By Joe Guzzardi
May 25, 2012
In an unusually craven example of money’s influence on Capitol Hill, a group of five United States Senators this week introduced legislation that would create two new types of visas. The Startup Act 2.0, a bill cosponsored by freshman Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), would give 50,000 visas to foreign students who earn graduate degrees from American universities in science, technology, engineering and math, the so called STEM fields. Another 75,000 new visas would offer immigrants permanent residency if they start companies that create U.S. jobs.
Pulling the strings behind the scene is the Partnership for a New America, a globalist group that’s also referred to as the “Billionaire’s Club,” an organization I’ll bet you don’t belong to. Rupert Murdoch and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, two members, have been lobbying Congress for years to open up the floodgates for more worker visas, unemployed Americans be damned.
Superficially, S. 3217 may seem appealing. Who can argue with having more of the world’s best and brightest living in the U. S. creating jobs and stimulating the American economy?
The answer to my question is everyone who cares about American workers should stand actively opposed. If you think through the Startup Act’s long term consequences—luring talented students away from their mostly needy home countries and then hiring them at the expense of our native-born college graduates—you’ll conclude that it’s a bad idea. Sadly, most in Congress are in knee jerk consensus that America can’t get along without foreign-born workers. Reading between the lines, Congress must perceive Americans as too stupid to work in high tech and too lazy to become contributing entrepreneurs.
Even though 22 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed and 54 percent of recent college graduates are either jobless or working in positions for which they are over-qualified, Congress is obsessed with importing more overseas labor. More than 15 different bills that would lift the nonimmigrant visa caps are under Congressional consideration.
Don’t hold your breath that the Startup Act might create a meaningful number of jobs. The qualifications for the new visa are laughably insignificant. In the first year, the entrepreneurs must hire only two people and raise $100,000, a sum too small to start a capital intensive business. After four years, the organization must have a mere five employees. Subtracting a handful of new jobs from the 22 million unemployed doesn’t solve the crisis.
Instead of creating jobs, the Startup Act will depress high-skilled American workers’ wages by opening up their occupations to more foreign competition. Rather than making America more competitive, the Startup Act will drive native-born graduates into other fields where the government doesn’t undercut their salaries and job security via mass immigration. As Forbes magazine wrote last April, “Between 2003 and 2006 the percentage of graduates from MIT going into financial services rose…to almost 25 percent…Financial firms offer considerably higher pay, [and] better career prospects…”
In his recent Wall Street Journal advocacy column, Gerald Seib bewailed in his predictable globalist mindset that if there are not more visas granted, young students who “come here to learn math, science and engineering… would return home and start new high tech companies there.” But that’s exactly what the U.S. should do: encourage underdeveloped countries to start productive, profitable businesses. Instead, we keep their most creative and talented personnel.
Congress needs to pay attention to America’s deteriorating economy and spend less time on schemes to import overseas labor that further depresses employment, wages and opportunity for its citizens.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. His columns have been nationally syndicated since 1986. Contact him at [email protected]