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Horowitz: Semiconductor companies just got billions from Congress. Now they want to hire foreign workers.

Op-ed
Al Drago/Getty Images

Republicans are all unanimous in their opposition to the reconciliation “Build Back Better” bill, but Mitch McConnell and 16 other Senate Republicans voted for the mini BBB bill, dumping billions of dollars into companies that have created a brain gain for China’s trade theft to drain our supply chains. Not only did McConnell agree to the bill despite the refusal of Democrats to entertain amendments ensuring that the jobs stay in America, but now these same companies are turning around and demanding more foreign workers to hire.

“In the near-term, the U.S. educational system does not produce enough Americans with the required qualifications to meet the demand of companies, not just in the semiconductor industry, but across the technical sector,” the HR officers of nine semiconductor companies wrote in a letter to congressional leaders. The nine companies were: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.; Ampere Computing; ASML US; Broadcom Inc.; Americas Global Foundries; Infineon Technologies; Americas Corp.; Intel Corporation; Samsung Semiconductor, Inc.; and Texas Instruments Incorporated.

These companies are trying to take our money and pour gasoline on our supply chain fire by hiring more Chinese and Indian nationals. How do you think China has us by the neck when it comes to our industrial base? China flooded our country with foreign students and green card recipients for decades. Some of them were terrific people, but many of them went back and shared the knowledge they learned at our universities and companies and grew China’s industrial base. 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.

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.”

The endless supply of Chinese visa holders has served as this conduit for China’s brain gain. Now, these same companies that lobbied for a bill touted as shoring up America’s control over production of chips are trying to use the money to hire foreign nationals. Given our immigration trends, they will likely be Chinese and Indians.

Massive corporations lobbying for endless corporate welfare along with visa pork is what has demographically gerrymandered the American worker out of entire industries and what has ultimately led to China’s gain and our drain. The pipeline begins with F-1 student visas. In the case of foreign students, it’s really the god of public education, which is being subsidized happily by the Chinese. The universities get cash from the Chinese government, while the Chinese get operatives and intelligence officers into the country to work in academic fields and occupations. The rest of the American people lose. We bring in roughly 369,548 Chinese foreign students a year, together with 80,000 more on immigrant visas. In other words, there are about as many Chinese students in the U.S. as the entire university enrollment in the state of Maryland.

Noted right-wing outlet CNN reported in 2019, "The sheer size of the Chinese student population at U.S. universities presents a major challenge for law enforcement and intelligence agencies tasked with striking the necessary balance between protecting America's open academic environment and mitigating the risk to national security." Yet these tech companies think we are not bringing in enough Chinese immigrants. The director of national intelligence warned, "China's intelligence services will exploit the openness of American society, especially academia and the scientific community, using a variety of means."

Thus, this chips bill, as predicted, will wind up helping China rather than countering it. McConnell still supported the bill even after Democrats rejected the inclusion of provisions sponsored by Sen. Rob Portman that would have barred the semiconductor companies from manufacturing in China and would have barred entry of those suspected of coming here to spy on our sensitive technology. The lobbyists worked assiduously to block amendments for more security.

These same greedy companies will use the corporate welfare to hire foreign workers who they know will work for lower pay. Democrats already inserted into the bipartisan defense authorization bill a provision that allows 200,000 adult children of visa holders to inherent the residency status of their parents who hold temporary worker visas, which will further drive down wages of entry-level jobs.

Indeed, corporate welfare mixed with endless visa pork has destroyed our sovereignty as citizens and has sold us out to transnational corporations that now have us over the barrel. Naturally, Congress will aggravate the very variables that got us into this mess.
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