Musings on Immigration

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Lock Your Doors! Someone Let Pat Buchanan Out!!

Just when you thought it was safe to go outside in the immigration field, someone decided to release Pat Buchanan from the custody of the anti-immigration movement, and actually published one of his anti-immigration screeds in what many consider a legitimate newspaper.

In the San Jose Mercury News, Buchanan’s editorial, “Patrick J. Buchanan: Halting immigration would be an instant stimulus package,” makes the Grand Canyonesque leap from people losing jobs to somehow stopping ALL legal immigration to the United States, and thus actually creating jobs “for Americans.” His only claim for support of this bizarre theory is an analysis by “Middle American News,” whatever that is, of census data, no citation. I can hear John Belushi coughing in the background.
Perhaps Pat Buchanan is so blinded by the anti-immigration crowd he has surrounded himself with for the last 20 years, that he failed to see evidence like this, cited by Vivek Wadhwa in his most recent article in YaleGlobal:

In 2006, immigrants contributed to 72 percent of the total patent filings at Qualcomm, 65 percent at Merck, and 60 percent at Cisco Systems. And contrary to claims that immigrant patent-filers crowd out US-born researchers, emerging research is increasingly showing that immigrants actually tend to boost patent output by their US born colleagues. These immigrant patent-filers emerged from the US university system, where foreigners now dominate the advance degree seeking ranks in science, technology, engineering and mathematical disciplines. For example, during the 2004–2005 academic year, roughly 60 percent of engineering Ph.D. students and 40 percent of Master’s students were foreign nationals. (We don’t know for certain that those who have been leaving are patent-filers but anecdotal evidence suggests this to be the case). . . .

Beyond intellectual contributions, Chinese and Indian immigrants have been key entrepreneurial drivers in the US. According to another survey we conducted, one-quarter of all technology companies in the US have at least one founder who is a Chinese or Indian immigrant. The concentration is even heavier in certain key industries such as semiconductors and enterprise software. Based on this data, we calculated that in 2005, immigrant-founded tech companies generated $52 billion in revenue nationwide and employed 450,000 workers. This revenue total bridges multiple multi-billion dollar sectors including semiconductors, Internet, software and networking.


So, should Congress heed Mr. Buchanan’s call to literally seal America off from the rest of world? You be the judge. Frankly, I cannot imagine a stupider, more recession deepening act.

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