Wall Street Journal
June 20, 2012
President Obama thrust immigration back into the spotlight last week with his executive order halting deportations for certain young illegal immigrants. In the context of America’s jobs crisis, however, this is the wrong immigration issue to focus on. Our most pressing immigration problem marched across platforms at American colleges and universities in recent weeks—skilled foreign-born graduates whom we do not adequately incentivize to stay and work here.
At the Tuck School’s graduation ceremony this month, I proudly read the names of 277 M.B.A. graduates. The Tuck class of 2012 was 35% foreign-born, representing countries from Australia to Zimbabwe. Many of these graduates chose Tuck over peer schools abroad because they aimed to apply their world-class U.S. education in the U.S. labor market. The same is true across academic fields. Today nearly 42% of all U.S. doctorate-level science and engineering workers are foreign-born.
Won’t more immigrant graduates staying in America mean fewer jobs for Americans? No. On the contrary, they will create jobs for Americans—in large corporations and new companies alike. Large companies that hire skilled immigrants tend to hire more U.S. nationals as well. Bill Gates has testified that for every immigrant hire at Microsoft, an average of four non-immigrant employees are hired.