Thomas Friedman (Times $elect) attended a graduation at Rensselaer Polytech. He noticed something:

The reason I had to laugh was because it seemed like every one of the newly minted Ph.D.’s at Rensselaer was foreign born. For a moment, as the foreign names kept coming — “Hong Lu, Xu Xie, Tao Yuan, Fu Tang” — I thought that the entire class of doctoral students in physics were going to be Chinese, until “Paul Shane Morrow” saved the day.

Friedman gets the diagnosis right. His solution:

It is pure idiocy that Congress will not open our borders — as wide as possible — to attract and keep the world’s first-round intellectual draft choices in an age when everyone increasingly has the same innovation tools and the key differentiator is human talent. I’m serious. I think any foreign student who gets a Ph.D. in our country — in any subject — should be offered citizenship. I want them. The idea that we actually make it difficult for them to stay is crazy.

Amen.

My complaint — why I also wanted to cry — was that there wasn’t someone from the Immigration and Naturalization Service standing next to President Jackson stapling green cards to the diplomas of each of these foreign-born Ph.D.’s. I want them all to stay, become Americans and do their research and innovation here. If we can’t educate enough of our own kids to compete at this level, we’d better make sure we can import someone else’s, otherwise we will not maintain our standard of living.

Amen.

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3 Comments

ee2793 · May 23, 2007 at 9:23 PM

Mitt says the same thing on educated foreigners (“Staple a green card to their diplomas”). Gee, Soren, you’re a Romneybot after all! Welcome! HAHAHAHAHAHA!

eye · May 23, 2007 at 9:43 PM

His position on immigration was one of the things that I liked about him for a long time.

Then I found out he was a serial panderer.

muttley · May 24, 2007 at 1:48 PM

Hey, I didn’t know you had a blog — found out from Rick P.

Anyway, why do people like Friedman, Bill Gates, etc. claim we don’t have
enough scientists and engineers, when I know many scientists and engineers who don’t have jobs? What’s the deal? The scientists I know can find crummy postdocs just fine, but finding a real job is tough. Engineers get laid off frequently and have trouble finding jobs while the Tech industry whines there are no engineers. Something’s wrong here!

Of course American students will be deterred from science and engineering when they could do business or law and make more money and have more of a chance of a job. For a foreigner, science or engineering might look like a better deal.

So, where are these jobs?

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