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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy


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The Brookings Institute's Darrell West has authored a new book entitled Brain Gain: Rethinking US Immigration Policy which makes the case that comprehensive immigration reform is critical to keeping the US competitive in the 21st century global economy. From the Brookings description of the new work:

Many of America's greatest artists, scientists, inventors, educators, and entrepreneurs have come from abroad. Rather than suffering from the "brain drain" of talented and educated individuals emigrating, the United States has benefited greatly over the years from the "brain gain" of immigration. These gifted immigrants have engineered advances in energy, information technology, international commerce, sports, arts, and culture. To stay competitive, the United States must institute more of an open-door policy to attract unique talents from other nations. Yet Americans resist such a policy despite their own immigrant histories and the substantial social, economic, intellectual, and cultural benefits of welcoming newcomers. Why?

In Brain Gain, Darrell West asserts that perception or "vision" is one reason reform in immigration policy is so politically difficult. Public discourse tends to emphasize the perceived negatives. Fear too often trumps optimism and reason. And democracy is messy, with policy principles that are often difficult to reconcile.

The seeming irrationality of U.S. immigration policy arises from a variety of thorny and interrelated factors: particularistic politics and fragmented institutions, public concern regarding education and employment, anger over taxes and social services, and ambivalence about national identity, culture, and language. Add to that stew a myopic (or worse) press, persistent fears of terrorism, and the difficulties of implementing border enforcement and legal justice.

West prescribes a series of reforms that will put America on a better course and enhance its long-term social and economic prosperity. Reconceptualizing immigration as a way to enhance innovation and competitiveness, the author notes, will help us find the next Sergey Brin, the next Andrew Grove, or even the next Albert Einstein.

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  1. George Chell on his way back to the US's Avatar
    The US has to seriously consider liberalizing its skilled immigration policy in the light of the challenge thrown by China. Until the competitiors have been Singapore and Hong Kong and perhaps Australia and Canada. However, China's entry into immigrant competition will seriously undermine the competitiveness of the US given the not very helpful stance of Bernie "Brainless" Sanders and Jim "the Demented" DeMint and of course Charles Grassley and and the misguided Durbin. People here in Asia ask me how our politicians can still think that if they kick a foreigner out the job will go to an American when it is moving abroad. I just gave the answer that I quoted above. The US will face very serious consequences if we push along the lines of the demented and brainless. Of course we have Rahm Immanuel who is selling out the administration. God Immanuel is good but the world can do without the advise of Rahm Immanuel. Perhaps the loss of the House by one or two seats may help push him out.
  2. Another Voice's Avatar
    we need this stuff to hit main stream media outlets, let people know to change views on Immigration....
  3. on my way out!! Wednesday is the day's Avatar
    US justs wants Social Security tax, Medicare tax from Legal in waiting (knowing they wont be allowed to use the benefits because of Legal status - GC in waiting, H1's etc). I think law makers know the Legal's pain (or may be not) but they dont care about what we are going through, I have been working in the same post for past 5+ years, cant take a raise or promotion, everybody gets raise + inflation adjustment excepts Legal in waiting. So much for equal opportunity law

    God Immanuel might be playing big role but I would blame congress and President for not acting (then nominee Obama promised big), I understand the scope of problem he is facing but that cant be excuse, I remember him saying Presidents dont focus on just one issue, President should be able to tackle multiple issues at a time (now where did candidate Obama go), he promised to change washington but Washington changed him.

    If congress really wants do something for legal immigrants, there is supplement appropriation under discussion and I believe they could just add "VISA CAPTURE amendment" into it but thats not going to happen.

    I have had enough. I dont expect anything happening for probably in near future (or may be for decades), Repubs will gain some seats and IMMIGRATION wont come up for consideration for long. US will no longer be a nation of Immigrants, but good luck to those waiting and legals. If feels illegals have more chance of getting GC than legals.
  4. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    One thing is totally not true is that if your are on H1 or in AOS, you can't take promotions and salary increases. I got them every year. Maybe the issue is different here.
  5. SG's Avatar
    Both of you guys are absolutely right. H1-B is like bonded slavery. Can't leave, can't get promoted, can't get a salary hike, keep working till the date you get ur GC done, which is like light yrs from now. Article should be re-named to Brain-drain. I personally know 5 people who have returned who got tired of waiting at the same place for the last 6 yrs. (this is after filing GC, imagine they might have been stuck at that place for more yrs than the 6 yrs mentioned). Think wise and don't waste ur precious time here waiting for something to happen.
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