‘The people paying the bill, our elderly and infirm—are virtually never mentioned in the press…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) The U.S.’s Optional Practical Training program for foreign grads of U.S. universities costs taxpayers more than $2 billion every year—a simple fact the mainstream media refuses to report.
Two major newspapers—The New York Times and the San Jose Mercury–News—reported on the current backlog of OPT students this week, but failed to mention the severe costs of the program.
America employers receive an 8 percent tax break if they hire foreign graduates through the OPT program, incentivizing them against hiring American students, wrote the Center for Immigration Studies’ David North.
But because these foreign grads aren’t U.S. citizens, they don’t contribute to the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds through income taxes. This means that they’re reaping the benefits of U.S. employment without contributing to the system, North said.
Of course, the leftist media left those details out. Instead, The Times slammed the immigration system for failing to quickly issue work permits for OPT grads, characterizing immigrant employees as victims.
International students seeking U.S. jobs are “languishing” in the backlogged system, which has left students “stranded,” The Times wrote.
The Times went on to blame the Trump administration for the increased processing times.
“Such a delay, college leaders suggest, reflects increasing hurdles international students have faced studying and working in the country under the Trump administration,” The Times wrote.
“Last year, the administration sought to crack down on students who overstayed their visas, a policy that is under a court injunction,” it said. “And as trade tensions escalate with Washington, Beijing warned Chinese students this month of visa restrictions and delays in the United States.”
The OPT program has grown 400 percent in the last decade, according to Pew Research, and is now the largest source of new temporary immigrant workers.
Pew found that between 2004 and 2016, almost 1.5 million foreign graduates of U.S. colleges and universities have received U.S. jobs through OPT, with most of them working in STEM fields.
Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., is one of several Republicans worried about what this outsourcing of jobs means for young Americans and plans to introduce a bill to end the OPT once and for all.
In its story about Gosar’s bill, the “Fairness for High-Skilled Americans Act of 2019,” the Mercury–News similarly failed to report the costs of the program and how the U.S. government is incentivizing employers to hire foreign students with the program’s tax break.
“Congressman Gosar’s push to cut the OPT program follows furor over the H-1B. That visa, intended for jobs requiring specialized skills, is heavily relied upon by major Silicon Valley tech firms, which lobby for an increase to the annual 85,000 cap on new visas,” the Mercury–News wrote.
CIS’s David North said the true cost of OPT can’t be fully known until the mainstream media stops running from the program’s “dirty little secret.”
“[OPT] is a particularly difficult issue for reformers because the subsidy element of the program—and particularly the people paying the bill, our elderly and infirm—are virtually never mentioned in the press,” North wrote. “That these trust funds are, in effect, sending money to employers who would rather hire alien graduates than American ones, remains, for all practical purposes, a dirty little secret.”