Yet Another Example Of Our Bad Immigrations Laws Hurting Innovation And Jobs

from the and-leading-to-dangerous-pollution dept

We see stories like this one over and over again, but that’s because they’re not exceptions. The Washington Post has a profile of two MIT postgrads who have created a water-decontamination system that was dubbed by Scientific American as a world changing idea, based on the fact that it could revolutionize the controversial practice of fracking by decontaminating all of the contaminated water that is output by the process. Such technology is in high demand, and the two engineers, Anurag Bajpayee and Prakash Narayan Govindan, are trying to create a company that will hire an awful lot of people (beyond cleaning up our water). They have people willing to give them millions of dollars to do this.

There’s just one simple problem. They’re about to get kicked out of the country because their student visas are expiring, and the US has no reasonable system for keeping such highly skilled engineers here, rather than sending them back to their home countries.

But their student visas expire soon, both before summer, and because of the restrictive U.S. visa system, they may have to move their company to India or another country. “We love it here,” said Bajpayee, a cheerful 27-year-old in an argyle sweater and jeans. “But there are so many hoops you have to jump through. And you risk getting deported while you are creating jobs.”

Stories like this are so prevalent these days, and yet Congress remains unwilling to take the most basic steps to fix the problem — in part because the wider immigration debate raises so many other issues. Yet again, it seems that we’re letting silly politics get in the way of actually doing what’s right.

And, of course, the more that we fail to keep these skilled folks here, the more other countries are opening their arms to them:

Countries from Canada to Germany to Australia to Singapore are enthusiastically courting foreign entrepreneurs with relatively easy visas. Some offer cash.

China has given bonuses of up to $150,000 to thousands of highly skilled expatriates who have come home to work or start businesses. Chile is luring top talent with $40,000 in capital, free office space and a quick visa through its “Start-up Chile” program.

We’re training the best and the brightest, and helping them to make breakthrough innovations that can change the world… and then kicking them out of the country and into the open arms of other countries. Can anyone explain how that makes sense? In the article, the only person they could find to argue against letting these kinds of skilled immigrants stay is a guy who works at an anti-immigration “think tank,” whose argument is so empty of substance that, well, you just have to read it.

“It’s a stupid idea,” said Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies, which supports tighter immigration controls. “What is an entrepreneur? Businesses come and go.”

Yeah. The Center for Immigration Studies might want to look into bringing on spokespeople who can communicate complete thoughts in the future, because that argument seems to amount to “we hate it because bad.” Hopefully, people who actually understand the impact of entrepreneurship and startup businesses have on the economy can finally get these kinds of needed reforms through Congress, and we can stop kicking skilled job creators out of the country.

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Comments on “Yet Another Example Of Our Bad Immigrations Laws Hurting Innovation And Jobs”

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Christopher Best (profile) says:

I think a big part of the problem is any time you try to do ANYTHING to fix problems like this, the usual suspects start dragging in the illegal alien issue, start trying to turn it into “comprehensive immigration reform”, and then it devolves into a shouting match.

I really think a lot more positive change would happen if Congress concentrated on breaking things up into small, easy to understand problems and tackling them one at a time, instead of trying to write omnibus legislation that solves everything at once.

Yes, there’s a danger that a series of small changes may lose sight of the big picture, but I’d rather take that chance and get SOME problems solved than our current situation where NOTHING gets accomplished…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

About economic growth.

Immigrants need housing, need medicine, need food, clothes and other stuff, they are the ones that actually drive growth in the US, that 1% growth every year is not just Americans being born that turn consumers, the other part are immigrants, the size of the population matters, Americans actually stopped procreating and are going in the direction of self extinction by just not making babies another reason why immigrants are important.

The 2 potential superpowers in the world are India and China, they have the population to create their own global economies inside their own borders, meaning they can be 20 times the size of the American economy, the Japanese failed to become the number one economy not because they didn’t have the smarts but because they didn’t have the population to make it happen, Russia realized this that is why they are encouraging young Russians to be sexually active and have many babies.

So in short dirty poor immigrants means the following for America:

– Consumers, lots of consumers, rich people don’t buy that much they actually are very conservative with money the poor people are the ones that take mortgages, get loans and pay through their noses.

– Market growth.

– The ones that will work their asses off to pay for the retirement of the old people, America is a grey country, it needs young people to work that will pay for all those retirees.

So unless you find a way, to create consumers that will increase economic activity or a way to make American goods desirable by a large percentage of other countries, if you stop them what you end up with will be a country of old people who slowly stop functioning because the old doesn’t work, produce or buy anything. Look at Japan and see how bad things can get.

Also, the government should be spending more money, governments function differently from normal people, we have to live with what we got, governments must create what they don’t have. Spending is not a problem if it actually stimulates and invigorates economic activity inside a country, it is only a problem when you spend and economic activity doesn’t happen like in Japan.


At the low-education end of the scale, according to a 2011 Brookings Institution analysis of immigrant skills and employment in the U.S., low-skilled immigrants in the country had a higher level of employment and a lower rate of household poverty than native low-skilled populations, despite the fact that employed immigrants earned $5,000 less than employed natives.


Yet despite the growing importance of migrants to the U.S. economy, Vivek Wadhawa reports in a recent update to his Kaufmann study, called ?The Immigrant Exodus,? that an unprecedented number of Indian and Chinese students being educated in the U.S. intend to go home rather than try to stay in the U.S. to work. The proportion of high-tech startups founded by Chinese and Indian immigrants in Silicon Valley dropped from 52 percent in 2005 to 44 percent this year. Even the size of the illegal immigrant population has been declining since 2007, by about 200,000 a year, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.


Our refusal to let more migrants into America is delaying the recovery. It?s costing Americans jobs. It?s damaging our long-term prospects as a nation of innovation and entrepreneurship, putting at greater risk the sustainability of such programs as Social Security and Medicare, and concentrating the burden of U.S. debt on a declining number of working-age people. It?s time for America?s politicians to do more than merely duck this issue and actually lead on it.

The reason congress doesn’t tackle immigration or grandstand on it is because those who tried, changed their minds after being told what it would cost to send all immigrants away.

Sure it is fashionable to accuse immigrants of taking jobs from “born Americans”, they are easy prey, the thing is, they are not the problem, they actually are the solution is just xenophobia tends to grow in hard times.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

While your statements are correct, I do believe we still need immigration reform. In that instead of illegal immigrants, we need to cultivate a society of legal immigration in which we can register immigrants into the society. There is a major problem with US priorities, in that illegal and legal immigrants will take jobs that legal US citizens find demeaning. This creates job openings, because sadly to say some people would rather not work than take the jobs that are available at the time. I’m not trying to over generalize or turn this into some sort of race war, as it’s beyond race and it’s certainly not all people, but the facts are there… This is a society problem that I had high hopes of coming to an end when the market crashed like in the great depression, perhaps we didn’t sink low enough for human pride to submit to basic necessities.

Prattle On, Boyo (profile) says:

So the MIT honors grads with world-changing innovations are being deported, meanwhile, the dirtbags sneaking over the border bringing with them their anchor babies are here to stay for all the freebies that are denied to Americans in need. Then they bring over their extended family and the American taxpayer continues to support them for life. Bravo!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Sure, since it’s the truth and not politically correct, but racialist against whom? No race mentioned, just law breaking(if you don’t like the law, change it) sucklers off the productive.

a. An emphasis on race or racial considerations, as in determining policy or interpreting events.
b. Policy or practice based on racial considerations.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: King Obama

Feb 2, 2013 – “Federal Judge Reed O?Conner ruled on Friday that 10 ICE agents and officers indeed do have standing to challenge in Federal court the so-called Morton Memo on prosecutorial discretion and the DREAM directive on deferred action.”

“…ICE Director John Morton essentially gutted immigration enforcement by issuing a memo on prosecutorial discretion that, in effect, prohibits ICE agents and officers from arresting or removing any but the most violent criminal aliens. Under Morton?s stated policy, most of the 12 million or so illegal aliens that the administration wants to legalize are currently safe from deportation.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Brain drain is foreign aid

If the US was serious, they’d give every overseas student who completes a PhD from a suitable institution a green card as a graduation present. But hey, uppity edumacated brown pepple b staelen ur jorbs!

Note that given how much financial support the US government provides to support doctoral students in technical fields, the US is effectively sponsoring their own brain drain.

In the long term, such a policy will be good for other nations, and thus the associated expenditures could be considered foreign aid. Don’t tell the teabaggers.

Anonymous Coward says:

I forget what it’s called, but there’s a visa for rich foreigners that lets them move to the US if they start a business here that hires at least 10 Americans. It’s most often used by people who become billionaires in China and then flee to other countries for personal freedoms.

Still, 10 people for a brand new start up from people who aren’t rich to begin with, that may well be too darn costly up front to be a viable option. And I don’t even know for sure how that visa works if it’s a business with two foreign founders instead of 1.

aidian says:

IIRC, a bill that would do this kind of thing would have sailed through congress, but it was never brought to the floor because Senate Democrats insisted that it be folded into a larger immigration overhaul that would include allowing millions of illegal immigrants to remain in the country and eventually become citizens (similar to the 1986 bill). That’s a bit more controversial, to put it gently.

It’s a bit of craven politicking by Senate Democrats — sacrificing something that almost everyone agrees is good in order to use it to help push through a much more controversial position that you favor. but not exactly uncommon (the GOP pulled the exact same move over the estate tax coupla years ago).

Oh yeah, and this is so much garbage:

illegal and legal immigrants will take jobs that legal US citizens find demeaning.

There is no such thing as jobs Americans won’t do. There is such a thing as jobs Americans won’t do as seasonal workers for $8/hr with no benefits. Illegal immigration is a subsidy to the affluent at the expense of the working class.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:


There is no such thing as jobs Americans won’t do. There is such a thing as jobs Americans won’t do as seasonal workers for $8/hr with no benefits. Illegal immigration is a subsidy to the affluent at the expense of the working class.

And that is why the poor immigrants have a lower rate of poverty, given the same conditions for both immigrants and natives, immigrants manage to outperform native Americans and flourish. That is why immigrants actually have become the economic foundation of many cities across America and that is why no politico will actually touch on the subject, who in their right minds would send away the economic driving force and live in misery?

Oh that is right the people who refuse to work unless it satisfy their own self imposed conditions no matter what the global market conditions are.

DCX2 says:

Re: Re:

A path to citizenship for people who are already in America – especially such a path that takes many years and involves tests that most American citizens would probably fail – is only controversial for people who have a problem with a (half!) black President. About 60% support a path to citizenship and about 35% are opposed. This exhibits the typical “Democrats on one side, Republicans on the other, independents are the tie breaker”, and for this subject independents split toward Democrats.

And when determining when someone will or will not do a job, you must factor in the pay. If someone isn’t willing to do it for the pay that the market has set, then that’s a job that person won’t do.

Or it’s a market failure that could use some sort of corrective action, but I’m going out on a limb and guessing you are against “government interference in the market”

DB Cooper (profile) says:

Student Visa's expiring

This is a complex issue made so by politicians that don’t want educated hard working people staying here. They want people dependent on the gov’t. The Euro countries want people like this because their education system restricts who can actually attend college thus insuring they can never produce enough math/science types to meet the needs of their industry.

shane (profile) says:

Because American Students Couldn't POSSIBLY

I’m sorry, but I am sick and tired of hearing about how important it is to brain drain the rest of the world while refusing to educate citizens of this country.

I am not impressed with the “need” to keep smart people from everywhere else. The countries where these folks come from will benefit from their being there, and America needs to quit treating its citizens like chaff to be burned.

Lennart Regebro says:

There is essentially only one reason to support tighter immigration controls: Racism.

And racists are stupid.

Hence, any center that supports tighter immigration controls will be full of stupid people, and have people who can’t communicate those stupid thoughts very well.

And be thankful for that, because when you sometimes get people who can communicate these stupid thoughts well, all the stupid people will believe them and you get genocide.

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