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Monday, November 21, 2005

We Need More Immigrants

From the Wall Street Journal (subscription):

Other industrialized countries recognize the importance of human capital for economic growth, and they have ratcheted up recruitment of the world's mobile talent. Meanwhile, the U.S., the undisputed leader in attracting global talent, has erected barriers for skilled migrants and watches passively as they stay home or go elsewhere.

America has seen the number of legal migrants, who tend to be more educated, fall by nearly a third over the past few years -- much more sharply than less educated illegal immigrants, according to the Pew Hispanic Research Center. Enrollment of foreign students in U.S. higher education declined for the first time since the 1950s. And when Congress failed to extend legislation that tripled the quota for highly skilled workers under the H-1B program, the number allowed in under this program has fallen as well. This ambivalence towards foreign talent risks depriving U.S. universities and businesses of the high-octane fuel that helps drive the American innovation machine.

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