As I write, a bipartisan earned-amnesty immigration bill may move into the Conference Committee from the Senate. From the House however comes another bill, punitive and ethnocentric in nature.
If the train wreck is great enough, there may be no badly needed legislation on immigration this year.
The Washington controversy centers on illegal immigration over the Mexican border and the effects of that immigration on the economy of the border states.
Here at long, long last is one place where this president just might get it right. He has firsthand knowledge as governor of Texas of the importance of those worker immigrants on the economy of the border states.
But while the neocons understand the importance of immigration to field labor, they do not seem to understand the importance of immigration at the other end of the scale, i.e., to the engineering and scientific thrust of this country.
Richard Florida points out that between 1900 and 2000, international students went from 24 percent to 38 percent of all Ph.D.'s granted and this rose to over 50 percent of Ph.D.'s granted in engineering and science.
Closer to home: Illinois State University would have a hard time operating its graduate programs in biology, chemistry, computers and even educational administration, without foreign students.
The problem is that other countries want those very same students and recently countries like Australia and Canada have increased the value of stipends and travel grants in order to attract graduate students.
The bottom line is that we in-source nearly half of our scientific and engineering human capital and we cannot drive this economy without them.
As Robert Reich has said, “If we were at all smart, we would staple a green card to back of every Ph.D. Diploma granted in this country.” Amen.
G. Alan Hickrod