The Chorus For Immigration Reform Grows Louder

Yesterday, Mike Bloomberg went to Washington and spoke at the Council on Foreign Relations on the topic of immigration reform. The text of the entire speech is here. I just read the whole thing and I'm encouraged and excited that the chorus for intelligent immigration reform has gotten louder. This quote was my favorite:

we must stop telling foreign entrepreneurs to build their companies in other countries

We have seen so many great entrepreneurs struggle with visa issues over the years that we were founding members of the startup visa movement. In his speech, Mike Bloomberg specifically called for passage of a startup visa provision:

A foreign entrepreneur with backing from American investors should be given a temporary visa to start a company in America. If after two or three years, the business has successfully yielded new American jobs, the entrepreneur should be allowed to continue to run his or her business and receive permanent legal status. We are a nation of entrepreneurs because we are a nation of immigrants and in the 21st century, the global economy will revolve more than ever around entrepreneurs.


But he didn't stop there. The Mayor of our fine city also proposed the following reforms:

– A green card stapled to a diploma:

We are investing millions of dollars to educate these students at our leading universities, and then giving the economic dividends back to our competitors – for free. The two parties should be able to agree on a policy that allows any university graduate, with an advanced degree in an essential field, to obtain a green card – and a chance to help us grow our economy. We must allow these students to stay here and be part of our future or we will watch our future disappear with them.

– More H1B visas:

right now, the cap on H1-B visas and green cards is much too low, and caps on green cards are set by country. So Iceland gets the same number of visas as India. That may be fair to each country, but it’s not fair to American businesses. We should end these arbitrary limits and end the cap on the high-skill H1-B visas. Let the market decide. It’s basic free-market economics – and both parties ought to be able to get behind it.

– immigration reform for agriculture and tourism:

we must ensure that major industries, such as agriculture and tourism, that rely on those workers just starting up the economic ladder have access to foreign workers when they cannot fill the jobs with American workers. These employers want a legal work force, but our current system makes that extremely difficult. Farmers have to go through multiple levels of approvals to do basic hiring, and in Georgia, where they have cracked down on illegal farm-workers, farm owners are experiencing severe labor shortages. That’s driving up their costs and leaving crops un-harvested. At a time when food prices are rising, this is the last thing American consumers – and farmers – need.

Do yourself a favor and read the entire speech. It's not long. Mike lays out a sensible and intelligent way to reform immigration laws without getting into the contentious issues that have held back immigration reform for many years. And if you agree with the Mayor, do everyone a favor and call your elected officials in Washington and tell them you are also for intelligent immigration reform (as opposed to comprehensive immigration reform). I've done that and it has helped. Getting your voice into the chorus on intelligent immigration reform would be helpful too.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Julien

    Can’t agree more with all this!Also, a lot of US engineers/entrepreneurs should take the time to travel the world and spend time in foreign countries as well, learn another language, meet another culture, bind relationships with people on the other side of the world. Creativity comes from serendipity!

    1. fredwilson

      i agree with that suggestion Julien. the internet is making the world smaller and closer but you still have to get out there and see people and things in person

      1. mitch young

        It would be far more honest for business owners  or venture capitalists who seek cheap labor to move themselves to where it is plentiful, rather than seek to import it to an already glutted market.…People are not machine tools.

        1. Guest

          It would be far more honest for business owners  or venture capitalists who seek cheap labor to move themselves to where it is plentiful, rather than seek to import it to an already glutted market. —I totally agree Mitch. The problem for Wilson and Bloomberg is that those countries are crapholes, unlike Western countries that offer a “nice” place to live because of the social capital built up over centuries by generations of the “ordinary” Western people they look down on.

  2. Dave W Baldwin

    Good post.Decided to edit due to some of the comments:To do the right thing, we have to face realities looking forward.To say Greedy Company Owners want slave labor, well, haven’t they always? Fact of the matter is all of us are guilty because we don’t want our kids pickin’ cotton. So why not have immigrants sneak in and let them do it?Fact of the matter is the machine will do much more, from pickin’, hauling, sorting and so on. So instead of keeping the Immigration Reform debate in a hardcore photo op for politicians, why not put something together that is intelligent, then present it to the public as a…. business plan? Wow.Turns out we may need to solve the issue of the US taxpayer not funding someone from somewhere else… probably a good place to start. That is because it will not be something based on intelligence but political payoffs.OTOH, if there is a chance to get someone who is smarter than a group of US kids wanting to enter college, why not figure a way to get he/she acclimated to the US. OMG, he/she may send some money back home to his/her family… imagine that.As maturity sets in regarding usage of space age technology, it is time to expect the government to grow up as well.

    1. mitch young

       “OTOH, if there is a chance to get someone who is smarter than a group of US kids wanting to enter college, why not figure a way to get he/she acclimated to the US”Because their parents and grandparents paid taxes to build up those universities.

      1. Dave W Baldwin

        Good point, and all points must be considered.Remember, though, there are many universities that are not the behemoths as most readers of this post think… so a region needs to look at sharing of culture with a potential partner elsewhere in the world linking trade/production.Some of my posts may seem to go all over… but I’m trying to get back to basics: 1)  Don’t sell this as the world being saved because US kids are stupid (they like, their parents are just lazy), 2) If we tag exchange students to pathetic border patrol, we will isolate in the wrong way, 3) We need to remember the rest of the world is moving forward also… and the real tech movement is not as fast as it should be.  So, isolating ourselves will only have it where the revolution will come from somewhere else.  Totalitarianism is subjective to definition.  Those pushing for freedom will be developing from the ‘back against the wall’ standpoint while US has a lot of lazy kids (all creed/color, so not back to the Mexican thing please) due to our having more than we’re thankful for.  ‘Lazy’ creativeness gives us the same boring crap for entertainment, crap that is pushed at us in the form of ‘everything it really isn’t’ and so on.IOW (because this is becoming a novella) we can’t push away someone else’s child to create the illusion our child is that much more.@fredwilson:disqus @JLM:disqus

  3. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

    I think the U.S. government is trying to maintain the number of immigrants a constant.Since they can’t control the illegal immigrants they are keeping control on the legal one’s :-).

  4. sigmaalgebra

    “We are investing millions of dollars to educate these students at our leading universities, and then giving the economic dividends back to our competitors – for free. The two parties should be able to agree on a policy that allows any university graduate, with an advanced degree in an essential field, to obtain a green card – and a chance to help us grow our economy.”Do that if you want; I’m well enough protected with a ‘moat’ so that it won’t hurt me; it’s an opportunity for cheap labor, which I will refuse to exploit; but for the US, it’s a disaster.Same old, same old: Cheap labor to try to make capital comparatively more valuable.Parts of this nonsense have been going on for decades back to the deliberate, well planned efforts of the NSF to flood the US labor market with immigrants.Here’s a big result: In academic subjects so flooded, native born US citizens see the ‘strange situation’ and avoid it and those academic subjects. So, for some decades, freshman calculus was a disaster because it was too often taught by immigrant graduate students who didn’t know English.There is an implicit assumption: Native born US citizens are deficient in talent, drive, entrepreneurial experience and potential, etc. Nonsense. Complete slander. Total 100% smelly, steaming, fuming, reeking, boiling, bubbling, slimy, sticky, toxic made up, slanderous nonsense.So what’s left of the mayor’s sales pitch is just an effort to cut off at the knees US citizens in ‘critical fields’.But it’s still worse: Pick one of the top three dozen or so US research universities. About 60% of the annual budget will come from research grants in ‘critical fields’ from the Federal government, especially NSF and NIH. Of a given research grant, about 60% will go to ‘overhead’. So, about 36% of the budget of the university not much related to research will be from the Federal government.So, consider US citizen Joe who runs a small or medium business on a Main Street in the US. Joe and people like him pay taxes, and that’s where the Federal money for the universities comes from. Joe is paying for those universities.Joe has some children who want a ‘better life’ via a ‘better career’ via a ‘better education’. So, Joe and his children have to struggle to meet the tens of thousands of dollars a year per student US college costs.Then, somehow students from a foreign country with median annual income of a few thousand dollars sit in class next to Joe’s children. Who paid for those foreign students? Sure, Joe did. Or, the way mayor Bloomberg put it:”We are investing millions of dollars to educate these students at our leading universities”Right. The mayor’s “we” includes Joe. And it’s a rip off. And we should stop it.That education has the crown jewels of future US economic competitiveness, and we should DENY those jewels to foreigners, keep the jewels locked up in the US much as state secrets.The mayor’s “millions” is correct: Joe is being asked to fund the knowledge and have it given to immigrants instead of his children. A rip off.Here in the US I’ve seen a good sampling of the best in the world of academics, research, technology, and business, and my observation is stark: The best people I saw were born in the US. All of them. Being born in the US is a big advantage, and it shows. The immigrants are not better.The mayor wants to tax Joe, educate foreigners, drive Joe’s children out of ‘critical fields’, and get cheap programmers for his company. The mayor wants to turn ‘critical fields’ into a ‘lower caste’ and shoot the US in the gut to get cheap labor. It’s an attack on US citizens and sabotage of the US economy.”Sabotage”? Sure: What will be Joe’s reaction when he sees how he and his children are being ripped off? He will insist that tax money no longer supports universities. So if the US universities are not for Joe, then Joe will not support them. Then the US will lose the crown jewels of the future, including for the mayor. Bummer.The motivation of the NSF was to flood the US with people for the US ‘military-industrial complex’. The stimulus was the shortage of such people during the Space Race and the Cold War. But some companies saw an advantage, e.g., with the H1-B program: Get ‘indentured servants’ as ‘technical labor’. So, now the motivation is to flood the US with, say, JavaScript programmers. Bummer.Mayor Bloomberg is trying to cut off at the knees US citizens in technical fields. It’s an attack on the dreams, hopes, efforts, investments, accomplishments, and potential of a large section of the US citizens.It’s ugly.And what the mayor is doing is a special case of a larger problem: Set up a chain of big box stores. Go to China and get products manufactured for maybe 10% of US prices. Basically, for the benefit of the owners of the big box stores, export several US industries — textiles, toys, kitchen gadgets, hand tools, power tools, electronic assembly and manufacturing, machine tools, etc. — to China. Moreover, invite foreign companies to execute predatory marketing practices against important US companies and industries. Then for a while the big box stores get some really cheap suppliers for products, typically inferior to US products, that they can sell to the US citizens who still have jobs.More generally it’s a very old story: Get the economic advantages of slave labor. The movie ‘Spartacus’ was not really wrong: A slave class brings issues of political stability.Did I mention ugly?For me, there’s no chance, not even a weak little hollow hint of a tiny clue, that the immigrants will be able to compete with my business. They are only trying to work at technical levels several steps below mine. And I’ve come to be glad that early on I decided to do some original research based on some advanced and somewhat obscure material: I now have a “moat”.Still, ugly.More generally, the mayor is shooting in the gut an important, and now crucial, US ‘social contract’ that the US is for the citizens of the US. Joe has a right to yell and scream at being ripped off — taxed to provide cheap labor for Mayor Bloomberg.What goes around comes around: The mayor will discover that US citizens who believe in the US citizen social contract don’t like him, and with very good reason. Then he will find that the US he needs for his business is less good than he is used to.What’s wrong the the mayor? He doesn’t have money enough? He wants to throw the US social contact and the willingness of US citizens to support US research universities into the trash to make a little extra money from slave labor? What does he like about the US, our country or just our money?This issue keeps coming up, on this blog and elsewhere. I guess it will be impossible ever really to drive a stake through the heart of deliberate creation of ‘lower classes’, a ‘caste system’, ‘indentured servitude’, and slavery.In the US it’s time to form another ‘caste’ — people who believe in the US and the US social contract and US efforts for the US and who don’t want to shoot their fellow citizens in the gut, wreck the US, and create a slave class to make a little extra money for a while.The mayor has become an ugly US citizen, and no loyal US citizen should want anything to do with him.Clearly the mayor is a lucky guy, starting in the mail room or some such and walking out with millions. But with his proposal to put wind turbines on the tops of the tall buildings in NYC and regulate table salt in food, we begin to see that between his ears the mayor is a few cans short of a six pack. His immigration ideas are worse than his wind turbine ideas.Here in the US, we need to take on the world economy together. We will hang together or hang separately. Turning the US into a nation of slaves and slave owners is a recipe for both economic and political disaster for the US.

    1. ShanaC

      Isn’t this sort of nativisist?

      1. sigmaalgebra

         Your adjective means just what?My post was not long enough to make the points clearly enough?Just what is it about ripping off Joe, taking his tax money to educate people to ruin the careers of Joe’s children, you believe Joe should like so much?Then when Joe catches on and tells his congressman to cut the Federal money to US research universities, what’s the future of the US economic advantage?What is it about the threat of the unstable, wild west global economy you find so comforting?In the US, we need to take on the threat of the global economy together, hang together or hang separately.  In particular we need some ‘financial firewalls’, or did you forget how the fire on Wall Street in 1929 spread around the world and came back and burned the US, wiped out much of Europe and western Russia, leveled the cities of Japan, and killed, what, 50 million people?  More than 50?  You don’t remember that?  So there has to be a US social contract that the US is for the US:  Against the threats of the global economy, the US needs financial security for the US.  You don’t see this?All forms of slavery have been a bad for about 2000 years.  If the mayor wants some cheap software written, then he should write it himself.Then there’s Foggy Bottom that believes they are doing their job as they hand much of the US textile industry along with $20 billion to Pukistan, bring China into the WTO to have a carrot to have them ‘behave’, etc.Then there’s the mayor:  With his wind mills on buildings and NaCl paranoia, between his ears he’s a long way short of a full deck.  It looks like what he likes about the US is its money, not the country.That stuff won’t work.

        1. marshallyang

          You premise is wrong. Foreigners in US pay taxes too.

          1. JLM

            Well played but not relevant to the underlying debate.We are a nation of foreigners and though some have put on airs because they got here on the Mayflower, the simple truth is that unless you are a Native American then you are in immigrant.What else came to America’s shores on the Mayflower?SYPHILIS

          2. marshallyang

            The underlying debate is whether US citizens are paying for foreign students. Because Foreigners in US pay taxes too, the answer is no.Your Sarah Palin style segue is funny.

          3. Mcblah

            Believe what you want but in fact there is such a thing as The United States of America and in fact it did not exist until civilized, English-speaking, Anglo-normative people invented it.”Native Americans” as we so delicately refer to them were not the “first Americans” simply because there was no America prior the arrival of Europeans.We foolishly like to believe that being American is a notion… kind of a “state of mind” like Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville – that as long as you agree to “love freedom” and pay your taxes, be a good consumer, and submit to government that you’re “an American” as soon as you show up here.  Sorry, folks.  That isn’t reality.  The reality is that so much of what we take for granted – justice, fairness, the supremacy of reason over passions, the supremacy of the civic and secular over the religious, self-control, logic, education, work ethic, etc. – are a product of Western Civilization and an Anglo-normative value system.  Call it nativist, racist, ethnicist, civilizationist, whatever-you-wish-ist.  You are actively participating in the demise of a first-world civilization and the displacement of it’s vanguard peoples with that of ruddy, third-world population who may not feel the same way about fairness and liberalism the way we’ld like to believe they do.  We get the idea from media that people the whole world over are more-or-less equivalent and are all good and noble and the differences are all superficial and I would concede that on basic human terms this is true.  However, we are dealing with *who we are* and the *civilization* we are trying to maintain.  Civilization requires a strong people with a common identity first – not a government.This all works-out really well for people like Bloomberg and his ilk because they’re all fairly confident that come-what-may, their places of the lifeboats are secure.  They just need people to rule over and it’s much easier to rule over a divided, “multi-cultural nation” than it is to rule of a nation that is 90% culturally and ethnically homogenous (like the U.S. was on track to be in the 1950’s prior to that other great stab at immigration reform: The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 – which forever changed the ethnic makeup of the United States).We are so desperate to throw our hat in on the side of the people we perceive to have the noble, human struggle (the ruddy brown people jumping the boarder).  We have this romanticized notion that someday – when Greater Justice is finally realized – that we’ll be able to tell the youngsters about how we were there – fighting for it – the way we heard tell about those “fighting for civil rights” generations ago.  We want to be on the side of good.  But, this isn’t simply a binary struggle of good (pro-immigrant) vs. evil (anti-immigrant / status quo).  There is a third way:  enlightened cultural self-preservation tempered with compassion

          4. Mcblah

            No, the underlying issue is immigration reform.I get it.  Anyone who challenges the orthodoxy of cultural-relativism must be a Fox News watching Tea Party drone.  Nice strawman.

          5. mitch young

            Excellent post, McBlah. The people that produced the Wrights, Ford, Claude Shannon, and Philo T Farnsworth really don’t need a  Bloomberg telling us that we can’t innovate.Further, you don’t see Han Chinese allowing mass immigration into Singapore or Taiwan or China or Hong Kong. India has pretty easy immigration — if your parents, grandparents, or great grandparents were Indian. Its a ‘brown India’ policy. 

          6. Guest

            Gotta love the double standards of the globalists like Bloomberg and Wilson.Joe Whitebread American who has paid taxes to this country all his life, has a grandpa buried at Normandy and a great-great whatever who camped out with Washington at Valley Forge = just another immigrant.A Mexican illegal immigrant who managed to avoid La Migra for five years, never learned to speak English, works under the table and pays no taxes. and has never heard of the Declaration of Independence = American as apple pie with “deep roots” in the country, and it would be inhumane to deport him.

          7. JLM

            @MaryJay:disqus Every generation has to make its bones all by itself.  I don’t think just because my Dad was at Normandy that I get a free pass on anything.He made his contribution to the Nation at his time and I made mine in a different time and a different place.American citizenship is really pretty damn cheap lately.  Pay your taxes and don’t carry more than 4 ounces of any liquid through security?I enjoyed serving and would gladly do it again.  It was fun plus I got to blow up a lot of stuff and shoot a lot of guns.  I liked it very much.I am totally opposed to any kind of illegal immigration.  It is a criminal act and should be treated as such — no ifs, ands or buts.  Our borders need to be secure.Little brown brother is not a political constituency to be manipulated at will.I am also sympathetic to changing our pathetic immigration program in a holistic manner — not favoring someone who has a PhD but also not penalizing them.

          8. sigmaalgebra

            No, my premise is okay:My point about taxes was for the case, proposed in this thread, e.g., get a green card with a degree, of foreign students coming to the US for a US education largely or entirely paid for by US taxpayers, and such students don’t pay taxes yet. 

          9. marshallyang

            College students have income and pay taxes:…

          10. sigmaalgebra

            Your link below is to nothing.In school, I went “all the way”, and as a student I never paid any taxes at all.Students in ‘essential fields’ tend to be full time students, and nearly no such student has time or opportunity enough to earn much in money.Instead about the most such a student can hope for in income is just a stipend which typically is so small that little or nothing is due in taxes.More generally, a little in taxes or not, the mayor was correct in saying that the US is spending “millions” on foreign students.  From that he wants to say that the students are welcome to stay in the US, and I want to say that we shouldn’t be spending the millions.Whatever, a good US university is EXPENSIVE.  At the better research universities, about 60% of the whole school budget is from the Federal government.  Even full tuition does not begin to cover the full costs.A foreign student from any of the usual countries that are sources of such students and who can pay full tuition plus room and board at a US university is filthy rich at home.So, sure, some Saudi prince might get an MBA.But the usual foreign student in an ‘essential field’ is not a Saudi prince and not filthy rich at home.  Net, the US is paying for nearly all that education.  On average, the student is paying in taxes at most only tiny fraction of what his education cost.Long US foreign policy has been to welcome foreign students, especially the more powerful Saudi princes, to US education.  The idea has been that the US is making ‘good friends’.  Yet again our Foggy Bottom wants to find excuses to give way money, intellectual crown jewels, businesses, etc. to foreign countries.So a question now is, should the US still be welcoming foreign students?Next the question is, should the US be welcoming foreigners, educated in the US or not, in ‘essential fields’ and/or entrepreneurship.If the number of foreigners is small, then the question is nearly moot.  But likely the people pushing for such immigration don’t want the number to be small and, instead, want some significant macro effects.  The main effect wanted is to flood selected fields, and to heck with US citizens in those fields.  If the number is large, then somewhere there is an effort to take an ‘essential field’, flood the field with foreigners, and drive out US citizens, and that’s DUMB for the US in several respects. 

          11. marshallyang

            You are saying that low-income taxpayers don’t deserve college education, because their taxes are less than the government spending. That’s wrong. (on an unrelated note, most of my engineering college friends are working on their summer jobs now, getting paid at least $30/hour, and taxed like everyone else in the country).In addition, the spending on higher education is not the cost of education, as the spending generates additional value. the first-in-class HIV drug Isentress rooted from research in MIT. The research grants from the government benefit the whole world, not just the students.

          12. sigmaalgebra

            “You are saying that low-income taxpayers don’tdeserve college education, because their taxes areless than the government spending.”Certainly not: I’m saying no such thing.It’s fully clear what I’m saying: The foreignstudents are getting their educations paid forheavily or entirely by US citizen taxpayers.You seem to want to forget that the foreign studentsare foreign and NOT US citizens, and that is a big,huge difference.On your point about the rate of return on the moneythe US spends on its research universities, you arecorrect: The rate is likely the highest of anymoney we spend.But that still does not mean that the US should bewelcoming foreign students to US universities orgiving them green cards when they graduate.In particular, again, as I explained in overwhelmingdetail, US citizen taxpayers should be torqued asthey see that their tax money is supporting theeducations of foreign students instead of their ownchildren and then wrecking the careers of their ownchildren.

          13. marshallyang

            hah, how big a difference is that? when I press ctrl+f and type “citizen” in this document:… and this document:… , all results are related to voting and being a public servant. Everything else related to the rights in this country uses the word “people”. the founding fathers prepared a “gotcha” answer for you 200 years ago :)Economically, a college educated person pays more income tax than average american. his/her staying in america can only help america build more colleges and create more jobs.

          14. sigmaalgebra

            “hah, how big a difference is that?”In a word, huge:On your point about the difference between US ‘citizens’ and US ‘people’, you need to look deeper:  Really, in some of what you quoted ‘citizen’ and ‘people’ are synonymous.In the US, the difference between a citizen and anyone else is huge.  Yes, being able to vote is part of the difference, a huge part:  When very many US citizens get together and tell their elected officials, in their school board, town, county, state, Congress, or the White House, something, then those officials listen (most of the ones who were slow at listening are now pursuing other interests) and often act.  At times, on huge issues, Congress has acted in less than 24 hours.In US government, the big power, bigger than a 900 pound gorilla, is Congress.  They can allocate, or not, money, declare, or not, war, and pass, or not, laws that have all the other officials within 100 miles of the Washington Monument terrified.  If enough in Congress agree, then the president need not bother signing.Much more powerful than Congress are the voting citizens:  My Congressman worked harder than all the beavers together in the Adirondacks:  He was holding meetings with constituents, indoors or out, especially in his district, whenever he could get one or more constituents to gather.  He sent out e-mail newsletters and answered his mail.  If a constituent needed a tissue to wipe a dripping nose, he was right there holding the whole box and gathering up the used tissues.  We’re talking hard working and connected.  He was a people person and family man beyond belief holding frequent family reunions with over 50 people with children of all ages from just born to running around to worrying about college, careers, and spouses.  He was a good guy.Alas, he believed that Nasty Nancy and Chosen of Oprah, Blessed Be He, wouldn’t lose, followed them around too closely, against yelling and screaming of his constituents, voted for ObamaCare, and now is pursuing other interests.  Nasty Nancy?  Now the Speaker is Boehner.  The Chosen One, God Willing?  Well, we haven’t impeached him yet, but starting in February of 2013 he stands to have a lot time to work on his jump shot, well, maybe not much more time than now but, still, a lot of time.  The Little Wiener, wacko whiner Weiner, couldn’t keep it up anymore and is out’a there, even before an election.Lesson:  The power of the voting citizens is beyond belief.Your point about the value of college education is correct along with much more.  That’s why the US has nearly all the world’s best research universities and US citizens get nearly all the Nobel prizes in physical science and dominate the peer reviewed journals of original research.  Why?  During the Cold War, Congress regarded our research universities as crucial parts of US national security and, thus, would not be beaten.  The US citizens also appreciate much of the value, and that’s why they permit their elected officials to use Federal funds from taxes to support the universities.But the US citizens regard the universities as mostly for US citizens; letting in foreigners and letting them stay after a degree is up to the officials elected by the voting citizens.  Yes, not everyone in the US who works and pays taxes can vote, and that’s a big deal.  Being a US citizen is powerful.In broad terms, now the US elected officials are not much pleased by having a lot more immigrants.  Reasons include the high unemployment of The Great Recession, the national security problems of 9/11 and Ali Abdul Jihad al Fatwa bin Boom Boom and his buddies, and the many illegals.I will go out on a limb and say more along the lines of another comment on this thread.  Argue with it if you want because I can’t give solid support.  But I notice:  For art, science, technology, humanism, government, and economic development, little things like those, in each of all of these, for some hundreds of years there was one, all-time, world grand champion:  Europe.  We’re talking Michelangelo and Bernini to Rodin and Renoir, Vivaldi through Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, …, Tchaikovsky, Verdi, Ravel, and Richard Strauss (I can’t get over Heifetz and Bruch), Galileo, Copernicus, Kepler, Newton, Lagrange, Maxwell, Einstein, and Schroedinger, Gauss, Fourier, Lebesgue, Hilbert, Poincare, and von Neumann, Mendel, Pasteur, Koch, and Fleming, and the Magna Carta, Locke, and Hume, open ocean sailing, steam, railroads, machine tools, overwhelming military technology, and radio, Parliaments, and by far the world’s highest standard of living.Humanism?  “Each human life has the same value”, which apparently has been adopted by Melinda Gates who apparently has convinced her husband and, thus, directed essentially all of the fortunes of Gates and Buffett to the humans most in need and, more generally, convinced many wealthy people that they should give away at least half of their fortunes.  She’s directing what, $100 billion?  More?  On a term sheet, it’s tough to squeeze an extra 10 cents from a VC, but Melinda can wave her hand and have the wealthiest people, if any VCs are that wealthy, give away billions.  Why?  The grand accomplishments of European humanism.  W has two daughters:  One of them is in Ethiopia.  European humanism again.Women?  We try to care for, cherish, and protect them and not stone them or set them on fire.  Female babies?  We regard them as adorable little angels, don’t throw them into the trash, and regard any threat to even one of them as a national emergency.  We so highly regard human life that we have some strong beliefs that it should be protected starting at conception.  What we want in humanism is a lot; we don’t achieve all that, but we try and sometimes improve.Nearly all these contributions were from the shores of the Mediterranean to those of the Arctic and from Gibraltar to the Urals.  It was inexplicable, grand, and unique.Much of the best of Europe was transplanted to the US where it grew and now has often outdone its origins in Europe.There is much more to the US than just its constitution and democracy.  This much more has grown up over the centuries in Europe and the US and been carefully taught by one generation to the next.  That was a lot of teaching.In simple terms, people from Europe, especially the British Isles, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, France, and Italy, fit in quickly and easily in the US, and, with some exceptions, say, Canada and Australia, people from a long way from, say, France don’t.  Moreover, only a small fraction of the people who want to come to the US now are from the British Isles, …, and Italy.  I’ve worked with good people from England, France, Germany, and Italy, and they all fitted in just fine.  The people from England are really good with the language, almost as if they invented it!The US long wanted to believe that its ‘melting pot’ would convert anyone from anywhere.  Alas, on 9/11 the US learned that too many college educated Muslims just would not ‘melt’ or fit in.  For them, Islam was not just a religion but also a culture, even for how women should dress, a system of laws (when to cut off hands and heads and stone women) and government, and religious leaders who declare war.  So, Islam is not just a religion in the US sense of freedom of religion or the now long established European sense of religion.So, the US has started to conclude that immigration is not nearly what the US had thought it was from the immigrations from Ireland, Germany, Italy, Poland, and Russia from, say, 1850 to 1960.And we are especially disappointed that we couldn’t get immigration from the Swedish Bikini Team!Now in the US the sense is that the immigrants from countries where the immigrants are nearly all coming from are threats to much that is special in the US, and the US is starting to close its doors.This argument is not solid, and I can’t really defend it against many obvious attacks.  Still, the US is starting to close its doors to immigrants.Finally, you seem to have been offended by something:  Maybe you expected the US to be a case of wide open doors and expected that anyone paying taxes should be made a voting citizen.  Sorry, the US doesn’t really work that way even when at times it may appear to. 

        2. ShanaC

          You know, there are some great discussions about education in the tenements – apparently most people went on to send their kids to school (that they were probably not paying for, or at least being heavily subsidized for) and many of their children and grandchildren went onto white collar jobs.And one thing I do agree with Chicago school about – it is nigh impossible to lock the world out of your economy.  And when you do, you end up with situations like N. Korea, which starves! regularly.Honestly, this is a failure of Joes schools in preschool and high school – not a failure of immigration overall.  I rather pour some extra money into education. (which is, btw, what the MILITARY!!!* and STATE!! want)*Friend is in SAIS and tends to work a lot with ppl and things in the Military – even though he is likely to end up in State…so I hear things about what discussions are happening…

          1. sigmaalgebra

            For how the US should respond to ‘globalization’ is not a fully easy subject.There are some extremes we can set aside: One extreme is letting Congress, the NSF, etc. pick a ‘critical field’ and suddenly act to flood it with immigrants and, thus, cut off at the knees US citizens who bet their careers on that field. Then, soon the field becomes a ‘lower caste’, and no US citizens need apply. It’s happened. No US citizen should be vulnerable to some such sudden act of the Federal government to destroy their career. So, that’s an extreme we can set aside.Another extreme is to build a wall around the US and cut if off from the rest of the world. E.g., maybe we want some tin, cinnamon, or titanium we don’t have here. Well, Indonesia has tin but no Microsoft, so we can swap software for tin. Fine. So, cutting off entirely from the rest of the world is an extreme we can set aside.But it does appear that the US State Department deliberately gave away much of the US textile industry to Pakistan and China. I wonder if the Foggy Bottom types asked the workers in the Carolinas if this was a good idea. No US worker should have the Federal government deliberately give their industry and job to some foreign country, e.g., as part of some US ‘foreign policy’. Should never happen.Generally we should not have the Federal government deliberately attacking the careers of US citizens. And we should not let US capital have the US government so attack, e.g., as in the mayor’s proposal.North Korea has many very serious problems far beyond just some policies of import and export and is hardly a relevant example to anything about the US and its policies on ‘globalization’.Broadly there is no global government; there are hardly any serious global economic, legal, political, or regulatory functions at all.So the global economy is essentially some unregulated Wild West show. There are at least two big problems: First, there is no reason to believe that the global economy is stable. Second, there is good reason to believe that the global economy has no good ‘firewalls’. So the US Great Depression and Great Recession spread around the world. The debt crises in Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Ireland may spread to the US. Lesson: We should regard the global economy as a threat to the US.So, what should the US do? Well, it should remain a country with a ‘social contract’ of the US for the citizens of the US and where the US citizens take on the threats of the global economy together. In particular we don’t want capital in the US using the US Federal government to use the global economy to destroy the careers of US citizens in selected fields, especially not ‘critical fields’.Sure, if the Saudis will sell us oil to make, say, gasoline for half or a third of what it costs for us to make gasoline from our own oil, shale oil, or coal, then we are at a disadvantage not to buy their oil. If they are a stable supplier and we can cut a deal so that we help them with, say, our products and their defense, then maybe that’s good.Lesson: Avoiding all foreign trade could put us at a disadvantage.But at present it appears that we have gone for too much in foreign trade and, thus, are too exposed to the global economy and have shipped too many jobs out of the country. The long run, limiting case would be that we buy nearly everything, make nearly nothing, and a few people, say, importers, make money until everyone else has no job or income. Bummer.Actually, if we look back some decades, it does appear that the US was doing quite well on a high standard of living, low unemployment, low inflation, low national debt, and relatively little importing. The rest of the world liked our products, so we sold to them, but I question just what we got in return we much valued. Sure, we could buy Chambertin from France, but for all the Caterpillar tractors and John Deere farm machinery we were selling, we could have bought the Chambertin and the land it was grown on.So, how’d we do that? Well, the US is large enough and has enough in natural resources to be relatively self-sufficient. So, we were.Net, then, I question if we really are helping our standard of living from all this extra importing, and I am afraid we are leaving ourselves open to the threats of the global economy. The importers want to import, but I question if the imports are, net, good for the US.Sure, the common argument is that we are supposed to import low value, labor intensive products and export our high value, highly automated products. But, that theory doesn’t wash well with former textile workers in the Carolinas or former workers in US companies for toys, kitchen gadgets, hand tools, power tools, machine tools, etc. Having these former workers standing around not being productive is a cost we are paying but not counting. In particular, the importer doesn’t have to count that cost. But, net, the cost is there, and our country is paying it. We need to ask if, net, for the US the importing is cheaper.I’m no expert, but my understanding is that other countries commonly protect their home industries. So, don’t expect to be selling a lot of rice to Japan, and may have a tough time selling chicken, pork, beef, cheese, or wheat to France.Lesson: It appears that the US should question its exposure to the global economy.”Honestly, this is a failure of Joes schools in preschool and high school – not a failure of immigration overall. I rather pour some extra money into education. (which is, btw, what the MILITARY!!!* and STATE!! want)”No, Joe’s schools are not the issue. The problem is, even if Joe’s schools are terrific, one of Joe’s children wants to study a ‘critical field’, does so, finds lots of foreign students in his classes, paid for, as the mayor said, by “millions” in US tax money, from Joe, etc., and then after graduation the US market is flooded. Moreover, the foreign student is here under special circumstances designed to make them easier to exploit. So, Joe’s child gets pushed out of the field. The message can be, “No US citizens need apply.”. That’s just what happened for some years due to the NSF flooding the market with foreign students with US educations. How? The NSF wrote into their research grants that so many students had to be supported. Then, hint, hint, hint, if can’t get US citizens for students, then here are some foreign countries with lots of students. E.g., the US ended up with math grad students unable to speak English, and calculus taught by grad students became worthless.This whole subject, this thread, H1-B, etc. are about flooding the US market with foreigners in ‘critical fields, cut off at the knees the careers of US citizens and drive US citizens out of the fields, and have the foreigners under various high stress cases of essentially ‘indentured servitude’, e.g., have to hire so many people within so many years or lose everything and have to leave the US, etc.This proposal from Bloomberg is to have the Federal government attack US citizens in some critical fields on behalf of parts of US capital. So, the goal is to replace citizens with foreigners, and have many thousands of foreign entrepreneurs struggling for US capital. It’s all about making the capital more valuable by flooding the field with foreigners.

          2. JG

            “it is nigh impossible to lock the world out of your economy”Oh nonsense. Many states continue to be strongly protectionist without turning into the DPRK. The ROK is one example. Japan and China are others.The US did not become wealthy with free trade. We’ve become (comparatively) poor with free trade.That’s the facts.

          3. fredwilson

            we became wealthy by allowing hard workers to come hear and build thiscountrythe only native americans are the american indians

          4. mitch young

            ‘the only native americans are teh american indians’Absolutely wrong. First, there was no ‘America’ before European settlement — there was a continent here, but its aboriginal inhabitants had no idea of its relation to the rest of the world and certainly didn’t call themselves ‘americans’.Americans — US Americans as the Germans would say — are quite clearly defined in the Declaration of Independence — they are not ‘the Merciless Indian Savages’ , those were attacking US.

      2. JG

        Yes. Thank you for asking.

      3. Sd

        So what. As if that is supposed to be a shaming categorization. Where did you learn that, from “Gangs of New York” or some pro-diversity college class? Today, nativist means self preservation of resources and quality of life. Beyond that, it means coming together as a nation instead of continuing to treat this country as a workers colony from which to extract cheap labor and maximum profits at ANY cost.

      4. Guest

        I’m a proud nativist as well. Blow me.

    2. JLM

      Your novella hits on some very important and cogent points.  I agree with almost everything you say.The immigration issue — as it relates to high tech and entrepreneurship — is based on the flawed premise that American students will not rise to the occasion and that foreign students are somehow uniquely positioned to spot and capitalize upon opportunities that the “dumb” Americans will otherwise miss.I call bullshit on that premise.

      1. tony

        No, that is not the premise. The premise is that the foreign students are already here.  We invest in them and give them the benefit of a higher education, but then, as a country, we preclude ourselves from seeking a return on our investment by not allowing them to stay in the country and put the education to productive use.All the other stuff is just pseudo patriotic gorilla chest beating, which is your wont, I get that, but please understand that it’s not the real issue.

        1. JLM

          The vast majority of foreign students pay full tuition. The US invests next to nothing in them.

          1. tony

            Oh, jeez, stop playing stupid with me.I didn’t mean to suggest our investment was paying tuition. We allow them to come into the country and matriculate at schools (theoretically, at least, taking a spot away from a domestic student), the schools educate them, allow them to use the resources, marketing signals, etc etc of the schools, and then when they graduate, we are not allowed to reap the benefits domestically.We build the casino, but prohibit pay windows.

          2. JLM

            Your rant seems a bit neo-colonial — we “allow them to come into the country” and we “are not allowed to reap the benefits” — and suggests that “we” as a nation have some entitlement to the educationally driven work product of someone who freely has chosen to pay and be educated where they desire.In this case, they were educated in the US.This is akin to slavery or Empire.We are well served by having folks come to this country, be educated, understand our culture and then produce products in their native country and export them to the US.In this manner, we create a long term relationship which benefits both of our nations.

          3. tony

            Maybe you’re right. But the fact is, regardless of how neo-colonial it may sound, we, as a country, do “allow” them to come into the country. Note that the only reason they may “freely choose” to come to school here is because the federal government allows it.  The fact of the matter is the U.S. is certainly free to restrict — indeed, prohibit — people from immigrating or emigrating.  The U.S. goes through periods of more liberal or more conservative allowance. I’m not saying we’re entitled to anything; I’m saying we’ve made the threshold determination to allow people in, but then have preclude ourselves — unnecessarily so, in my opinion — of certain benefits of that threshold determination. 

          4. tony

            Let me also be a bit more clear, JML: I am not suggesting that foreign students should be *required* to stay in the U.S. I am merely suggesting that it is weird that we allow foreigners to get degrees here and once that occurs we seem eager to get them out of here, to send them on their way, back out of the country. It seems like if they had a degree, and wanted to stick around and contribute, we’d be interested in having them.  That’s what I find curious.  

          5. Annie

            That’s true.  International students who are studying in the US pay triple of the tuition and they ARE NOT ALLOWED TO WORK OFF CAMPUS as the rule said.  Working is very limited.  1 year training after graduation, that’s all.  Besides, Bloomberg is not correct. NSF never allow FOREIGNER without Citizenship to WORK FOR THEM.  That’s ridiculous thinking that foreigners are going to steal jobs from US Citizens.  Crazy.  Maybe Uncle Sam’s children are not smart enough or too lazy.  Anyways, those government jobs, who said who gonna steal from whom?  To apply for those jobs, applicants have to be US CitizenThe only chance is to work for private companies which pay lower.  

      2. fredwilson

        i call bullshit on your bullshit JLMthe flawed premise is we need to keep talented people out of this country

        1. sigmaalgebra

          JLM is correct.One “flaw” is that the immigrants coming to US universities to study “essential fields” are especially talented.  Compared with US citizens pursuing those fields, the foreigners are not especially talented.  I’ve been in those classrooms, both as a student and a professor:  The foreign students are some steps below the US students.  And I’ve been in several world class laboratories in those fields:  The foreigners were not better; in recent years, the foreigners were markedly less good.  The main difference was that they were cheaper.  There got to be a ‘caste’ system:  Nearly all managers were born in the US, and nearly all the ‘worker bees’ were foreigners.  Sure, then at least the lower level managers didn’t feel threatened by the competence of their subordinates.  We’re talking goal subordination here.When I was in graduate school, my department confessed that they had many more scholarships than students:  More US citizens wouldn’t come, and the foreign students were not good enough for the program.When the NSF was working hard to get foreign students into US universities in “essential fields”, the deliberate intention of the NSF was to flood the market and drive down salaries for the US ‘military- industrial complex’.  Net, the foreign students were not better or even very “talented” but cheaper.Too soon those students went for jobs in the commercial sector with the result that “No US citizens need apply.”.The proposal to attach a green card to each diploma of a foreign student will drive US citizens from the “essential fields”, lower salaries in those fields, lower the ‘talent’ level in those fields, make those fields a ‘lower caste’, and drive out US citizens.  That will be a disaster for those essential fields, US citizens in those fields, and the US.The mayor has explained that the US is spending “millions” educating foreign students.  I believe he is correct and that we should stop it. 

          1. yourFriend

            Wake up! Foreigners did not cheat you of your money, your own greedy people did. All these students contribute only in positive ways, for however long they’re allowed to stay. Your claim that they’re cheaper is not true either. All managers were born in US and all techies who you call worker bees are foreigners? What will you manage if things are not created by these techies or engineers. Remember that management is a side effect of engineering. BTW pick any top ranking business school and see how many Asians and Indians study and teach there. You are scared and I know why. You can’t accept the fact that unlike you other people can live and work together towards a larger goal without looking at each other differently because they were born with a different complexion or accent. But it’s ok if you find comfort in your primitive thinking. 

          2. sigmaalgebra

            “Wake up!  Foreigners did not cheat you of your money, your own greedy people did.”You’ve got some problems with reading comprehension and history and, likely, with emotions.Cheat me out of my money? I’ve voiced no such concern. From the crash of The Great Recession, I’ve lost little or no money, from cheating or otherwise.”All these students contribute only in positive ways, for however long they’re allowed to stay.”I’ve been a student, went “all the way”, taught at two well known universities and was a professor at a third, and know a lot about what students “contribute”. Overwhelmingly, no matter where they came from, they nearly never do! The university can contribute a lot to the students, but the students contribute next to nothing important. Sure, as a graduate student, at times I taught courses. And some of my work in courses was better than expected and got published. Still, as a student, I didn’t “contribute”, but the best I got from the universities was among the top center crown jewels of civilization.”Your claim that they’re cheaper is not true either.” That the immigrants were cheaper was long exactly the case, and exactly the intention of the US NSF that set up a group of economists to determine just how to accomplish that situation. The NSF economists were successful.”All managers were born in US and all techies who you call worker bees are foreigners? What will you manage if things are not created by these techies or engineers. Remember that management is a side effect of engineering.”You seem to be assuming that I’m a manager in high technology. No, I’m an entrepreneur typing in software, etc. I’m one guy: Two or three would not be better. If I’m successful, then someday I will have to hire and manage, but I won’t like it. And, as I’ve written here, I will refuse to exploit anyone as a ‘worker bee’: If I’m successful enough to be able to hire, then I’ll have some money and, then, won’t want an employee enough to put up with the ugliness of exploiting someone. I want to sleep at night.I’ve explained the basic problem here over and over and over, with just overwhelming clarity, but with your severe problems in reading comprehension and the help you need, I’ll explain it once more just for you:Consider US citizen Sam. He has a career in field X. Sam spent years getting his career going and, maybe, he invested his time and effort, and he and his family invested their money, maybe more than they had, in his preparation. So, now Sam has a career in X. He’s just getting to where he can look for a wife, buy a house, ah, maybe now rent one, and start a family.Then suddenly some committee of Congress or the Executive branch or someone like the mayor for whatever reasons comes up with a semi-, pseudo-, quasi bright idea: “Field X is ‘essential’, and the US should take strong steps to greatly increase the number of people in field X.”. So, the Congress, NSF, NIH, or whatever swing into action. Where to get the people? Sure: Try India and Asia. How to get them trained? Sure: Write into academic research grants that for each $100,000, some number of students must be supported, and, hint, hint, hint, plenty of students are available in India and Asia.Presto: In a few years, field X in the US is just awash in trained people.Now, what about Sam? Maybe he will hire and manage those people. Otherwise Sam may find — it happened — that in the US field X is now for immigrants from India and Asia only, US citizens need not apply. So, ‘essential’ field X has now been turned into a ‘caste’ system populated only by non-citizens from India and Asia. Sam’s career has been at least disrupted and likely cut off at the knees. So, Sam sets aside his goals of starting a family and joins his brother in, say, a grass mowing service.There are a lot of people in India and Asia, and it would be easy to use them to so flood any field X in the US. We’re talking FLOODED. Do you understand enough about the first lecture in middle school beginning economics to see the consequences of FLOODED? It’s happened. And it was deliberate.This situation could happen to nearly any academic field, profession, or trade: It could happen in physics, chemistry, mathematics, biology, engineering, law, medicine, accounting, carpentry, auto repair, auto body repair, Chinese carryout, pizza carryout, or grass mowing. So, if Sam is to pick a field, then he definitely wants to avoid one that might be deemed ‘essential’ and, thus, flooded by people from India and Asia. And for some years, that’s what a lot of US citizens did, and university computer science departments saw the effects. Net, quite literally, on average and in nearly all cases, Sam is better off with an electrician’s license than a Ph.D. in computer and electronic engineering — LITERALLY.Next Sam will contact his Congressman and read him the riot act, that the Congressman just mounted a deliberate attack on Sam and his career and family. Sam flatly can’t afford to repeat all the time, effort, and money he invested in his career. Some guys like Sam take a swan dive off a tall building or some such. All of Sam’s investment, all his ‘career capital’, just got appropriated and written off. For counting the ‘economic advantage’ for the US, we neglect to count the write down in Sam’s career capital. We just ripped off Sam. And the money used to educate the people from India and Asia? Sure, in part from Sam’s taxes.Sam’s TORQUED.It’s happened. The main forces that made it happen are now trying again.Understand now? We’re not talking K. Arrow’s work in the Kuhn-Tucker conditions for economic optimization here. I know this is middle school or below material, but maybe you can get it? Read it again. All of it. Slowly. If you can’t get it, then that’s really bad news.”You are scared and I know why. You can’t accept the fact that unlike you other people can live and work together towards a larger goal without looking at each other differently because they were born with a different complexion or accent.”Nonsense. You “know” no such thing. Your poor reading comprehension, knowledge of history, and raging, irrational emotions are causing you to make some serious mistakes. In addition you are retreating to the usual low grade debating technique of a losing side — attack the person and not the ideas.Instead, I’ve stated with overwhelming clarity that this issue is not about me directly. Not at all.In particular, I’m not “scared”, not for myself, not at all. As I’ve explained, for my work, there’s no serious, direct competition on the horizon; nor is there likely to be. To compete with me, people need, first, an undergraduate education apparently just not available in either India or Asia. Maybe China is changing this situation, but even if they work hard for the change success won’t be easy. People with that undergraduate education are nearly never interested in my area of entrepreneurship. Then, after that undergraduate education, more is needed that is even more difficult to get. And then I did some original work. Net, I’m well protected, have a wide, deep “moat”.Actually recently I tried to explain an elementary part of the material to a graduate student from India and now at CMU. He started out wildly confused. I went over and over, gave references to books from Wiley and Springer, explained in several ways, etc., and he still never ‘got it’. We’re talking really slow on the uptake here. Between his ears he’s at least five cans short of a six pack. He was worse than just slow: He had learned total garbage and had to unlearn all he had learned and on how to learn before he could even start to understand. This guy was NOTHING like the people in my classes in my major in undergraduate school or my classes in graduate school. Net, the guy doesn’t belong at CMU. He’s here because the NSF is still trying to flood the US.As I’ve explained on this blog more than once, my view is that the crucial foundation of the most important parts of the future of computing and its applications are not in computer science, not even at MIT, CMU, or Stanford. Sorry ’bout that. I know where I can find that foundation on my bookshelf and in parts of the US, Canada, France, Germany, England, and Russia, but I can’t find it in India or the parts of Asia with immigrants to the US.Once I hired as a professor a fresh Ph.D. from a US university and, before that, from Asia. Eventually this person confessed that in their first two years of US graduate school, they cried desperately daily as they realized that everything they had learned in Asia was worthless. Their system in Asia was rigid and serious; the students worked very hard; but the content and the view of the field were junk. I’m sorry: India and Asia just are half a world away and nothing like the US or its origins in Europe. We’re talking DIFFERENT.E.g., poor Dr. Steve Chu totally fails to ‘get it’. Sure, he knows a lot of physics, but what he’s doing now is a train wreck. He fails to get that he has some serious professional, ethical, and moral obligations that would let us make good use of his expertise. So, instead, he is trashing his credibility. Maybe we could trust him to check homework in freshman physics. Maybe. He doesn’t ‘get it’, fails to see the Western ‘cultural’ norms he is violating. He looks like he’d fit in just fine as an inspector at Fukushima.I’ve worked with some of the best people in computing from India and Asia, and I’m from not very impressed down to very negative on their technical capabilities and even more concerned about their ability to ‘fit in’ with US culture. If I hire, then I will hire only US citizens, and they will need to ‘fit in’ with US culture, language, values, etc. And I will not create or permit to be created a caste or clique in any one department.On this thread, my contribution is not for me but to the US as a whole. Yes, at times people in the US do that! We can like the US and want to protect it. We can see the problems of ‘classes’ and the threats of ‘class war’ and want to avoid them. And we can see the problem of one part of the US economy, say, capital as for the mayor, attacking the careers of US citizens in technology. Bummer.That’s what I’ve said, with great clarity.The US is not, just is NOT, no matter what it may appear to be, a ‘wide open country’ that welcomes, educates, and then welcomes into careers and citizenship essentially everyone from all over the world. Maybe you misunderstood.Mostly I wish the people in countries with cultures much different than the US well, in their own countries. Coming here can create social, political, and economic problems and, net, hurt the US. If those people can do good work, then they should stay in their own countries and help there.Immigration to the US? Rostropovich? Terrific! Flood selected ‘essential fields’ with immigrants like the NSF did? NO! Not again.Flooding, wrecking the careers of US citizens, having Sam take a swan dive off a tall building, driving US citizens out of the ‘essential fields’, lowering incomes in those fields, and creating an ‘indentured’ lower class and ‘caste’ is JUST what the NSF did and the mayor is trying to do since anything less just won’t ‘move the needle’.At times people try all kinds of flim-flam, pick your pocket, double-shuffle, thimble-rigging, rip-off, “Oh, you’re going to really love this adjustable rate mortgage”, “These CDOs are rated AAA”, “US housing prices never go down”, “This low mileage car was only driven by a little old lady to church on Sundays”, “This $700 billion stimulus will keep US unemployment under 8%”, “Buy this time-share condo and flip it in six months, and you can’t lose”, “Take our course in C programming, and you will fixed for life”, “You can get anything. You can even get stucco!”, scams. The first response is to expose the scams and say “No”.Clear enough now?

          3. fredwilson

            i am opposed to nationalistic thinking like this

          4. sigmaalgebra

            ‘Nationalism’? Each of fire, sex, and nationalism is necessary, has great variety, and can warm a home or burn it down. So, we have to be careful.A discussion of immigration can’t avoid touching on nationalism.In the US we could say that the pledge of allegiance, the national anthem, the fireworks on the Washington Mall on the 4th of July, 1976, and voluntary military enlistments on December 8th, 1941 and September 12th, 2001 were expressions of ‘nationalism’. So, not all nationalism is bad.Within a country, some class, ethnic, or other differences and associated conflicts can give rise to destructive nationalism. My goal in this thread has been to urge the US to avoid increasing such differences and conflicts and, thus, reduce the chances of destructive nationalism.In strong contrast, the mayor’s proposals are an attack by US capital on US workers in information technology and would increase class and ethnic differences and stimulate associated conflicts that could result in destructive nationalism.As we know, destructive nationalism is also aided by high unemployment, high debt, an unstable world economy, and ‘temporary, extra-constitutional, powers for national security’. We’re at risk.On his proposals for wind mills on the tops of tall buildings in NYC and regulating table salt in NYC restaurants, the mayor was not thinking well. With his attack by capital on workers, again he is not thinking well and is not being careful and is being reckless and irresponsible.Maybe the mayor should buy an island, provide capital, be the only ‘citizen’, hire a defense force, and have indentured servants creating products, and any servants who displease him, e.g., any entrepreneurs who don’t grow and hire workers fast enough, would have to leave. He could also have the Bloomberg Table Salt Police and put windmills all over. I would suggest a place in the remote South Pacific, say, something like Skull Island.The threat of destructive nationalism in this thread is the mayor’s, not mine.

          5. fredwilson

            i totally disagree but don’t want to get into a long debate in the commentson this with youi guess we will just have to agree to disagree on this one

          6. Dave Pinsen

            You should try to respond thoughtfully to Sigma Algebra’s points instead of dodging them or throwing out, simplistic, one-sentence replies. Otherwise, the “chorus” for the immigration reform you and Mayor Bloomberg seek may get shriller but no larger or louder, particularly if neither of you can defend it in a marketplace of ideas.Happy Father’s Day, btw.

          7. Donna Brewington White

            Dave, I love how you don’t let us slide. Still can’t believe you aren’t 60.

          8. Sd

            Then you are opposed to the ongoing peace of our Nation. The eventually balkanization of the USA being the end of the path that you recommend.

          9. Dawg_from_Hell 2010

            Sigmaalgebra seems to think that data is the plural of anecdote. I’d like to see some hard statistics. A cursory glance through the list of ACM doctoral dissertation award winners reveals that Asians/Indians are pretty well represented.…Also, I’d rather take Lance Fortnow at face value than someone who hides behind a veil of anonymity:http://blog.computationalco

        2. JG

          And your flawed premise is that the US is a market and not a home.

          1. Guest

            Agreed. The issue here is among people who want America to be a homeland, and those who want America to be nothing more than a Giant Global Employment Agency.

    3. Kathleen3

      The little despot, Bloomberg, enjoins with all the other American politicians who are smart enough to realize the only way they can continue to feed their insatiable desire to stay in power is to increase the number of voters from Marxist, Socialist, or third world countries who are very comfortable living off other people’s money and government.Anyone born and raised here looks with disdain upon power-hungry fools such as Bloomberg.  Separate from this group those Americans who are more than willing to sell out our country, sovereignty, and culture in return for profit.  Remaining, still, are the majority of Americans who have more love for this country than a need for power or money.

      1. Guest

        Excellent comments Kathleen3.

    4. Roethebro

      I read most of your entries and I do agree with a lot of your points and overall premise but I think you are overly generalizing certain issues.Ex –  “So, if Sam is to pick a field, then he definitely wants to avoid one that might be deemed ‘essential’ and, thus, flooded by people from India and Asia. And for some years, that’s what a lot of US citizens did, and university computer science departments saw the effects. Net, quite literally, on average and in nearly all cases, Sam is better off with an electrician’s license than a Ph.D. in computer and electronic engineering — LITERALLY.”I don’t think Sam coming out of High School has the capacity to think that much. I was an international student and am currently working here and had the opportunity to be friends with a lot of American and foreign students. I know for a fact that people in the Western Countries are more creative and tend to follow their hearts more. The reason is that they can afford to. In places like southeast Asia, where the economy is still developing, you tend to do something that pays you more and pays you fast. Hence the focus on science and math and the resulting engineers. This concept of flooding is not the cause, it’s the result of the the issue, which is a shortage of Americans “interested” in Techonology. In America, if you are not interested in the subject, you do something else, like psychology or literature. IN India, if you don’t enjoy programming…tough luck, you are doing it anyway.Your second notion that I disagree with is the issue of one being “racially” or “ethinically” smarter. People are people. I think you took offense to what the author wrote about smart foreigners as entreprenuers. Nobody can argue with American creativity and entreprenuership. Companies like Youtube, Google, eBay, Amazon, Facebook were all started by Americans. There are however, a lot of enterprising thought in foregn coountries as well, but it is not as encouraged as in western developed countries because of what I mentioned above.  What I do notice is that there is that the current generation (20-35 years) of Americans is “Lazier” than their previous ones. Their parents and the government has provided a Huge “cushion” for them to rest upon and FIND WHAT THEY REALLY LOVE and then do that. While some succeed with tremendous results i.e. entreprenuers who started Facebook, Google, Youtube etc, most get lost trying to become musicians, studying languages, psychology etc and end up being jaded. Then complain about foreigners getting the jobs in IT. C’mon, you never wanted those jobs. Not a lot of Americans want to slog behind computers punching code. Trust me.However, this is nothing new. This is a cycle that always happens. Every civilization goes through this, After Success comes Complacency –> Apathy and then decline. I am not sure if you know this but at one time, India and China and other south east asian countries were at the Pinnacle of development. Stuff that western history books won’t and can’t know. Great Philosophers, astronomers, writers, poets, painters, musicians, scientists etc emerged and the scientific thought and cultural advancement was beautiful. They forgot to do the daily grind to keep that edge. At that time it meant to go out and keep looking for more territories and protect yourself militarily. Pretty soon, they were conquered by other peoples who were looking for better opportunity outside of their ‘home’. People who all this time were doing what ever they could to get out of their “Cold”, “Infertile” lands and find places they could live a better life.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        You raise a good subject and make some good observations, but I believe that the real situation is both more complicated and less clear than you suggest.For your”Your second notion that I disagree with is the issue of one being ‘racially’ or ‘ethinically’ smarter. People are people.”No, you misunderstood. My point was that for Europe and the US, Asia and India are different. For being ‘smarter’, as you suggest in some genetic sense, that’s essentially impossible to confirm due to the enormous effects of nurture, the family structure, the local communities, the larger culture, the standard of living, the economy and government, etc. So, net, we just f’get about a country, race, or ethnic group being ‘smarter’. But different is easy to observe.There is a lot to getting good with the ‘culture’ of one spot on the planet. People struggle to learn throughout their lives social norms, subtleties of language and communications, various practices, etc. Then at a spot on the planet about 180 degrees away around a great circle, a person will be lost. So, for many practical purposes, the differences are important.One illustrative story was from a US news reporter who went to China with Nixon. The reporter had long been a great fan of Chinese food in the US. But when the reporter returned from China he said, “I didn’t recognize a single thing I ate.”. We’re talking differences not easy to overcome.Yes, what happened in Europe since, say, the Romans and especially since the Renaissance, was special, spectacular, and unique. Just what caused it is essentially impossible to say with any, say, scientific ‘predictive’ value. And you are correct that other parts of the world did special things: People in the South Pacific navigated the open Pacific ocean. Long before Columbus arrived in North America, the native Americans had cities with agriculture and large construction. The Incas and Mayans did large scale structures. Apparently most civilizations in temperate latitudes built astronomical observatories to track the seasons. China did well with textiles, especially silk, some exquisite art, ceramics, some large scale, long distance military operations, ocean sailing at least as far as west Africa, etc. The Japanese made some astounding progress with steel blades.The US economy is complicated, necessarily more complicated than very many people can understand. I list three reasons:First, in many ways, the US is the ‘leading’ nation of the world. So, in moving to the future, usually we have no other country to follow. So, for the progress we seek, we’re constantly struggling with the unknown. So, what we do can look confused, wasteful, lost, etc. A pure case is the A. Wiles description of math research:”Perhaps I could best describe my experience of doing mathematics in terms of entering a dark mansion. You go into the first room and it’s dark, completely dark. You stumble around, bumping into the furniture. Gradually, you learn where each piece of furniture is. And finally, after six months or so, you find the light switch and turn it on. Suddenly it’s all illuminated and you can see exactly where you were. Then you go into the next dark room …”To generalize, the US can usually look like it’s stumbling around in the dark bumping into the furniture.Second, once some direction in the economy starts to work, since there is a lot of freedom in the US, many people go in that direction and ‘mine out the value’.Third, once new directions get ‘mined out’, everyone is back to wondering, what’s the next big thing? While at most only a very tiny fraction of the population, if anyone at all, knows what a good new direction is, many people try new directions.So, net, the economy is complicated.Politically the US can also look like a mess: An old joke is that America always does the right thing, after trying everything else.For your”The reason is that they can afford to. In places like southeast Asia, where the economy is still developing, you tend to do something that pays you more and pays you fast. Hence the focus on science and math and the resulting engineers. This concept of flooding is not the cause, it’s the result of the the issue, which is a shortage of Americans ‘interested’ in Technology.”That’s not what I meant by “flooding” at all. The ‘flooding’ is not what foreign students did in their own countries, say, in SE Asia studying engineering to have a good career, quickly, in SE Asia, but what parts of the US Federal government did for some years deciding that selected technical fields are ‘essential’, mostly for US national security, and, then, making strong ‘interventions’ in those fields to increase the supply of labor.So, the NSF set up a team of economists to ‘engineer’ how to have many more workers in ‘essential’ fields in the US. The answer: Write into NSF research grants that a minimum number of graduate students must be supported. If can’t get US citizens as students, then get students from India and parts of Asia.By 1995 this NSF program, along with the H1-B program, had caused so much immigration in selected fields in the US that in many organizations US citizens were not welcome to start at any price. Whole departments consisted of all the managers US citizens and all the non-managers immigrants on H1-B visas. US citizens who applied for the non-manager positions were automatically rejected, even before any discussion of salary.Due to some of the H1-B rules, the immigrant workers were easily and commonly exploited, e.g., they could not easily change jobs and in their present job were required to work long hours of overtime without pay. The situation was wildly illegal but still common.So, such fields in the US had been deliberately ‘flooded’ with immigrants. That’s what the NSF wanted and what they got.To get more details, Google “Norm Matloff” at UC Davis and read his writings and related materials.I’m no expert on such immigration, but on the point about the NSF and ‘flooding’ I’m basically correct.In principle any field, subject, job description, profession, or trade can be flooded: Just arrange to have 100 job candidates who have to get a job or leave the US show up for each job opening. Then salaries and working conditions fall.Typically, then, US citizens, who do not have to leave the US and who are free to look for jobs in the US job ‘market’, leave the flooded field.It’s what happened; it was not due to the practical motivations of students in Asia or the impractical interests of students in the US; instead it was a deliberate, well planned intervention by the NSF and Congress.Apparently much of what slowed the situation was the greatly increased interest in security after 9/11; likely 9/11 was used as an excuse to cut back on the NSF and H1-B situation. Slowly then US citizens began to return to the ‘essential’ fields.On your”I don’t think Sam coming out of High School has the capacity to think that much.”Sam doesn’t have to! What happened is that some US citizens, not from Asia or India, went to the first class in, say, computing, saw that non-US citizens from Asia or India were a majority in the class, sensed something wrong, and then walked out.Your points about some US citizens in college and their careers doing what they ‘like’ instead of what is practical isn’t all wrong. But there are various considerations: One point, at one time the topic of this blog, recommended that a person pick for a career something they ‘liked’. In part, this advice is correct: Someone who likes their job will likely do better at it than someone who hates it. Still, actually, the advice is not to tell people to give up their career and paycheck to wander in the hills gazing at wild flowers or to try to have a career and pay the rent as a traveling violin soloist trying to play the Beethoven concerto better than all of Heifetz, Menuhin, Grumiaux, and Perlman. The piece is supposed to have some indescribable but profound dignity of the human spirit; the Joachim cadenzas alone will slow down nearly anyone!The advice is supposed to be polite, maybe pleasant, but with a touch of fantasy, social small talk! No one listening is actually supposed to commit career suicide or miss paying the rent or eating.Still, it is true: E.g., S. Khan started doing something he liked, making little video lectures on math and science, and now could make a lot of money from his effort if he wanted to sell out. Same for the founder of Craig’s List. Some people dedicate themselves to projects to ‘save the world’ and, with enough dedication and luck, actually get some serious financial support permitting them to continue. There is a belief, wide in the US, and not completely wrong, that one should pick something they like passionately, be the very best at it, and expect “money to take care of itself”. I would never try such a thing, but I’ve seen people make it work.For your”a shortage of Americans ‘interested’ in Techonology”.No, not at all. The US is just awash in people interested in technology. And having many more people be “interested” is easy: All it takes is one word, one little two syllable word, money. The shortage is not of people to be hired but of money from the people wanting to hire. In more detail, the employers struggling to hire are really struggling to compete in the competitive US economy. Or, the people they would like to hire have other, better opportunities.E.g., still programming is not a very deep or difficult field. Sometimes tedious? Yes. Really difficult as in requiring rare talent and hard work? Nearly never. E.g,, getting good with Microsoft’s .NET, ASP.NET, and ADO.NET takes finding and reading something more than 2500 Web pages of documentation, nearly all at Microsoft’s MSDN Web site. Printed out and dropped, the collection could break a foot. So, digging through that documentation is tedious but not really difficult.There are many ways to successfully staff a large software project in the US with US citizens, and generally the staffing is easier now than at any time in the history of computing. But, yes, most of the ways require money, and some of the ways require some planning, training, and time.It is nearly standard in the US for electricians and plumbers to own a house and support a family. Mostly in the US, programmers do not do better unless they are able to sell some stock or stock options. In particular, buying a house in Silicon Valley near Sand Hill Road, in Waltham, MA near Winter Street, or in Manhattan is beyond programmer salaries.You suggested that US college students are irresponsible in not studying programming, etc. in college.Well, the US is awash in educational institutions of wide variety. Programming, however, is regarded mostly as trade school material at, say, a two year junior college. My view is that once someone gets started in programming, classes in principal could be helpful but in practice are not worth the gas to drive to class. It’s better just to work at a computer with a good Internet connection and/or work in a group that shares its knowledge.A major in computer science for a Bachelor’s degree teaches some programming, yes, but is supposed to be mostly about deeper material.Indeed, computer science is not supposed to be for vocational or even professional education but for some, hopefully powerful, lasting, and profound, ‘fundamentals’ of computing. While the field may still be looking for much in such fundamentals, it won’t go for professional education instead.Here the US is not really wrong: Nearly all ‘skills’ in programming are just self-taught, learned on the job, etc. E.g., the fraction of computer science professors with good ‘skills’ with .NET is no doubt small, and the professors and the schools don’t care: The professors get paid for research, not teaching, and certainly not for learning commercial material such as .NET. Indeed, mostly computer science professors would not do well in job interviews for programmers.If India is pushing lots of people to learn programming, then their ‘central planners’ may misunderstand and be making costly mistakes. Now the most important part of ‘programming’ is knowing what to program, not how to program.E.g., the .NET documentation says nothing at all about the future of the social Web or, indeed, the future of information technology entrepreneurship or computing. For understanding that future, it could be much better to have a Ph.D. in, say, mathematical sociology than in computer science. Surprise! The world and the US are full of surprises! Did I mention that the US economy is complicated?For US college students being lazy and irresponsible and not pursuing vocational education, there are several explanations:First, I’ve already discussed vocational education: In the US, college is supposed to have more important material and sometimes does.Second, many of the students go to college without considering their careers. There are at least two important cases. First, traditionally and still strongly, a large fraction of women who go to college go not to get ready for a job but to get an Mrs. degree from a good husband and, thus, not need to get a job! Second, a large fraction of the students have a job waiting for them in their family business. They have been learning that family business from their family since they were old enough to stand, and there is little or nothing in college to help them learn more about their family business. They are in college for an “elegant parenthesis”, to gain in ‘intellectual maturity’, and maybe to learn something valuable if only in just some one course.My view is that there are two cases of a person being hurt by knowledge. The first case is good knowledge they should know but do not yet. The second case is bad knowledge that they shouldn’t know but do and act on with disastrous results. By far the more dangerous is second. So, a major lesson to learn in college is how to filter in knowledge of the first case and filter out knowledge of the second.Next, for knowledge in the first case, one of the best lessons from college is how to learn such material well and efficiently from independent study.For the US being lazy, no, not really. One important reason is that the US is heavily a country of small and medium sized businesses. There the owner can see quickly the benefits of working harder and smarter. E.g., if at a fast food restaurant the owner pays close attention to staff training and, then, to scheduling to have capacity closely track customer demand, for each of the shifts, seven days a week, then he can add ballpark $100,000 a year in pre-tax earnings. If own 10 such restaurants, then that difference alone is $1 million a year to the owner. That’s why such an owner works hard and smart and can buy a vacation spot on the water with a 50′ yacht for summer water sports and a vacation spot in the mountains for winter skiing.My wife, brother, and I all got Ph.D. degrees; we all did hard work.My father in law, for a few years while he was growing his business, forced himself to work 20 hours a day six days a week and about 18 on Sundays. He had a farm of just 88 acres, grew some row crops, mostly corn and soy beans, and raised chickens that ate the corn and beans. He mixed his own feed. He was advanced in genetics, nutrition, and disease control. His house, chicken houses, barn for his farm equipment, and feed mixing plant were built almost entirely with just his own hands. He operated and maintained his own farm machinery. During those years, he was clearing, in today’s money, $50,000 a month on those 88 acres. We’re talking working hard and smart.But, yes, there is an old joke about wealthy families in the US: “Rags to rags in three generations”, and this remark is close to one of yours. But that doesn’t mean that the US as a whole is going downhill.

    5. Guest

      And let’s not leave out the elephant in the drawing room: foreign students from anywhere but Europe will also like get affirmative action and “diversity” privileges at the expense of Joe–if Joe is white.Joe gets screwed in even more ways than you have already posted.Despite the fact that his family may have been here for 300 years and may have ancestors buried at Gettysburg, Normandy, or Yorktown, Joe has to take a back seat to someone who arrived five minutes ago and had nothing to do with the building of this country into a First World superpower.Nice way to get Joe to keep paying taxes to support the university system–or even paying taxes to support a “government” that doesn’t give a crap about him or his children or grandchildren.

      1. Dawg_from_Hell 2010

        “And let’s not leave out the elephant in the drawing room: foreign students from anywhere but Europe will also like get affirmative action and “diversity” privileges at the expense of Joe–if Joe is white.”Back up this statement with some evidence. Sounds like complete BS. While the best grad student in an elite college will often be an American, the average American grad student has lower GRE quant scores than the average applicant from abroad. Read this:

      2. Dawg_from_Hell 2010

        Relevant quote (on U Oregon’s Physics Department’s typical Chinese grad-school applicant) :”The modal GRE quant score is a perfect 800 (>94 percentile) and a typical GRE subject score of an admitted Chinese applicant is above 90th percentile. Very few American applicants score above the 90th percentile on the subject test (the top ranks are dominated by foreigners), and those individuals usually end up at top US grad schools”

  5. LIAD

    *intelligent* immigration reform – great branding.Makes it that little bit harder for people to argue against it.

    1. fredwilson

      marketing is dead, long live marketing

    2. JG

      Branding? The content is at issue. Not the label?What the fuck is wrong with you people?

      1. fredwilson

        please refrain from being so hostile here. you don’t need to be rude andannoying to make a point

  6. Jon Katzur

    The person I always think about in this issue is Michael Brin. If he hadn’t gotten to the US to teach Math (presumably on an H1B), Sergey doesn’t start Google in America. In fact, because of massive barriers to entrepreneurship in Russia, and Larry and him never meeting, Google never gets founded at all. Employment opportunities and tax income aside, that is a huge amount of lost innovation.While it’s not politically relevant- I find this issue even bigger than American. It’s better for the world. People should be able to make decisions about where they want to live and where they will be most productive in the world. I understand it’s not so simple, but we need to start actions like this as a nation to move towards a better solution.

    1. Dave Pinsen

      When I read about Michael Bloomberg and immigration these days, the first person that comes to mind isn’t Michael Brin, but Faisal Shahzad, an immigrant who tried to do a job Americans wouldn’t do (blow up Times Square). I think of Bloomberg because, when he was questioned about the bombing attempt at the time, he publicly speculated that the suspect was some “home-grown” extremist unhappy with Obama’s health care bill.

      1. Ed Freyfogle

        Yeah! I wish they had also gotten Timothy McVeigh at the border.Oh wait, he was one of us.I don’t understand, I thought only foreigners can be terroristsconfused…

        1. JG

          Shit. You’re right. Because an American was violent ERGO America should let in whomever wants to come.Did you study sociology or a ‘studies program in uni?

      2. Jon Katzur

        You know- there are real ways to criticize immigration reform. And, in fact, in other places in this thread you made some compelling arguments. But this one is pure xenophobia and pointless. The 9-11 terrorists weren’t citizens, they were here on visas that were improperly accepted. If you want- read more here: http://old.nationalreview.c…Point is- legal immigrants actually go through an incredibly tedious process that  would make it a very inefficient way to commit an attack. Why not just get an easy tourist visa? Now, we definitely need better visa checks for terrorists but that’s completely another issue. 

        1. Dave Pinsen

          I didn’t bring up the 9/11 terrorists. And it’s not xenophobic or pointless to note that not all immigrants who come here make positive contributions. Mr. Shahzad is particularly relevant to this discussion, as he came here on an F-1 student visa, and was granted an H1-B visa shortly before graduation — which is the same immigration path Fred and Mayor Bloomberg are advocating we expand.Visa checks for terrorists wouldn’t have stopped Mr. Shahzad, since he wasn’t a terrorist when he arrived here, just a mediocre foreign student, from a region prone to violent extremism, attending a third-tier school. You could argue, as Ed Freyfogle implies below, that since Timothy McVeigh demonstrates that America is capable of producing domestic, non-Muslim terrorists, an immigrant from a fractious Muslim country such as Pakistan is no more likely to become radicalized than anyone else. I would be skeptical of such an argument, but let’s set aside Mr. Shahzad’s national origin for a moment, and look at his skills.Of all the millions around the world who wanted to immigrate to the U.S., why did we let in Faisal Shahzad? Because he was some rare talent? Clearly, no. Because there was some crucial shortage in his field? Color me skeptical.The bottom line is that a rational immigration policy implies selecting those immigrants who would be more likely to make a net positive contribution to this country. There doesn’t appear to be any sort of selectivity in the sort of immigration policy Fred or Mayor Bloomberg advocate.

          1. Hubbert

            Shahzad is further relevant because of his poor academic performance at abysmal institutions (one of which lost its accredidation) refutes the “American students are stupid/lazy and we must have the H1-B to get the best and the brightest.”

          2. Hubbert

            Sorry; I now see you pointed out his poor academics.

      3. fredwilson

        it is fear mongering like this that gets in the way of intelligent immigration reform. 

        1. Dave Pinsen

          It’s also the common sense observation that increasing the number of job seekers during a period of record unemployment is asinine.If you limited your ambitions to the start-up visa, you’d have broad support. But you won’t if you insist on conflating job creators with job seekers.

        2. JG

          Is it fear mongering that keeps India, China, Russia, Brazil and the rest of the world (less lilly white states) from passing “comprehensive immigration reform”?

          1. fredwilson

            yes, and we are better than that

          2. Sd

            Who is “we”. I doubt that you aren’t an immigrant. You write like one, even though I’m sure that you think that you write like a native. However, your syntax gives you away. And is that how we are dictating policy now? On platitudes such as “we are better than that” your a moron and we’re all dumber for having to had endure your comments.

          3. Devdas

            Getting an employment visa in India isn’t hard. Especially if you are technically skilled. Citizenship is a different animal.

    2. fredwilson

      i agree that this is a global issue. we need more mobility in our world

  7. Robert Thuston

    Makes sense to me. Ideologies can sometimes get in the way of intelligent decisions.  In Alabama, where I live, this happens more often than not.  I believe our state passed some “comprehensive” reforms around immigration recently (similar to Georgia) that are going to hurt us in the long run.  Hopefully our nation can pull it together before doing the same.  I think speaking early and often is pretty important in building momentum behind something like this.  I’m glad mayor Bloomberg is speaking up (+1)…I emailed Alabama’s Sentators the first two Bloomberg quotes.  Thanks Fred.

  8. aminTorres

    This hits close to home Fred and real hard.My brother wanted to come to the US to study computer science.His english wasn’t the greatest so we got him accepted at the New School’s ESL program for a semester with the option of going for two. He was going to use that time here to search for a CS program either at NYU or Columbia or anywhere really and while we proved that he did in fact got accepted, We had enough money saved to support him during that time, We an extra room (actually an extra floor) where he was going to stay, everything a consulate back in the Dom. Rep. asks for you to prove and yet my brother got denied a visa 5 times.This was truly a very sad time, and my brother’s dreams were crushed constantly.  Every time we failed to get him a visa we tried to learn to see what we could improve the next time around, to better our chances to get it but answers were plainly: “you don’t qualify”  or “you don’t own a home or have a substantial full-time job” to which you have to come back to. (My brother was 18 then) No 18yo Kid in the Dom Rep at least, owns a home or works anywhere that will be considered a serious employment.I lived in Harlem and I tried to reach to my congress person to try to get any help and try to get answers from the consulate down in Santo Domingo. I had Charlie Rangel’s office call multiple times and finally after trying many times, they basically told us that other than not providing sufficient reasons to return back to the Dom. Rep. My brother had no chance to get a student visa because I, his brother, came to america with a student visa and did not return back to the D.R.Unreal right?That wasn’t going to stop me, I just don’t give up on stuff like this. I wrote letters to the president repeatedly, 6 months after I finally got a response from the secretary of state as my letter got eventually forwarded to them.To keep this portion short, the letter basically said they could do nothing for me and my brother. To illustrate their due diligence in the first paragraph they refereed to my brother as “your brother” and in the last paragraph they refereed to him as “your uncle” which clearly illustrate how hardly they looked into it.Today, I am a green card holder, I work at an American company earning twice as much as the average American does and proudly paying taxes for it.I am married to an American, I have never been in this country illegally for a single second. I went to Parsons graduated Summa Cum Laude, I was 1 of 6 students university wide which included the entire New School and all divisions and the only person from the Parsons division – chosen to take part on graduation speech at Madison Square Garden. Me being here and having do so well was nothing but prove that the chances of my brother doing similarly well were greater and really taking real advantage of such opportunity for the better. Instead I and all of my efforts were used as a lame excuse to deny him a visa repeatedly.So I really hope our mayor gets some traction on this and hopefully some others have a better experience than my brother did.

    1. fredwilson

      i really hope people read this comment amin

    2. Elgabogringo

      I’m not sure what your point is or how true this story even is.   If you really have attended school in the US, you’d know there’s no shortage of foreign students in our schools, especially in the sciences.  The fault in all this is yours and your brother’s.It’s usually harder to come over for your bachelor’s degree since costs are higher and the graduation rate lower, so the more likely you are to flake out an live illegally.   If your brother would get a bachelors from a DR university he’d have little trouble coming to the US for his masters.  But you seem to think that living in the USA is some kind of privilege that you deserve and don’t have to earn and you’d rather whine than put a little time into your “dream”.

      1. aminTorres

        There is a service called google, if you search for a second you will see that I came to nyc from Altos de Chavon in the 2+2 program from Altos and Parsons. That I even tough at Parsons and I work at R/GA as a Senior visual designer which I actually got that job via a parsons professor who worked at R/GA 6+ years ago when I joined the company.I respectfully disagree, I think we did everything the consulate asked us to do, we did nothing wrong.  The whole point of my comment was to back the same of this post. I should not be encouraged to go back home after having gotten a degree, I should be allowed to stay here, pay taxes, work at an American company If chose to do so. Much less this should not be used as a pretend to deny my brother a visa when we actually had sufficient prove that he had all the intends to come here and do well.That idea of requiring people to go back after they take advantage of an education at an America School is a stupid one.”But you seem to think that living USA is some kind of privilege that you deserve and don’t have to earn and you’d rather whine than put a little time into your”You could not be farther from what I actually think, please don’t tell me what you think I think, you know nothing about me.Living here is a privilege to me that I earned, All I asked was to be given an opportunity, you know nothing where I personally come from.I came to the US with 80 bucks in my pocket, I slept at a fold up bet at a cousin’s living-room in the river park towers in the bronx until I was able to afford my own place, I never missed a single class, I got all As in all of my class because I worked really hard to earn that, everything I have gotten to-date it’s been nothing but earned. Don’t tell me what you think I think i deserve vs what I have fought and worked for.Gabriel, Shot me an email. [email protected] am more than happy to provide you with a transcript of all my classes at parsons. I am happy to email you a scan of my diploma.I am happy to email you receipts and letters to the consulate in regards to my brother’s visa application process. I am happy to share a copy of that letter we got from the department of state.have a great day.amin.

        1. Josh Greenwood

          I am very impressed with the professionalism of your reply despite the rudeness of the first comment to your post.  Your case shows the ridiculousness of our current legal structure regarding immigration.  I wish the very best for your brother and hope that our leaders take notice of your case and institute a smarter policy towards student visas.

        2. Guest

          I am sure you are all you say you are Amin, but the truth is, somewhere along the line, you got “diversity” perks at the expense of a native born white American whose family has been here for two or three hundred years, and whose taxes paid for the building and maintenance of the universities you attended. And you will continue to get those “diversity” perks for the rest of your life.What’s more, your children and grandchildren will continue to benefit a the expense of the children and grandchildren of that native-born whiteAmerican. Quite a cushy deal for you; not so great for me.Now reasonably, if you were a native-born white American with deep roots in this country and nowhere else to go, would you want to continue to pay taxes to support the bringing of more Amins into this country? More Amins who will go to the front of the line over your own children and grandchildren, thanks to “diversity” and “affirmative action.”Surely you realize that we are not that stupid.

          1. aminTorres

            ha! Mary – I think we are speaking of something different.We are speaking of after the fact. Someone paid for my education under my program. But what am saying is actually were you should realize we are on the same side. I am recognizing the amazing “perks” and saying, I want to give back here in America, Don’t send me back home or don’t ask other people to go back – unless they want to – We need those people here to contribute back. Which again, is big part of the article.Remember, my children and grand children will also be American, my wife is American born, so is her father etc etc so again am not sure where we draw the line of a “deal” Plus I have worked for the “cushy deal” you said I am getting here and furthermore I am paying taxes right now.I did not get my education and took it back home with me, Again, these are the points of the article. These is what  smart immigration is in regards in the article.And no, I don’t mind to contribute for others to get ahead, competition one of the single greatest things about this country.Also, to be clear, I have not called American stupids, Again I am married to an American.I called the idea of sending back to their countries, people who gain a college education back instead of encouraging them to stay here, I called, THAT a stupid idea.Because that truly hurst this country. We are on the same side Mary, this article criticizes the inefficiencies of certains aspects of immigration that if changed canreally grow our economy here, gives us edge, make us more competitive in a global market.Have a great day.Amin.

          2. Guest

            Amin, simply by originating from the Dominican Republic, you and your children and grandchildren will always have a “diversity” perk that disadvantages me and my children and grandchildren.That is a fact. If you don’t like the idea, then advocate for removing affirmative action and “diversity” perks from immigrants just because they are not “white, non-Hispanic.”Because that’s the way it works now. Anyone who immigrates to the US who is not “white, non-Hispanic” is eligible for freebies, bennies and goodies that white, native-born, long-established Americans can never have.  

  9. ShanaC

    A) We need reformB) We don’t need just reform, up until recently we had a certain idea of normative american culture.  The ’60s and the development of postmodernism kind of killed that, and not to our benefit.  It is a lot easier to streamline an immigration process if you know what you are immigrating into, culturally.

  10. Dave Pinsen

    Welcoming talented and funded entrepreneurs who will create jobs for Americans makes sense. Welcoming a relatively small additional number of immigrants who bring with them truly exceptional talents in various fields makes sense as well. Welcoming qualified foreign physicians, who can increase access to health care and lower its cost for Americans makes sense too. But the rest of it doesn’t make any sense.- Stapling green cards to diplomas will lead to a lot of mediocre foreign students getting worthless degrees (often at US taxpayers’ expense) in order to qualify for the green card.-  Increasing H1B visas will lower wages for native tech workers. In an article elsewhere, I quoted Harvard labor economist George Borjas who noted that:It has been estimated that the wages of native workers in a particular skill group will decline by about 3–4 percent for every 10-percent increase in the number of workers that can be attributed to immigration.Which makes sense intuitively, if you consider that the laws of supply and demand apply to labor markets too.- Increasing visas for low-paid agricultural work makes the least sense of all. Not only will it lower wages for all workers in the field, but the unskilled, uneducated immigrants (and their children) will tend to consume more in government resources than they pay in taxes, which we can ill afford given our fiscal deficits. American consumers/taxpayers aren’t better off if they pay 1 cent less for head of lettuce but their taxes go up by a larger amount to pay for the education, health care, and law enforcement costs associated with unskilled immigrants and their children.In any case, the best way to lower food costs would be for the Fed to stop printing money, which increases the costs of all commodities by lowering the value of the dollar, and to stop subsidizing corn-based ethanol, which drives up the cost of corn and every other food (e.g., meat) for which corn is an imput.Mass immigration makes no economic sense when unemployment is at post-war record levels. If you insist on yoking start-up visas to mass immigration, the American people will reject your immigration reform, as they rejected the Bush-Kennedy-McCain plan several years ago.

    1. Dave W Baldwin

      You are correct Dave.  Being one with an interest in the game (900 acres in NE Missouri), I have been amazed at the whole Ethanol thing. The element left out is with commodities up (will stay up with flooding issues), the chemical companies raise their prices… so then you are trying to figure the cost per acre next year without knowing if you will encounter a late plant, drought…..The machine will replace the immigrant hand (had to throw that in ;D).

      1. Dave Pinsen

        It’s amazing only 40 Senators voted against ethanol in the test vote.

        1. Dave W Baldwin

          Here is where I get to make fun of the right wing (and why I’m independent)….You’re in Congress and get to preach about ‘get the gov outta the way’…then have all the local press cooperating with your reelection committee shooting photo ops as you announce the new Ethanol Plant that will bring ‘all them jobs’, so forth and so on.Then you hand that slice of apple pie to the person scared shitless about his/her future, but do it sitting on splinters beneath the American Flag…. God Bless America!

          1. Dave Pinsen

            Of the 40 Senators voting to ban ethanol subsidies, 34 were Republicans and 6 were Democrats. 

          2. Morgan Warstler

            CORRECTION: Baldwin, WHICH party just delivered 34 votes against ethanol in the Senate?You are welcome.

          3. Dave W Baldwin

            Be wary… (@daveinhackensack:disqus  would probably agree)Remember this is a chamber of folks knowing their number one duty… get reelected.I believe the whole thing came down to not getting the 2/3s… so you have both sides “We’re trying to cut the deficit” and “I support you farmers” winning the storyline.In the end, if the whole tax subsidy thing can be taken care of, it doesn’t take away the stupidity and lack of foresight this whole thing is…. which had a lot Republican backing.Written by an Independent who simply uses a Hedge strategy for voting….

          4. Dave Pinsen

            Update: Senate votes against ethanol today. <– Not clear if the final bill this is attached to will pass, but this looks like progress in any case.

          5. Dave W Baldwin

            @daveinhackensack:disqus Major Apology!  My making fun of the political process yesterday is hit with news of the Ethanol Subsidy being officially whacked.Don’t know the details of vote, but saw the headline this morning.  Oops, just saw that Dave put in something late yesterday….One small step, but I stand corrected.

    2. John Rorick

      As someone leading corporate recruitment for a large firm I see programming talent and developers at a premium and climbing. Computer Science enrollment (as an example)has dropped precipitously since its Fall 2000 peak. It has been hovering at 50% of the peak in the past couple of years. While the floor may have been found in enrollments the trend has been severely downward. Stapling green cards to the right diplomas is needed and the right approach. The L-1 issues Charlie mentions, or not having the right technical disciplines supported would still be an issue.I also do not fully understand the “at the taxpayer’s expense” sentiment. Having managed admissions in a past life for a large research university (rhymes with “BYU”) the requirement for F-1 visa status (apart from the admissions standards) was money in a US bank for the forecasted cost of the entire academic program you were accepted into. Without that confirmation no student visa could be issued. It’s also why university’s love enrolling international students…they come cash ready. I may be off on my interpretation, and apologize if that is the case.As a sidebar there is no way with the a Presidential election season about to start that anything will be done with ethanol subsidies. Nobody wins Iowa on that platform 🙂 

    3. Cam MacRae

      * Stapling green cards to diplomas will lead to a lot of mediocre foreign students getting worthless degrees (often at US taxpayers’ expense) in order to qualify for the green card.*Australia basically did this and unwinding it (ongoing) has been painful. Some very shifty “colleges” popped up and gained accreditation as tertiary education providers. Suddenly you’ve got people arriving to study hair dressing as a means to get on the immigration fast track.On the other hand, I sit in class today knowing we’ll soon export 80% of the newly minted applied math masters in the same year that McKinsey publish a report which forecasts a shortfall in 2018 of 140,000 – 190,000 people with deep analytical ability…

      1. JLM

        Well said.Real world experience which the US should take careful note of before makign any similar changes.

        1. Reg

          “The two parties should be able to agree on a policy that allows any university graduate, with an advanced degree in an essential field”ESSENTIAL field. Probably wouldn’t cover hairdressing.

          1. Dave Pinsen

            After the sausage gets made, there’s a good chance it will. The more degrees and schools that get covered, the more grateful institutional constituents for the politicians who pass the bill. 

          2. JLM

            With you every step of the way but I do fear the implementation.

          3. Cam MacRae

            The definition of “essential” becomes quite malleable at certain times of the election cycle.

          4. Sean Saulsbury

            What’s wrong with hairdressers?  The government has no business determining what professions are “essential” and the hairdresser has the same right to come to the US and be productive as a computer programmer or entrepreneur.Heck, under that premise, the government should mandate degree quotas for US citizens; they should determine what professions need to be filled and if what you want to do isn’t “essential” or is already booked–too bad.We need open immigration, as that is the only policy that respects and protects individuals rights.  Visa’s for entrepreneurs is a step in the right direction, but it is only a step.  And it needs to be argued for for the right reasons; altruistic / socialist / for the sake of the “greater good” are poor arguments and lead you in the direction AWAY from freedom.

          5. sigmaalgebra

            “the hairdresser has the same right to come to the US and be productive as a computer programmer or entrepreneur”Right, and, unless the US says otherwise, that “right” is none.

          6. Guest

            Like most open borders libertarians, you embrace an ideology that will completely obliterate itself.Importing tens of millions of new voters from poor countries will end your libertarian fantasties forever, as they will inevitably vote for a bigger and larger welfare state.The welfare state did not get any smaller in open borders Califronia. Quite the contrary.

          7. Sean Saulsbury

            Having the right to come here does not mean having the right vote. Further, the right to vote does not mean unlimited majority rule (that we are turning in that direction is a step away from protecting rights).A rights respecting government will not and cannot obliterate itself; only a rights destroying government can. And it does not mean one has the right to violate others’ rights, even if 51% vote in favor of it.

          8. sigmaalgebra

            Okay, and now here’s the message to any US citizen planning a career:”If you have even half a six pack between your ears and the good sense of any kitty cat, stay the heck out of any ‘essential’ field. Why? Because history shows that at any sudden time during your career, the US Federal government can decide to flood the field with people, especially foreigners. Why? One reason is to provide more people for the US ‘military- industrial complex’. Another reason is to respond to US capital that, like the mayor, wants naive, low cost, essentially ‘indentured servants’ for labor they can exploit. There is a good chance you are better off with an electrician’s license instead of a Ph.D. in computer and electronic engineering — literally.”That’s why for some years in some such essential fields well over half the students in US universities were foreigners: US citizens saw the ‘strange’ situation and stayed away.Since 9/11, one way and another, e.g., cutting back on the H1-B visas that were abused for so long (by employers hiring and exploiting the visa holders and saying “No US citizens need apply.”), now foreign students have a tough time getting into US universities, especially on scholarships. So, US citizens have been returning to the university classes in the ‘essential fields’.The mayor is doing his best to drive US citizens out of the ‘essential’ fields again.

  11. Lcoleman

    I think anyone would agree that any entrepreneur with a vision for an amazing company should be supported no matter where they are or where they were born!!  However, I find it a bit ironic that the VC community; notorious for under-funding start-ups particularly by U.S. citizens of color and women (which has been well documented statistically and not merely coincidental) has written such a piece!? I think many people overall would like to simply see broader reach, interest, relationship-building and inclusion from VC’s overall which could easily start now as some nice practice for them in anticipation of the proposed idea by Bloomberg.

  12. paramendra

    I am for both intelligent and comprehensive immigration reform. About to blog about it. 

    1. JG

      Well great! I hope your blog works out smashingly. Please update us on the latest kitty vid too.

      1. Rafa

        Change the word “immigrant investor” to “direct investment in the US”, and you may see it a little more clear, as far as you check out the main indicators in the   US economy.You may rather like to fill for bankruptcy (check who is buying the debt from the government, the FED is doing so, that is called a Ponzi scheme).And do not worry, we will hire you and not those mexicans that you don´t like.

      2. paramendra

        My blog does 50-60K monthly.

    2. Guest

      Will you also blog about India’s or China’s need to reform immigration to allow more non-Indians and non-Chinese to immigrate there?And also how India and China needs to offer imported “minorities” affirmative action and “diversity” education and job perks at the expense of their existing population?I’m all ears.

      1. Dawg_from_Hell 2010

        Except foreigners are allowed to study in India’s preeminent engineering schools – the IITs. And the bar is much much lower for them. They do have to pay a higher tuition though, much like foreign students in the US do. I’m also interested in hearing what “job perks” Indians and Chinese get in the US: I’ll probably avail of them whenever possible (after all, as a brown untermensch I probably am just a blood sucking parasite with no moral compass, right?).P.S. Skilled immigrants can easily get Indian work visas. I’m in favor of having highly skilled Africans, Arabs, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, East Asians, Westerners, or Latin Americans  get Indian work visas.

        1. Guest

          Don’t put words in my mouth. I didn’t call you a “brown untermensch–but I guess you just can’t resist throwing that race card in order to intimidate someone with a valid point. My point IS valid. Why do we offer freebies and goodies to people who wouldn’t offer them to us?YOU might be in favor of lax immigration laws for India but that’s not the policy of your government–and please, the idea that my blonde haired blue eyed 12 th generation American daugher would ever get “minority” perks and “affirmative action” goodies in India or china, equal to what Indians and Chinese can get in the U.S.– is just laughable.  Indians and Chinese qualify for taxpayer subsidized “minority” business loans in the U.S., for starters. “Minority” business loans that are subsidized with the taxes of white native-born Americans; in other words white native-born Americans paying for their own economic displacement. Are you one of those race-baiting hypocrites who actually thinks this is fair?Or, do I take it that you are on record for abolishing “diversity” perks and “minority privileges” and “affirmative action” for U.S. immigrants simply because they are not “white, non-Hispanic?”

          1. Dawg_from_Hell 2010

            Sorry! I mistook you for a White Nationalist (not that I am opposed to the carving out of a separate White-only nation from parts of the US); there are a few on this forum and you do sound like one (in your previous post too).

          2. Dawg_from_Hell 2010

            “that’s not the policy of your government”There are already between 10 and 20 million illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in India. Also, “my” government is as much mine as your government is yours.

          3. Dawg_from_Hell 2010

            “equal to what Indians and Chinese can get in the U.S.– is just laughable”Indians and Chinese do not benefit from affirmative action in the education system in the US, whereas an American in India would. Different benefits. It’s laughable only because you’re ignorant of this fact.  “Indians and Chinese qualify for taxpayer subsidized “minority” business loans in the U.S., for starters.”That’s the only benefit I know of and yeah, it ought to be scrapped. I am opposed to this based both on utilitarian grounds and on non-utilitarian moral grounds.

          4. Dawg_from_Hell 2010

            “Are you one of those race-baiting hypocrites who actually thinks this is fair?”Er, I don’t care about people who need or choose to take hand-outs. Nor do I have *any* national/ethnic/religious allegiance. My notion of “my people” are people that can hack it when it comes to hard Math (the cognitive elite), have low levels of religiosity, and toward a classical liberal worldview. However, I suspect you read too much WN/WS crap and find it unimaginable that non-Whites could be (gasp!) non-tribal.

          5. Dawg_from_Hell 2010

            One more data point on what your blond, blue-eyed daughter could wind up doing in India – become president of the ruling Indian National Congress party. Google Edvige Antonia Albina Maino.

      2. paramendra

        Let me surprise you: Yes! If Shanghai truly wants to beat NYC, it will have to become diverse like NYC. No doubts about it.

  13. Wells Baum

    America is a contradictory nation.It was founded on immigrants yet we kick those same foreigners out. The theory goes that those immigrants will occupy American jobs. It’s all bogus politics; Obama’s sent back approximately 400k+ immigrants back to their birth nation.Bloomberg is right: Why do we train foreign students only to have them go start companies in their home country?We should give them green cards to stay in the US and create jobs for Americans.This is affecting me personally. My wife is Turkish. She has an undergraduate degree in Chemistry and an MBA from an American university.You’d think employers would rate a Chemistry/MBA background highly, but employers are incredibly biased. Employers want to hire Americans, employers want to hire people whom sound American, not to mention they don’t want to fill out the sponsorship paperwork which is incredibly easy. Excuses.Bloomberg is a man of business. He thinks globally. When I shook his hand this time last year at a 4th of July parade, I knew there something different about him. He gets it, sees the future while most myopic Americans live in the past.This nation was founded on pluralism. Let’s keep it that way.

    1. Mcblah

      This nation was founded on a pluralism *amongst peoples who were already civilized and whose differences were trivial at best*.  If all we are dealing with happened to be European immigrants, Asian immigrants (who as a general rule are better at civilization than Westerners) and the best-of-the-best from everywhere else we wouldn’t have a problem.Our problems rests in a pervasive sense of cultural relativism stemming from our deep need to see ourselves and our social group as “not like those racist, provincial, backwards-looking types who don’t get it”.  So, we don’t see what’s actually going on.  We wanna fix our ruddy neighbors to the south and those awkward people who used to pick our cotton, but we don’t actually see what’s going on.  We’re throwing the gates open to people who even if they had jobs and a house and two cars *STILL* wouldn’t get what it means to be a first world citizen – not in any deep meaningful sense.In America, we have entire third-world population sub-groups living in our midst.  These are entrenched cultural groups who are given every reason not to assimilate to Anglo/Western norms of greater cultural identity and civil behavior.  These are people who if some terrible virus hiding in the DNA of predominantly Euro-ancestry people struck and every white person dropped-dead, you can count the hours until every urbanized square inch of America descended into Haitian-style bedlam. I would think twice before I go tinkering with immigration in a way that alters the ethnic makeup of the people holding this thing together.  It isn’t the government keeping this thing going.

    2. JG

      Employers in America want to hire Americans? Good god damn. Call God. We’ve got a problem!

    3. Hubbert

      Duh; unemployment remains extremely high.  And it’s mostly Americans who are unemployed (even as more immigrant visas are issued each year).

  14. Guest

    Brad Feld wrote a blog post a few weeks back. It covered a few topics. One of which was Immigration/Startup Visa. In the interest of brevity I will copy & paste what I posted there and on my blog regarding one piece of the Immigration puzzle.”Immigration Policy: I have concerns about some of the Startup Visa language as I understand it (and I do not claim to have mastered an understanding of this topic). At its core it appears investment is a requirement. The question is an investment by whom? I do not think that venture capitalists have any place deciding who gets to enter the U.S. I recognize the valuable service the VC industry plays in our economic engine. However, I personally want immigrants to be able to come into the country who have a burning desire for success, regardless if their ‘business plan’ has been approved and funded by a handful of VC’s who have deemed them ‘worthy.’ I understand your viewpoint that this is a job creation effort but, as a citizen, I have zero interest in outsourcing immigration policy to financiers. As a nation we definitely want the best & brightest to come to the U.S.A., but we also should want those folks that are determined and purposeful. I don’t think that determined & purposeful can be measured by who gets funding and who does not.”

  15. DLC

    I am a 22 year old software engineer from Canada with a degree from McGill (was ranked top 12 in the world when I was there.. so it’s not a complete joke) with a double major in computer science in physiology and am basically forced to be employed by someone else right now.I was approved for an H1B for this October, so could transfer it to another company I really wanted to, but I’m more concerned with starting my own. I have a team, an idea, and some initial angel/see funding — and yet there isn’t really a clear path from me taking the H1B to legally being able to do my own thing without some wishy washy stuff in between. That’s whats troubling to me. I think the best bet is for me is an O1 which if you read the specs, sounds quite daunting — One of the ways to get it, is to win a nobel prize. You can read more here…Fred, if this really means a lot to you, you can actually make a huge difference. You could offer to write people letters as an expert in your field since one characteristic is “Documentation of the alien’s membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought, which require outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts in their disciplines or fields.”FYI The H1B cap hasn’t been filled for the past couple years, so I am not sure raising the cap would be all that useful right now, — will have to see if applications start picking up again.

    1. JLM

      So the Nobel Prize strategy? Is that out of the question?

    2. JG

      So start a firm in Canada? Jesus Christ. Why must you be here?

  16. Morgan Warstler

    Here we have another techno-political position where it makes no sense to side with Obama.His administration insists on “comprehensive reform” – tying illegal immigration to H1B, because he has to court the Hispanic Dems in order to win.Whereas the GOP will immediately deliver on open door high-tech immigration.So exactly how do you rationalize this one Fred?Better for tech to suffer until you finally convince a second term Obama to split the issues apart?Or it isn’t really as big a deal to you as trying to steal the business of the cable / telecom giants politically?

    1. JLM

      Well played!You have hit on the classic “spice” aspect of this entire immigration issue.A pinch — focused on high tech is doable and doable very quickly — while a handful, which will ruin the stew, is not.Better a focused bit of improvement rather than a fire hose of reform which is simply not going to happen.Obama is all about re-election and nothing else.  No big surprise there, or is there?Immigration is just a platform to drive targeted base voters back into his arms.  My goodness, he had the whole Congress and the White House and HE DID NOTHING!Now, when he has lost the Senate, he wants to engage and push immigration reform?  Really?

      1. Morgan Warstler

        Whats sad is the fred says:1. I MUST support Obama.2. I DO support tech-based immigration.And then he acts like its OK to say both.If 1, then not 2.  Stop puffing up your chest and say straight out you care about other things more than this.  That’s the far more interesting AVC post.

        1. JLM

          The issue w/ Pres Obama is no longer ideological or even a governing philosophy, it is now just raw COMPETENCE and INTEGRITY.Even I could be drawn to someone who would eschew lobbyist influence — would that it were, in fact, true.  Unfortunately, the evidence is overwhelmingly to the opposite.Who actually wrote Obamacare — that unconstitutional little 2000 + page nugget of wisdom?Lobbyists!Which is worse, really?  Taking their money and then allowing them to INFLUENCE legislation or seemingly refusing their money and allowing them to actually WRITE legislation?I suspect that when Fred gets into that voting booth next time, his finger will be drawn to that kindred spirit, Mitt Romney.We need someone running the shop who actually knows what he is doing and has done it before.  Wild concept, I understand.

          1. Morgan Warstler

            From your lips to god’s ears…But I don’t just want Fred to vote Romney, I want him to make his politics over this issue.I want him to proselytize for letting start-ups overturn public employee unions.Instead I suspect he’s more concerned about hoping to weaken cable / telcom with “net neutrality” and generally getting along with New Yorkers.I think guys like Dan Loeb are being more honest with themselves.  C’mon Fred, it’s time to let the scales fall from ye eyes!

          2. Dave Pinsen

            Interesting poly sci research suggests that voters generally do not vote based on the issues; instead, they vote for the candidate they like, and then assume the candidate’s position on the issues. Fred’s a little different in that he’ll apparently vote for the guy he likes while disagreeing with him on fundamental issues. 

          3. fredwilson

            neveri’m an Obama manRomney is so far from me that i wouldn’t recognize him

          4. Dave Pinsen

            The irony about Obamacare is that the Dems are actually right on a key point — free riders would kill the system. But they didn’t have the stones to avoid free riders in the most direct way: by taxing everyone to pay for it (as the government does already with Medicare, albeit not enough to actually cover the cost of the program).

        2. fredwilson

          i didn’t say you must support Obama and i didn’t say that i must support obama. i simply said i do support Obamayou have to look at the totality of him, not his position on one issue 

    2. fredwilson

      he is wrong about comprehensive reform. we’ll never get it. we need intelligent reform.

  17. William Mougayar

    That’s a healthy debate for the US. As a Canadian, we’re watching.

    1. JG

      Shit. The Canadians are watching…

      1. William Mougayar

        -2 for derogatory commenting.

  18. Aaron

    Stop the rampant visa fraud first.  Then let’s talk.  Otherwise this is just pandering.

  19. Bob Parker

    As the example pointed out, the concept of e-verify is flawed in so many ways. Creating a path to citizenship that is earned makes financial sense in helping keep taxes low for all including the ultra-rich. Spread the burden and expand the economy. http://americasvoiceonline….

    1. JLM

      VISA and Am Ex can verify and authorize your purchase in seconds and e-Verify does not work?It can work if we want it to work.

  20. JLM

    Green card stapled to college degree — even a technical college degree — makes no sense.We are still producing English majors while jobs in poetry are taking a beating.To substitute mediocre foreign degree recipients for mediocre American college degree recipients is nonsense.If you want to do something that will work — make it a requirement that the recipient of the green card graduate in the top 5% of their class.This will add to the strength of the gene pool and will drive the work force to its highest genetic potential.We do not need any more mediocre marginally employable college grads even in technology.Here’s hoping the poet market shows some signs of recovery!

    1. Guest

      I think you and I share many of the same thoughts on this issue JLM (I don’t know if that is a scary thought or not). However, regarding one portion of your comment above:”We are still producing English majors while jobs in poetry are taking a beating.”I have read and admired a lot of what you write. I think it has given me some (albeit little) insight into your character and beliefs. I do not think the line of rationale you use above is a safe area to explore. I do not think that you would favor a ‘forced’ degree path for anyone. Would you? Personally, I think individuals should be able to choose what educational path they travel … knowing full well the economic ramifications of that decision might be somewhat limiting. 

      1. Anthony Ortenzi

        While it might be true that we should allow all paths, the question arises whether or not it’s sane to subsidize poor choices.  Should a journalism major get the same considerations relative to financial aid as a computer science major?  Does the job market correlate highly enough to ability to repay exorbitant education loans?  Should that mean that it’s harder to get a $200k undergrad degree in latin?Resource allocation without regard to fundamentals is doomed to fall apart at some point.

        1. Guest

          I don’t disagree with some of that line of thinking. However, I do not think ‘forced’ paths are good nor will they work. Analyzing resource allocation is a good thing – I am a numbers guy by training so I am ALL for analysis. However – and this is a BIG however – care must be given in the analysis. Why? Because I have known a great number of Fortune 500 executives who have undergraduate degrees in something that some might be considered ‘soft’ or ‘unbankable’ degrees. For example, I know two people who have sociology degrees that went on to be EVPs. I know another who had a psych major. And there a number of philosophy majors who have gone on to do great things (if I am not mistaken I think @cdixon:twitter has an undergrad in Philosophy. On paper it might be easy to say something like “Sociology” is not a growth area. So the conclusion is taking out loans for that degree should not be done. But there are cases where that is clearly NOT the case. It is then not so much the degree as it is the person. Is she ambitious? Does he have drive? Do they want to meaningfully contribute to the society of which they are a part? That is why I dislike the ‘funded’ provision of Startup Visa. I think that investors have a decent chance at spotting talent but they only spot talent that goes through their networks.  What about all the other people who are driven, ambitious, that want to come to the U.S.A. that do not get funded? Or worse yet, are not even given the chance to ‘get funded’!  The result is that it seems a handful of individuals gain more power to say who ‘gets in’ and who does not. And some might say (see @sigmaalgebra:disqus comments) that it is purely profit driven in order for financiers to gain access to ‘cheaper’ labor (I don’t know if that is the case or not but I can see how that case can be made for sure).Bottom line is I understand where you are coming from and agree that some types of analysis should happen and that public resource allocation might have to be tweaked a bit based on ‘likelihood’ scenarios. However, I am VERY leery when discussions begin to tend/trend toward forced paths & directions and people begin to passively champion the notion of it does not perceive to add immediate value it should not be done. Thank you Anthony for a great comment/reply.{UPDATED for grammar fix and spelling error.}

          1. Anthony Ortenzi

            Education loans, which survive bankruptcy, are just deferring the consequences of not aligning incentives with priorities.Introducing risk of noncollectable debt is the only way to introduce responsibility into the education lending process.  Policy can use the government’s power to influence outcome by selecting which risks to mitigate and how on behalf of lenders.In the same way, policy decides what risks to mitigate relative to “overimmigration” based upon priorities.  If you’re coming here to start up a marketing company, get in the normal queue.  If you’re coming here to run an alternative energy tech startup, hop in the express line.No matter how much they say they need them, don’t give visas to quants for Wall Street, they just fuck things up. 🙂

      2. JLM

        I am in favor of everyone following their own inspiration or muse. Just have a strategy to put food on the table.

    2. David Semeria

      Hey! Don’t be down on the poetry JLM.Pointy birds, o pointy, pointyAnoint my head, anoint-y nointySteven Martin.

      1. JLM

        I am actually very high on poetry (Rudyard Kipling) and do not mean to demean it in any manner. It is a very difficult field in which to pay for the groceries.

        1. Dave W Baldwin

          Kipling?  Wow, you’re way above me.  My level of poetry is Zappa.

          1. Dave Pinsen

            The FT’s Lex column quoted Zappa yesterday: “Rock journalism is people who can’t write interviewing people who can’t talk…”.

          2. Dave W Baldwin

            @JLM:disqus what’s the difference between that and jounalism in general? Zappa had much bigger vision/knowledge than some would acknowledge…  ;D

          3. Dave Pinsen


    3. Eunice Apia

      More than 20% of the 292 of the self-made American billionaires on the most recent list of the World’s Billionaires have either never started or never completed college.Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, Larry Ellison, and Theodore Waitt.Source:

  21. Dave W Baldwin

    Saw this Jon Stewart vid posted on Mark Suster’s blog (posted by @HumphreyPL:disqus ) very fitting today’s discussion:…   Hilarious

  22. Team Tenzo Drifting

    Fred: Dude what you are advocating for is common sense. WHEN have you EVER known the U.S. Government to practice common sense? Off shoring means off shoring. PERIOD.It means off shoring medical x-rays, off shoring banking, off shoring education, off shoring automotive production, off shoring agricultural, off shoring EVERYTHING. This is the die-hard Capitalist Neo-American’s solution for cost-savings. Make everything cheap and at the same time nobody can buy because there are no jobs. Perfect clusterf*ck of the Century!!!

  23. Eunice Apia

    As an immigrant, I hope this works out. I would hate to have to marry for a greencard. I’m not getting any younger.

  24. Olli-Pekka

     Great post Fred.Some folks making counterpoints, like JLM, are they in touch with reality?JLM, for example, said:—The immigration issue — as it relates to high tech and entrepreneurship — is based on the flawed premise that American students will not rise to the occasion and that foreign students are somehow uniquely positioned to spot and capitalize upon opportunities that the “dumb” Americans will otherwise miss. I call bullshit on that premise.—I find this argument so wrong, it is sad.I went to college in Virginia 10 yrs ago. 80% of grad students in EE and CS (two depts I attended) were immigrant students from China, India and Europe. Most of the other colleges were very similar.I hear it is the same story even today, often even higher %.Now I run my own software company. So, these “fake patriots” are saying we should ignore 80% of the graduate student class, and only hire from the other 20%??You cannot be serious, JLM and gang! Get real.

    1. JLM

      You misread my comment.I would embrace the wholesale immigration of those foreign students whole heartedly. And would have no problem with their having a “path to citizenship” just not instant citizenship.I would prefer that we focus on the top 5% of foreign students. The truly exceptional students.As a guy who has literally fought and bled for the country, I don’t think the subject rises to the level of patriotism just uncommon sense.

      1. Olli-Pekka

        JLM: “You misread my comment.”I see, in that case I apologize.JLM: “I would embrace the wholesale immigration of those foreign students whole heartedly. And would have no problem with their having a “path to citizenship” just not instant citizenship.”Okay, I agree with you.JLM: “I would prefer that we focus on the top 5% of foreign students. The truly exceptional students.”Fair point, but how do we practically figure out who is the top 5%? I can think of GPA, but that is such a bad metric to decide this. The only reasonable solution i can think of is to give everyone who graduates with an advanced degree (say Masters or PhD) a “path to citizenship”.JLM: “As a guy who has literally fought and bled for the country, I don’t think the subject rises to the level of patriotism just uncommon sense.”Perhaps that experience gives you better perspective. But I suspect the vast majority of “foreigners are taking all our jobs” crowd who comment on posts like this are “fake patriots” who pretend to care about our country, while they really only care about themselves.

        1. JG

          Have you been around our nation? It’s totally fucked up! Rampant unemployment everywhere. Sure, the guy that will create google is welcome. Everybody else isn’t. Not until we’ve got our shit together.

      2. yourFriend

        JLM. Those who fight and bleed for their people are real heroes. You are. But heroes can be biased in their opinions too, as you are maybe. Do you really consider students to be a problem in your society? Is it not just sheer jealousy at some level to see others (regardless or color or ethnicity) doing well in their life. Were these students a cause for denied opportunity to study at an American university for you or someone you know? If that’s the case your viewpoint is valid.Wish you well my friend.

  25. Prokofy

    I talked to four different start-up companies in “Start-Up Alley” at TechCrunch Disrupt, they were all run by immigrants, they had all created 4 or more jobs for Americans, and they all had visa difficulties that cost them productivity, time and money.

    1. fredwilson

      very typical unfortunately

      1. JG

        What % were fruit pickers from hill country, Mexico?

  26. Bpark73

    Staple green cards to diplomas? I don’t think so. First of all it’s no secret that a significant number of foreigners get advanced education in American universities with the sole intent to return to their homeland and use their skills there. I see a potential national security issue with that in the first place and now Michael wants to give them clear access back into our country. I wonder how many foreign nuclear physicist our universities have unknowingly educated and I wonder evenmore how much of the influence of our great educational system has helped enemies of our State. Something to think about with more scrutiny than just stapling green cards to diplomas.

    1. Guest Post

      “Unknowingly educated” might be the greatest phrase ever.  I’m trying to decide who would have been more likely to come up with it: George Orwell, Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde.As for the point you are making….I have no idea what point you are making.But, as with everything on blogs, the point hardly seems to matter.

  27. jdrch

    Good see the Mayor championing a very worthy cause that the country’s future dominance and leadership depends on.

    1. JG

      Our future dominance depends on 12,000,000 Mexican hill people? We’re fucked!

  28. Pike Pine

    Getting a F1 student visa is no joke. I had to prove to theUS Consulate that I could pay my entire way through college (both tuition andliving expenses). And even with that, the amount of documentation I submittedto ‘prove’ I was legitimate was enormous. I also was interviewed before beinggranted a visa. And if I was in a discipline like Nuclear Tech or Medicine, Iwould be straightaway denied a visa. They maintain a ‘sensitive technologies’list that if you fall under, you don’t get a visa. PERIOD. If any of you thinkgetting a visa to the US was such simple, I suggest make an attempt foryourself and see how easy it is. First of all for those of you who said that ‘Immigrant’students are getting a free ride on US taxpayer dollars, I want to tell yousomething. As an international student, I paid 3-4 times more fees than theresident (US Citizen) students. When I started college, it was 3 times andduring ‘budget cuts’ the university decided to raise the fees – marginally forresident students but astronomically for international students like me. So asI graduated I paid 4 times more fees. And none of the international studentswere eligible for any Government financial aid. There was a rare scholarshipbut probably less than 0.1% got it. We all paid the tuition fees out of ourpockets. I also worked (100% legally) 20 hours at the university gettingminimum wages as I studied and graduated with honors. Also, I had to buy (paidfor from my pocket) the compulsory health insurance plan for ‘internationals’. Ieven paid Social Security and Medicare (for which I am not eligible for) frommy wages. So I don’t think I wasted any tax payer dollars. After all, didn’t Ipay 3-4 times more fee than the resident student? I think I did makecontributions, although I can never say how much or how bigger or how little. So,please don’t belittle efforts of international students.I graduated a got a job and was ‘sponsored’ for a H1B visa.I was working for that company for 5 years. I came over to India and Singapore toattend two Conferences and other meetings to represent my Company. Now I cannotcome back to the US, because now the US Consulate thinks my employer is notable to provide qualifying employment to me. I don’t know how they suddenly gotthis idea. What is surprising is, I have worked for the same company since Igraduated and the same Consulate has approved my visa twice before and all of asudden now, they think my Employer cannot provide me work. Now I am stuck inIndia for the past 6 months with all my work life left in the US. What is evenmore surprising is, I have offers from a company in India, 1 in Germany, 2offers from Singapore and 1 from Dubai (yes in the middle east – who knew theydid cutting-edge stuff there, but apparently a small innovative culture existsthere). It is very tempting to consider these offers, since I am bored withworking remotely from India with colleagues in the US till my visa issues getresolved. I do see a bright side to this ‘legal immigration’ reform.Because I had applied for a Green Card in 2006 and my application is yet to betaken up for processing. I have to wait for a few more years for my turn tocome up, to know if I will be getting a Green Card or not. So after all thehassle of going through these immigration processes, I am starting to wonder ifbeing a legal immigrant in the US is worth it. After all this. Don’t get mewrong, I think US is a wonderful country with wonderful people (except ofcourse those from the US Consulate). I was a boy when I came to the US and whenI left, I was a MAN. I did give back to my country (India) and also mycommunity (USA, my second home). I am not alone with these feelings; there arepeople with families and kids whose life was disrupted by outdated and inconsistentimmigration policies and procedures, who will feel the same way. I just wish Iwas given some time in the US to say goodbye to all my friends of the past 10years before I was kicked out unceremoniously. Forget that an immigrant’s opinion is never asked, I stronglyfeel that US Citizens opinions on immigration should be given more ears as I donot want to be an immigrant in a country where I am so despised. If you don’t wantme around, just let me know beforehand, I won’t even come near you. Does thatnot make it a lot easier for all of us?

  29. Dirk Klingner

    Bloomberg lays out some great points. I hope he is able to help Obama build some consensus and get something done. It is silly how long it has taken for new legislation to be put in place.

    1. JG

      Around 70% of Americans oppose what Bloomberg wants. This is a good test for Kevin B. MacDonald’s hypothesis of a Hostile Elite, right?

      1. Dawg_from_Hell 2010

        Let me spell out what JG *really* wants to say. The hostile elite is America’s Ashkenazi Jewish population (that’s the anti-semite Kevin MacDonald’s theory that JG alludes to). The very people JG wants to “hang from lamp poles on Wall Street.” Nice! Go back to Stormfront you fucking Nazi. 

        1. Guest

          I don’t think JG wants to hang anybody from lamposts. I am married to an Ashkkenazi Jewish man and I don’t find his comments offensive.The plain face of the matter is, many Jews do support utopian open borders movements; I don’t believe it’s some conspiracy as Kevin MacDonald says it is, I just believe that they are naive and indulging in well-intentioned wishful thinking.Jews in Europe supported mass immigration of Muslims; now Muslims are attacking Jews in many European cities, and the Jews are fleeing. The La Raza movement in California is also very anti-Semitic, yet elite Jews also support that.I’ve often wondered why Jews support movements that end up hurting Jews worst of all.

          1. Dawg_from_Hell 2010

            Ugh! Read JG’s comment (quoted below) and put the pieces together.”We have very high unemployment yet I hear calls for more immigration? Do the Oligarchs want to hang from lamp poles on Wall Street? You fuckers will, if this keeps up. “And please stop treating Jewry as a monolith.



    1. JG

      If we’re stupid and lazy then why would anyone want to live among us? How utterly shitty is the rest of the world if we’re the best option?



  31. Dave Pinsen

    A few additional thoughts:1) The title of this post is unintentionally humorous. The “chorus” in favor of expanded mass immigration is, for the most part, Fred, his fellow VCs, big tech companies such as Microsoft, Mike Bloomberg, the Chamber of Commerce, and the National Council of La Raza. Not exactly a groundswell there.2) The probability of the sort of immigration reform favored by Mike Bloomberg getting passed by Congress and signed into law by the President before the November 2012 elections is about zero. President Obama knows it’s a political loser, and the GOP House remembers the grassroots uproar when President Bush tried to ram through something similar.3) The level of willful ignorance (or blatant dishonesty) on this subject is breathtaking. I follow BBC reporter Katy Kay on Twitter, and she just tweeted about her interview with former FL governor Jeb Bush. She quoted him as saying that “immigration is America’s greatest strength but education was America’s biggest weakness”. Jeb Bush seems like a smart guy — is it possible that he doesn’t see the connection between our immigration patterns and our educational stats?The OECD member country that ranks the lowest on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests, Mexico, happens to be the country of origin of almost 24% of U.S. immigrants. In contrast, only about 2% of U.S. immigrants are from South Korea, the country which ranked the highest on the 2009 PISA tests (Shanghai-China ranked slightly higher than Korea, but not the country of China as whole).

    1. Dave W Baldwin

      3) re Jeb BushThat observation is probably one to call him out on, where he could have a more lasting impact looking at how to solve that issue.  He could do that without getting muddy’d by presidential ambitions.Otherwise, we just have the same old people in glass houses throw money at what is deemed the solving the problem fad and feel good about themselves.I’ve been in the situation before doing Math where you have 5 Hispanic students and you’re able to tell the order of their arrival in US.  Speaking enough Spanish to the young lady who knows hardly a word of English helped, backed by the young man who was fluent both ways… but you raise a good point.Unfortunately it is easy to yell, tweet, campaign position “We need to make English what they speak in school!” ….yet you still have the issue of their understanding something before they become fluent.That is why I am Independent, for what is being planned from my side is something that can adapt to both Left and Right ideologies… in the end it is the kid getting schooled, not Washington.

      1. Dave Pinsen

        The Bushes have strong emotional connections with Mexico (particularly Jeb, who met his wife there), and emotions may be trump reason for them here. Then again, they may have a perfectly rational reason for wanting more Mexican immigration to the U.S., if they think it will increase the chances that Jeb’s handsome, half-Mexican son George P. Bush will become president some day. Regarding math and English ability, presumably the PISA tests in Mexico are offered in Spanish, so I don’t think English fluency explains why South Korean students core at the top and Mexican students at the bottom among OECD countries.

        1. Dave W Baldwin

          True… I was just illustrating what happens with a child walking into a US school.  That particular story happened to take place in Math.Push that to the lazy classroom where you have kids listening to a CD instead of reading that story out loud…add in to the mix kids not quite there in English fluency, the couple who were tagged as borderline developmentally disabled who don’t necessarily even have a book since they’re just passing thru……There is a way to force profound change… and it doesn’t require boiling the oceans, for that isn’t steam around you… but the clouds above ;D

      2. JG

        Education is great for everybody but blacks and Hispanics. Same everywhere. How’s Somalia or Mexico’s SAT scores? Similar to Korea? God damn nature!

        1. Dave W Baldwin

          Education is great for everyone, we just need to work at improving it for everyone.That will not be done via magic bullet.  We need to start at home.  To do so requires being realistic regarding what could improve the Educator’s job based on what he/she is working with in the span of class period and students therein.I do have the blueprint for that… and teachers I describe this to are all for it.  The reason they are is because it isn’t ‘niche’, but is something that would be of benefit to kids with IQ’s of 100/below as well as 140/above.Leaving my soap box, we have to truly disrupt what we’re doing and let that move over to the developing countries, for if we do, their economies will improve growing the purchasing power of a bigger population.Then we would be on a level of where as now someone like me says improve all geographic entities (metro/suburban/rural areas) since all will benefit becoming something bigger in scope (continents).

  32. Roham

    Great post Fred! I’m very happy to see such powerful voices of reason behind this movement – it gives me some hope that at last common sense will win out over television politics. 

  33. RichardF

    I don’t know much about the US immigration system but it sounds like the UK system;The government make it hard for the type of people you actually want in the country to enter because that’s the easy thing to do, those people will knock on the door and ask to come in.However when it comes to dealing with illegal immigration they don’t do anything because that’s way too hard.  The European Convention on Human Rights makes it even harder to deal with illegal immigrants over here because once they are in the UK they will claim that to remove them is against their human rights.For personal reasons, I hope the US system does ease up for overseas entrepreneurs!

  34. Bill Phelan

    This has been a really interesting thread. If I had to summarize, it does not look like immigration “reform” is really the issue being discussed here at all. Entrepreneurs comprise a very tiny portion of the population. The real issue is how to extend a “post graduate” deal to a very small group of highly intelligent, driven, and motivated people who can be game changers in the US. All the wage protection arguments are not important. Broadband access has already flattened the wage scale for highly intelligent and technical people across key borders. It seems that the real battle is recruiting the best and the brightest to cross over the “broadband pond” and take a shot at creating more jobs for the best and the brightest in the US, so the “amplifier effect” will produce more dollars to help support the folks here who are the most disadvantaged. Am I missing anything?

    1. Dave Pinsen

      Yes, you’re missing that Bloomberg isn’t talking about limiting this deal to “a very small group of highly intelligent, driven, and motivated people who can be game changers in the US”. If he were, there would be little argument against his position. Read the rest of Fred’s post, which describes other non-game changer immigrants Bloomberg wants to increase the numbers of.

    2. JG

      No, Bill, you don’t understand. We need to allow 12,000,000 Mexicans because a Russian Jew started Google. If you can’t wrap your mind around that, well, you’re prolly just stupid!

      1. Bill Phelan

        JG…I just read your reply.  If you read what I wrote and understood it, you might  see I focused in on the essence of what I extracted, which is fundamentally focused on the goal of recruiting more innovators, not the massive population.  However, you seem to have a need to express yourself in a pretty vulgar way, which causes any reader to discount your point of view.  With my own team members,  I have always stressed  the benefits of trying to remove vulgarity from language, particularly when addressing other people.  You will find yourself being taken much more seriously.  You might even consider using a spell checker!   

        1. fredwilson


          1. Dave Pinsen

            Fred,I’d be curious to read your reaction to this essay by Michael Lind from last year, Are the American people obsolete?. Here is a brief excerpt, but it’s worth reading the whole thing:Wealthy liberals and wealthy conservatives agree on one thing: the need for more unskilled immigration to the U.S. This is hardly surprising, as the rich are far more dependent on immigrant servants than middle-class and working-class Americans are.The late Patricia Buckley, the socialite wife of the late William F. Buckley Jr., once told me, “One simply can’t live in Manhattan without at least three servants — a cook and at least two maids.” She had a British cook and Spanish-speaking maids. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently revealed the plutocratic perspective on immigration when he defended illegal immigration by asking, “Who takes care of the greens and the fairways in your golf course?”

          2. fredwilson

            sadly there is a lot of truth to that

      2. Aaron Fyke

        Seriously?  We’re talking about bringing the top people here as a competitive advantage.  Are you just trolling?

  35. r3gonly

    Great post.Those “Professors” needs to get a clue in real world what’s going on out there.If he goes to tell his school President that they should stop accepting international students, the president is very likely to say, “if we don’t have those ridiculous tuition paid by those Asians kids and their dumb parents you hate so much, I don’t think I can afford you anymore.”

  36. r3gonly

    Another thing that humors me is , the US Immigration is extremely responsive for those people who claim they hate Chinese government because they believe in Democracy or some dumbass religions or support Dalai Lama.  

  37. jack31

    In a few decades China will probably be the most powerful and greastest country in the world. The people in my area of business do not even want to deal with americans anymore because the chinese are the big buyers nowadays. All thanks to cheap labor. Keep deporting immigrants and come up with more racist laws will only speed up the down fall of the US.

    1. JG

      Good! Let the Chinese have the Mexicans and Somalians! What’s the Somalian community like in Shanghai? Oh, they don’t have one? Fuck yourself, then.

    2. Guest

      China is 90 percent one homogeneous ethnic group and takes in few, if any, immigrants. Of the immigrants they do take in, they must be ethnically Chinese. They certainly do not offer citizenship privileges and “diversity” perks to black or white native-born Americans–unlike what they expect from us.Yet strangely, China is beating the immigrant-rich U.S.A.– why is that?

  38. JG

    Hi. We have very high unemployment yet I hear calls for more immigration? Do the Oligarchs want to hang from lamp poles on Wall Street? You fuckers will, if this keeps up.

    1. fredwilson

      please refrain from calling people fuckers on this blog

  39. Sir abid

    Hi, Must say English is a blessing, lets you share so much and gives you the power to express yourself as you want ( staying in a limits or so).My best and first page is And from here I got your Blog address today. Read the article on immigration. Wonderful idea, Earth with so many people and so many ideas you never know who has the solution for your and our problems. One person alone can not think of every thing. So its better to share. And it does not matter who the individual is, what are his beliefs. As long as he does not hurt or abuse anybody. Give every one a fair chance. If he can do some good to the society then let him be a proper legal immigrant then to waste his time and energies in becoming one. This technology of internet, blogs, facebooks, twitters etc. Is great one must say what he/she feel about certain idea/ opinion. ( Provided it does not interact other persons believes and thoughts).Any way that’s about it. Let us keep on trying to make this world a better place. ( We only have one life, so enjoy it as best as we can bye. Have a nice week end Fred 🙂

  40. Dave W Baldwin

    This post did generate a lot of comments.  I think we have to face some realities:1) I, for one, am not scared of an immigrant… so I don’t need to come up with malicious statements about Mexicans and Africans to protect my livelihood.2) If we can’t enforce the laws we have now, we won’t enforce laws we create.3) Politics is a game of transferring something from someone to someone else:     a)  @fredwilson:disqus seems to have standpoint of bringing in great talent from somewhere else where we can gain in our country and/or improve future customer base in another.     b)  @JLM:disqus understandably is probably concerned about the number of illegal immigrants coming across the border into the South and SouthWest US.No matter whose side your on regarding the President, we have to face the fact he looks weak and makes things up regarding our border with Mexico.  So changing whatever based on bringing in whomever Mayor Bloomberg wants, those sitting on the border (TX, NM, AZ, CA) feel nothing has been done for their concern.  It is easy to feel that those who will give contributions to the current Administration will get what they want and those that don’t will get the shaft.Though most may think I’m a step or two off (naive), we need to sometime look at solutions that may sound too big (can’t be marketed to intelligence of political class) but are the only way to raise the prospects of our country along with improving the livelihood of our future customers.

  41. Michael Rattner

    I’ve been reading many of the comments here and they can all be distilled into two schools of thought:-Foreign born workers are taking jobs from people born in the US-Foreign born tech workers are going to be practicing their craft somewhere and by employing them here, we can grow the economyThere seem to be at least two types of jobs – those that generate other jobs and those that can be filled by any warm body. It is important to draw a distinction between them.Take a fictional town with one main employer, the auto assembly plant. For every foreign worker hired to attach widgets onto a car, that’s one fewer widget attacher from our small town. It’s a zero sum game. And given that the total number of cars in the world is going to be some function of the economic growth of the world, the number of widget attachers is pretty well fixed to that function as well. Widget attachers are negatively affected when their numbers increase and having too many of them doesn’t cause any extra economic growth, since the global demand for attached widgets is more or less fixed. Many low level engineering jobs fit into this context as well as the vast majority of the trades.This situation is entirely different for inventors and innovators. If a foreign national starts a company that employs 10 people, that’s 10 jobs that didn’t exist before – 10 families buying things. If a foreign born employee at 3M or Intel or any other company invents a new material, a new process, or an innovative approach to software, that directly generates jobs and economic growth. While there might be some limit to this type of growth, I can’t imagine that we’re close to it yet. So the people who are arguing that “foreigners are taking American jobs,” in some cases you are right. But the people who are arguing that encouraging educated international students to stay in this country are also correct. There are many ways to deal with these two conflicting points of view.The first is to decide if we benefit more from the overall closed situation or the open situation. And I’m not really sure, although I’d tend to bet on approaches that encourage maximum innovation.The other way is to selectively encourage citizenship. Which seems to be much of what Bloomberg (and possibly @FredWilson) are actually saying. There’s a bit of subtlety and some decisions will be arbitrary, but it seems like it’s a good start.

    1. Dave Pinsen

      You made some good points up until your last paragraph.There is nothing selective about the immigration policy Bloomberg advocated in his speech, which Fred endorsed here. Bloomberg and Fred may spend most of their time talking about the one-in-a-million immigrant entrepreneur who starts a multi-billion dollar tech company, but the vast, vast majority of immigrants who come here under policies they advocate would be widget-attachers at best. And both Fred and Bloomberg have failed to make the case for why the country needs more widget-attachers during a period of record, painfully-high unemployment.

  42. mitch young

    The golden age of Silicon Valley, when Hewlitt and Packard and even Jobs and Gates (okay, not in SV, but you get it) founded their enterprises was an era of historically low immigration. American Americans — people with names like Edison and Goddard and Shannon and Ford and Wright — produced greater innovation than the world has ever seen. In contrast, what I see in SV now is a shell of its former self, with many immigrant-fueled ethnic networks serving as pipelines to offshore work and technology.

  43. Msingh

    Interesting blog and comments!My 2 cents: I am an international student pursuing a PhD in Astrophysics. Most students doing theoretical research (thought of as a tough gig) or laborious lab work are international students in my department. This is not because they are better than American students, but just cause American students would not apply for these positions (even though they can get scholarships reserved for American citizens and chance to work in National labs,  again reserved for american nationals!). My best friend and my colleague is an American guy. While we started at the same time, I have 2 papers and a Master’s within 2 years and am moving towards phd. Also, I am interested in getting a job in wallstreet. So I am also taking finance classes alongwith my regular physics classes. Why? Not because I am better than my buddy. But because I have EARNED MY RIGHT TO GET THIS EDUCATION AND I WANT TO MAKE THE MOST OF IT. My friend, on the other hand, is from a nearby town and he just wants a decent job after graduation. Difference is in mindset. He thinks life is fun and he will get some job eventually. My line of thought is that you have to earn what you want ,and more often than not, it is not easy.Amidst all this discussion, I still think that most Americans are really hospitable and open minded and I really love this country. Why don’t Americans think of us educated immigrants as international allies. None of my relatives in my home country will ever think of American people in a negative light because of what they hear from me. This is how America can spread goodwill !  Have a great day guys!

    1. Hubbert

      Yes, people work harder when they are away from home strictly to work: American contractors in Iraq worked insane hours like you.  Your friend is at home and you are not.Many people in the world like to live a balanced life rather and participate in family, community, and civic activites (Americans work far more hours than the rest of the developed world, especially Europe).  But with a limitless pool of work visas, apparently Americans have to accept a diminished quality of life; “Iraq contractor mode is the new normal.”

      1. Msingh

        Hey Hubbert, I never said in my previous post that I work insane hours. My buddies finish their daily research work and start drinking/partying at 6 pm. I stay back and put in two extra hours for finance studies and join them at 8. I think of this as time management. I go home every six months to see my parents and visit my friends parents every month. Well, regarding your comment on participating in community and civic activities, I am the head of grad student community give back chapter. I understand the anxiety and xenophobia in this financial atmosphere. But please do not make generic statements. Quoting you”But with a limitless pool of work visas, apparently Americans have to accept a diminished quality of life”. American lifestyle is not “diminishing”, it is just that the whole world is catching up faster. White Americans are not used to competing for jobs and going that extra mile to keep them. We all need to innovate and learn new skills every few years but most Americans are not  willing to put in few extra hours a day to do so. And believe me sir, getting a job after graduation is really difficult for international students. It’s not the rosy picture that everyone is talking about, “foreigners taking away jobs”. Companies have to hire a lawyer and pay few grands to get a visa for these candidates. Unless the student is exceptional, no company would want to go through the red tape to hire an employee.And yes, foreign employees were cheap before when students would take any job just to stay in america. But this is not the case anymore. Salaries wrt cost of living is almost comparable to American standards now in most big and developing countries. It is easier to start a company in India, Singapore, Hongkong than in states and salaries are the same. With all this talk of foreigners taking away jobs, there is  still a shortage of programmers in Silicon Valley. I still have one year to graduate and two hedge funds have already offered me $90k plus jobs. Why would they be willing to go through all the hassle and cost of procuring a visa for me and pay me big bucks? Certainly not because I come cheap, but because there are very few phd candidates around here who have mathematical and computational skills along with the knowledge of finance. And this is where putting in 2 extra hours a day of study has paid off.Well I apologize if I have offended anyone and for the long post. America is a nation built by immigrants and I see myself as another immigrant trying to build his own life by building America. Immigrants have always been coming to this country but is the whole ruckus because I the latest wave of immigrants is not white? Growing up my parents taught me 3 things: Work hard, enjoy life and help others. These teachings have worked for me till now. I hope we all stop bickering about petty things and work hard to make this world a better place. Hard working good people will make something out of there lives in any country and in any conditions. And people who just complain, would complain in any country and in any condition!   

  44. Ensaza

    Mmmm.  Intelligent Immigration Reform, it is a fancy long word. i am going to call it The I.I.R. Act.The American people have complained about Illegal Aliens for decadesthese I.A’s have been accused of been rapers,robbers,and anything bad youcan think of it,when in fact the majority of illegal aliens are decent peoplethey are hard working people with great values,all they want is to give to there family a better life. unfortunate in times of reccesionthe word ILLEGAL ALIEN is use as an escape goat to justify why U.S. is in a badfinancial situation,and all of the sudden The illegal alien becomes the main target.

  45. Jaloviche

    The statist “CFR” and communitarian elitist “Bloomie” are the same sort that meddle in every facet of our existence and do so at the detriment of the National entrepreneurial spirit and economic creativity that usually pulls us out of holes – despite central planning. And now I am to believe that the Central panning that got us to this precipice has somehow  come full circle with a remedy.  NOT Buying IT!  You see the state as constructed is a dead man walking in the close company of 75 million parasites and 120 million others that are too stupid to do anything. We got away from INDIVIDUAL PRINCIPLES in favor of Collectivism and multi-cultural BS.  So BS.

  46. Winston

    Inviting more foreign companies to build in America fits quite well with the globalist ideology to destroy American sovereignty and push America into a One-World-Government/Economy/Religion.  It is time that “real” Americans start rethinking being the savior of the world’s economy and get back to some semblance of isolationism to protect ourselves.  I know all you socialists out there will spit and sputter and condemn me but hey, that’s fine with me because when you find yourselves living under a global dictator and forced to live under Sharia law (amongst other utterly stupid ideologies straight from Satan, you’ll think back upon what I’ve said… perhaps unless your brain has been totally emptied by that point in time.

  47. Bob Porter

    It’s so easy to make these types of sweeping generalizations without getting to the core of the problem.  They sound as though the speaker has actually thought about the issue and is proposing a realistic solution.It’s difficult to understand precisely why people in this country illegally should be given any opportunity.  Doesn’t “illegal” mean “illegal?”  If farmers can’t get enough laborers to help with a harvest, they will find other resources to get the job done.  What if illegals didn’t exist?  What if they were kept out of the country until they could enter legally?  Why is there the concept of “legal” “illegals” because they are doing a job people perceive nobody else would do?Vis

  48. Bob Porter

    It’s so easy to make these types of sweeping generalizations without getting to the core of the problem.  They sound as though the speaker has actually thought about the issue and is proposing a realistic solution.It’s difficult to understand precisely why people in this country illegally should be given any opportunity.  Doesn’t “illegal” mean “illegal?”  If farmers can’t get enough laborers to help with a harvest, they will find other resources to get the job done.  What if illegals didn’t exist?  What if they were kept out of the country until they could enter legally?  Why is there the concept of “legal” “illegals” because they are doing a job people perceive nobody else would do?

  49. botti

    ***The same is true for Lewiston, Maine – a decaying old mill town that came back to life thanks to an influx of immigrants from Africa.***Maine Department of Labor says the 2006 unemployment rate among Somalis in the Twin Cities (Lewiston and Auburn) was 51 percent. The statewide jobless rate among all Mainers at that time was 6.2 percent.If that is Bloomberg’s idea of bringing a place back to life I’d hate to see what he thinks running a place into the ground looks like. Perhaps Bloomberg also thinks Israel could do with some added diversity too?

  50. Guest

    @JLM: I couldn’t find a way to respond to your comment to me in the other thread, so I’m posting my response hereYou wrote: “Every generation has to make its bones by itself. I don’t get a free pass just because my Dad was at Normand.” : @JLM:disqus Me: But that’s just it, JLM, every generation is NOT making its bones by itself. Most of our new immigrantss are NOT “making their bones by themselves” –they’re getting a little hand up from the “diversity” office.Something tells me your Dad did not run up Omaha Beach while Germans shot down at him with machine guns from thirty feet in the air so that some guy could arrive FOB fromBombay, take a college seat away from your children, then start up a business with a tax-payer-subsidized “minority” business loan that runs you and your kids out of their own business, and then hand you the tax bill to pay for it all.Your Dad ran up Omaha Beach for you.

  51. Dave W Baldwin

    You and @daveinhackensack:disqus are both right. For this reason, some of us have been looking at the forward path… yes, you may use some foreign grunt (not too many), enable that grunt and present a product that does more than play to whatever silly fad…You fashion a product that is of real use and market in the grunt’s country (enabling their population) as well as here.  Over here, you enable our population with something that is accelerated (over the grunt’s) due to our standard of living… both nations being able to do more (productivity) with the same (time).Fact is, if Corporate America can get away with cheating like you illustrate, they will… no matter the law.So, the long answer is to let them think they’re in control and come around the side like Stormin’ Norman did.  Of course he borrowed that from the Civil War, who borrowed it from a…. foreigner?

  52. Morgan Warstler

    Charlie,Who cares.  If we don’t bring them here, WHERE THEY SPEND THEIR MONEY ON FOOD AND HAIRCUTS, the job will go to them in India, where they will spend their money on food and haircuts… in India.You might not like it, but the future of America – for most Americans is service jobs, so the more technical people we bring here, the more service jobs we can support.There’s no way around this future. Capital and labor are global.  We just want to be the place world’s top 10% move to…Personally, I’d like to give anyone technical a green card who can buy a house – and after 7 years in it – they can have citizenship.  So that even if they go to UCLA, when they graduate most of them move to Detroit where houses cost $20K.  Let MSFT and ORCL set up campus size body shops on 8 Mile.Let fallow housing be a resource for dying rust belt cities – Detroit turning into Bangalore would be a positive.

  53. Dave Pinsen

    Cheap labor isn’t even good for American companies in the long run. It’s a crutch that weakens them, and it’s an endless race to the bottom: there will always be businesses based in some poor country that can pay their workers less. Having higher cost labor, on the other hand, requires a business to produce higher quality, higher value products and services to be successful. And those sorts of businesses are less vulnerable to cheaper foreign competition.Look at Germany, which continues to outpace the US in job creation. Sales of German manufactured exports are booming, and Germany has some of the highest wages in the world.

  54. Dave W Baldwin

    Absolutey T F’n agreed.We can do this if those that believe in paying for sweat back each other looking at the forward picture.Hard part is, the realities of the world at large force us to start from what seems a diminished position.Yet, if we join together and encourage more to realize they can do something allowing them to pad the account and at same time achieve happiness brightening the world around them (which grows bigger)… we will win.The voices of doom and gloom will always be there, for that is how they get money off the ignorant that listen.  As we empower a greater number who truly will put blood into the better, acceleration will take effect.Patience oh wise one…. 

  55. Anthony Ortenzi

    It’s always frustrating to see people try to “protect” commodity jobs.We should be involved in a race to the top, not to the bottom.

  56. JLM

    The German model is worthy of extensive investigation and emulation.  The German model is based upon exporting to the world.  It is based upon quality and it is not inexpensive.Correctly analyzed and applied to the US, it also provides the opportunity for a huge gain with the almost captive purchasing power of the American market.We miss this concept continuously the most obvious in our importing huge amounts of oil while failing to even scratch our own gross potential for production.

  57. JLM

    You have hit on something that is absolutely critical in evaluating this issue — it matters not a whit what the entire body of folks decide to do or not to do — it is only what the top 5% decide to do that is important to the US and our economy in the long run.Giving everybody a free ride just encourages mediocrity but providing an incentive to the top 5% is a trouble worth undertaking.The world is ruled not by the averages but by the top 5%.

  58. JG

    Anyone who can buy a house! Awesome! America as a market, not a home. A small problem is that “the market” doesn’t exist, in the sense that it is not scientifically measurable (begin and end). I guess that means American doesn’t exist too? Shoot. I better move to India, what with their liberal immigration laws!

  59. JLM

    A huge percentage of the folks now on their 3rd year of unemployment benefits were employed in commodity jobs.This is not an “either or” decision point.We need both commodity jobs and service jobs because everybody will not get into MIT.If commodity jobs were more fully exploited it would also have a positive impact on illegal immigration.The guy sneaking into the US to cut your grass is not a failed H1B applicant.

  60. Ed Freyfogle

    But shouldn’t the people who did get into MIT (people from all over the world) be able to/encouraged to stay in the US and apply their knowledge?

  61. Anthony Ortenzi

    The problem is the failure to recognize that commodity jobs are subject to commodity pricing.  Not everyone’s going to go to MIT, but all but the least trainable can do some sort of differentiation which adds value.Getting my fries from the fryer into the bag isn’t worth minimum wage if it replicates a function which can be done by a machine.  Even the simplest of minds is capable of things which machines simply aren’t.We need to find new ways to couple the human mind and body to tasks which suit them, and not subsidize the resistance to change.

  62. Richard

    I couldn’t get into MIT, but I do know that a “huge percentage” of zero equals zero.As in: unemployment benefits currently end after 99 weeks — and normally they expire after 26 weeks — so no person is in his or her third year of collecting.

  63. JLM

    @Richard — you are absolutely correct — 99 weeks is the limit. I did get into MIT, so shame on me.

  64. Dave W Baldwin

    And that my friend is why some of us are setting the path to increase that 5%.   😉

  65. mihirbhanot

    This particular point is a really good one. In a similar vein though, why is the focus always on bringing NEW folks into the US? There are plenty of really talented folks already here, who are not able to innovate/create legally because of their visa status. What about using taxation as a barometer of “success” ? i.e. Green cards given when a person has paid (or a company has paid on their behalf) more than X in taxes in the last Y years. X and Y should both be quite high. (i.e. lets say X=$250K, Y=10 years)Seems to me that this would be a simple and effective filter and would immediately allow the US to leverage high quality talent (evidenced by the taxes paid and implicit income, which are a normative but not ideal indicator of ability). The Y years would be a way to measure social and cultural integration and would also filter out folks who have committed crimes, etc. Together, these 2 seem to be a good measure to me. Interested in hearing what folks think about this. Obviously this leaves huge gaps and does not address new immigrants, but my point is, why not start with something that is easier to measure.

  66. JLM

    At the risk of being a total cynic, we let idiots vote and they elect idiots and we act surprised.  Huh?Elections have devolved into beauty contests conducted by acclimation.

  67. Wilton_Parmenter

    Oh we can’t go back to protecting US jobs and industries, it is a global economy now.  Yeah, right.  It was a a global economy when they started to float the first sailing ships.  Winners and losers.  The goal was to export more than you import.  You could import an awful lot, like Japan, but if your exports exceeded your imports then wealth creation results with a raise in the standard of living  for your citzens.  The opposite has occurred here in the United Corporate States of America since NAFTA was made law.  Germany looked at Japan and declared “Hey we were also the runners up in World War II !  Let’s focus on ways to strengthen our economy and society.  And if an employee in Germany does get laid off, they have an unemployment program that makes our look like the starchy lunch at the local soup kitchen, that is if it didn’t run out when you got there.