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Baloney Sandwich, Anyone? - Another CIS "Report"
by Jose Latour

The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) has released another "report," this one entitled "An Evaluation of the Foreign Student Program." For those of you who are not aware, the Center for Immigration Studies is a political group which is rabidly anti-immigrant and has every legitimate right to voice its opinion in advancing the anti-immigrant agenda. What is truly sad about the CIS, however, is that it hides behind a thin façade of "objective" reporting, pretending to be a high-quality "Think Tank." Basically, by pretending to be a legitimate research organization, CIS dupes slacker news organizations into regurgitating its tainted information mostly fiction as fact, and the less-educated public sectors are misled.

In this particular report, written by yet another impressive academic (this one from Harvard), the obviousness of the anti-immigrant agenda is revealed almost instantly. The report starts with a brief outline explaining to the reader the difference between the F-1 and M-1 visas and soon presents them as a "ticket to the United States." A better title would be "A One-Sided Diatribe Against Letting Foreigners Study in the U.S." Instead of legitimately balancing the very real problems with our student visa situation against the priceless contribution made by foreigners in the U.S., the hapless reader immediately steps into CIS dogma "doo" when the rhetorical question is asked: "Just who runs immigration policy?". Thereafter, things get surreal very quickly. The author asks, outraged:

"The United States has delegated its legitimate role of selecting the immigrant flow to thousands of privately run entities whose incentives need not coincide with the national interest."

By golly, I'm outraged, too! (I imagine that, after completing his dissertation, he immediately had his masterpiece published in the Harvard school, wouldn't you love to see THAT happen...hee!(-:) How dare the INS delegate I-20-issuing authority to schools in accordance with Congressional instructions, and how dare foreign students select the school they wish to attend in the United States? By golly, let's appoint a federal committee right now to pick those foreign students and tell them what schools they need to go to...that's how they did it in Germany in the 1940s, dadgummit...(come to think of it, that's how they still do it in Cuba today, and the author DID have some sort of Hispanic-sounding name...there I go again with my conspiracy theories...Fidel, lurk you in there somewhere, you rascal...)

All smirking aside - for just a second - one has to wonder how an obviously intelligent Harvard professor manages to advance this type of propaganda with little concern over future credibility. Citing a number of statistics which are factually correct but hopelessly misleading to anyone who doesn't understand the basics of immigration reality, the author then explores the impact of foreign students in the United States and fills the report with a number of one-sided statements which make great sound bytes (the fodder of CIS) but, like everything else they put out, are patently deceptive and wrong. Get this one:

"These immigrants reduce wages slightly in the labor market for skilled workers and raise the profits of the firms and employment."

Gee, there's a revolutionary statement: additional (regardless of nationality) workers (an increase in supply) create a slight impact in salaries and (how dare they?) employers actually make profits by being able to deliver their services through the hiring of qualified employees.

There must be a word for that type of subversive activity, wait, give me a minute...capitalism.

I am so outraged, I think I'm going to switch parties.

The paper goes on to become a "News of the Weird"-ish, surreal collection of incongruous thoughts and statistical misapplications which were painful to read. There is but one, ONE valid point in the CIS "study" (and I always try to find something nice to say about everything), and it is hopelessly lost in the myopic, xenophobic muck that characterizes the writer's tainted agenda: the observation that the U.S. makes an extraordinary amount of financial aid available to foreign students, despite the fact that many American college students don't have the money they need to go to college.

Despite the fact that I'm an immigration attorney and I'm cheering for you guys at the top of my lungs, I agree with this particular point. No other nation in the world provides financial aid to foreign students when their own students are unable to pay for school, and it shouldn't be that way in the United States. My opinion is that, before one dollar of college aid is spent on guest college students from other countries, every single U.S. kid who wants to attend college should have the financial aid he or she needs made available FIRST. Please don't send me grumpy emails on this since I would say this regardless of my nationality. I view this as a nation's responsibility to its own youth, not a U.S./foreigner issue. On the OTHER hand, I have a HELL of a problem providing financial aid to, say, one more U.S.-born art history major or (God forbid) one more U.S.-born lawyer instead of aid to a kid from India, Africa, or China who is enrolled in engineering or any one of the dozens of hard science careers American kids won't touch...that's a bear of a decision for me.

The CIS operates on the old P.T. Barnum theory that "there's a sucker born every minute": I hope your readership of keeps you sharp enough to discern between legitimate research and wolves in sheep's clothing.

About The Author

Jose Latour is the founding partner of Latour & Lleras, P.A., a Gainesville, Florida based business immigration practice working primarily with the IT industry and foreign investors. JELPA is an A/V rated firm whose web site,, is one of the Internet’s most visited immigration sites. The firm was named “ONE OF AMERICA’S TOP TEN INTERNET/VIRTUAL COMPANIES” in the 1999 Inc. Magazine and Cisco Systems “Growing with Technology Awards.” Mr. Latour served as a U.S. Diplomatic and Consular Officer in Mexico and Africa before entering private practice and today divides his time between his law practice, writing, flying, and his music.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.

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