More on Trump and Foreign Students

On Sunday, I posted a piece here praising presidential candidate Donald Trump’s stance on the H-1B work visa. Since I am a liberal Democrat, my praise for Trump caused a bit of a stir, resulting in the conservative Web site Breitbart running an article, “Floodgates Open: Top Democrat Professor Says ‘I’ve Never Seen any Politician’ with Better Immigration Plan than Trump.” Trump himself tweeted the article. (To read it without “voting,” hit Refresh in your browser.)

My, my — if only the Democratic Party would listen to this “top Democrat.” On the contrary, as I noted recently, the Democrats who used to be critical of H-1B, e.g. Harkin, Stabenow, Pascrell and so on, have all clammed up on H-1B in the last couple of years, while some Republicans, such as Trump, Walker and Santorum are now taking up the slack as supporters of American workers.

However, just two days later I had to post another piece, saying “Forget what I said” after Trump “clarified” his stance:

When foreigners attend our great colleges & want to stay in the U.S., they should not be thrown out of our country…I want talented people to come into this country—to work hard and to become citizens. Silicon Valley needs engineers, etc.

This is the standard industry party line, which portrays the foreign students as the “good” H-1Bs, as opposed to those imported directly from India by firms like Infosys to replace American workers at companies like Disney and SCE. This is simply not true, and it was quite disappointing to see Trump “go to the dark side.”

I have been assured privately by two well-connected people that Trump actually did not reverse himself, but really, it’s obvious that he did. Not only did he say we need to retain the foreign students, but also he supported the notion that we have a shortage of engineers. And the quotes in an article running in today’s edition of Inside Higher Ed show that supporters of giving work visas to the foreign students also see that Trump agrees with them. As the article puts it, Trump “is in line with mainstream sentiment in higher education.” One seldom sees Trump mentioned in the same sentence as the word mainstream, but there you have it. (The article is perhaps a tad unbalanced, but definitely recommended reading.)

Some have responded to my Sunday post by saying that Trump’s stance on H-1B is still better than that of any other politician, but I strongly disagree. He seems to be supporting the bills that would make special work visas and/or green cards for young international students, amounting to an H-1B end run. If such policies are enacted, it will be business as usual for Disney and SCE — they’ll hire the foreign students instead of H-1Bs, with the result STILL being that Americans don’t get those jobs.

I do have to say that my remarks praising Trump for his support of low-skilled American workers, especially blacks and Latinos, still stand. Again, one just doesn’t see the Democrats showing such insight/courage. San Francisco radio station KGO had me as a guest on Pat Thurston’s show the other night, and I was amazed to see Thurston, the liberal’s liberal, praising Trump. But on the issue of immigration of engineers, Trump’s a chump.


16 thoughts on “More on Trump and Foreign Students

  1. Here’s the latest claptrap floating around from the 21st century’s slave traders:

    I don’t know where to start to blow this all the way to the moon! (Perhaps Ralph Kramden can help me)

    My work schedule as the owner of a 100% 82 citizen employee firm doesn’t allow me the time to rip it apart, but I’m confident this is the same old stuff that’s been floating around for years.


    • > Here’s the latest claptrap floating around from the 21st century’s slave traders:

      I agree that the Niskanen study is pure claptrap. It was addressed by John Miano at and I addressed it in the one comment there. Following is the first paragraph of my comment:

      I was likewise puzzled with his logic about the speed at which the visa cap is met. I couldn’t quite put my finger on the problem but you do a good job of explaining it. I was also struck by Charts 2 and 3 in his study. In those charts, Bier is exploring the correlation between the foreign-born employment and the total employment in Computer and Engineering. Does Bier realize that the total employment INCLUDES the foreign-born employment? Of course, he should compare two independent groups, like foreign-born and native-born workers. I also, notice that he did something a bit misleading in Chart 2. The casual observer would think that foreign and total employment went up at about the same rate. That would be a mistake. I had time to post a quick table and graph with Bier’s data that show the rate of increase at . As you can see, foreign-born employment increased about 46 percent during the ten years but native employment increased just about 7 percent.

      Regarding the study by Giovanni Peri mentioned in the last paragraph of my comment, it was recently published and I’ve begun to address it at .


  2. I don’t know why we are wasting money on the Bureau of Labor Statistics (Dept of Labor) and the National Center for Educational Statistics (Dept of Ed) since the politicians and wannabees do not look at the data. The data is very clear looking at the new and replacement rate table and the enrollment data that there are more than enough people in the educational pipeline to more than meet forecast needs.

    It is also my belief that giving out green cards to graduates will reduce the number of PhDs granted. I am convinced that many foreign PhD students are there simply because they cannot get a H-1B job in the lottery and/or this is a faster way to a green card due to the EB3/EB2/EB1 waiting period differences. I would expect international students holding masters degrees already will enroll as masters students just for the green card. With that road to a job, few will continue in school.

    Where is the IEEE and ACM on this?


    • I agree with you regarding the PhDs. We’re producing far too many. So this is the only good thing that would come out of fast-track.

      Actually, there was a proposal to limit fast-track green cards to the PhD level, but it didn’t go anywhere. The industry would certainly oppose it.


      • There is another potential positive effect. Universities would have to hire “real” employees as research associates to conduct the research and the salaries would need to be at least doubled from what their post docs get.

        I would expect any foreign post doc recruited into a lab would change to a student visa at the earliest opportunity and leave the prof in the lurch (I am not pitying the profs who are abusing the system).


        • Well, you should now see the political problems.

          If the proposals to give the foreign MS/PhD students automatic green cards were to be enacted, the universities would, as you correctly stated, lose half their PhD students in many fields. They would then have to hire much more expensive American researchers, as you also said, and they also would have to offer the domestic grad students more lucrative assistantships.

          So, if autogreen is seriously considered by Congress, the universities will strenuously object. They may demand that autogreen apply only to PhDs. But then industry would strenuously object, because no matter how much their PR people like to talk about hiring foreign PhD students, what they really want are Master’s students.

          There is also the question of whether the industry would want autogreen at all. On the one hand, autogreen would reduce their ability to treat the foreign workers as indentured students. But on the other hand, green card waits, and the uncertainty regarding obtaining an H-1B visa during the wait, could dissuade foreign students from coming to the U.S. in the first place — which the industry would not like. Remember, even with autogreen, the industry is still getting access to a big pool of YOUNG, thus CHEAP, workers. So, on the whole, industry would probably support autogreen, say with enough speed bumps so that the worker is still indentured for a couple of years.


          • Several years ago I tried to discuss this with a respected, senior engineering administrator. He pooh-poohed it as a non-issue. I think the majority of faculty members and administrators are clueless and don’t care about how their actions impact their students or the country. I am particularly frustrated by those who go all over Asia seeking students and will not make any effort for our veterans.

            I was amaze to have a discussion in which I was told the department at a state university with a large number of DOD grants would not even consider hiring a vet as a faculty member but had just hired three faculty from the same country known to be hostile to the US who should not be anywhere near the research being done.


          • >So, if autogreen is seriously considered by Congress,
            >the universities will strenuously object.

            Good! Hadn’t realized that.

            Though really, I’d expect them to just triple their PhD output. Maybe give them away free in cereal boxes.


  3. Dr. Matloff, Keep your attack of Trump and politicians on this issue on full throttle. After all that is all we can do. I just have one suggestion. I do not see you criticizing the universities for pushing this agenda to collect that expensive foreign tuition money. Please mention the industry that employs you equally as culprit too. They are just as corrupt as politicians and the rest of them.


  4. My apologies, I had read that article before. I must say though I am 51 year old tech veteran and yes still employed as an IT architect. It just amazes me seeing the reality of modern day slavery vs. rhetoric of mainstream industry on daily basis. I truly believe that this system will collapse on its own one way or another. Either we fix it, or it will crumple on its own weight. This just cannot go on for much longer. This has expanded well beyond engineering. I cannot think of a single discipline that is immune from this. Thank you for all your good work. I am an abbot fan and reader of your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. > On Sunday, I posted a piece here praising presidential candidate Donald Trump’s stance on the H-1B work visa. Since I am a liberal Democrat, my praise for Trump caused a bit of a stir, resulting in the conservative Web site Breitbart running an article, “Floodgates Open: Top Democrat Professor Says ‘I’ve Never Seen any Politician’ with Better Immigration Plan than Trump.”

    Yes, such things cause quite a stir among those who seem to believe that politics is a bipolar, one-dimensional universe in which liberal Democrat is at one pole and conservative Republican is at the other. Some even view these two poles as good and evil and see moderates as wishy-washy people who compromise with evil. Such a view of the world may be comforting to some but it seems terribly limiting and pessimistic. I would prefer to think of the two parties as evolving entities where the oversights of one are likely to be addressed (eventually) by the other. Of course, one party may get it more right on certain issues over extended periods of time but the evolution of their positions provides more hope that they will eventually get it right.

    I think that our country would do better to move away from the two-party duopoly that rules it through something like instant runoff voting (see ). That would likely allow a third party to grow on issues that are being ignored by both parties. Unfortunately, it seems that the two parties are willing to put up with occasional spoilers (Perot for the Republicans and Nader for the Democrats) in order to keep their duopoly in place.

    Anyhow, those who hold a one-dimensional view of politics are understandably confused when an entity they thought to reside at one pole seems shows up at the other! The problem, of course, is not the entity but their view of the universe. They need to expand their view of the universe to two dimensions, if not three or more.


  6. Norm, what I don’t understand is, where are the discrimination lawsuits? One day while looking for a job internally, the org chart showed that eight out of twelve levels of management were staffed by Indians. And what little I know of Indian names I’m guessing they were all or majority male. If I started a firm and hired all white males I would be sued left and right. Yet if I bring in people that are all not citizens that is legal? There is something really wrong here. No African, Hispanic, Native, Asian or Anglo-Americans? No females except for a couple testers and analysts? Obviously no US veterans. Even guessing no or very few gay or lesbians. If it was revealed that Klan or Neo-Nazis were doing this with us honkies, the media would be all over this. Has any minority tech association ever contacted you? Ever thought of reaching out to any?


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