Letters to the Editor - Fall 1993

By
Published in The Social Contract
Volume 4, Number 1 (Fall 1993)
Issue theme: "NAFTA and immigration"
http://www.thesocialcontract.com/artman2/publish/tsc0401/article_292.shtml



Editor

I enjoy reading The Social Contract and find it a serious journal, balanced and forthright. I would like to raise an issue that may warrant examination in future issues.

Social Contract readers may like to know how U.S. institutions of higher education are complicit in supplanting American citizens and installing foreign students and faculty.

Foreign students who enter U.S. universities under F-1 visa status are supposed to return to their home countries when they complete their education. Many times, however, this is not the case. Even those professionals within the university systems who often aid the students in taking advantage of lax U.S. regulations (the foreign student advisors) are questioning the ethics of contributing to the continued influx of foreigners into the U.S. university and labor market

We must not lose sight of the goal of international education inherent in the definition of exchange. The pendulum has swung far to the side of nonreturn, a position that favors the interests of U.S. businesses and educational institutions. The F-1 student visa regulations as they now stand are biased in favor of international students remaining in the United States to work. For example, practical training - which is meant to pre-pare a student for home country employment - has become a well-worn stepping stone to H-1 status and permanent residence. New immigration regulations will only magnify the reentry problem. Can we call ourselves international educators when we support a one-way flow of talent ... Should we be satisfied that international students are getting good positions in U.S. hospitals, universities, engineering firms, and so on, while their home countries are combatting environmental pollution, AIDS, lack of schools, and numerous other problems with ever scarcer resources? Should we be satisfied that we are dealing with a crisis in science and technology teaching by recruiting foreign graduate students while secondary and postsecondary education founders and U.S. minorities suffer high unemployment? (Robert Brzozowski in International Educator, Vol. 1, No. 2, p. 13.)

Teaching jobs within the university system are also subject to this influx. When carrying out a search for a particular position, foreign academics are supposed to be hired only when a qualified American cannot be found. In practice the search requirements are so cursorily carried out that the hiring of the favored foreigner is almost always assured, or very rarely challenged. This occurs at private institutions as well as land-grant universities - institutions established and supported by U.S. taxpayer dollars.

Meanwhile, the European Community moves ever closer to implementing the 'freedom of establishment' for individuals from one member state wishing to work or reside permanently in another state. Will this effectively block U.S. academics (or other workers, for that matter) from working in EC educational institutions? The doors of U.S. universities and businesses, however, continue to be wide open to the world.

The United States government is a player in this scenario. The Fulbright scholarships, paid for largely with taxpayer funds and administered by the U.S. Information Agency, grants a number of scholarships to foreign students. The 'two-year return' policy, instituted so that the skills acquired by the student will be used for the benefit of his or her home country, can be waived with the concurrence of the USIA. (It would be interesting to know how many of these scholars actually do return. In any case, two years after their return to their home countries, they are free to apply for an immigrant visa to become a permanent U.S. resident or citizen.) In addition, U.S.-based program agencies hired to administer the academic programs of the U.S. government foreign scholars also help them arrange 'practical training' at the end of their academic studies - that is, employment with a U.S. business, at 100% of the wage of U.S. citizens in similar jobs. With these incentives, why would a foreign scholar want to return to his or her home country?

Responding to a supposed 'labor shortage' of scientific workers (the same erroneous rationale used to increase immigration to the U.S. in the 1980s), the U.S. Labor department has announced its intention to make hiring of foreigners as easy as for university administrators as the hiring of American citizens. Several U.S. professional associations of scientists strongly deny that any such shortages exist.

In sum, real or imagined shortages of workers and academics in the U.S. are being used to allow an influx of foreign workers. Such shortages can and should be addressed by intensified training of our own citizens and investment in bettering public schools. As the situation exists today, U.S.-born minorities such as African Americans, who trace their ancestry in our country back for generations, as well as poor whites, continue to slip behind economically and educationally.

A situation of our own making allows foreigners to reap the benefits of our society, while our laws aid and abet them in shirking their responsibility to make a contribution to their own countries of origin.

[Name withheld by request.]

Editor

The last issue [Summer 1993] of The Social Contract is the best ever. I put it as bedside reading for my house guest... She said she read it all. She wanted to take it home with her to copy and send back. I gave it to her. I had clipped in the back several good recent columns. Bonus.

Sincerely,

Martha Ragland

Nashville, TN

Editor

Re The Social Contract, Spring 1993 issue. Great issue. We especially liked the help you give us for answering some of the arguments... we get from people who prattle on about social justice...

In various ways throughout the issue authors are asking what appears to us to be the two most important questions (1) why have the media failed to make the connections? and (2) will our government wake up? ...Our job is to get the average person to talk about these problems, and not to feel guilty or cowed or silenced or intimidated... Currently so many non-citizens are demanding their 'rights' that our system already shows signs of collapse. Lance Izumi and Alan Nelson have made some excellent suggestions in 'How California Can Lead the Way.' Will [President] Clinton and our DC legislators pay attention? Perhaps they are paying too much attention of the media who, for reasons best known to themselves, refuse to print much on our issues.

Elaine Stansfield, Director

Save Our Earth

Los Angeles, CA

Editor

I just want to tell you that the two pieces by Sir James Goldsmith and by Peter Brimelow [Vol. III, No.4, Summer 1993] were both superb.

I am not opposed to either migration or free trade. However, migration must be selective and so moderated as not to swamp the country of desti-nation, prevent assimilation, increase the underclass or blur national identity.

As for free trade, I agree with Sir James that economic advantages - of which he sees fewer than I do - must be balanced against possible social dangers. However, despite practically permanent negotiations I doubt that free trade, unlike immigration, will reach a dangerous level. Too many interest groups oppose it.

Thank you for two brilliant and stimulating articles.

Sincerely yours,

Ernest van den Haag

New York, NY

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