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Horowitz: Forgotten issues in the coronavirus debate: Mass migration and offshoring to China

This week, Congress will debate its reaction to the coronavirus. One hundred percent of the discussion will revolve around how much money to throw at HHS agencies already flush with record budgets, but nobody is discussing the biggest policy problem implicated during critical public health crises – mass migration and outsourcing to and from the very source countries of these outbreaks.

Immigration, when managed properly, at the right levels, from the right places, with prudent vetting and fostering of Americanization among the new arrivals, can enrich a country. But when done with no regard for American sovereignty and security, and through irresponsible and unchecked mass migration, it can be the biggest conduit for whatever global concerns we seek to avoid – whether drugs, cultural problems, espionage, terrorism, trade theft, or communicable diseases.

It is evident from both the 2003 SARS and 2020 coronavirus outbreaks that China cannot be trusted to keep these viruses in check or to be truthful and collaborative in containing them. Living with such a clear reality, why are policymakers not questioning the effect of bringing in hundreds of thousands of Chinese students and tens of thousands more on other visas every year? Why do we not clamp down on mass travel the minute there is a sense of a novel virus outbreak in China? Those are the questions policymakers should be grappling with this week.

Given the sheer number of Chinese students studying in our universities, an outcome the American people never voted for, how many countless thousands traveled back from school vacations in China when the new semester began in January? That coincided with the outbreak of the virus. What protocols were put in place to ensure they were not carrying the virus, or is such an effort even possible with such large numbers in a rush to get back for the new semester?

There are certainly a lot of terrific people who come here from China. But we can’t ignore the fact that the Chinese government is our biggest adversary and is using its diaspora of students, which flows into a pipeline of Chinese workers employed in sensitive industries and government research labs, as a means of stealing our expertise, data, and trade secrets and bringing it back home.

According to a bipartisan Senate Homeland Security subcommittee report, there are 10,000 Chinese nationals conducting research in the Department of Energy’s National Labs. The report found that agencies and departments conducting scientific research like the National Institutes of Health and the State Department do not “systematically track visa applicants linked to China’s talent recruitment plans.”

The report found that foreign-born researchers working for various U.S. scientific research agencies were being paid by China under the Thousand Talents Plan run by the communist government. It concludes, “American taxpayer funded research has contributed to China’s global rise over the last 20 years,” because it allowed China to go “from brain drain to brain gain.”

Just take the recent case of a Chinese national working for Coke in Atlanta. Just last month, Xiaorong “Shannon” You, a Chinese national, was indicted for stealing $100 million in trade secrets from six Coke vendors before she left the company. According to the FBI, this enabled her to win Chinese government funding to start a company making next-generation can coatings back in China.

As the Atlanta-Journal Constitution pointed out, “Chinese companies, individuals and agents steal between $225 billion and $600 billion a year in U.S. intellectual property ranging from copying designs to make knock-off handbags to pirated music and movies to corporate America’s most sensitive technologies, according to one outside estimate U.S. officials cite.”

It's a fulfillment of what the Senate subcommittee report warned: how China, over the past generation, discovered that it’s “more efficient to allow its nationals to learn how to conduct research and develop cutting-edge technologies overseas and later find ways for these nationals to assist China.”

This is how China has been able to develop an army of people with American expertise to then work for these American or Chinese companies for a cheaper price overseas. Now, not only does China have an easy conduit to bring in communicable diseases to our country, but it has used it to stymie our ability to deal with such outbreaks properly, because most of our drug ingredients are made in, you guessed it, China!

On Friday, CNBC reported that the Food and Drug Administration announced its first drug shortage as a result of the coronavirus because so many of our drug manufacturers rely on ingredients made in China, but declined to name the drug. Again, the irony is lost on most policymakers that so many outbreaks occur in China, we bring in endless foreign students from China right during the outbreak in late December/early January, and the pipeline of Chinese students and workers is what has caused the very offshoring that makes us vulnerable during Chinese virus outbreaks!

The amazing thing is that senators will publish reports with findings smacking them in the face and indicting unbridled mass migration, yet they will never point the finger at the obvious culprit when the results become so painfully obvious during a time of a health epidemic. How could mass migration from China ever work for us when the politicians know how China is using it to scavenge America’s carcass?

No money in the world funneled to HHS can solve the problem of our de facto open-borders policy and the multiple ways China uses it against us.

One last thing…
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