2007 November 08 Thursday
Immigration Boosting Measures Die In Congress

Congress is showing some fear that the populace doesn't want what the elites want on immigration.

Last month, the Senate gave up on the DREAM Act, after falling short of the votes needed to take up debate. The plan, which would have given children of illegal immigrants access to US colleges and universities and, eventually, to citizenship, was once viewed as one of the more likely immigration measures to pass Congress.

This week, another program with broad bipartisan support fell off the legislative agenda, as Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) of California said she was postponing plans to legalize the status of hundreds of thousands of migrant agricultural workers. She had urged her colleagues to add the guest-worker provisions in her AgJobs bill to the $283 billion farm bill now before the Senate. But she said in a statement Monday that the politics on the issue weren't promising: "When we took a clear-eyed assessment of the politics of the Farm bill and the defeat of the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform, it became clear that our support could not sustain these competing forces."

Millions of phone calls, letters, faxes, and emails have reached into fear centers of politicians who want to get reelected. People got mad enough about plans for amnesty that Congress got the message.

We still have work ahead of us. We need to defeat some of the biggest pro-immigration and pro-amnesty Congressmen and Senators who are running for reelection. If we can do that then Congress will go further down the path of immigration restriction.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2007 November 08 10:36 PM  Immigration Politics


Comments
John S Bolton said at November 9, 2007 2:27 AM:

It could be that they just greatly dislike the public attention shown by the massiveness of contacts from constituents, and decide to put these issues off till the public becomes inattentive.

Wold-Dog said at November 9, 2007 6:09 AM:

It is the quality that matters, not quantity. While the low quality immigration must be reduced, there has to be special National Security measure to guarantee that all pro-American geniuses with an IQ at least 160 are given immediate immigrant status (if IQ is not politically correct, SAT or GRE scores correlate with IQ and measure the same thing). And ONLY those with an IQ at least 135 (which corresponds to 99 percentile) should be allowed to participate in the annual green card lottery (which allocates every year an incredible 55,000 green cards to foreigners.) This will make the U.S. infinitely stronger.

Wolf-Dog said at November 9, 2007 6:25 AM:

The GRE and IQ percentile table is listed in this web site:

http://www.iqcomparisonsite.com/GREIQ.aspx

Allowing only the top 99 % or 98 % top participate in the the green card lottery will dramatically improve the U.S.

Incidentally, according to new legislation in France, even the spouses of French citizens cannot gain French citizenship unless they are really fluent in French, and they have a job, decent qualifications, etc.

Letting in productive people will not harm but help the US.

John Savage said at November 9, 2007 7:53 AM:

For the last time, who actually thinks our elites can be persuaded -- by a rational argument about the benefits of smart immigrants -- to prefer smart immigrants? Any more easily than they could be persuaded to prefer no immigrants at all?

They speak of immigrants as things like "our cooks and gardeners". People who "do jobs Americans won't do". Karl Rove once said, "I don't want my 17-year-old son to have to pick tomatoes or make beds in Las Vegas."

Steve Sailer wrote, "White Americans would rather strive against each other for prestige than against nonwhites because (although they will denounce anyone who suggests this), they generally don't see many nonwhites as credible rivals." If the immigration debate were primarily over importing geniuses, you can be sure elite Americans would be for reducing immigration.

wolf-Dog said at November 9, 2007 8:23 AM:

" Steve Sailer wrote, "White Americans would rather strive against each other for prestige than against nonwhites because (although they will denounce anyone who suggests this), they generally don't see many nonwhites as credible rivals." If the immigration debate were primarily over importing geniuses, you can be sure elite Americans would be for reducing immigration. "
=============================================================================================================


This statement is only partly true. The average white American engineer would certainly worry about immigrant technicians competing against them, but the academic and corporate elite is 100% in favor of bringing more genius immigrants for sure. Cisco Systems, Microsoft, etc, explicitly ask the government to give more visas for foreign scientists and engineers. All American universities (including state universities, not just private schools) routinely obtain green cards for tenure track foreign professors. Some insecure graduate students in sciences made it known to me that they do not like to see so many professors getting hired and tenured, but the ones who are making the hiring and tenure decisions, happen to be the already tenured and established professors whose goal is to make their universities (and hence America) more successful.

But from a purely National Security perspective, it is absolutely necessary for the United States to either bring in all the geniuses immigrants.

Hal K said at November 9, 2007 8:37 AM:

I disagree with Wolf-Dog. If I had to choose between 2 million low-IQ immigrants and, say, 500000 high-IQ immigrants every year, I would choose the latter, of course. I don't know about 2 million high-IQ immigrants. This notion that we have to change who we are in order to make the nation more powerful seems flawed to me. If we do have to change, then let's change our own people rather than importing new people. The US could produce plenty of talented scientists and engineers if we made these fields more attractive by increasing demand and salaries (which means bringing in fewer foreigners to take these jobs).

Wolf-Dog said at November 9, 2007 9:43 AM:

it is impossible to bring in 2 million immigrants with high IQs in the 99 percentiles.
Just look at this other table:
http://www.iqcomparisonsite.com/IQtable.aspx

An IQ of 160 is in the 99.9968313965% percentile, meaning that less than one per thousand of the human race.
You cannot find more than a 10,000 immigrants per year with an IQ at least 160.
The immigration lottery of 55,000 green cards per year, should certainly have a minimum aptitude requirement of being in the top
98 % percentile to participate.

The salaries of American scientists and engineers are already higher than almost every place on earth. Overall, American professors are better paid than in all other countries.

Hal K said at November 9, 2007 10:40 AM:

I see you were talking about something very specific. It is difficult to argue over such a small number of people. Generally the argument isn't about bringing a few geniuses here but rather over H-1B visas and the like.

I still don't entirely agree, though. We have a situation in academia where math and science departments overproduce PhDs for the number of tenure track jobs opening up. It is a betrayal of sorts to offer top dollar to foreign geniuses in a situation like this.

Math and science departments are full of foreign students and faculty members. It is pretty basic supply and demand, and smart Americans tend to steer clear of these fields for this reason. You say that scientists and engineers are paid well here compared to elsewhere, but how about compared to their peers in other fields?

Here is a recent article on the subject: Washington, We Donít Have A Science And Engineering Problem

Carl Shulman said at November 9, 2007 12:23 PM:

Hal K,

Top scientists and technologists generate massive positive externalities for Americans generally. Allowing them opportunities to utilize their talents fully in the United States keeps up the pace of Moore's law, accelerates improvements in medicine that will extend our lives, and raises the standard of living for 99.9+% of people (it may also raise the financial standard of living for the displaced PhD scientists who go into more lucrative fields when they can't get a faculty job).

"We have a situation in academia where math and science departments overproduce PhDs for the number of tenure track jobs opening up."
Is mostly taxpayer-funded basic research a welfare program for American scientists, or a way to generate scientific knowledge for the general benefit of the country?

"Math and science departments are full of foreign students and faculty members. It is pretty basic supply and demand, and smart Americans tend to steer clear of these fields for this reason. You say that scientists and engineers are paid well here compared to elsewhere, but how about compared to their peers in other fields?"
OK, so smart Americans are displaced to a hedge fund or Google rather than Harvard, I weep for them. Actually, one nice thing about the general limits on US skilled immigration combined with the exception for professors is that this helps to direct more of the very best talent to basic research, rather than just following the money to Wall Street.

Your Image Here said at November 10, 2007 4:51 AM:

How furious am I with ''the GOP''? All Bill Clinton would have to do is establish residency in FL and run for US Senate against Senator (and former GOP chairman) Roberto Martinez and I'll vote for Bill Clinton. That's how furious.

Anon said at November 10, 2007 5:01 AM:

Carl at 12:23 writes "smart Americans are displaced to a hedge fund or Google rather than Harvard, I weep for them." Well, I know of few displaced engineers or scientists who have been welcomed in Wall Street.

Actually, I weep for such a person with a soul so dead that he would gleefully sacrifice his fellow, but more serious and harder working, citizens on the altar of short-term economic self interest. All Americans and all persons deserve a chance at self-actualization in their home country, bringing a generation of Indian and Chinese researchers here diminishes the opportunities of young Americans and undermines the American work ethic, but thatís the hidden goal is it not?

This obsession with genius immigrants is a mystery to me. The illustrious band of liberals and neocons currently guiding this ship of state on to the military and financial reefs is largely of new immigrant stock. Has that been a grand bargain?

Your Image Here said at November 10, 2007 5:01 AM:

BTW, Like it or not he earned the title, President Clinton CAN run for US Senate. And I'd vote for him against Roberto Martinez...

Your Image Here said at November 10, 2007 5:44 AM:

@anon: Actually, Engineers THAT HAVE RETIRED don't give a damn. To them nothing matters, just their hobbies.
They took themselves 'out of the game' because of age.
Another example brought itself to the fore in Britain, it's NHS needed Drs, so in the search for qualified MDs, they went completely libertarian. ''Pass the MD test and you're in. Period''.
That worked fine until some of those Drs. recruited from the ME started to act like the Moslims they are.
THEN then got arrested, thwarting their poential Moslim attack on ''filthy infeidels''.
SEPERATIONISM. Auster got it right.

Hal K said at November 10, 2007 7:52 AM:

Carl:

I agree with what Anon wrote. There are benefits and costs to bringing in foreign scientists and engineers, but the benefits and costs are not shared equally. You may be overstating the benefits anyway. How much does an invention benefit Americans in particular if the manufacturing is outsourced anyway? Also, we can all agree that Einstein, for example, was a genius, but he is not considered an American genius. Of course not every smart American displaced from a math and science field in academia can go to work on Wall Street, and most wouldn't want to anyway.

Wolf-Dog said at November 10, 2007 10:11 AM:

"How much does an invention benefit Americans in particular if the manufacturing is outsourced anyway? "
========================================================================================

The fact that many new American inventions are outsourced to Asia is not the fault of immigrant engineers and scientists, it is a direct consequence of the unrestrained commercialism where it is agreed that patriotism has a shelf life measured in nanoseconds.

However, now that the U.S. dollar is declining dramatically against all currencies (for the time being mostly against the Euro, but very soon the artificial government manipulation in China and Japan will stop, and the US Dollar will also be dramatically devalued against their currencies), there is a slow but steady manufacturing renaissance in the United States. In a few years, when the Dollar gets devalued another 50 %, the trade deficit will dramatically shrink and a lot more manufacturing will be done here.

Randall Parker said at November 10, 2007 10:34 AM:

Hal K, Wolf-Dog,

Regards the over-production of PhDs: It is a tremendous waste of labor to have people studying for years for jobs that do not exist. However, the more who go after higher degrees the more keen the competition for top research professor slots. So the higher the average talent in those slows. Though much of that benefit could be achieved without having as many people go to grad school. Just make GRE scores requirements to get into PhD programs higher. Keep out the lesser minds.

On the subject of overproduction of Ph.D.'s see this 1996 interview of CalTech vice provost David Goodstein on the excess training of scientists other types of researchers.

Randall Parker said at November 10, 2007 11:55 AM:

Carl,

My guess is that a smart person who goes into industry instead of academia earns more over their work lifetime. I also suspect that on average they accomplish more.

Granted, some researchers do great things in academia. But below the top tier the productivity of scientists probably drops pretty quickly.

I also think a lot of smart minds are wasted in academia doing teaching. We'd be far better off if people watched video lectures rather than live lectures. The people who spend time delivering lectures would be better employed either doing research or doing technological development.

mike said at November 10, 2007 11:42 PM:

I would advise the U.S against using IQ as the sole basis on which to base an immigration policy. IQ is a double edged sword, it can be used to benefit the host country, but it can also be used to harm it.

As someone at Gates of Vienna pointed out, most terrorist suspects in Europe and America have high IQs.

Immigration should be based on a balance of factors, including cultural compatibility, ability to speak the local language, and having specific job skills in which there is a proven labour shortage, rather than a just because they have a high IQ.

As a European New Zealander, I am starting to get a little tired of being told by my "liberal betters" that I should go out of my way to help high IQ East Asian immigrants find jobs and settle in. (If they are so smart, shouldn't they be able to hit the ground running, or indeed, create higher paying jobs for us dimmer whites.)

Remember, there's no such thing as a free lunch.

Randall Parker said at November 11, 2007 10:20 AM:

mike,

I agree that IQ alone is not a sufficient screen on immigrants. Immigration creates other problems aside from dumbing down Western populations.

First off, there are religious differences. Doctors from Muslim countries were behind recent terrorist attacks in Britain. People who have higher status and higher income jobs aren't automatically okay.

Second, there's total population size. New Zealand, the United States, and Great Britain (to take just 3 examples) each have enough people already. The immigrants have to delivery big net benefits in order to justify further population expansion.

Third, there's a substantial amount of zero sum gaming in economies. Free market economists are loathe to admit this. But, for example, there's only so much beach front property. Bring in more people and some of the existing population become losers in competition for prime real estate and other finite resources.

Fourth, as Robert Putnam of Harvard has discovered (and much to his chagrin), Diversity Destroys Trust.

This is not an exhaustive list of reasons to restrict immigration by any means.

Wolf-Dog said at November 11, 2007 12:39 PM:

Randall Parker: "also think a lot of smart minds are wasted in academia doing teaching. We'd be far better off if people watched video lectures rather than live lectures. The people who spend time delivering lectures would be better employed either doing research or doing technological development."
=======================================================

The truth is that for such a big an powerful country, the United States currently producing only about 400 physics PhDs per year. This is not a lot. It means that only 1.33 per million know enough physics to understand how things work at the truly deep level. In fact, we need a lot more physicists to maintain the current technological edge. And it was NEVER intended for more than 50 % of the PhD physicists to become professors, many of them were needed in industry. Note that I have used the past tense and said "they were needed in industry", instead of using the present tense "they are needed in industry". This is because the outsourcing of manufacturing, also affected many industrial research jobs also. In the past, many big American companies proudly hired not only a lot of applied physicists but even some theoretical physicists. But this high-point in American history is over, and many industry jobs are disappearing (for physicists.) I was told that some high ranking American physics professors are also frustrated by diminishing research funding, and have actually moved to European universities and research centers to do physics research! This is the reversal of the old trends when many American universities were hiring top European scientists. Now the opposite kind of migration and brain drain may be happening...

Thus the lack of jobs for the already very small number of PhDs in physics (in comparison to the size of the superpower) is not due to the number of graduating physicists, but due to the shrinkage of jobs due to bad funding locally. Since eggs are needed to produce the chickens to make eggs, cutting down the number of graduating PhDs in physics, is suicidal.

In one of the top American universities, I was told that in the Applied Physics department (I did not major in physics, but in a different field), a large number of applicants with nearly perfect GRE scores and 4.0 GPAs were brutally rejected by the PhD program because the competition for entrance was brutal. So raising the standards for admission will not change anything. Entrance to any of the top 10 PhD programs in physics, chemistry, mathematics, etc, is incredibly competitive. And it was NEVER intended to produce just as many PhDs who will be professors, since many people apply this intellectual training to totally unexpected fields (which is the secret of American creativity, where interdisciplinary methods are used to solve different problems, where totally unexpected mathematical ideas can be used in chemistry and computer science and biology, while this was not obvious even to the original inventors until the last moment.) Also, high GRE scores are not enough to predict who will be a good professor or inventor, and so a lot more PhDs need to be trained than there will be professors.

In mathematics, although less than 50 % of the graduating PhDs become professors, there is still a lot of new demand in applied mathematics, and just having a Master's degree is not enough to solve many real world problems that are becoming increasingly more complicated. Again, the number of graduating PhDs in science as a percentage of the U.S. population, is very small, and it is becoming too small for the US to maintain its leadership. Once this leadership is lost, then this will have National Security implications.

Another point is that although for teaching, creating a lot more video courses of top professors is going to be incredibly helpful, many top research professors actually find that teaching just one or two courses per semester, does not bother them and does not disturb their research (in top universities, the professors do NOT teach more than one or two courses per semester, only in low ranking community colleges, etc professors are used to tech several courses since they do not do much research.) In fact, these top research professors NEED to teach courses in order to attract research students later, and actually by teaching one or two courses per semester in the areas that they know, the research professors actually learn a few new things and improve new concepts for themselves.

Wolf-Dog said at November 11, 2007 1:21 PM:

My apologies for the misunderstanding: Sorry, I meant that only 1.33 per million are added every year as Physics PhDs, not the grand total. Assuming that the working life of a PhD before retirement is approximately 30 years after graduation, this would mean at most 40 physics PhDs per million able to work on both applied physics in industry and also in academia. This is not a lot, because there are so many interdisciplinary areas outside physics that very deep understanding of science. Especially for a superpower, this is crucial.


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