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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy


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NY Times columnist Tom Friedman has another great article reminding Americans why immigration is in our self-interest. In his latest piece he talks about how most of the finalists for the Intel science prize for high school kids (the most prestigious honor a young American science student can seek) are immigrants or children of immigrants. Albert Einstein is probably the most successful immigrant in the sciences we have ever welcomed to our shores. But you never know who will one day give him a run at the title.

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  1. George Chell's Avatar
    No one understands. There are folks in this country who simply dont like Asian competition. I know folks in Tacredo's district who are sick and tired of Indian girls winning Spelling Bee...could account for Tancredo's outbust at the Tea Party conference in Nashville. I know some bitter white folks out from Arcadia who moved to Tancredo's district, when the school had too many Asians...they want to take the country back! Then there was this bizarre story from five years ago of white flight from Asians in a school district full of high achieving Asians....

    So Friedman's article is going to only raise fears..of course the clowns dont think..they think jobs will stay in this country and the Americans will get the other articles and think again!
  2. Jack's Avatar
    I agree with the use of 'fanatic'--his zeal is excessive. He believes in a faith-based immigration policy based on 'magic' but we need to listen to people who deal with reality. Immigration policy is the biggest variable in how populated the U.S. is going to be--as high as 1.2 billion by end of the century. There surely would be needles in such a gigantic haystack but is that worth the cost of getting that big (or even half that big)? Consider that we are already reaching many ecological limits at a population of 300,000,000. Typical of a fanatic, Friedman makes no mention of this obvious consideration and thus it is hard to take him seriously on immigration. A "constant flow" of more people is a simplistic solution and not even sustainable. We already have 1 in 5 of the world's immigrants in the U.S. but it seems there can never be enough for true believers--more is always best whatever the circumstances.

    Friedman is not alone among immigration cheerleaders in that while seemingly making a case for discriminate immigration (let in all the 'intellectual' people), he then turns around and calls for indiscriminate immigration because the 'blue collars' (everybody else) are also first-round 'aspirational' picks. You think they're arguing for a tilt, but a tilt means limiting something else which they can't bring themselves to do.

  3. Subbu Iyer's Avatar
    It is important to note that the circumstances that brought Einstein to the US also brought a galaxy of brilliant European scientists: John von Neumann, Enrico Fermi, Hermann Weyl, Richard Courant, Eugene Wigner, the list goes on. However, it is equally important to recognize how suspicious and unwelcoming America was, initially, of those intellectual giants (most of them Jewish). The struggle of a few eminent Americans, mostly academicians, who advocated passionately on behalf of the European scientists is well documented. The hostility persisted until the US military recognized the potential of these immigrants and the magical success of the Manhattan Project. The rest, as they say, is history.

    Doubting Thomases will find it illuminating to research the comparitive intellectual stature of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford or Caltech with respect to Cambridge, Gottingen, Sorbonne, Berlin or Copenhagen, before World War II. For some others, the above exercise might also provide some much needed, tranquil moments of humility while they are taking a break from rabid chest (and Bible) thumping!!
  4. Jack's Avatar
    'Albert Einstein is probably the most successful immigrant in the sciences we have ever welcomed to our shores.'

    Aside from the issue of whether it is ethical (or an overall benefit to the world) to deprive other countries of the top scientists they produce, a rational case can be made to cherry pick already identified stars in various fields--but you don't need mass immigration to do that.

    'But you never know who will one day give him a run at the title.'

    Exactly. You don't know, which is why the needle in a haystack Einstein argument is more specious than the above bring in Einstein after he's Einstein argument. This version of the Einstein argument is often made in favor of mass, indiscriminate immigration. A similar case is made by Cornucopians that the world would benefit by unlimited population growth lest we miss an Einstein somewhere in that next billion (or ten). If people want to honestly make these arguments, they should state that it's worth the resultant population growth and everything that comes with it. This is seldom done not just to be dishonest but often because the person does not even recognize the concept of limits. What a scientist sees as a limiting factor they shrug off as merely an opportunity for human ingenuity to overcome. They are completely certain of this however fantastical the solution would need to be.
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