The Corner

Brainiac Immigration

Somewhere in this massive immigration deal there’s a big increase in the number of visas for high skilled, well-educated individuals. Sen. Lieberman told us on the show last night that it would go from 65,000 to around 180,000. That’s a good thing.

In addition, foreign students who come to U.S. universities could stay and work without being included in that visa total. That could mean another 100k or so—also very good.

Smart, hardworking, ambitious men and women from around the globe—physicists, engineers, etc—want to work and raise their families here. We should welcome them with open arms. There’s a shortage of workers in the marketplace with these valuable skills, so a more liberal H1B immigration policy would address this and be extremely pro-growth.

The only downside on this as Ramesh Ponnuru told me is that immigrant engineers have to be registered to one company. I don’t know why that’s necessary. Why not just put them in the general pool of high skilled workers and let them pick and choose which jobs they want? If they’re in the job pool, and they change employers, they could simply re-register.

We ought to encourage brainiac immigration, roll out the welcome mat—not put up obstacles.