Immigrant Scientists Enrich the U.S.

Peter Coclanis, Wall Street Journal

July 28, 2013

The economic case for U.S. immigration reform has been made often and well. We know about the striking business success of entrepreneurial immigrants and the children of immigrants. We know about the key roles newcomers to America are playing in economically stressed communities all over the country. We know—from the Congressional Budget Office—about the positive fiscal effects for the U.S. of immigration reform.

Nonetheless, there is still considerable opposition to reform. There’s still confusion about the importance of immigrants to our future and the rationale for allowing more immigrants, even skilled immigrants, into the country.

Sometimes telling examples can help clarify difficult issues. An announcement by the Simons Foundation of New York earlier this month constitutes such an example. In this announcement the foundation congratulated 13 brilliant young mathematicians, theoretical physicists and theoretical computer scientists who have been named “Simons Investigators” in 2013.

Guess how many were born outside the U.S.?

Ten of the 13 recipients (77%) of Simons Investigators awards are immigrants to the U.S., and two others are children of immigrants. Taken together, 92% of this year’s Investigators are immigrants or children of immigrants. About 13% of the U.S. population today is foreign-born. Does that help clarify things when it comes to the continuing importance of immigration for the future of the U.S.?

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About NAE

New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…