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Archive for the ‘immigration’ Category

Ever leery as I am about only throwing stones at other people and never offering anything useful as a solution, I now present my Four Great Suggestions for reducing the terrorist threat to the US. I do this as the current Bush administration seemingly seeks to prepare us for additional losses of personal rights and privacy in the name of “combating terrorism.” And administration shills like Senator Rick Santorum have started touring the country drumming “there’s going to be another attack, there’s going to be another attack” to try to scare us into submission. So rather than meekly giving in to this bogus raising of boogeymen, let’s just actually look at why these people are attacking us, and counter those reasons! Much simpler and more cost-effective.

I presented these earlier in a comment I posted to an article on Newsvine, which you all ought to be reading anyway, but here is my solution to this mess we have walked into:

1. Dramatically reduce our dependence on middle-eastern oil so they have less leverage on us;

2. Stop attempting to meddle in middle east politics and issues, those people have to work it out for themselves, they have to kill until they’re sick of killing and finally want to find common ground with each other;

3. Stop depending on a spy-counterspy mentality to save us, the Brits and the Germans catch terrorists with good old-fashioned police work, and we can do this too, we don’t need to sacrifice our hard-won freedoms on the altar of Homeland Security;

4. Ensure that we remain a (however flawed) melting pot that can absorb immigrants and make them part of a long-term American dream. We must BE the shining beacon on the hill to the rest of the world, we must implement in our hearts Emma Lazarus’ poem on the base of the Statue of Liberty:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

None of this has the satisfaction of slaughtering people we disagree with, or reducing their countries and economies to absolute ruin, and watching their children starve in the street or be blown to smithereens because they disagree with our politics, but I believe in the long run it will bring us more safety and security than comes out of the barrel of a gun. “He who lives by the sword will die by the sword.” The standard we set in the world is the standard by which we, and our civilization, will be judged. What will that standard be? Rule of law, or Guantanamo? Geneva Convention, or torture? Freedom, or repression? It’s our choice, in fact, it’s US.

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Don’t know if I’m happy or sad about the following, from an AP article:

Foreign-born entrepreneurs were behind one in four U.S. technology startups over the past decade, according to a study to be published Thursday. A team of researchers at Duke University estimated that 25 percent of technology and engineering companies started from 1995 to 2005 had at least one senior executive — a founder, chief executive, president or chief technology officer — born outside the United States. Immigrant entrepreneurs’ companies employed 450,000 workers and generated $52 billion in sales in 2005, according to the survey.

Their contributions to corporate coffers, employment and U.S. competitiveness in the global technology sector offer a counterpoint to the recent political debate over immigration and the economy, which largely centers on unskilled, illegal workers in low-wage jobs.

“It’s one thing if your gardener gets deported,” said the project’s Delhi-born lead researcher, Vivek Wadhwa. “But if these entrepreneurs leave, we’re really denting our intellectual property creation.

I’m a firm believer that immigrants (and they should be legal ones, but that’s another issue) bring to us much more than they “cost,” so I’m glad to see this kind of analysis, but the counter-thought is: where are our native-born innovators? Gates and others have lamented that there aren’t enough computer science graduates here to fulfill their needs, so they go get them offshore. This isn’t being driven by cheap wages, it’s a question of whether or not these companies will be able to get enough workers to function in the future.

Yet, I also hear that US citizens aren’t going into Computer Science and MIS programs because they are afraid there won’t be any jobs for them, they’ll all be in India or China. I can attest to that choice — I haven’t taught at the University of Minnesota for two years because there aren’t enough business / MIS graduate students — they’re all going into Finance programs instead.

I hope this isn’t happening because our kids have lost the willpower to take on a hard major or graduate program in Computer Science, or that they’ve become fat and complacent and unwilling to take risks and create innovation. I don’t know, I see a lot of young people with a pretty high sense of entitlement: why take technology risks, I can make more money just flipping around other people’s money!

The best analytical document I have found on the challenges of developing an effective immigration policy is here.

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