Slave Labor in American Universities
December 23, 2008, 06:00 PM
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Most of what the Indian writer Harish Baliga wrote for IndiaDaily is right on the mark. He describes the exploitation that occurs in the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program and compares it to slavery. There is one thing he wrote that is rather strange:
If you are a US Citizen, grown up, and hold a job, they hate you. They know their cat will be out of the bag and you can challenge them. They will do everything to stop you from getting a matriculated status. Government in United States does little to stop this abuse.[The biggest slave trading and labor law abuse happen in the American Universities — alien teaching and research assistants work twenty hours a day for almost no pay, by Harish Baliga, IndianDaily.com, Dec. 20, 2008]
Baliga greatly exaggerates our ability to prevent foreign workers from obtaining green cards, as evidenced by the recent extension of the OPT authorization period and the constant attempts by Congress to raise the caps on H-1B and green card visas. No doubts about it, there are many US citizens like myself that would stop foreign graduates from obtaining green cards if we could. In fact, given the choice we would also abolish OPTs so that foreign students would no longer be able to take jobs that our own college kids need to survive.

Baliga's other mistake is to overemphasize the role of hate as the motive to stop the foreign labor importation programs. We are the most welcoming nation in the world when it comes to immigration so it's quite obvious that hate isn't a major factor in the rising opposition to foreign labor importation. Americans are acting in their own self interest to protect middle class lifestyles and to guarantee some type of future for their offspring. If there is hate involved in this great nation of ours it's coming from the corporatocrats and educrats who consider students and wage earners as mere units of labor.

The two minor errors in Baliga's article are probably mostly Indian street mythology. The rest of his article is definitely worth reading.

NOTE: Baliga never mentioned what the foreign students are using to work in the USA, but by his description I'm assuming it's mostly students on F-1 visas with OPTs. There may also be some H-1Bs since they are used quite often by postdocs.

The biggest slave trading and labor law abuse happen in the American Universities — alien teaching and research assistants work twenty hours a day for almost no pay, by Harish Baliga, IndianDaily.com, Dec. 20, 2008

Slavery never left America. It actually intensified under the rug. Lift the rug and you can see the American Universities. In the schools of engineering and science you can see those Chinese, Indian, and East European faces, some struggling with their English but all working twenty hours a day with little pay. Professors receive research grants from American Government Agencies including Department of Defense. These Agencies seldom check the labor law abuse by the schools, colleges, and universities.

When Research Assistant (RA) or a Teaching Assistant (TA) is hired, he or she is supposed to work for twenty hours a week and study nine credits of graduate level courses per semester. Most of these aliens are made to work far more than twenty hours (sometime as much as sixty hours) and paid far less than minimum wages. It is a violation of labor laws, violation of moral ethics and above all a form of slavery allowed by the American Universities in the name of education and research. [More]