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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy


Rating: 8 votes, 5.00 average.

The Kauffman Foundation, one of the largest foundations in the United States, released a major study today showing that the US technological edge in the world is largely due to the contributions of immigrants. Among the findings:

  • Foreign nationals residing in the United States were named as inventors
    or co-inventors in 25.6 percent of international patent applications
    filed from the United States in 2006. This represents an increase from
    7.6 percent in 1998.

  • Foreign nationals contributed to more than half of the international
    patents filed by a number of large, multi-national companies, including
    Qualcomm (72 percent), Merck & Co. (65 percent), General Electric
    (64 percent), Siemens (63 percent) and Cisco (60 percent). Forty-one
    percent of the patents filed by the U.S. government had foreign
    nationals as inventors or co-inventors.

  • In 2006, 16.8 percent of international patent applications from the
    United States had an inventor or co-inventor with a Chinese-heritage
    name, representing an increase from 11.2 percent in 1998. The
    contribution of inventors with Indian-heritage names increased to 13.7
    percent from 9.5 percent in the same period.

  • The total number of employment-based principals in the employment-based
    categories and their family members waiting for legal permanent
    residence in the United States in 2006 was estimated at 1,055,084.
    Additionally, there are an estimated 126,421 residents abroad also
    waiting for employment-based U.S. legal permanent residence, adding up
    to a worldwide total of 1,181,505.

But here's the scary conclusion reached by the study's authors:

Using data from the New Immigrant Survey, the authors find that, in
2003, approximately one in five new legal immigrants in the United
States and about one in three employment-based new legal immigrants
either planned to leave the United States or were uncertain about
remaining. The authors had no data on how many foreign nationals have
actually returned to their homelands.

"Given that the U.S. comparative advantage in the global economy is
in creating knowledge and applying it to business, it behooves the
country to consider how we might adjust policies to reduce the
immigration backlog, encourage innovative foreign minds to remain in
the country, and entice new innovators to come," said Robert Litan,
vice president of Research and Policy at the Kauffman Foundation.

I'm surprised that things have gotten this bad this fast.


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  1. A2007's Avatar
    We've already lost an immediate 200 or so jobs to Vancouver, BC as Bill Gates just about had it with our system. I am not surprised at these statistics. This policy keeps families apart, so eventually many people who are separated from their spouses go home. This is where the media and Congress need to be focussed, not the illegals. This is where the future prosperity of this country lies. I know this story too well as I am in the tech sector, raring to go with opportunities to play leading roles in start-ups that I have to decline - for now. Shame on this country for penalizing us that give so much!
  2. chris's Avatar
    "This is where the media and Congress need to be focussed, not the illegals"

    America is a great country capable of doing more than one thing at a time. If you want relief or help I'd suggest creating allies with undocumented immigrants not enemies. By the way, illegal is the new N**** word, and defining a human as illegal is reprehensible. I'm happy to see the media report on the immigration issue, for far too long the topic has been demagogued
    and neglected.
  3. Jun's Avatar
    They are throwing away a basket with 90% good apples and 10% bad apples...
  4. USC's Avatar
    Letter to me from Senator McCain received yesterday:

    Dear XXXXX:

    Thank you for contacting me regarding border security and immigration reform. I appreciate knowing your views and for the opportunity to explain my position.

    One of the most important aspects of immigration reform is enforcement. Our experiences with current immigration laws have proven that outdated or unrealistic laws are unforceable. In recent years we have more than doubled the number of agents patrolling our borders and quintupled the border patrol budget all in an effort to enforce current immigration laws, yet illegal immigration continues. Rather than dismiss border and immigration enforcement as an impossibility, we should enact comprehensive immigration reform measures that promote strong border security and enforcement provisions, as well as strengthening the laws and penalties against those who hire undocumented immigrants.

    Any measure designed to fix the broken immigration system must also deal with the undocumented population. This is a very difficult challenge that attracts a wide range of diverse views. In my judgement, we need practical solutions for dealing with the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants currently living and working in our country. Any such proposals needs to be carried out in a manner that fosters the social, economic, and security interests of the United States.

    Let me be clear, I do not support amnesty. We can't reward lawbreakers, but we also have to deal with the realty of this enormous undocumented population. Considering our national interest in identifying these individuals and our inability to round up and deport all of them, we must provide them with incentives to come forward, complete security background checks, pay any owed taxes and stiff penalties for breaking the law, learn to speak English and regularize their status.

    I have been working with many of my colleagues, as well as President Bush, to pass legislation to fix our broken immigration system. On May 21, 2007 the Senate began consideration of comprehensive immigration reform. After weeks of debate, a procedural vote to advance the legislation failed by a vote of 46-53. Although the Senate was unable to conclude its debate on the immigration bill, I will continue working to enact comprehensive immigration reform legislation because I consider it to be critical to our national security efforts.

    Again, thank you for contacting me. Please feel free to comtact me on this or any other issue of concern.


    John McCain
    United States Senator

    N.B. Produced verbatim but not proof-read
  5. George's Avatar
    >>>>>>>>N.B. Produced verbatim but not proof-read
  6. USC's Avatar
    "But who is N.B.?"

    Sorry about that. It was early in the morning and I just slipped on that one. It stems from a ton of correspondence that I have doing with folks from the U.K. They frequently use it at the end of the letter to make a point.

    N.B. = Latin for Nota Bena which in English means Note Well. See link:

    Again, sorry for the confusion!!
  7. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    Thanks USC for sharing the McCain letter. Not high on specifics, but at least he hasn't totally abandoned the notion of dealing with the undocumented population.
  8. USC's Avatar
    "but at least he hasn't totally abandoned the notion of dealing with the undocumented population."

    I was encouraged by the fact that he seems determined to stand up to the rabid anti-immigrant wing of his party. All in all I would say that he is sticking to his guns on CIR. Good for him!!
  9. Limbo's Avatar

    There must some combination of immigration policy changes that could be passed if put together. If just trying to bump up the 140,000 EB visas is seen as too "Republican", maybe AgJobs or some other guest worker relief could be tagged to it. There has to be something that can break the deadlock and get things moving again.

    It seems to me the senate may be a little more sympathetic to a guest worker program now that Bush has a ticking time bomb of enforcement over their heads and businesses are starting to scream about it.

    BTW, I've shortened my moniker... was a little long.
  10. RJ's Avatar
    Guess what NB, I received the exact same reply verbatim from the Senator's office when I wrote to him after the July visa mess.
    I am pretty darn sure the staff has a template to send out to any such inquiry.
    btw, I have visited his office in Dallas though, and I was really impressed with the professionalism and patience of his staff.
    He has tried a few times about EB visa relief and I hope he can do something in the upcoming sessions.
  11. USC's Avatar
    "BTW, I've shortened my moniker"

    Limbo, is really nice & snappy. Good choice :-)

  12. Ian's Avatar

    Firstly, I am from the UK and enjoyed seeing the N.B. Also, thanks for posting the McCain letter it is good to know who our friends are.
  13. TX's Avatar
    USC, thanks for posting the letter.

    In July, after the CIR went down, I wrote to my state Senator, Senator Cornyn. I also got a reply that seemed kind of like a template that maybe goes out to most people. My letter was about his Skil bill, I was asking him not to give up on that and at least press for it's passage even with CIR failing. His reply was that his short-term goal is enforcement and enforcement only, and only after the ennforcment goals are met that he will focus on other aspects of immigration. It made me wonder if his SKIl bill was just a front so he can defend himself to the businesses in Texas (most of whom are very angry at his stance and have already decided not to support him). I will try to find the email and post it here.

    Also thought of copying Senator Hutchison, some good that would've done.
  14. Kimberley's Avatar
    USC, I am from Cornwall. I got quite a chuckle from your unintentional N.B. Brings back memories of home. I really appreciated your posting Senator McCain's letter. It is nice to know who is on our side and who is not.
  15. Alex's Avatar
    How come Qualcomm's number is so high? It would be interesting to know the % of immigrants on the payroll.
  16. Ana Santos's Avatar
    Hi all,

    I am Living in US since 2003 under L2 Visa. I felt in love with this country. I was wondering, what can I do in order to get a Sponsor for a Green Card? My husband is under L1A visa. Can anybody help me with this question?

    Best regards,
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