Monday, April 11, 2011

Ask a Korean! News: "America's National Suicide"

Hey, those are not the Korean's words, but Michael Bloomberg's. But this is an excellent -- and thoroughly depressing -- story about how America is stupidly turning away skilled immigrants to its own detriment. A sample:
[T]he United States, a country built by generations of ambitious, hardworking newcomers, no longer wants to attract skilled immigrants. “We educate the best and brightest from around the world, and then we tell our companies that they can’t hire them,” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said, describing current immigration policy as “a form of national suicide.” “We ship them home, where they can take what they learned here and use it to create companies and products that compete with ours. The rest of the world is thanking us. They’re doing everything they can to attract those very people—and we’re doing our best to help them.”


While there has been much debate about how to secure the southern border against illegal immigration, the deterioration of the system for attracting and retaining skilled immigrants has received scant notice, though the consequences for the U.S. economy are far more significant. Since much manufacturing and back-office work has been sent overseas, what the United States has left is its brains and still-unmatched ability to design and market the next big thing. In a country where economic success depends largely on innovation, it is worth noting that foreign-born researchers account for a quarter of all patents earned by American companies, and that nearly half the Ph.D. scientists and engineers working in the U.S. were born abroad. Furthermore, between 1995 and 2005 more than a quarter of the technology companies launched in the United States had a key founder who was foreign-born; in Silicon Valley that number was more than half. At General Electric, 64 percent of researchers weren’t born in America; at Qualcomm, the figure is close to 72 percent.


Not surprisingly, many young would-be immigrants are turning their backs on the U.S. Vivek Wadhwa, a Duke University professor, and AnnaLee Saxenian, from the University of California, Berkeley, interviewed more than 1,000 foreign students at American universities in 2008. The results were alarming. Only 6 percent of the Indians and 10 percent of the Chinese said they planned to remain in the U.S. Three quarters of those surveyed said they feared they could not obtain a visa.
America’s ‘National Suicide’ [Newsweek]

Please, read the whole thing.

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  1. Good. Also it is funny they say this yet most ethnic business owners hire within there own families. My industry revolves around local growers but you still see plenty of illegals growing flowers and trying to sell them on the black market. Either way I am all for American made products and American born workers.

  2. Americans like to brag about how they re-invent themselves, they are the eternal magnet for all good immigrants, blah blah blah. With the amount of "China grows for now, but it's gonna bust like Japan - you'll see!" hand wringing, you'd think they are making excuses for their incoming financial Judgement Day.

    Which they are, of course.

  3. Apart from the well-known immigration restrictions imposed after 9/11, the problem is also that some of these immigration laws are completely out of date. I worked at one of the best engineering schools in the country, but I couldn't become a permanent resident card because of a law drawn up in the aftermath of WW2 to restrict brain-drain from war-devastated Europe. Never mind that the terms of the law don't even make sense anymore in the current European context...

    Now, I agree with those of you who would say that updating the laws is the responsibility of Congress, and that government agencies are not at liberty to ignore the law just because I have nice eyes and a good degree. However, while I was in the US I worked in an area for which there are very few American-born candidates (academia), I taught local kids and grad students, and I attracted significant amounts of funding, not in the least from European agencies. So, even if you take the most conservative stance on immigration, which is your good right, you should see that this is a pretty neat deal for the US.

    @bigsampson: if you're talking about ... herbs, then I completely agree with you: American-made products rule!


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