Professors from Rutgers and Howard Universities denied claims by the high-tech industry that more guest workers are needed due to a shortage of Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) workers and said the industry’s desire for cheap foreign guest workers is cutting off the “upward mobility to the middle class for so many of the working class kids."
In an article entitled “STEM Grads Are at a Loss” Dr. Hal Salzman from Rutgers University’s J.J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development wrote “All credible research finds the same evidence about the STEM workforce: ample supply, stagnant wages and, by industry accounts, thousands of applicants for any advertised job. The real concern should be about the dim employment prospects for our best STEM graduates.”
Salzman continued, “In a desert of evidence, the growth of STEM shortage claims is driven by heavy industry funding for lobbyists and think tanks. Their goal is government intervention in the market under the guise of solving national economic problems. The highly profitable IT industry, for example, is devoting millions to convince Congress and the White House to provide its employers with more low-cost, foreign guest workers instead of trying to attract and retain employees from an ample domestic labor pool of native and immigrant citizens and permanent residents. Guest workers currently make up two-thirds of all new IT hires, but employers are demanding further increases. If such lobbying efforts succeed, firms will have enough guest workers for at least 100 percent of their new hiring and can continue to legally substitute these younger workers for current employees, holding down wages for both them and new hires.”
On Monday, radio talk show host Laura Ingraham interviewed Ron Hira, a public policy professor at Howard University. Hira slammed the shortage claims and guest worker desires of high-tech companies. According to Breitbart, he said, "This is really important because the STEM degrees, information technology and engineering in particular, have been real pathways to the middle class. It’s been a traditional path for working class kids to study…By cutting this off, we are cutting off that upward mobility to the middle class for so many of the working class kids."
Hira also said it was "really dangerous to be stapling a green card to every Master’s graduate [degree] in a STEM field…What that does is it basically puts universities as the gatekeepers for admission into the U.S. on permanent residence, and they have a conflict of interest because they can make a lot of money basically selling green cards by setting up a Master’s program that is, say, 12 months."
Last week, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., criticized Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for becoming the top spokesman for expanding the admission of guest workers. He said, "I would pose a question to Mr. Zuckerberg. I read in the news that Facebook is now worth more than $200 billion. Is that not enough money to hire American workers for a change?"
Sen. Sessions was attempting to stand up for American graduates and other workers but Marc Andreesen, a member of Facebook’s board of directors didn’t see it that way. Andreesen tweeted, “Outright slander from an odious hack. Mark has directly & indirectly created 10s, 100s of thousands of US jobs." Andreesen also tweeted that Sen. Sessions’ comments are the 'kind of thing that will guarantee that the Republican Party never wins a national election ever again." Sen. Sessions has advocated that Republicans pursue a populist agenda that protects American workers from illegal immigration and historically high levels of legal immigration.
Updated: Wed, May 31st 2017 @ 3:11pm EDT