By Rick Oltman, January 22, 2020
NBC Bay Area and NBC News investigative reporters have identified many “companies” in the San Francisco Bay Area that are claiming to employ thousands of foreign students. What NBC Bay Area found has been reported to National Security officials in Washington, D.C.
A months-long joint investigation between NBC Bay Area and NBC News found thousands of foreign students may have used false employment records at more than a dozen potential shell companies to illegally stay in the country after attending American universities … . Many of those students may have used the companies as steppingstones to land jobs at major U.S. firms … .
Foreign students can legally work in the U.S. for up to three years using the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program, which is an extension of the F-1 foreign student visa program.
Not surprisingly, some of the many companies using OPT student workers are Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google.
What reporters found was an apparent shell company whose address was a Mountain View, California, home that “employed” over 300 OPT workers. The home is owned by a Google employee.
Advocates of the OPT program make the claim that this represents only a small fraction of F1 students, but there is still a real security concern.
Of the fourteen shell companies they uncovered, over 99% of their “workforce” is Chinese.
On August 9, 2018, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a policy memorandum (Accrual of Unlawful Presence and F, J, and M Nonimmigrants (PDF, 129 KB) changing how the agency calculates unlawful presence for students and exchange visitors in F, J, and M nonimmigrant status, including F-2, J-2, and M-2 dependents, who fail to maintain status in the United States.
However on May 3, 2019, the U.S. District Court in North Carolina issued an injunction against the policy, which is inaccessible on the government website.
Two things really stick out with this reporting.
One: This story is the result of good old-fashion boots-on-the-ground investigative reporting, the kind of which many of us wish would be the norm, and not the exception in this day and age. Watch the entire report. It’s worth your time.
Two: The fact that over 99% of those found violating the F1 OPT program are Chinese nationals, immediately sends up a red flag, since China is a prime competitor to the United States, both militarily and economically.
In April 2019, NBC Bay Area reported on the visa fraud and indictment filed in federal court about how two sham companies, Findream and Sinocontech, provided documents for more than 2,500 students with F-1 visas, who paid the defendant, Weiyun Huang, more than $2 million for their falsified employment records.
Now security on the southern border is very important. Illegal immigration continues. There is another caravan reportedly on the way from Central America. Building the wall is imperative.
But other areas of immigration fraud need to be investigated, prosecuted and prevented. And that includes any and all illegal activity in the hallowed Silicon Valley.
You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life. [Winston Churchill.]
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