A September editorial from Nature claims that “Over the years, the United States has benefited enormously from its ability to attract the most creative scientific minds from around the globe. Increasingly, however, scientists, postdocs and students are turning elsewhere, frustrated by the barriers to gaining entry that sprang up in the wake of the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. In its current incarnation, the US visa application process not only presents a bewildering tangle of directives, prerequisites and requirements, but has also forced some applicants to wait up to a year for their visa to be approved — often for no apparent reason.”
Duke University’s Vivek Wadhwa discussed some of this reverse immigration’s impact on economic recovery on FOX News two weeks ago. You can watch the video clip here.
What can we do to help prevent this backslide? Clearly, the solution is not simple enough that one entity can do it alone. For those of us who issue visas–whether they be student or work visas–we can keep doing our best to attract and retain big brains in the U.S. And we can always be doing our part to help reaffirm the notion that America truly is a nation of immigrants. As JFK wrote in his aptly titled A Nation of Immigrants, “every ethnic minority, in seeking its own freedom, helped strengthen the fabric of liberty in American life. Similarly, every aspect of the American economy has profited from the contributions of immigrants.” If we allow this knowledge to permeate our behavior towards immigrants and immigration policy, we will by default be part of the solution.