fill job slots. The U.S. allows in every year hundreds of thousands of temporary foreign workers, a travesty during the current recession. The coronavirus has damaged every industry, especially the science and technology sectors that utilize H-1B workers. The hospitality and service industries are huge supporters of H-2B visas, though many Americans qualify for and need these jobs. These senators also requested Trump to stop the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program that permits foreign graduates of U.S. colleges and universities to remain here and work for up to 3 years.

. HR 3564, the Fairness for High-Skilled Americans Act, sponsored by Cong. Paul Gosar (AZ.), would terminate the OPT program. His bill currently is in the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship. Major media outlets, including Tucker Carlson and NBC News, have covered the harm from OPT visas. Congress never formally has sanctioned this program, and the Justice Dept. wrote regulations with no public notice or comment period. Thus, OPT probably is illegal in nature.

OPT is a work program begun by a Bush II Executive Order to satisfy a donor class that benefits from educating and employing foreigners before American citizens, greatly expanded by the Obama Regime.
OPT, a student visa program, is the largest guest worker program in our entire immigration system.2 OPT visas are available to foreigners with F-1 student visa status after only 3 months of attending a U.S. university. From 2004 to 2016, a total of 1,474,000 approvals of OPT visas compared with 1,473,000 initial H-1B visa approvals for the same period.3 There exists no limit to the number of OPT work permits issued. These visas are not merit-based and have no restrictions or limitations. It has grown over 400% in recent years, totaling over 276,500 in 2017. More than 50% of the foreign graduates approved for employment specialized in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.4 Fewer than 50% of U.S. science, technology, engineering, and math graduates find jobs in their fields now because of the OPT. Ironic that the federal government encourages our youth to study for these degrees. These visas do not require companies to seek qualified Americans before hiring foreign workers. Corrupt businesses use this program to circumvent H-1B visa caps, harming American graduates. From 2007 to 2017, employers hired 2.5 million OPT workers, their jobs deserving for citizens. These employers do not have to pay payroll taxes for such employees, who become 16.5% cheaper to hire. This status deprives Medicare, Social Security, and unemployment funds of needed dollars, costing $3 billion in revenues annually. The FICA fund therefore loses $2.5 billion each year. This tax-free status, because OPT visas classified as non-immigrant visas. The original government expectation was that these students immediately would return home after obtaining their degrees. Actually, if an OPT worker is close to an OPT work permit expiration, that worker needs only to earn another STEM degree to remain in the U.S., sometimes studying as little as 1 weekend per month while maintaining full-time employment.

. OPT recipients can take employment in nursing, computer coding, forestry, livestock management, HVAC, welding, and many other fields. 300,000 jobs stolen from Americans. Corporations lie to Congress and to citizens that they cannot find qualified workers, while these companies lay off citizens and require them to train their foreign replacements having work visas. Companies then assist these foreigners to apply for H-1B visas, so that they can remain longer. Large employers of OPT recipients include Microsoft, Apple, Google, Amazon, IBM, and Deloitte. Facebook and Bloomberg filed an amicus brief in court to support OPT, named as a defendant in a major lawsuit. An employer often creates a very specific job description, which only an employed OPT could possibly fill, then petitions and hires that foreign worker without giving U.S. citizens an opportunity to compete for the job. Attorneys on You Tube offer OPT employment and immigration advice. Millennials unable to get ahead, unwilling to get married or buy homes and have children because of their piles of college debt and the scarcity of lucrative jobs now stolen by foreigners. 

. “I’m a 47-year-old database developer. I’ve been replaced multiple times (that I’m aware of) by OPT workers, and I’ve seen my entire IT department at a major corporation replaced by Indian H-1Bs. I do ‘have skills.’ I’m highly regarded and well-respected by my peers and boss, and I have a well-established work history. I’ve been fighting the work visa treason for years, and I never feel like anyone in Washington, D.C. cares about American workers.”

. There is a surge of “visa mills,” substandard and often unaccredited colleges that issue high numbers of OPT work permits. One visa mill, Stratford University in Virginia, issued more OPT STEM extensions than all Ivy League schools combined over one period. Some colleges have altered schedules, so that alien students can stay in status while attending class only once every month. OPT attracts those more interested in working in the U.S. than receiving an education. Immigration agents raided the fake University of Farmington, nabbing foreigners not interested in obtaining a specific education, only jobs. The University of Cumberland in Kentucky offers programs that allow OPT students to take classes anywhere in the U.S. and come to the campus only 1 weekend per semester while working in the U.S. from the first day of the program. These same universities hire OPTs rather than Americans for many of their teaching and research positions. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has advised the Department of Homeland Security regarding significant ongoing corrupt employment and education practices under OPT.  International students attending American universities often pay full tuition that is frequently reimbursed by their home country government, a financial boon eagerly sought after by U.S. colleges. Such is the case for the majority of students studying in the U.S. from Red China. Nebraska citizens and their children lie at a disadvantage when foreign nationals take the limited number of STEM educational slots at our state colleges and universities.

. Over 20% of Americans now are unemployed. Permitting and encouraging foreign workers to come here to take jobs needed for our unemployed and underemployed Nebraskans should outrage every NE taxpayer. American grads and experienced professionals have become 2nd class citizens in our own country regarding employment. American student debt is unbelievably high. American graduation day smiles are quickly turning into tears, as the debt burden rises for U.S. college grads and their job prospects disappear.  Help put American college graduates and workers first. Contact our 2 NE senators to support the efforts of the 4 senators, using the information given above. Ask them to co-sponsor and support HR 3564, to require the Secretaries of State, Homeland Security, and Labor to recommend the suspension of additional guest worker visas and programs that undercut the American workforce.  Share a personal story, if the virus outbreak has adversely affected your employment/wages or those of a family member or friend.

Research, documentation, and analysis for this issue paper done by Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom. This material copyrighted by Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom, with express prior permission granted for its use by other groups in the NE Conservative Coalition Network. 5-20. C

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