The Reverse Brain Drain
Sam Gustin writes at TIME that we have an exodus of highly skilled immigrants from this country, and it's a problem:
United States policymakers are failing to address the departure from this country of tens of thousands of talented immigrants -- including engineers, doctors, lawyers and teachers. These highly-skilled workers are leaving the U.S. because they can't obtain permanent residency here. Outdated immigration laws and regulations, bureaucratic delays and partisan bickering have created a Kafka-esque situation where the U.S. is inexplicably telling the smartest immigrants to go home. In the midst of a hotly contested presidential race in which immigration is a key issue, forget about actual immigration reform anytime soon. As per usual, U.S. politicians are all talk, but no action.
America's "immigrant exodus," as described by author Vivek Wadhwa, should be very alarming for a country built on the backs and minds of immigrants.
...As a result of this "reverse brain drain," as Wadhwa and his colleagues called it in earlier research on this topic, highly skilled workers and professionals are increasingly looking to other global markets to locate their businesses. "We're seeing a boom in technology entrepreneurship in India, China, and even Russia, because the U.S. won't let people stay here," Wadhwa told TIME. "Their first choice is to be here. They came here, they're working here, they want to stay here, but we won't give them visas."
This is a very bad trend for the U.S., especially at a time when we need to encourage and cultivate entrepreneurship and job creation at home. The toxic U.S. political climate -- partisan bickering, congressional inaction, and bureaucratic inertia -- have only worsened the problem. Both political parties are to blame -- and the over-arching debate over undocumented immigrant amnesty has all but ruled out progress during an election year. "Both the Democrats and the Republicans agree that we want the entrepreneurs, the scientists, the doctors, the researchers," says Wadhwa. "Everyone agrees that we want these people to stay. But there's a stalemate on the issue of amnesty for illegal workers."
"The Democrats won't let any legislation pass unless it solves the problem of the illegals," Wadhwa adds. "The Republicans won't let any legislation pass if it solves the problem of the illegals. It's a quagmire, because they refuse to agree with each other. It's two sides fighting each other mindlessly." Wadhwa says the United States Congress should pass a law reforming our immigration system that allows the most talented immigrant entrepreneurs, engineers, lawyers, doctors to gain U.S. citizenship. Until then, our cash-strapped education system is simply going to train these people, before we send them back home.
via @GaryShapiro @RichardFlorida