Chickens Coming Home to Roost on Staple-a-Green-Card

I’ve written for years now that the political winds would increasingly blow in the direction of enactment of some form of Staple-a-Green Card policy, under which STEM foreign students in the US would receive automatic green cards. I’ve made these points:

  • The consequences of Staple would be disastrous. It would flood an already-overfull labor market with large numbers of workers of mediocre quality. (I do strongly support bringing in the Best and the Brightest foreign students. More on this below.)
  • Critics of the H-1B work visa who accept and even promote the notion that foreign students are the “good” H-1Bs are contributing to the pro-Staple “winds.”
  • Pres. Trump has consistently backed that notion of foreign students as the “good H-1Bs.”

In that light, this thread of tweets (read the entire thread) on a White House meeting with industry allies is remarkable, to say the least. 

It comes on the heels of yet another “study” from NFAP, an industry advocacy firm. It’s authored by Madeleine Zavodny, who has written a number of advocacy pieces purporting to show that foreign tech workers are good for the American economy and even for US tech workers. This one is on OPT, an H-1B workaround, and of course Zavodny finds it brings no harm to American techies.

Zavodny has admitted in the past to changing her analysis in order to suit the industry people who funded it. This is a grievous academic transgression, yet major news outlets such as the San Jose Mercury News report it as impartial research. Her analysis on OPT is riddled with major errors, and does not even attempt to address statistical issues such as sample size. I’ll post more details later.

Some prominent critics of the H-1B program, such as the engineering organization IEEE-USA and some immigration reform groups like the Center for Immigration Studies, justify their “good H-1Bs, bad H-1Bs” stance — read, “The Indian outsourcing firms are the main bad actors” — by saying legislation to clip those firms’ wings will at least cut down on a major part of the abuse. But as I’ve explained before, it will NOT. Even if those firms are not granted loopholes (a huge “if”), they will simply hire the Staple students.

I’ve been saying for years we’re heading for the edge of a cliff. Is it imminent? I don’t know. But that White House meeting should be a concern for everyone, including US tech workers (native and immigrant), including US students (native and immigrant), including the academic research community, and including those who want the US to maintain its technological lead. (I’m not referring to spying in that last, but if you want to throw in “including the security of the nation,” be my guest.)

As mentioned, I strongly support facilitating the hiring of, and granting of green cards to, foreign students of extraordinary talent. I’ve called for broadening existing programs for such workers (O-1 work visa, EB-1 and NIW green cards).

26 thoughts on “Chickens Coming Home to Roost on Staple-a-Green-Card

    • They know my views. I know a couple of the gov. people from before, from their days as lower-level players but who are now very highly placed. Some of them read this blog. But put yourself in their place: If the industry is saying the foreign students are the “good” H-1Bs, AND a 200,000-member engineering professional society (IEEE-USA), AND academics like Zavodny say so, AND even the immigration reform organizations say so, who would you believe — them or me? Windmills, anyone? 🙂

      Actually, when Trump first came into office, one of the DC insiders wanted to arrange a covnersation between me and a high-up person in the Dept. of Labor. I said fine, but if this is going to be about clamping down on the outsourcing companies while expanding visas for the foreign students, then we are both wasting our time. Needless to say, I never heard back. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • “… one of the DC insiders wanted to arrange a covnersation between me and a high-up person in the Dept. of Labor. I said fine, but if this is going to be about …”

        Typical lost opportunity. It is a conversation – where you can express your opinion.


  1. The deep state has been gaslighting H-1b / OPT critics for decades.
    I thought President Trump would be different,
    but then again, I thought every new president was different.
    And so the gaslighing continues.

    Before the Whitehouse meeting, my perception has been that
    the new Trump and so-called ” Hire Americans First ” policies and
    administrative changes are just a SHELL GAME.
    Now, instead of granting many visas to third party body shops ( which they were never supposed to do ),
    the visas will instead be granted to real companies who produce things.
    HOWEVER, that will not help the US LABOR PARTICIPATION RATE . . .
    Click the ” MAX ” link to see the longest time scale to put things into perspective.

    And now, hear comes the Whitehouse Pow Wow.
    Feb 13, 2019
    Bloomberg: “Wilbur Ross, Ivanka Trump Introduce Workforce Advisory Board”

    Feb 17, 2019
    Ivanka Trump announces American Workforce Policy Advisory Board

    March 6, 2019
    Trump Abandons ‘America First’ Reforms:
    ‘We Need’ More Immigration to Grow Business Profits

    Click the ” Listen ” button.

    VIDEO of American Workforce Policy Advisory Board Meeting; March 6, 2019
    Trump in workforce policy board meeting From Wednesday

    Remarks by President Trump at an American Workforce Policy Advisory Board Meeting

    The ” National Association of State Workforce Agencies “, NASWA, was
    represented at the March 6’th meeting.
    Here are their ” 2019 Legislative Priorities “…

    Lou Dobbs
    Tom Donohue is an enemy of the Trump administration
    Let me start with Ivanka.
    Ivanka said ” We are seeking to increase the country’s workforce participation rates “.
    But will that EVER include US Citizens ?
    And how is the E-Verify legislation progressing ?

    Ivanka said goal # 3 is . . .
    ” Modernizing candidate recruitment and training practices
    to expand the pool of job applicants [ which ] employers are
    looking to hire ”
    We know exactly what that means . . .

    Ivanka said . . .
    ” As we look to the future, this board will also influence
    our legislative agenda to mobilize our higher education system
    and help us be more responsive to today’s students and job creators.
    And this is something that we’re optimistic can be done in this Congress. ”
    Hey, thanks Ivanka !
    However, we already have laws
    that prohibit discrimination in hiring against candiates whose National Origin = USA.

    Merit as well.
    We already have laws and ” Uniform Guidelines On Employee Selection Procedures “.
    The most meritorious candidates are selected for the job interviews and job offers.
    NOTE: Whenever the government says they’re here to help,
    you can be dam sure it is time to be extremely worried, anxious, disturbed, perturbed,
    troubled, bothered, distressed, concerned, upset, distraught, uneasy, fretful, agitated,
    nervous, tense and stressed out.

    And what did Tim Cook have to say about merit ?
    ” Our company, as you know, was founded by a college drop-out.
    So we’ve never really thought that a college degree was the thing that you had to have to do well.
    We’ve always tried to expand our horizons.
    And so that degree — about half of our U.S. employment last year were people that did not have a four-year degree. And we’re very proud of that, but we want to go further.

    There’s an enormous deficit in the number of jobs versus the number of candidates. ”

    Mister Tim Apple, I think the company’s founder had a name, the late Steve Jobs.
    I think all would agree that Steve was a unique and novel person and more than my words could ever describe.
    And Mister Apple, do you know what Apple’s board of directors did to Steve ?
    They FIRED Steve, that’s what they did !
    They FIRED Steve and Tim Apple, to this day is incapable of having any empathy or common decency to refer to Steve Jobs by his name.
    This is shameful.
    Bow your head in shame Tim Apple.

    Also shameful is Tim Apple’s total disregard for the notion of merit.
    A total disregard for the notion that the most meritorious candidates should be rewarded.
    This goes against everything capitalism stands for.
    Socialism is where Mister Apple is heading.

    For Mister Tim Apple to reference Steve Jobs and then
    project Steve into some concept where Tim Apple would like to change the
    Uniform Guidelines On Employee Selection Procedures is – well, what exactly is this ?

    How Low Can We Go ?

    When things don’t work out, Apple’s board of directors can FIRE all of the
    Steve Jobs that it hired and sell the company to India or China.
    Shareholders will be delighted.


    • I’ve been saying since August 2015 (not 2016!) that Trump thinks foreign students are the “good” H-1Bs. And no wonder he thinks so; even your message here hints at that.


      • Norm:

        Yourself, myself and many others have all been saying [ basically ] the same thing, for decades.

        That is that there are to many qualified US Citizens that are out of the workforce because their job applications are denied.
        US Citizens do not get the job interviews.
        US Citizens do not get the job offers.
        The outcome can be observed in the US Labor Participation Rate ( and the number of Visas dispensed ).

        That said, sometimes we use slightly different words to charactorize the problem and the solution.

        However, none of us have ” hinted ” about the problem nor the solution.
        We have presented both the problem and the solution to congress members and presidents on a silver platter.
        We have all made it perfectly clear.

        The problem, as Tim Apple would put it is . . .
        ” It takes government, private sector, and education all kind of oaring in the same direction, and we’re very proud to be a part of it. ”

        Ironically, it’s Tim Apple who is ” oaring [ rowing ] in the wrong direction ” and the US Government as well.

        We’re doomed. Buy gold. Or better yet, steal it . . .

        Syria Accuses US Stole 40+ Tons of Its Gold


  2. “some form of Staple-a-Green Card policy, under which STEM foreign students in the US would receive automatic green cards.”

    “Pres. Trump has consistently backed that notion of foreign students as the “good H-1Bs.””

    From the twitter link, “The legislation would reallocate up to 55,000 green cards to foreign graduates of American universities…”

    The “good H-1Bs” are the foreign students because they are good in the eyes of the Higher Education Lobby. More foreign students means more revenue for American universities.

    I have seen quite a number of articles with shocking headlines such as, “As Students Head to Campus, Colleges Fear International Student Decline”.


  3. Back in 2003-4 IEEE-USA was good. As opposed to their parent organization, IEEE. The USA branch arranged a press conference with Illinois Senator Durbin and myself, highlighting the age discrimination caused by H-1b and the talent right here within the USA. The press conference was very well attended and all major news networks present for this promotion of the Durbin-Grassley bill before senate and congress. In the intervening years it seems everything is collapsing. Money has complete control of politics.


    • H-1B was a major news item in 1998-2000. I was interviewed by all the major networks, NYT, WSJ etc. Then it stopped. The volume of coverage dropped a lot, and worse, the focus of coverage changed: Suddenly the theme was that the foreign students were the “good” H-1Bs, with the Indian outsourcing firms being the Bad Guys. I am contacted by the press only rarely, with reporters preferring to find people who support that theme.

      In full disclosure, I should say that I do sometimes refuse to be interviewed, because I object to the theme. This occurred with both CNN and PBS NewsHour, for instance. And after one egregious (though well-intentioned) misquote by the SJ Mercury News, I stated I did not want to do future interviews.


  4. The “elephant in the room” is the fact that the vast majority of H1-B’s are young males.

    If corporations are going to enforce diversity — as it is currently defined — then this means a large number of U.S. males and older U.S. talent will be displaced. After all, if they are going to only import males, then they are going to have to lean VERY heavily toward females when they recruit stateside for new workers.

    Why is there no diversity requirement that an equal number of foreign females, as well as an equal number of foreigners over age 30, must be hired? Without these mandates, “diversity” is just another way of saying “we have no slots for older white males.” There is a clear double-standard here — one set of demographics for U.S. citizens, and a different one for everyone else.


    • Actually, at least among H-1Bs hired as foreign students at US universities, I believe the gender balance is better for them than for the profession at large.


  5. Fed Chairman Powell on the effects of [ H-1b / OPT Visas & Offshoring Model ] and the opioid crisis on the economy

    Powell told us about another risk, hidden in our economy. It includes an estimated half a million workers who’ve given up looking for jobs.

    Jerome Powell: We have an unusually large number of people in their prime working years who are not in the labor force. The United States has a lower labor force participation rate than almost every other advanced country. That is not our self-image as a country.

    Scott Pelley: Where did these people go who are no longer looking for work?

    Jerome Powell: Part of it is evolving technology. So as technology evolves, it requires rising skills on the part of the people. U.S. educational attainment has not moved up as rapidly as it has in other countries. Globalization’s also a factor. For many advanced economies, manufacturing to some extent, has moved into developing countries. So for whatever reason, and the opioid crisis is related to I think to those other factors.

    Scott Pelley: The opioid crisis?

    Jerome Powell: The opioid crisis is millions of people. They tend to be young males. And it’s a very significant problem. And it’s part of a larger picture.

    Scott Pelley: you seem to be talking about part of this generation being lost.

    Jerome Powell: That is the issue. When you have people who are not taking part in the economic life of a country in a meaningful way, who don’t have the skills and aptitudes to play a role or who are not doing so because of because they’re addicted to drugs, or in jail, then in a sense they are being left behind.
    NOTE: ” Skills ” and ” Education “.
    I agree.
    However, many of those out of the workforce have gone back to school and upgraded their skills and still their job applications are consistantly denied.
    Few if any interviews and no job offers.
    Furthermore, Tim Apple said skills and education don’t matter.
    So how do we explain the low US Labor Force Participation Rate ?

    Trump Should Be Standing with GM Workers, Not Tim Cook

    Click the ” Listen ” button.

    The article also contains a podcast . . .
    Breitbart News Tonight – Ryan Girdusky – March 8, 2019

    Exclusive–Mo Brooks:
    ‘Masters of the Universe’ Want More Immigration to ‘Decrease Incomes of Americans’

    Click the ” Listen ” button.

    Also, the article contains a podcast . . .
    Breitbart News Tonight – Rep. Mo Brooks – March 8, 2019

    Wow… about 15 minutes in.


  6. > Zavodny has admitted in the past to changing her analysis in order to suit the industry people who funded it. This is a grievous academic transgression, yet major news outlets such as the San Jose Mercury News report it as impartial research.

    Agreed. I left the following comment on the Mercury News story :

    > It would be nice if the media would stop publicizing studies that have been neither peer-reviewed nor reproduced. Has anyone at the Mercury News actually looked at the study? Its methodology appears to be as follows: Looking just at 2008-2016, the unemployment rate has gone down since the financial crisis (duh) and OPT has exploded. Therefore, OPT does not hurt U.S. workers. There is no mention of statistical significance, validating the model, or anything like that. It appears to do a simple linear regression and declare its conclusion. A first-year statistics student would probably fail if he or she turned in such a study. The media needs to stop publicizing studies that have been neither peer-reviewed or reproduced. You might want to look at the analysis at . It’s based on an article by a real labor economist, George Borjas. He actually gives the sources for his numbers, not hide behind unreleased data from an FOIA request as does the NFAP study.

    I also left the following reply about the funding of the study:

    > Agreed. The high tech elite create and/or fund these advocacy groups that pay various economists to write studies that come to their desired conclusions. I looked at a prior study by Zavodny, the economist who wrote this study. It claimed that “each foreign-born worker in STEM with an advanced U.S. degree creates 2.6 native jobs”. The years looked at by the study were 2000 to 2007. Yet, if you take this same model and look at 2002 to 2009, the 2.6 job gain becomes a 1.2 job LOSS! This would seem to show that the model is useless. The author was informed of this but still stands by her conclusions. The details of this analysis is posted at .

    > The way to stop this flood of “lying with statistics” is for the media to only report on research that has been peer-reviewed and whose conclusions have been reproduced by an independent researcher and/or where the program and data required to reproduce the results have been released. If they insist on publishing the story, the media could ask one or more independent statisticians to look at the study’s methodology. They might make some effort to “follow the money” and look at the funding of the study. At the very least, the media should report that this study has not been peer-reviewed or reproduced.


  7. > Zavodny has admitted in the past to changing her analysis in order to suit the industry people who funded it.

    True. The following excerpt comes from the book “Sold Out” by Michelle Malkin and John Miano:

    > Zavodny, whose results have not been published in a peer-reviewed journal, initially examined data from the years 2000 to 2010. She hypothesized that states with more foreign-born workers would have higher rates of employment among native-born Americans. She ran her regression and concluded: “None of the estimates are significantly different from zero.”65 In other words, she was unable to find a significant effect of foreign-born workers on U.S. jobs. Clearly, that wasn’t the “overwhelming” evidence H-1B expansionists were hoping for.

    > In correspondence with us, Zavodny revealed that she showed her initial results to the study sponsor, who we imagine must have been disappointed. The sponsor came up with the idea of discarding the last three years of data (2008–10) and trying again. “The guys at Partnership for a New American Economy [sponsor of the study] pointed out that the Great Recession might be leading to anomalous results and suggested I look at 2000–2007,” Zavodny told us. “This seemed like a reasonable idea to me given that the recession led to huge job losses for immigrants and for natives (and also to changes in immigration patterns).” Mirabile dictu, Zavodny found the effect the study sponsor was hoping for.

    So they dropped 2008 through 2010 to avoid including the Great Recession and that seemed reasonable to Zavodny. Yet nobody considered the fact that they were including the dot-com crash of 2000 to 2002, an event that had a much larger effect on tech employment! As explained at , simply moving the study’s time span of 2000-2007 forward two years to 2002-2009 and running the same model that Zavodny calculated results in radically different results. The study’s 2.62 job gain becomes a 1.21 job LOSS. This would seem to show that the model is deeply flawed, if not totally useless. As described at , Zavodny was informed about questions about her methodology but “stands by her work”. It is not clear in the article that she had been informed about the different results described above but she likely is aware from its mention in the book “Sold Out”.


  8. > Her analysis on OPT is riddled with major errors, and does not even attempt to address statistical issues such as sample size. I’ll post more details later.

    Agreed. Your mention of sample size brings up an interesting story. Back when I was looking at her 2011 study titled “Immigration and American Jobs”, I wrote Zavodny and asked her several questions, including the following:

    > Am I correct that you used ordinary least squares (OLS) regression to obtain the 262 U.S. jobs created figure? If so, was this because the 0.0004 figure obtained from the 2SLS regression was not signficant? Also, your study states the following on page 9:

    > The study avoids “overcounting” the effects of immigrant workers drawn by a recent economic boom by using an estimation technique (known as “two-stage least squares (2SLS) regression estimation” and discussed in the appendix) that is designed to yield the effect of immigration independent of recent growth and employment opportunities. The analysis also controls for state- and time-specific factors that might affect native employment rates.

    > Am I correct to assume from this that the 262 U.S. jobs created figure is therefore not corrected to avoid “overcounting the effects of immigrant workers drawn by a recent economic boom”?

    Her reply included the following statement:

    > Yes, the 262 number is based on an OLS regression, not a 2SLS regression. It was difficult to find an instrument with enough power to identify the 2SLS regressions, particularly for the advanced degree STEM workers (the effective sample sizes get smaller when moving from all BA+ immigrants to MA+ immigrants to MA+ immigrants working in STEM; the collapsed sample size in the regressions of course remains the 50 states + DC for the years 2000-2007 or 2000-2007 but the underlying sample from which the data were collapsed is smaller and hence noisier). I therefore prefer to not use strong causal language when interpreting the results.

    Hence, Zavodny expressed concern about sample size in her 2011 study at . If you look at the study, you’ll also see statistical significance mentioned repeatedly. Yet neither sample size nor statistical significance is mentioned in this latest study. It’s as though they have figured out that neither the media nor anyone else ever looks at the the actual study. They don’t have to include such “pointy-head” concepts or pretend that the study was done with any academic rigor. They just have to declare their conclusions and say that there’s a study that backs them up.


  9. 03-08-19 : VDARE
    National Data | February Job Growth Poor, Immigrants Grab Most
    And Wage Growth Still Weak. NOT Time To Increase Immigration, President Trump!

    Foreign Workers Outpace Native-Born Americans in Job Growth for Six Months

    03-11-19 : THE DAILY CALLER
    OPINION: Let’s Stop Promoting Migration
    Under The Pretense Of Any ‘Shortage’ In The Labor Market

    03-11-19 : INSIDE HIGHER ED
    White House Discussion of International Students


  10. We effectively have ‘staple a green card’ in Australia (if you enrol in a university course, you can get permanent residence here). It has turned universities into citizenship sales centres. The foreign students are indulged, the courses are very poor quality and nobody fails. The universities here are now part of the gravy train and fight any effort to reduce immigration. The policy is a disaster.


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