Home > Uncategorized > Crovitz: Washington’s New Twist on Human Sacrifice – WSJ.com

Crovitz: Washington’s New Twist on Human Sacrifice – WSJ.com

In the 1990s, just before the handover of Hong Kong to China, there was a going-away lunch for the Canadian consul general. When I entered the venue, I thought it must be the wrong place. The hundreds of ethnic Chinese gathered for the lunch in the colony’s largest hotel ballroom didn’t look like “Canadians.” But before I could complete my turn back out the ballroom door, I realized this was indeed a roomful of Canadians.

After Britain agreed to transfer sovereignty—and Hong Kong’s seven million people—to China, many Hong Kong Chinese sought foreign passports, anxious that after the handover in 1997 the Communist regime in Beijing would curtail their freedoms. Canada saw a way to add talented people, offering citizenship to Hong Kong people who qualified through investments or other criteria.

In contrast to Canada, the United States engages in a kind of human sacrifice, refusing to let technologists and scientists stay after they earn advanced degrees from top U.S. universities. Earlier this month, Congress missed its latest chance to open the doors to the best-educated and most-needed workers. Why can’t the U.S. be as welcoming as its neighbor to the north?

Political leaders of both parties say they agree with the approach first defined by venture capitalist John Doerr in 2008 as a reform to “staple a green card to the diploma of anybody who graduates with a degree in the physical sciences in the U.S.”

In last year’s State of the Union address, President Obama said: “As soon as they get their degree, we send them home to invent new products and create new jobs somewhere else. That doesn’t make sense.” Mitt Romney agrees: “If someone’s got a Ph.D., particularly from a U.S. institute of higher learning, or even an accredited foreign institution, staple a green card to it.” About half of all graduate students in the hard sciences, and a majority of those completing doctorates, are foreigners.

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Associated Press/Charles Dharapak

Rep. Lamar Smith

Here’s a sampling of the immigration bills Washington has failed to pass: the Stopping Trained in America Ph.D.s from Leaving the Economy Act; the Advanced Degree Visa Bill; the Startup Act; the Immigration Driving Entrepreneurship in America Act; and the Benefits to Research and American Innovation through Nationality Statutes Act.

The most recent was the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Jobs Act, proposed by Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, a Republican. The bill made it to a vote, but under a procedure requiring two-thirds approval. The vote fell short, 257-158, with almost all Republicans in favor as well as 30 Democrats. The bill would have substituted visas for graduates from qualifying universities in the hard sciences for the current program awarding visas in a lottery system that limits the number granted for each country, discriminating against applicants from populous nations such as China and India. “Unfortunately, the Democrats voted today to send the best and brightest foreign graduates back home to work for our global competitors,” Rep. Smith said.

via Crovitz: Washington’s New Twist on Human Sacrifice – WSJ.com.

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