Immigration and the ‘Brain Gain’

By April 4, 2006General

Here’s a link to an op-ed that ran in the Detroit Free Press on Sunday co-authored by NAM President John Engler and Peter McPherson, President Emeritus of Michigan State University. “[O]vershadowed by the border security and illegal immigration issues is the status of highly educated students, scholars and employees and their tremendous impact on American society”, it begins. “Attracting and educating the best and brightest from around the world is an issue of international competitiveness. This is a fundamentally different issue than the debates surrounding illegal immigration and guest worker programs.” It’s true that these aspects of the immigration debate have attracted most the light and all the heat.

“We need to streamline the visa process”, say Engler and McPherson, ” so that the foreign students and scholars coming to America’s universities have the ability and an incentive to use their intellectual might as part of the American workforce. And we need to increase significantly the number of temporary and permanent visas we provide to highly educated international employees.”

Finally on the common but erroneous protest of “They’re taking American jobs”, there’s this: “Still, critics of reform argue that the flow of international students and employees hurt American students and workers. We disagree. We believe that in the global economy, companies will move to where the skilled workers are. Creating a globally competitive workforce relies not just on our homegrown talent, but on attracting the brightest minds from abroad. Talented foreign nationals create jobs through new ideas and innovations and keep jobs here in the United States.”
Anybody who knows anything about manufacturing and innovation will tell you this is true. The jobs will go where the talent is.

In any event, here’s a link to the entire piece. It’s a good read.

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • John says:

    There is more to life, and more to a country,than money.
    Culture, religious faith, ethnicity, national cohesiveness, language, family, tradition, is as important, if not more so, than money.
    Most Americans understand that these things are important.
    If the presntday politicians and business people cannot create and sustain a first world country with a fairly good economy, with a moderate immigration policy and the 300 million Americans (the world’s third largest population)that are already here, then maybe those politicians and business people should step down and let more intelligent and competant people take over their jobs.

  • Bill Cain says:

    This is a good article.
    What happened to corporate citizanship? Corporations contend skilled workers are hard to come by in the US so they move offshore to the talent. It’s a caught 22, which came first the chicken or the egg, but anyway, companies no longer hire and train workers for the duration. Maybe there is a lack of motivation to be innovative, companies and workers alike share in the blame. The bottom line is the shareholders view of profits and nothing else matters.