Category Archives: opinion

What’s the catch?

I’ve been keeping my ear on the ground (more like my eye on the internet) concerning one issue that obviously relates to the international student.

The Science Technology Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) bill.

CNN posted on this tantalizing topic today as seen here

My two cents…

First, it must be recognized that CNN’s post is not all inclusive and does not talk about other aspects of this bill that I think are very important, especially for me the biology minded F1 student.

There are also other limitations in terms of eligible employers, eligible institutions from which you receive your degree, and of course the whopper… This bill would create these new green cards by eliminating the Diversity Visa Lottery.

The Diversity Visa Lottery (DV lotto) has long since been a way for people from countries with low immigration rates to the United States to have a chance at coming here to achieve the American dream. It doesn’t require one to be a STEM graduate or skilled or anything, just be lucky.

It needs to be said that this current bill is being backed primarily by the Republican Party and there is a counter Democratic Party bill called the “Attracting the Best and the Brightest Act” but for all intents and purposes, the bills are the same, except the ABBA bill does not eradicate the DV lotto.

The problem both bills fail to see is that these bills will almost surely present a kind of elitism and reduce the diversity of immigrants coming into the United States. The elitism is almost a no-brainer since the bills bias towards PhD holders (this honestly blocks younger minds) and would diminish or deteriorate anyone immigrating of a less intellectual skill set (through the DV lotto).

The reduction of diversity is not as obvious because a lot of these law makers haven’t been in a room full of technology, engineering, and math PhDs in a while (or ever). Most of the internationals in these fields are Indian or Chinese. No offense to either of those countries and people but they don’t need the help to immigrate in fact they are usually not even eligible to enter the DV lotto because they have such a high number of immigrants already.

Furthermore, it is a fallacy to think that it’s only the STEM students that are useful to the American economy

“The bill that we passed will allow these individuals to have a green card if they get a diploma and, therefore, enabling them to stay in this country to begin their careers to create jobs rather than being forced to leave to go back to their home countries and actually compete with us,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor

 There are conferences held in my current metropolitan area where a lot of the CEOs are not STEM people but rather health care and policy people. This bill blocks the people who are really creating the jobs. Most STEM people I meet aren’t thinking about creating their own company (ironically the only person I’ve met like that is American born and bred). They want to join already established good labs and get out publications or if they want money they’re hoping to get into a big pharma, tech, or engineering company. They want to work for Google, Novartis, and so on.

Bottom line, not only are these bills wrongly going about a somewhat good thing… the one but significant difference between them, a.k.a. the DV lotto, would likely have both bills failing. Either because the Democratic Senate will kill this current bill or because the Republican House will likely do the same to the ABBA bill.

That’s the catch.

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