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High Tech Immigration

There are two types of immigration, as I described earlier in my blog on Immigration and Employment. A recent article in Foreign Affairs, “Innovation Power” has picked up the theme of needed high tech immigrants. It says:

In addition to directly investing in the technologies that fuel innovation power, the United States must invest in the input that lies at the core of innovation: talent. The United States boasts the world’s top startups, incumbent companies, and universities, all of which attract the best and the brightest from around the world. Yet too many talented people are prevented from coming to the United States by its outdated immigration system. Instead of creating an easy path to a green card for foreigners who earn STEM degrees from American schools, the current system makes it needlessly difficult for top graduates to contribute to the U.S. economy.

The United States has an asymmetric advantage when it comes to employing highly skilled immigrants, and its enviable living standards and abundant opportunities explain why the country has attracted most of the world’s brightest AI minds. More than half of all AI researchers working in the United States hail from abroad, and the demand for AI talent still far exceeds supply. If the United States closes its doors to talented immigrants, it risks losing its innovative edge. Just as the Manhattan Project was led in large part by refugees and émigrés from Europe, the next American technological breakthrough will almost certainly rely on immigrants. 

The US needs to revamp its immigration policies to stress well-educated, talented immigrants rather than uneducated immigrants fleeing horrible living conditions. However, I still question why we have a shortage of unskilled workers in service sectors when we have thousands of unskilled immigrants flooding across our southern border. The New York Times says that children are working illegally. Why aren’t the adults working?

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