Support Immigration Reform:

The Self-Inflicted Brain Drain

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Michael S. Malone points out how slow approval of green cards is hampering U.S. economic growth:

“More than a quarter of all patents filed today in the U.S. bear the name of at least one foreign national residing here [but] the U.S. no longer has a monopoly on great startups. In the past, the best and brightest people would come to the U.S., but now they are staying home. In Silicon Valley, according to a 2012 survey by Duke and Stanford Universities and the University of California at Berkeley, the percentage of new companies started by foreign-born entrepreneurs has begun to slide for the first time—down to 43.9% during 2006-12, from 52.4% during 1995-2005.”

He quotes Duke’s Vivek Wadhwa: “Either we get back to picking off the best and brightest STEM talent in the world, or someone else will.”

“Mr. Wadhwa says the real problem is what he estimates are up to 1.5 million skilled immigrants and their families who—thanks to visa quotas, bureaucratic sloth and other roadblocks—are trapped in the limbo between H-1B and the green card that earns them permanent residency and a chance for citizenship. At current green-card approval rates, Mr. Wadhwa tells his students here from India, it will take 70 years for them to gain permanent resident status. Most will eventually leave. They’ll add to a growing brain drain—100,000 skilled immigrants a year from China, India and other nations, Mr. Wadhwa and his team estimate.”


Author Description

Fergus Cullen

Fergus Cullen is the founder and executive director of Americans By Choice. Fergus brings 20 years of experience in public policy, advocacy, and politics to Americans By Choice.

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About Us

Americans By Choice is a national, membership-based organization supporting immigration reform. We value the positive contributions immigrants make to America, and we support immigration reform that makes it easier for the world’s most talented, innovative, and motivated people to live and work in America legally, to create jobs here, and to contribute to a growing American economy.