90 Miles From Tyranny : Exclusive—Rep. Paul Gosar: Get a STEM Degree, Watch Foreigners Take Your Job

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Exclusive—Rep. Paul Gosar: Get a STEM Degree, Watch Foreigners Take Your Job

For years it has been federal policy to encourage students to focus on science, technology, engineering and math (referred to as STEM). There are no fewer than 12 federal grant programs related to this, covering everything from minority science scholarships to magnet school assistance. There is even a STEM Education Advisory Panel.

However, graduates currently outnumber jobs in all STEM fields except for computer science, which is about equal. As a New York Times graph noted in 2017, “So many degrees, so little demand.”

These degrees cost money. The U.S. has over 44 million people who owe an average of $29,000 in student loans, exceeding $1.5 trillion in combined student loan debt.

With this in mind, why would the federal government, through an executive order no less, implement the F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT) Visa, which allows over 250,000 foreign students to remain in the U.S. and work in STEM jobs? Moreover, why would the federal government give financial incentives to hire these foreign students over American students with the degrees and skills? None of this makes sense, but it is in fact happening. I intend to change this, and I have introduced legislation to do so.

President Trump’s economy is pushing wages higher and creating opportunities for many. The data suggest there is one group of Americans who are not benefiting from this robust economy, and they might just make the difference between GOP candidates winning or losing in 2020.

While Big Tech pushes the NASDAQ to historic highs, Silicon Valley wages for the majority of employees continue to stagnate. Somehow the numbers are not adding up for highly-skilled American workers. One factor increasingly recognized as being part of the problem is the OPT program.

OPT fast tracks F-1 student visa holders while their U.S. classmates are sidelined. American middle-class parents are feeling the sting when their children struggle to get job interviews and their children’s foreign friends and former collegemates are graduating with offers in hand.

In 2017, more than a quarter million foreign students in the U.S. on F-1 visas were given the option to remain in the U.S. and work under the OPT program. Thanks to an executive action initiated by President Obama’s administration, every F-1 OPT STEM graduate is allowed to remain in the U.S. for up to 3 years with each...



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