Other countries are attracting US immigrants frustrated by the many hoops they have to jump through to legally remain in the country. Many of these immigrants have graduated from American universities with degrees funded by US taxpayers, but the US has strict limits on visas for highy skilled workers that often puts immigrants on waiting lists for several years. While the debate in Washington centers largely around what to do with the over 10 million undocumented immigrants living in the country, the economy is facing a drain of highly-educated immigrants trying to immigrate legally, pay taxes, and create jobs.
The Washington Posttells the story of Anurag Bajpayee and Prakash Narayan Govindan. Both are Indian immigrants in the US on student visas set to expire before this summer. They are both postdoctoral mechanical engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and have created a company together hoping to sell a product to oil businesses looking for cheaper and cleaner ways to dispose of contaminated water produced by fracking. Companies have flown them to Texas and North Dakota, and they may be close to securing millions of dollars in financing and hiring 100 employees in the next couple of years.
If the US does not appreciate their talents, another country will. Canada and other countries offer visas to young entrepreneurs who want to start a business within their borders. Americans and US immigrants alike are waiting on a comprehensive plan that will fix some of the country’s immigration woes.
The White House has circulated a “backup” draft bill in case bipartisan talk of immigration reform breaks down. The bill would create a new visa for undocumented immigrants living in the US and allow them to become permanent residents within eight years. The Christian Science Monitor reports that this plan drew immediate criticism from Senator Marco Rubio, one of the eight lawmakers trying to form a comprehensive plan.
“If actually proposed, the president’s bill would be dead on arrival in Congress, leaving us with unsecured borders and a broken legal immigration system for years to come,” Rubio said.
— EJ Dionne (@EJDionne) February 19, 2013
Senator Chuck Schumer met with President Obama on Wednesday and urged the administration to give the bipartisan group of eight lawmakers the time to hammer out a deal on their own.
“I am very hopeful that in March we will have a bipartisan bill,” Schumer said on CNN’s State of the Union. “And, you know, it’s obvious if a Democrat — the president or anyone else — puts out what they want on their own, (it) is going to be different than when you have a bipartisan agreement. But the only way we’re going to get something done is with a bipartisan agreement.”
If Washington fails to create an effective solution, it will be other countries that benefit from the departure of US immigrants, and the US economy will suffer from the loss of future employers. Neither political party stands to gain by kicking this can down the road any longer.
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