(Breitbart) – In January of 2015, a handful of Senators quietly introduced new legislation in Congress that would allow for virtually unlimited Muslim immigration into the United States – lifting caps entirely on several categories of visas favored by immigrants from Muslim countries.
The Mark Zuckerberg-backed legislation, S.153, is called the Immigration Innovation Act(or I-Squared), and it has taken on new significance following the terrorist attacks in San Bernardino. Those attacks were only possible due to Muslim immigration: Syed Farook is reportedly the child of Pakistani immigrants, and his jihadi bride, Tashfeen Malik, was reportedly born in Pakistan.
The I-Squared bill is significant for a second reason. One of the Senators who introduced the bill is also running for President: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). And several of Rubio’s most prominent financial backers are among the bill’s boosters.
I-Squared would expand five major visa categories used by Muslim migrants: the F-1 foreign student visa, green cards for foreign students, green cards for their family members, the H-1B foreign worker visa, and the H-4 spousal visa.
THE F-1 VISA
Under current law, the F-1 student visa operates under the assumption that foreign students have no intention of abandoning their home countries. It is intended to operate similar to a foreign exchange program, where the students return home after their studies are concluded. Current statute reads that an F-1 visa holder is “an alien having a residence in a foreign country which he has no intention of abandoning…” 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(15)(F)(i) [emphasis added]
The I-Squared bill turns that on its head by removing the presumption that F-1 visa applicants return to their home country—rendering admissible a larger pool of foreign applicants, who openly and explicitly have no intention of returning home following their studies. It then allows an unlimited number of foreign students to get lifetime green cards (Section 303). Because the F-1 visa is uncapped, these changes are revolutionary.
Section 201 of the I-Squared bill, “Authorization of dual intent,” states, “the Immigration and Nationality Act… is amended by striking ‘which he has no intention of abandoning’” from the definition of an F-1 student visa.
This sea change to the F-1 student visa will vastly expand the use of a program that is already a pipeline for Muslim immigration.
According to State Department data, in 2014 the U.S. issued more than 70,000 student visas to foreign nationals from predominantly Muslim countries, as well as more than an additional 56,000 student visas to India.
As Pew noted in 2013, “India has the world’s second-largest Muslim population in raw numbers (roughly 176 million) though Muslims make up just 14.4% of India’s total population.” Because “there are an estimated 1.6 billion Muslims around the world,” according to Pew, this would mean that more than one in every ten Muslims worldwide resides in India (or 11% of the total Muslim population). Pew projects that by 2050, India, “is expected have 311 million Muslims… making it the country with the largest population of Muslims in the world.”
If the demographics of the visa issuances match the demographics of the nation, nearly 8,000 F-1 student visas went to Muslim Indians last year (14% of 56,000)—meaning that in fiscal year 2014, the U.S. likely issued around 78,000 student visas to Muslim students on F-1 visas.
Crucially, I-Squared’s changes to the F-1 visa program are paired with green card changes that would allow an unlimited number of foreign students on temporary F-1 visas to get lifetime green cards for themselves and their families. In other words: the bill takes an existing pipeline for Muslim migration—the temporary foreign student visa—expands that program, and then creates a new, uncapped immigration program that will allow these temporary Muslim students to receive lifetime green cards and a path to citizenship.
This new provision, however, contradicts the very logic underlying the student visa program. As immigration attorney John Miano and Michelle Malkin explain in their new book Sold Out, the purpose of the student visa was predicated upon the idea that the student return home after study:
The noble idea of educating international students and exposing them to American culture to “foster understanding” and “peace” rested on those students’ returning to their homelands after graduation to share their positive experience and apply what they had learned to improve their own countries… the original intent of the F-1 program was to invest in foreign students’ education in order to benefit America by creating goodwill ambassadors who return to their home countries, not to create cheap workers for U.S. companies.
THE EMPLOYMENT-BASED GREEN CARD
Section 201(b)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act outlines categories of “aliens not subject to numerical limitations” for green cards.
One of the most radical rewrites to immigration law entailed in Rubio’s bill is the expansion of that provision to include an uncapped green card program for foreign students– this policy has been variously called “instant green cards” or “stapling green cards to diplomas.”
Section 303 of the I-Squared bill states that “Section 201(b)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act… is amended by adding… aliens who have earned a master’s or higher degree in a field listed on the STEM Designated Degree Program List published by the Department of Homeland Security on the Student Exchange Visitor Program website from an institution of higher education…” as a category of “aliens not subject to direct numerical limitation.”
Under current law, the U.S. already issues an historic one million green cards every year, with about 9 in 10 of those green cards going to non-Western migrants from Asia, Africa, Latin America, or the Middle East. This change would allow that one million figure to be expanded without limit for any foreign national who merely enters the United States on an F-1 visa and obtains a one-year Master’s certification in any field loosely connected with Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics (STEM)—fields widely utilized by Muslim migrants.
According to State Department data, in 2014 the United States issued 32,006 F-1 visas to Saudi Arabia; 6,973 to Turkey; 4,278 to Kuwait; 2,137 to Bangladesh; 1,308 to Egypt; and 3,280 to Iran. According the Institute of International Education’s 2015 report, 79.2% of Iranian international students are pursing a field of study that qualifies as STEM.
Howard Professor Ron Hira has explained how an instant green card program for foreign STEM graduates is “likely to induce a large influx of new foreign students.”
“Many foreign students will see this as a brief and inexpensive path toward a green card,” Hira has said. “All of the STEM green card proposals would create a clear signal to future markets that obtaining a green card is a matter of getting such a degree.”
Immigration scholars have expressed concern that the I-Squared bill expands a dangerous visa program and combines it with a citizenship program—posing significant challenges for national security. When Breitbart News asked immigration attorney Ian Smith specifically about the process of denaturalization (stripping citizenship from an alien), Smith explained that under current law it’s “near impossible” for someone who radicalizes after gaining citizenship to be denaturalized.
While Rubio’s bill would create an uncapped green card and citizenship program for student visa holders, other lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have long raised concerns about the student visa program and the dangers it poses to national security.
Immediately following the 9/11 attack, Democratic Senator Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) called for a six-month moratorium on student visas, telling ABC, “I have some concern about why we want to educate people from countries that sponsor terrorism, that provide money, that aid and abet, that provide support for terrorists,” Feinstein said.
In 2011, Feinstein noted, “several of the 9/11 terrorists entered the country using the student visa program, as did Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, who… was arrested and charged with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. Among other sites, Aldawsari’s targets included ex-President George W. Bush and various targets in New York City. Aldawsari came to the U.S. on a student visa in 2008 and was student at Texas Tech University.”
In 2014, Sen. Chuck Grassley warned that, “While there’s been a dramatic increase in the number of student visas granted, Immigration and Customs Enforcement hasn’t made it a priority to keep tabs on these visa holders… The 1993 World Trade Center Bombing, September 11 and the Boston bombing should have taught us that this program needs vigilant oversight and reform, but instead the program has expanded without the proper safeguards in place.”
NumbersUSA has similarly highlighted the threat:
Student visa holder Quazi Nafis was arrested [in October of 2012] for trying to blow up the Federal Reserve building in New York City… Nafis, a Bangladeshi national, acquired a student visa in December 2011… Terrorists started using student visas to gain legal access to the United States in the 1990s. Before the 1993 terrorist attack against the World Trade Center, Evad Ismoil had entered the country on a student visa to attend Wichita State University. He dropped out of college, only to resurface driving the van full of explosives during the attack. Several of the terrorists in the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center, such as Mohammed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi, used student visas.
In theory, Aafia Siddiqui—or “Lady Al Qaeda”— might have been a prime candidate for Rubio’s new green card program…
Moreover, as the Washington Post reports, an upcoming book by Diego Gambetta, a sociologist at the European University Institute in Italy, and Steffen Hertog, an associate professor at the London School of Economics, documents how: “engineers are much more prone to become members of violent terrorist organizations. More than twice as many members of violent Islamist organizations have engineering degrees as have degrees in Islamic studies. Nearly half of those terrorists who had degrees had degrees in engineering.”
Under I-Squared, all that would be necessary for any Muslim foreign national to obtain lifetime residency in the United States, eventual voting citizenship, and permanent welfare eligibility would be for them to find any accredited American institution willing to accept their money and bestow any kind of vague STEM certification upon them. These “instant green cards” for Muslim nationals have no numerical cap whatsoever.
Indeed, the deluge of foreign nationals could be especially large given that this bill leaves the definition of what qualifies as STEM exclusively up to the executive branch— referring solely to a government website for its definition [“a field listed on the STEM Designated Degree Program List published by the Department of Homeland Security on the Student and Exchange Visitor Program website”]. Because I-Squared essentially gives the federal government unfettered freedom to determine what fields of study qualify, labor experts tell Breitbart that this would allow for a “definition creep” with more and more fields added to the list over time.
As it is now, the government website already includes areas of study perhaps not typically associated with the industry-crafted image of foreign STEM work: “Nutrition Sciences, Developmental and Child Psychology, Management Science, Business Statistics, Exercise Physiology, Natural Resources/Conservation, and Digital Communication and Media/Multimedia.”
John Miano told Breitbart exclusively that I-Squared seems to have intentionally left the list of qualifying degrees open-ended—failing to provide even a clear definition of what STEM stands for. Indeed, the first mention of “Science, Technology, Engineering and Math” (i.e. STEM) does not come until the third to last section of the bill—and even then, it is not in reference to defining the fields of study that would be exempt from green card caps.
“The way you can tell the bill was written by lobbyists is that it never even defines what STEM even means,” Miano said. “Does it [i.e. the ‘E’ in STEM] stand for English? Is ‘political science’ a ‘science’? The bill never provides a formal definition of STEM… Each ambiguity in the bill opens the door up to an agency interpreting the ambiguity, which opens the door to an industry lobbyist, who will go back to the agency and anything that the lobbyist can push through will become law.”
Moreover, even if a foreign student were to receive an advanced degree in a legitimate STEM field—which experts explain is a big “if”—there is nothing in the I-Squared bill that would require the foreign national to subsequently work in a STEM field. Once a citizen, that student would have full discretion to do whatever he pleases—he could become a hairdresser, a truck driver, a struggling artist, criminal or terrorist, etc. Or, he could choose not to work at all—as a U.S. citizen, he is entitled to every single federal welfare benefit. In that sense, it is a guaranteed global path to U.S. welfare.
Even worse, stapling a pathway to citizenship to a diploma and empowering universities to act as “gatekeeper for issuing green cards” would enable the creation of diploma mills, Ron Hira has warned. Such policies would “create major new markets for universities. Institutions would create and expand degree programs that are specifically tailored to foreign students interested in staying permanently. Master’s programs are very short in duration, as short as 12 months, and fairly inexpensive to run.” Hira explained, “Some universities will see this as an opportunity of selling landed status rather than as education.”
“The F-1 program, as it is known, has become a profit center for universities,” said U.C. Davis’ Norm Matloff. “International students are attractive for strapped colleges because they tend to pay full tuition or, in the case of public institutions, pay more than full price in out-of-states rates.”
This perhaps explains why 14 higher education associations wrote a letter endorsingRubio’s I-Squared Act.
As Rutgers’ Hal Salzman told the Senate Immigration Subcommittee, “California State University-East Bay… stopped admitting state residents into its graduate programs and admitted almost exclusively international students into its computer science program (which is about 90 percent international students). This was the University’s explicitly stated strategy to increase revenue to make up for budget deficits by excluding state residents who would pay lower tuition rates than out-of-state and international students… This appears to be a business model pursued by a number of colleges and universities across the country.”
Indeed, as the Wall Street Journal noted last month, universities are increasingly favoring the admission of foreign students—making it harder for young Americans to get accepted into college in their own country:
With foreigners enrolling in U.S. schools at record numbers, students such as Noah Hernandez, a freshman at the University of California, San Diego, are getting a global view of the world without leaving their home state… The growth in international students has contributed to tighter admission standards at many UC campuses. The UC system accepted 62% of in-state applicants in the 2014 school year, down from 84% four years earlier… This doesn’t sit right with families whose children have been denied admission: They say they have been paying California taxes for decades and that state universities have lost sight of their mission.
FAMILY-BASED GREEN CARDS
Although Rubio continues to repeat his Gang of Eight talking point about “merit-based” immigration, his new industry-backed plan would substantially increase family chain migration.
Throughout the Gang of Eight push to expand immigration, Rubio repeatedly claimed his La Raza-backed bill would promote a “merit-based immigration system” when, in reality, analysis revealed it would have released a tidal wave of family-based chain migration.
Similarly, Section 303 of Rubio’s new immigration expansion bill exempts family members of employment-based immigrants from numerical limitation. Section 303 of the bill states that “Section 201(b)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act… is amended by adding… aliens who are the spouse or a child of an alien admitted as an employment-based immigrant” as a category of “aliens not subject to direct numerical limitation”.
As NumbersUSA’s Director of Government Relations Rosemary Jenks told Breitbart News, Rubio’s new bill revives a controversial provision of his Gang of Eight bill to increase immigration on top of today’s record-splitting highs:
Spouses/minor children of employment-based immigrants generally represent just over half (usually 53-55%) of the visa category. It is a standard argument of those who want to significantly increase immigration that only the alien chosen for his skills, not the spouse/children, should be counted under the cap. Thus, you find this provision in a whole bunch of bills by mass immigration proponents. It’s been in virtually every comprehensive bill since the early 2000s, along with virtually every bill seeking to increase employment-based immigration.
This means that Muslim migrants entering the United States on an employment-based visa could collectively bring in an unlimited number of their Muslim relatives. Since these Muslim relatives are not coming to the U.S. to work in STEM fields, they would be free to take any U.S. job—or, conversely, not work at all. As green card holders, they would all be on a path to lifetime welfare access, citizenship, and U.S. voting booths. According to Pew, only 11% of American Muslims identify as Republican or leaning-Republican—making them one of the most reliable Democrat voting blocs in the world.
The possibility of unlimited Muslim migration is all the more compounded by the bill’s elimination [section 301(a)] of the per-country caps for employment-based immigrants, spouses, and their children—thus, increasing immigration from India, which has a large Muslim population and is currently restricted by the per-country caps.
Section 101 of the bill, titled “Market-based H-1B visa limits,” would completely eliminate the current H-1B cap. It would do this by immediately increasing the H-1B caps from 65,000 to 115,000— but, should the cap be hit, allowing it soar up to 195,000— tripling, in total, the number of base H-1Bs.
In addition to tripling the allotment of the ordinary H-1B category, Norm Matloff hasexplained that “the I-Squared bill… [contains a measure that] would in essence allow an unlimited number of H-1Bs, in that it would remove the cap, currently 20,000 per year, on the special H-1B category for foreign students earning STEM degrees at U.S. universities.”
Moreover, Section 103(a) of the bill, titled “Deference to prior approvals,” would restrict DHS’ ability to reject visa renewals. As John Miano told Breitbart, these restrictions placed on law enforcement would turn the H-1B renewal process into a “rubber stamp process where immigrants could renew their visa and be approved instantly.” Miano said that the proposed change forces one to ask: “Why even have renewals at all?”
In Florida, the H-1B visa has been used to displace many of Sen. Rubio’s own constituents. Disney Corporation recently laid off 250 of its American employees and replaced them with lower-salaried Indian nationals brought into the country on an H-1B visa. Before the American workers were let go, however, they were forced to train their lower-skilled foreign replacements.
The I-Squared bill has been endorsed by the lobbying firm co-chaired by Disney’s CEO, Bob Iger.
By removing H-1B caps, this bill creates yet another theoretically unlimited avenue for Muslim migrants to enter the United States.
According to State Department data, in 2014 the U.S. admitted over 4,000 migrants from Muslim-majority countries on H-1B visas, plus an extra 108,000 H-1B migrants from India. If the demographics of the employment visas match the demographics of the country, this would mean that more than 15,000 H-1B visas went to Muslim Indians (14% of 108,000)—meaning that in fiscal year 2014, the U.S. likely issued around 19,000 H-1B visas to Muslim foreign workers.
According to an April 2015 Brookings Institution report, Seattle is one of the nation’s top ten metropolitan areas with the biggest share of H-1B workers. The Puget Sound Business Journal similarly notes: “The Washington state chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) estimates more than 30,000 Muslims live in the greater Seattle area.”
The Puget Sound Business Journal reports that Seattle’s local government and businesses have had to work to accommodate the growing influx of Muslims who observe sharia law. For instance, the Business Journal notes that Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s housing committee released recommendations earlier this year, which “would help followers of Sharia law buy houses.”
The Business Journal writes that the influx of sharia-adherent Muslims has been acutely felt throughout Seattle’s tech sector, such as at corporations like Microsoft. Microsoft—according to USCIS data analyzed by Computerworld’s Patrick Thibodeau—is the 12th largest user of the H-1B program, having brought in 1,048 foreign workers on H-1Bs in 2013. In a report highlighting how a “new Seattle company helps Muslim tech employees save for retirement,” the Journal writes:
It’s estimated that more than 1,000 Muslims in the Puget Sound region work for Microsoft… and for those who closely follow their faith, it can be difficult to participate in the company’s retirement plan. That’s because Sharia law forbids them from investing in funds with holdings in companies that peddle pornography, alcohol and other vices. It’s almost impossible for retirement funds to guarantee all their investments are free from those kinds of businesses. This has become an issue for workers at other tech companies, too.
Other reports have separately documented the struggle to integrate large flows of unassimilated Muslim migrants into Seattle and its surrounding area. According to the Population Research Bureau…