The administration of President Joe Biden has decided to dissolve a newly established office which aimed to protect millions of American graduates from discrimination in terms of employment.
On Jan. 26, the Biden administration dissolved the worker rights office, which the Trump administration announced just last Jan. 13. The office aimed to document and put to light the corporate discrimination against Americans. This discrimination reportedly stems from the Occupational Practical Training (OPT) program.
The said program granted work permits to around 400,000 graduates from foreign countries in 2019. This permit lets them take jobs that American graduates may need. This comes under rules that let companies hire foreign workers at a cheaper rate. It also makes foreign graduates easier to manage compared to American ones. Notably, these foreigners work temporarily, under a contract. They are not considered immigrants.
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Move of Biden Administration Is “Bad News”
Kevin Lynn, the founder of US Tech Workers, sees this move by the Biden administration as bad news for the college students and graduates in the country. This includes those who voted for the President last November.
“Biden was selected by the corporatocracy [which sees] no role for American graduates,” Lynn said. He added that it seems employers do not need American graduates when they can import compliant and cheap foreign workers.
On the other hand, the dissolving of the said office was lauded by immigration lawyers. Most of these lawyers help Fortune 500 companies hire foreigners to do jobs needed by American graduates.
The administration of former President Donald Trump announced the now-dissolved office on Jan. 13.
Promoting Transparency and American Worker Rights
In a statement released on that same day, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program within the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency said it “is currently unable to evaluate the impact OPT has had on U.S. workers and foreign students who have obtained work authorization through the programs.”
The statement added that: “To remedy this, SEVP is announcing the development of a new unit — the OPT Employment Compliance Unit — that will be dedicated full-time to compliance matters involving wage, hours, and compensation … the first report will be published on ICE.gov by July 31, 2021.”
It added: ”If the unit were to detect evidence that an employer is using OPT in a discriminatory manner (e.g., as a means to hire only foreign nationals, or only individuals of certain nationalities to the exclusion of others), or in a manner that negatively impacts wages, this unit may notify DOL and the U.S. Department of Justice of such evidence, where HSI is unable to address such matters, so that the evidence can be investigated further.”
Biden Administration Dissolves Program
However, on Jan. 26, the Biden administration announced the cancellation of the said program.
In a statement, the president’s deputies said: “After conducting an additional review of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s optional practical training (OPT) compliance effort, the program determined that it is already performing much of the work outlined in the Broadcast Message. As such, the creation of the new unit is not necessary at this time.”
Prior to Trump taking office, the federal government did not release substantial information about the OPT program. While it showed the alleged benefits of the OPT program, its top employers, and what benefits universities can have from it, it didn’t show the basic wages OPT workers receive, nor did it reveal how many long, grueling hours they need to work for.
OPT Workers: Underpaid and Overworked
In 2018, however, the Trump administration released a very limited amount of information. This was enough to allow the FBI and news website Breitbart to expose fraud under the program.
OPT and CPT workers tend to work long hours while being underpaid. They accept this arrangement in the hopes of getting full-time jobs into the future. They then see this as the stepping stone to get into the H-1B program. Eventually, they will use it to become eligible to apply for green cards.
These foreign workers displace a lot of American graduates from entry-level jobs in multiple industries. These include science, accountancy, and health care
Additionally, there is also evidence suggesting that the reliance of Fortune 500 companies on contract workers not only sidelines qualified Americans but is also damaging the innovation happening in the corporate world, and it is helping China. Additionally, it also helps divert investments, jobs, and earnings from central states to those near the coast.
Media Rarely Covers Worker Issues
Media coverage regarding this foreign labor market is rare as many outlets are pro-migration.
Although, Lynn and his group, US Tech Workers, are trying to raise awareness regarding this issue.
In a statement, Lynn said: “The OPT work permit masquerades workers as ‘students,’ so employers are under no obligation to pay them fair market wages.”
He added: “The Biden Administration is under the false delusion that these international students are the best and brightest in the world, so deserve to stay here permanently. Research by the [left-wing] Economic Policy Institute shows that the majority of these students are not the best and brightest, and are entering low-ranked US universities with low entrance requirements [to get work permit]. Universities profit because international students pay full freight tuition, while American students are graduating with immense student loan debt and having to now compete with OPT work-permit holders.”