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Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Shikha Dalmia advises Congress to pass pending legislation to scrap the cap on skilled worker (H1-B) visas. This cap is currently so low (65,000) that in April last year it got used up within a day of these visas becoming available, leaving thousands of left over engineers to be scooped up by America's competitors. America should worry less about keeping unskilled immigrants out—and more about keeping skilled immigrants in. Otherwise, it'll lose the race for the most crucial resource in the knowledge economy: intellectual capital.

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  1. America should worry less about keeping unskilled immigrants out-and more about keeping skilled immigrants in.

    Are you saying that the border fence may be useful after all?

  2. Yeaaa!!! They are “ripping off” my idea of unlimited numbers of visas and I am happy!

  3. The State Department treats potential immigrants and workers like shit. It’s entirely an attitude of “we know you want to come here, really, really badly, so why should we treat you well?” It’s astonishing seeing what visa applicants have to though first hand, and also embarrassing and frustrating. Plus it’s expensive.

    Other countries are realizing this, and even though we are probably the most desirable location for a lot of people, undercutting us with much simpler/cheaper/nicer immigration policies is good competition, and the State Department and Congress had better wake up.

  4. This is a no-brainer. Also, open immigration for all good-looking women!

  5. Heaven forbid we should attract lots of brown and yellow people who want to immigrate into the US. Far better to let some other state establish a competitive environment for R&D.

  6. Also, open immigration for all good-looking women!

    They took our boys

  7. The State Department treats potential immigrants and workers like shit. It’s entirely an attitude of “we know you want to come here, really, really badly, so why should we treat you well?” It’s astonishing seeing what visa applicants have to though first hand, and also embarrassing and frustrating. Plus it’s expensive.

    Um, have you been to a government office as an American yet? They treat all of us that way.

  8. Where is the Lonewhackoff post?

    I must be early.

  9. Mike Laursen,

    Especially if they can weld!

  10. Mike Laursen wins the thread. If that doesn’t describe highly skilled, I don’t know what does…

  11. Seems everytime some yahoo in Washington wants to look “tough on illegal immigration” they do something stupid to make legal immigration more difficult.

    I’m in the process of bringing my family here. I am a US Citizen, gainfully employed and self sufficient yet they have doubled and quadrupled the fees for my families visas this last year.

    How does that help with the illegal immigration problem? At this point that might have been cheaper to do.

  12. Mr. Laursen,

    I think that’s part of the point of this website.

  13. Those poor corporations! Oh what will they do without access to CheapLabor, er, I mean talent? Why, without this they might not BrainDrain the ThirdWorld, and they might allow U.S. EducationalInstitutions that teach those subjects to continue getting students. Why shouldn’t we just let those EducationalInstitutions drop courses and rely on the ThirdWorld to provide us with engineers? We can trust them! They’re our friends!

    And, I’m not going to even bother looking into whether Dalmia has familial connections to contractors in some way or other.

    SaveTheCorporations!

  14. Exactly 1/2 hour early.

  15. Um, have you been to a government office as an American yet? They treat all of us that way.

    While government offices on all levels treat citizens with indifference, there’s nothing to compare with the sheer arrogance and incompetence of a government office that knows that nobody in line can vote.

    I’m surprised there’s not more corruption involved, though I do suspect that that may have more to do with intimidated immigrants than anything else. Certainly the several cases in the press recently of immigration officers requiring sex from women to let them or their families in do not surprise me.

  16. Lonewhacko, you may not have that much firsthand experience with EducationalInstitutions in the United States. That’s where most of the H1-B visa holders learned their skills in the first place.

  17. America should worry less about keeping unskilled immigrants out-and more about keeping skilled immigrants in.

    Both sides of this are valid. First, why is a computer programmer more “skilled” than a bricklayer or stone mason? Second, why not encourage people to come here and do the grunt work none of us wants? How is there a downside?

    Those poor corporations! Oh what will they do without access to CheapLabor, er, I mean talent?

    They’ll have to quit selling you stuff you want at a reasonable price. Won’t that be wonderful? Also, your retirement plan will go belly up without the profits that allow it to appreciate. But when you’re 70 you’ll have plenty of opportunity to make ends meet doing landscaping or picking fruit.

    Oh? You’re going to live on Social Security? Right. Who is the government going to tax to pay your benefits?

  18. Common sense says the geography of birth was an accident. I don’t see how anyone can feign the hubris to say his/her accident was better than another person’s due to serendipitous location.

  19. LarryA says: why not encourage people to come here and do the grunt work none of us wants? How is there a downside?

    Becky, can you see why Mr. Larry is wrong? Now, stop laughing at Mr. Larry. He can’t help it. How about you, Billy? Yes, that’s right, very good: because people aren’t refrigerators, and they do things like vote or have PoliticalInfluence even if they personally can’t vote. Very good!

  20. First, why is a computer programmer more “skilled” than a bricklayer or stone mason?

    As a computer programmer who is trying to learn how to do masonry, I couldn’t agree more.

  21. Folks, Lonewhacko is one of those people who just cannot be helped. Unless you’re looking to indulge your sadomasochistic predilections it’s best to ignore an incorrigible like him.

  22. Ah, yes. Lonewacko. He never deigns to actually engage in any sort of debate.

    No, convinced that he is utterly right beyond all reproach, he’d simply rather attempt to make snide comments.

    Sadly, he even fails at this, given that his average post is generally just shy of being 50% witty.

  23. Watch out Lonewacko! It’s a Mexican!

  24. or have PoliticalInfluence even if they personally can’t vote

    Really? You want to block hardworking Latinos from opportunities to make a living and pursue their happiness, because you’re afraid they might use free speech to influence somebody. You’ve just tromped all over three traditional American values.

  25. Well hell guys. Why bother having a country any more? Why have any countries at all?

    Open the gates WIDE OPEN. Cancel the idea of national borders.

    Get it over with already. You’re all going to scream bloody murder and injustice until anarchy really does reign.

    And anybody who doesn’t just up and agree with this is not a “real” libertarian. We already know that.

    The tripe here is so very old and worn out….but once in a while I check in, just to see if any new ideas have penetrated accidentally.

  26. Since the lowest common economic denominator is our goal here, tell me quick — where can we find the poorest people in the world? Whatever country that is, we need to move them all here asap. They’ll work really cheap.

    In fact, congress should spend a trillion dollars moving all the poor people in India right here to the good old US of A. They’ll work cheap too.

    With a trillion bucks, we should be able to have them all here by July at the latest. What could possibly go wrong? And if you’re really feeling your oats on this immigration stuff, there’s always China if India doesn’t have enough poor people to do the job.

    Just think how much better off all these poor people would be if we moved them here. And we all know that making their lives better is the purpose of OUR lives (yes, this is libertarian ethics in action friends). It’s the US Welfare for the World of A we got going here. It’s our tradition, as somebody said above.

    So spend that trillion, and move them here whether they like it or not. It’s for their own good, and we’re into doing things like that.

    And it’s true that anybody who doesn’t want wide open borders isn’t a real libertarian. But it’s even worse than that.

    If you don’t want wide open borders, you’ve absolutely got to be a racist. There is absolutely no other possibility.

    What a perfect way for an anarchist to side step reality…….

    Fortunately, most Americans are not anarchists. Or “real” libertarians.

  27. Well hell guys. Why bother having a country any more? Why have any countries at all?

    I seem to recall someone saying that the reason to have a country is to secure inalienable individual rights…

    Not only does the Declaration of Independence answer your question, it also provides the proper ordering of priorities: individual rights before government whims. An individual should be free to immigrate unless there is a specific compelling public interest reason not to let him enter the country. And, no, keeping him from getting a job in the US is not a compelling public interest.

    So spend that trillion, and move them here whether they like it or not. It’s for their own good, and we’re into doing things like that.

    One of the main principals behind open borders is that markets can better decide the proper level, characteristics, and even direction of migration than governments can. In raising your wild-eyed strawman, you have completely disregarded that principal.

  28. As an American-born and American-trained engineer, I have only one thing to say about them damned furrin’ engineers: Dey tuk ur’ jebs!

  29. Eb Scrooge,
    No, I’m against paying to bring the immigrants here, too. But if they’re willing to pay their own passage, work, and not go on welfare, I say let them. Whereas you say “Tuk ur jebs!”

  30. It’s our tradition, as somebody said above.

    I said it. And it is one of the great American traditions to provide a way for peaceful people from all over the world who want a better life to try to make it in America. Such people aren’t a separate THEY — they are US. Potential assets to our country.

  31. I like the idea of tripling immigration quotas across the board. If the results are good, make the quotas infinite.

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