Studying in the U.S. Should Not Guarantee a Green Card

My article that appeared on US News and World Report on May 25.

Immigration is a public policy and, like all public policies, it should serve the best interests of the nation. As such, we should always be on the lookout for people whose education and skills are likely to enhance the social and economic well-being of the country.

It is clear that people who possess advanced skills in the fields of science, math, engineering and technology (STEM) hold the potential to be economic assets. Consequently, some in Congress are proposing that we grant green cards to any foreign student who graduates from an American university with a STEM degree.

Unfortunately, the proposal doesn’t address the need to scrap our current immigration system, which is designed to admit endless chains of relatives without regard to their skills, and replace it with a more skilled-based model. Not only wouldn’t it correct the underlying dysfunction of our immigration policy, indiscriminately offering green cards to all foreign STEM graduates would create other unintended consequences. Such sweeping policies may appease powerful business interests, but they would further undermine American workers.

Proponents of automatic green cards for STEM graduates often argue that there are not enough native-born Americans going into these fields. In reality, we have more than an adequate supply of home grown STEM talent. Only about one-third of native STEM professionals are currently employed in jobs closely related to their degrees. Some two-thirds of native STEM workers are employed or are training for jobs in unrelated fields.

The already excessive use of foreign labor in STEM fields has stagnated or even driven down wages, convincing America’s best and brightest to pursue other careers. Instead of complementing our native labor force, automatic green cards for foreign STEM graduates would exacerbate this already unhealthy dependency on foreign labor.

While the idea of automatic green cards for all foreign STEM goes too far, it does highlight a disastrous flaw in our immigration policy that must be addressed. America admits about 1.1 million legal immigrants annually, but only 6 percent of them are directly admitted because we believe their jobs skills will make them assets to our country. Instead of a new, overly-broad add-on to our broken immigration system we need a new system designed to selectively admit people who are most likely to contribute to the well-being of our country.

About Author


Dan is the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)'s President after joining the organization in 1982. He has testified more than 50 times before Congress, and been cited in the media as "America's best-known immigration reformer." Dan has appeared on virtually every significant TV and radio news/talk program in America and, in addition to being a contributing editor to, has contributed commentaries to a vast number of print media outlets.


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  2. avatar

    Brian McRlwee’s article is very well written
    and on target.
    We, as Americans, have to start paying attention to realitywhat is going on.
    I resent that an Illegal Mexican could come to this country illegally and assault and attempt to rape me. Then I walk into the court room believing that justice will be done. Wrong! He was given rights, as an illegal. After attempting to rape an American Citizen, the judge told him she wanted to make sure he understood, and that his rights weren’t violated. She never told me that. Infraction the pictures of my swollen mouth from Frederico Reyes biting my bottom lip, teeth prints visable and swollen eyes and face from when he butted my head with his. PArosecutor Anne Williams Plead him to Assault With Intent To Commit Criminal Sexual Conduct 3rd degree and marked NonViolent on the sentencins sheet.
    She had her microphone off so I couldn’t hear her. I didn’t know until I got copies of the papers. I thought it was a mistake. She told me the average victim leaves and they never see them. I told her “I’m not the average zvictim”,. I will fight to keep this from happening to someone else.
    I am still devastated that this was done to me by the very people who are supposed to protect my rights.
    The Victim’s Bill of Rights ……failed. The system violated my rights.
    I will not fall or fail to make a difference for all women, mothers, daughters, grandmothersand wives
    Hear me good, Prosecutor Anne Williams, Solicitor Scarlet Wilson of SC. I will be visable during election time and continue to make a difference.
    Peggy Kandies, Victim

  3. avatar

    Naively some people think that jobs are like apples hanging from a tree, and that there is only so many that a lucky few can catch… of course this is just not true because for every new worker there is a new client, thus making it possible for someone to open up a new business and hire more employees continuing the cycle, this is called growth of the economy.
    The H-1B or genius visa as pointed out by Dr. Michio Kaku is the life line of U.S.A. For technological development, because the school system has deteriorated only few Americans can make it work in the most demanding scientific fields. The government in an unusual stroke of genius, thought best to simply grab other country’s smart people and put them in the U.S.A. and who can blame them after the success in WW2 with the Manhattan project, without it perhaps we would all speak German.
    Anyone who threats to shrink the economy, to give the technological advantage to other countries over the U.S.A. Its an enemy of the American people.

    • avatar
      Aircarepilot on

      Carlos, we have many people who would love to work in their chosen field, but if the wages are driven down in that field because of foreign workers, then they go to work in another field, pretty simple. So if the US admitted fewer workers into the US, then the wages would go up, and the college grad would stay in his chosen field. it is only the companies that want to use foreign workers so they can pay less money that really benefit from most of the foreign workers allowed into the US, and meanwhile the US born citizen gets the shaft! Carlos, your theory of every new worker here should be creating so many new jobs, that the unemployment should be zero, does not hold water. I have three relatives that are unemployed, and they should get preference over some foreign worker, this is not the European Union where workers can migrate wherever they want to find jobs. American jobs for Americans, simple as that!!

      A Patriotic American