Brilliant Foreign MIT Students, Go Home!
That's what we, through the lobbyist-loving losers we elect to the House and Senate, keep telling brilliant and highly talented foreign students. Gordon Crovitz writes in the WSJ:
Here's a sampling of the immigration bills Washington has failed to pass: the Stopping Trained in America Ph.D.s from Leaving the Economy Act; the Advanced Degree Visa Bill; the Startup Act; the Immigration Driving Entrepreneurship in America Act; and the Benefits to Research and American Innovation through Nationality Statutes Act.
The most recent was the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Jobs Act, proposed by Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, a Republican. The bill made it to a vote, but under a procedure requiring two-thirds approval. The vote fell short, 257-158, with almost all Republicans in favor as well as 30 Democrats. The bill would have substituted visas for graduates from qualifying universities in the hard sciences for the current program awarding visas in a lottery system that limits the number granted for each country, discriminating against applicants from populous nations such as China and India. "Unfortunately, the Democrats voted today to send the best and brightest foreign graduates back home to work for our global competitors," Rep. Smith said.
There's no debate about the importance of skilled immigrants. Between 1995 and 2005, foreign-born and technically trained entrepreneurs founded half the firms in Silicon Valley.
Graduates in scientific and technical fields can stay in the U.S. for 29 months under a program called Optional Practical Training. Then they can apply for one of 65,000 three- to six-year H-1B visas or one of 20,000 visas for advanced degree holders, including in nontechnical fields. This year the quota for H-1B visas was filled in less than three months.
Even if someone gets one of these visas, he eventually needs to apply for a green card, of which 140,000 are granted each year, fewer than 10% for work-based applicants. The majority are for applicants who have family members in the U.S. These applicants should be admitted under other programs.
In the meantime, countries including Australia, Britain, Canada, Ireland, Israel and Singapore have adopted policies in recent years to lure talented emigrants. The governments are hoping to beat the U.S. at its historic comparative advantage in attracting and assimilating people from around the world.
Instead of offering amnesty to anybody who crawled over the border more than 20 minutes ago (and funding their health care, schooling, and jailing), we should be selective about whom we give the privilege of staying and working in and maybe becoming a citizen of this country.
Do you think we'd be better off with more short-order cooks or more software engineers?