Simplify immigration

By From page A4 | February 22, 2013

Here’s an astounding fact few may be aware of:

“Chad Sparber (Colgate University), Kevin Shih (University of California, Davis) and I (Giovanni Peri of UC Davis) have found in a study published in January that foreign scientists and engineers brought to this country under the H-1B visa program have contributed 10-20 percent of the yearly productivity growth in the U.S. during the period 1990-2010.”

That’s interesting, but the astounding figures from their study show that the GDP per capita was 4 percent higher than it would have been without these foreign brainiacs. That 4 percent equals $615 billion.

That’s astounding for a program that sets a cap of 65,000 visas annually, a cap that last year was reached in June.

Think what we could do for this economy if every foreign student who got a science or math master’s degree from a U.S. university was issued a green card and every Ph.D. got a green card and a citizenship application.

The H-1B program needs to have a bigger cap, much bigger. And we need a program to retain those foreign students educated here.

And, we don’t just need more Chinese and Indian scientists; we need more immigrants from other countries with other qualities, especially college grads. The scientists will most likely generate companies that will hire more Americans and more foreign scientists. But immigrants with other interests will start different kinds of businesses and bring new energy and cultural vitality to this country. They will all help fund Social Security and Medicare. This country needs more young people willing to start families who will join and renew the American dream.

Mountain Democrat

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