Da Rulez: There will be no grandstanding, no swearing, no name-calling of any kind, no ad hominem attacks upon debaters or upon any politicians or public figures. You will read the post and the previous comments and respond to them, only. I will delete early and often. Capiche?
First, please read this article at ABC News, which restates some things many people have been thinking about in the immigration reform debate. The article addresses the issue of highly-skilled immigrants or foreign-born Americans, many of whom come to the U.S. to study and acquire college degrees, graduate degrees, and highly marketable skills in the U.S. In the past, these students and interns have often stayed in the U.S., since they've found greater opportunities here than in their countries of origin. And, in fact, many of the immigrants under discussion acquire their skills at home and bring them to the broader and higher-paying job markets in the U.S., as in the case of Filipina nurses. This has caused a "brain drain" in many countries of origin, in which their higher-class, educational elites have left, leaving the country more devoid of its professional class than before.
But a new trend is emerging: that of a "reverse brain drain," in which foreign-born graduates and entrepreneurs are leaving the U.S. after acquiring education and skills here, and taking them back to their countries of origin seeking greater opportunities. This is certainly owing to the economy, but much more so to the draconian immigration laws we've been seeing arise, one by one in every sector, since the dot com boom. It may be easier, and more lucrative, for some of the kinds of folks who've started our most innovative companies (like the foreign-born founders of Yahoo, Google, and eBay,) to take that know-how and energy away from the U.S.
A report conducted last year found that more foreign students than in the past wanted to return to their home countries after completing their education, worried about their visas and job opportunities. ... Another report by the Technology Policy Institute in 2009 found that in the absence of green card and H1B visa constraints, roughly 182,000 foreign graduates of U.S. colleges and universities in science, technology, engineering and math would have remained in the country.
H1B visas are temporary work visas that allow foreign workers to remain in the United States for six years. The study found that these workers would have earned roughly $13.6 billion in 2008, raised the gross domestic product by that amount and would have contributed $2.7 billion to $3.6 billion to the economy.
"Highly skilled immigrants contribute very strongly to economic activity and economic growth in particular in the innovation sectors," said senior fellow Arlene Holen, who directed the project. But because it's getting harder for this group of immigrants to stay in the United States legally, she said, "a lot of them come here and take higher education and then they leave. We don't let them stay. It's kind of a shooting yourself in the foot scenario."
The article goes on to say that some Dems are drafting legislation to address this problem by offering green cards to business and tech graduates or giving visas to entrepreneurs who can prove that they've attracted investors before they arrive in the country. But the approach is piecemeal and no one is sure if such an approach would work. And few lawmakers are eager to take on comprehensive immigration reform since the healthcare reform near-fiasco. Their political capital is spent.
And furthermore, many advocates are arguing that immigration reform is not just about highly-skilled workers. They're saying comprehensive reform is the only way to go since unskilled workers are also an important powerhouse in our economy, while others think comprehensive reform would simply turn everyone against the higher-skills workers.
I would add that we need to think about small entrepreneurs, who work with start-up capital in the low six figures or less. These are entrepreneurs who only create one or two or a handful of jobs at a time, but often by the dozens, and often in the neighborhoods that need them the most.
So what do you think about immigration reform and the highly skilled worker? Should we focus only on those people working in highly skilled, high-income fields? Should we focus on graduate students? What about small entrepreneurs and laborers? There's no question that small business owners and unskilled laborers contribute enormously to our economy. What should happen with them?
Please be thoughtful and polite!
The previous issue of Hyphen is available in its entirety for your perusing pleasure. Almost as good as having it right in your hands!