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The Great STEM Scam – Corporate Lobbyists Versus America

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By Mike Scruggs-STEM stands for “science, technology, engineering, and math.” STEM graduates are vital to America’s future. However, there is something terribly amiss with our immigration policies, when the supply of foreign science graduates is displacing American science graduates and holding their wages down. A recent report by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) revealed that the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education has projected U.S. educational institutions will produce 3.9 million STEM graduates over the next ten years. Yet the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects STEM job openings to be only 2.5 million during the same period.

Moreover, our universities keep flooding their campuses with foreign students; high tech business moguls are calling for more and more visas and green cards for foreign STEM graduates; and politicians are calling for a green card to be stapled to every STEM degree granted to a foreign student. Responding to corporate lobbying, we are also importing 100,000 foreign information and technology (IT) workers per year. Does this make sense? It makes dollar sense to high tech corporations, because foreign high tech workers are cheaper than American high tech workers. But is it fair to the American people, American STEM graduates, and prospective American STEM students? No, but cheap foreign labor has been trumping fair in Congress for a long time.

Are foreign engineering and science schools superior to U.S. engineering and science schools? The prevailing opinion of STEM educators (and apparently foreign students) is that America’s best engineering and science universities are also the best in the world, and American STEM graduates are by no means inferior to foreign STEM graduates. Yet politics and big business lobbyists again trump reason, patriotism, fairness, and sound economic and immigration policies.

Sunday afternoon I was checking out of a local grocery store, when the fellow helping with bagging my purchases noticed my Vietnam Veteran Honor Air ball cap. I explained to him that in March 2012 local drycleaner Jeff Miller had arranged to take four busses of Henderson County Vietnam veterans, escorted by dozens of motorcyclists, down to the Charlotte Speedway for a huge special appreciation day for Vietnam veterans. I didn’t tell him this, but I could not help from tearing up on that trip as I saw the flags and cheering crowds as we passed beneath the U.S. 74 overpasses on our way to Charlotte.

“I am a Vietnam veteran, too,” he said, “I was a B-52 pilot during Linebacker II in 1972.” For those who do not know, Linebacker II was the combined USAF and Navy operation that broke the back of North Vietnam. We had won the war by doing exactly what the Joint Chiefs and Pacific Commander had told President Johnson to do in 1965 and at least four other occasions thereafter. Yes, the U.S. military did win the war because of President Nixon’s aggressive bombing of North Vietnam in December 1972, but an irresponsible Congressional majority later gave the victory away. In April 1975, by refusing material assistance to South Vietnam promised under the 1973 peace treaty, Congress allowed the Communists to overrun South Vietnam and Cambodia. Without U.S. material aid, the South Vietnamese and Cambodian armies simply ran out of ammunition and supplies. On the other side, the huge North Vietnamese invading force had received massive increases in the latest weapons and war materials from their Soviet and Communist Chinese sponsors. Subsequently, more than 3.5 million civilians were murdered by the victorious Communists.

North Vietnam was devastated during Linebacker II, but fifteen B-52 aircraft were lost, and 33 men never returned. Anyone who flew in Linebacker II is a hero to me. I believe any work is honorable no matter what the pay or status, but I was rather taken aback that a former USAF pilot was doing part-time work bagging groceries. It particularly galls me that there are 21 million Americans who want a full time job and cannot find one, yet the Democrat Party and a small group of liberal Republicans (RINOs) want to give amnesty to 12 million illegal immigrants, and, even worse, bring in 30-33 million more legal foreign workers over the next decade to compete with American workers. This is being backed by at least 100 of America’s largest companies. Their employer and industrial associations want virtually unlimited cheap foreign labor regardless of the impact on American workers and their families.

About a month ago, I went to a local pharmacy to pick up a couple weeks supply of antihistamines. The pharmacist on duty was a young lady, who I guessed was a recent pharmacy school graduate. Knowing that pharmacy degrees and jobs usually command good salaries these days, I asked her about the job market for new graduates. She said she was glad to have a job, but it took her a long time to get a pharmacy job, because of the many foreign pharmacy graduates the government is now allowing into the country. She went on to say that many of her friends still did not have jobs. Foreign pharmacists are usually paid less.

According to Clemson University Professor of Chemical Engineering, Mark Thies, U.S. STEM student enrollment at Clemson is up 60 percent since 2008, but about one-third of graduates are working in non-STEM jobs. The National Association of Colleges and Employers reports than engineering salaries are only up only 0.3 percent since 2010, a strong indication that there is no shortage. According to Dr. Norman Matloff, no study other than those sponsored by industry has ever confirmed a shortage.

In my opinion, this statement by CIS research analyst David North sums up the situation:

“I get a kick out of lobbyists and industrialists who urge that business be allowed to run free of needless regulation and government interference, and yet urge direct governmental intervention in the labor market by permitting massive infusion of inexpensive and young foreign workers.”

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