DHS Raids Social Security System and Zaps U.S. Workers – Again

By David North, May 13, 2011

The Department of Homeland Security has – yet again – decided to raid the Social Security Trust Fund and shoulder aside American college graduates from good jobs, as it announced today a twist on the use of the F-1 student visa to aid big business.

That, of course, was not the way the DHS publicists shaped their press release, which was, headed, innocuously:

ICE announces expanded list of science, technology, engineering and math degree programs
Qualifies eligible graduates to extend their post-graduate training

It sounds like ICE is a university, offering courses to post-graduate students.

Maybe that's what ICE wanted you to believe, but what has happened, without congressional approval, is that the agency has decided to take presumably hundreds of millions of dollars from the Social Security Trust Fund, and to allow big business to save money by hiring recent foreign college grads, rather than hiring U.S. ones.

Among other things this is an employment program for foreign workers, and has nothing to do with post-graduate studies.

What ICE has done is to expand a loophole in the foreign student program which will allow an unknown number of these students to spend an additional 17 months in the country, after graduation, working for big business, big medicine, and big universities. The ex-students, still on the F-1 student visas they had while in college, will now be able to work in jobs for which neither they nor their employer will have to pay their fair share of FICA and Medicare taxes, for the additional near year and a half.

The employers will save 7.65 percent when they hire foreign students instead of US workers, and the workers will save 5.65 percent as well. The difference between those two percentages is because there is a 2 percent reduction on FICA taxes on workers this year, a step taken to help workers generally, not foreign students specifically.

A rational employer faced with paying 100 percent of salaries and fringes if he hires a U.S. worker, and paying 92.35 percent of those costs by hiring a foreign one, might well choose the foreign one; both candidates presumably having comparable American educations and American degrees. The ICE press release does not reveal that variable.

The device ICE is using is the extension of an existing F-1 program called OPT (Optional Practical Training) from 12 months to 29 months for a long list of occupations, such as Animal Science, Poultry Science, Neuroscience, and Management Science. Aliens with undergraduate degrees in these and other listed academic specialties will now have the same advantages as the engineers and other scientists had under a Bush administration expansion of the OPT program described in an earlier blog of mine.

The Obama administration, in the press release, speaks of this as a means of fixing our "broken immigration system."

It is not that at all. Recent alien college graduates with the degrees listed in today's announcement would be fully capable of getting H-1B visas, and as we noted the other day, there are plenty of these to go around; the difference is that while H-1B employers and their workers (appropriately) pay full FICA and Medicare taxes, OPT employers do not.

It is just a giveaway to the mass migration people, and big business, without any need for congressional approval.