Page 59 - Foreign Service Journal - April 2013

This is a SEO version of Foreign Service Journal - April 2013. Click here to view full version

« Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page »
the Foreign Service journal
|
april 2013
59
tion. Later this year, Cornell University Press
plans to publish his book,
Peacebuilding in
Practice: Local Experience in Two Bosnian
Towns
.
Opening Our Doors
Te Immigrant Exodus: Why America
Is Losing the Global Race to Capture
Entrepreneurial Talent
Vivek Wadhwa, Wharton Digital Press,
2012, $15.99/paperback, $5.38/Kindle
Edition, 106 pages.
Reviewed by Josh Glazeroff
What is the American dream today?
And whence comes our success? Many
would say it all comes back to our being a
nation of immigrants. But does it matter
who those immigrants are?
In
Te Immigrant Exodus,
Vivek Wadhwa—who teaches
at Stanford, Duke and Emory,
among other universities—
urges Americans to overhaul
our immigration policies to keep
our country great. As competitors
in a global marketplace, we need
to stack up the talent on our side,
or we are going to lose.
Tis short but thoughtful book is
packed with insights into the impact
of people fowing across our nation’s
borders. Given the fact the world is
becoming ever “smaller” (or “fatter,” if
you prefer), it is in our national interest
to entice the world’s best and brightest to
come here, then stay and contribute to
the U.S. economy.
But is our country still an attractive
destination? Wadhwa spells out the
challenges prospective immigrants face
to attain status as permanent residents.
Tese are especially daunting for those
who would like to build startups here, a
process for which U.S. law ofers almost
no way to acquire a green card.
What will those individuals do
instead? Take advantage of opportunities
elsewhere, of course. China and India are
home to many of these entrepreneurs,
but now Chile also ofers them funding
and an easy path to an immigrant visa.
Te numerical limits on most visa
categories, particularly for those who are
skilled workers, are hobbling our econ-
omy. Tis is despite the fact that import-
ing well-educated foreigners imme-
diately produces taxpayers who shop,
buy homes and invest—not to
mention the economic benefts
their businesses confer.
As Wadhwa comments,
U.S. immigration policy looks
back to a diferent era, when
we focused on family reuni-
fcation. It is high time to
revisit that approach.
Historically, Ameri-
cans have encouraged
anyone with new ideas to
bring them to fruition in the U.S. market-
place. Such innovation turned compa-
nies like Apple, Google and Facebook
into global powerhouses. Conversely,
if U.S.-based companies are prevented
from hiring great foreign employees, or
their founders cannot come in and stay
here, then we are destroying our own
base of future growth.
Wadhwa makes a strong case that our
visa policy could mean as much to us as
our global defense deterrent. By encour-
aging every nation’s brightest scholars
and scientists to come study, work or do
exchanges in the United States, we build
a base of understanding and good will for
the future.
Such interactions with future leaders
are a big part of U.S. soft power. If we can
attract some who wish to stay and even-
tually become part of our citizenry, even
better. Besides, if we don’t have a growing
economy that generates jobs, how are we
going to pay for our defense?
Whatever one thinks of his specifc
fxes, Wadhwa argues forcefully that issu-
ing more visas to talented foreign profes-
sionals will add badly needed skills to our
work force. And that will leave space for
innovators to build the American compa-
nies of the future.
n
Josh Glazerof, an FSO since 1997, is consul
general in New Delhi.
Wadhwa makes a strong case
that our visa policy could
mean as much to us as our
global defense deterrent.