Opinion

Give us your tired, your poor … and your PhD scientists

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The Tech Guys
Technology Investors
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      The Tech Guys

      Charles Curran and Patrick Ennis have spent over 35 combined years as technology investors and innovators. We live in Washington, D.C. and Washington State, respectively.

How’s this for a provocative start of an article: the Tech Guys advocate attracting 100 million new immigrants to the United States in the next 20 years. Why? For three simple reasons: to expand the economy, to remain the world’s strongest country and to be consistent with American values.

America is a land of immigrants. Some would say that’s a trite phrase but it is a powerful phrase that bears repeating. The first immigrants came to what eventually became America about 20,000 years ago. And what a journey they took — it was a long, arduous walk over the Bering land bridge.

Why did these first immigrants come? Researchers have spent careers opining on this topic, but the Tech Guys are simple folk so we’ll tell you why: to search for a better life. People don’t walk thousands of miles because they are bored. They do it because they are motivated to improve their situation and to give their children a better chance than they had. Of course, most American families have only been in the USA for at most a few generations. Rare are the descendants of the original Bering trekkers or the Jamestown colonists.

Despite America’s challenges, is there any other country which has done a better job of integrating and assimilating people from all over the world?  Is there any other society that is so open in discussing troubles, differences, conflicts and history — yet so optimistic in embracing what binds people together? Our friends and colleagues from all over the world are amazed at how candidly Americans acknowledge and confront the challenges of running a country composed of people from countless traditions, religions, languages, ethnicities and countries of origin.

There are as many types of immigrants as there are immigrants — each one is special and unique. America has benefited from us all: low-skilled and high-skilled, rich and poor. Other countries focus on admitting only the rich and the skilled, however the USA has focused on admitting family members, the low-skilled and the economically disadvantaged. We think this has been good for America because it keeps families together, grows communities and produces motivated citizens. Patrick grew up in a house with nine people and one toilet, and can report firsthand that such an environment motivates one to study diligently and work hard.

One never knows where the next Bill Gates, Bill Boeing, or Sergey Brin is going to come from. The next person who creates a world-changing company may be a recent immigrant or someone whose family has been here for centuries. Most likely, it will be a combination of several, as Americans inter-marry among classes more often than people in other countries. Thus it is silly and unproductive to spend too much time trying to label people.

The seed corn of this country is clearly the large number of immigrants searching for a better life. However, our traditional immigration policy is ill-equipped to help the current state of the American economy, which is in desperate need of supercharging. We don’t have the luxury of time and thus the traditional American way of letting in solely the huddled masses isn’t quite enough.

  • J L Fuller

    It makes sense to me. That is why this whole anti-Mexican illegal question seems to eludes me. I think we would want more family oriented, patriotic and hard working people like we see sneaking into our country from the south. We can handle the drug dealers and criminals. Our system is capable of that. We need more people in their younger age working life. We can train them to be more than just manual laborers. What makes Mexicans less able to own businesses or to become college educated? The question is how to make them legal. Sealing the border better is of course the first priority but after that, legalization makes sense. Ask yourself this: do you want more legal Muslims or illegal Christian Mexicans?

  • NW Conservative

    i am in full agreement with the opinions given in this article. the large research office Microsoft started in Vancouver, B.C. is mentioned and is particularly hurtful. Canada gains hundreds of high tech researchers instead of the U.S. current policy in this country makes no sense.

    what will it take for America to wake up ? for people to realize jobs will be CREATED, not taken ? do we have to get far behind China before the wake up call is received ?

    it is sad to see all the suboptimal decisions made in DC and elsewhere. the time for policy changes has come and this editorial is spot on about an idea that is easy to be done (lifting quotas) with great, positive impact over coming decades. well said !!