Odd Little Immigration Program Harms Americans?

By CIS, Special for  USDR

A new report by the Center for Immigration Studies reveals that U.S. government is paying a bonus to employers who hire certain foreign workers instead of citizens or green card  holders.

The Optional Practical Training (OPT) program allows foreign graduates of U.S. universities who are working in the U.S. to retain their status as students for tax purposes. Under the OPT program, these foreign workers can extend their “student” status for 12 months; if they studied in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), they can extend it for an additional 17 months, for a total of nearly two and half  years.

Since these foreign workers are defined by the Department of Homeland Security as “students”, neither the employer nor the alien has to pay payroll taxes, which are mandated for citizen and legal-resident workers and their employers. Thus the United States effectively pays a bonus of as much as $11,600 to employers when they hire an alien graduate rather than a U.S. graduate with the same qualifications and paid the same  salary.

Information discovered through a FOIA request shows that the OPT program is responsible for American workers being denied more than 430,000 jobs during the years 2009-2013, and for  $4 billion having been removed from the Social Security and Medicare trust funds. Over this same time period, there has been a 34 percent increase use in foreign students using the 12-month extension and a 232 percent increase in those taking advantage of the additional 17-month extension for STEM  graduates.

View the entire report at: http://www.cis.org/north/obscure-immigration-program-hurts-us-residents-both-young-and-old.

“The OPT, a relatively hidden program, has become a means for those here on student visas to stay in the US as workers for years and years,” said David North, a fellow at the Center and author of the report. “This was not the intent of this immigration program and certainly should not be allowed to continue to be a back door into the country at a time of high unemployment and concern over the long term status of the Social Security Trust  Fund.”

The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit research organization founded in 1985. It is the nation’s only think tank devoted exclusively to research and policy analysis of the economic, social, demographic, fiscal, and other impacts of immigration on the United  States.

SOURCE Center for Immigration  Studies

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