A Nation of Immigrants in a Borderless World

By making it so difficult for so many bright international students and scholars to remain in America, we are fostering a reverse brain drain of dizzying proportions and helping our competition.

When my father, his parents and siblings left western Russia (now Belarus) for the United States, amidst a torrent of other immigrants attracted by the promise of our shores, he took it for granted that through hard work, adherence to the law, and an earnest desire to become a naturalized American citizen, he would create a better life for himself and his children and contribute to the advancement of this country. Although he never attended college, he was convinced that higher education was a ticket to success for the next generation. My own life and the lives of countless other first-generation Americans have proven him right.

But early in the 21st century, we are losing our understanding and appreciation of immigration as an integral part of the American Dream. Why have immigration issues become so politically radioactive? The real and growing security risks to our nation and the economic competition we face, particularly from emerging economies, color our perception. Yet, despite the incendiary rhetoric about immigration, it has always been true — and is still true — that the benefits of immigration significantly outweigh the risks. For just one example, with an aging population, we face the prospect of a labor force that is too small. Immigrants can help.


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February 25th, 2011

Staff Reporter EducationNews.org

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