Opinion: We Trained Them, We Should (Be Allowed To) Keep ThemBy EricChabrow | Posted 2007-03-07 Email Print
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Bill Gates is right. It makes no sense to train foreign students at our best schools and not let them work here after they graduate.America is at its greatest when we combine the talents of those born here with those who choose to live here. We literally get the best of both worlds.
It's not that we have much of a choice. As former Labor Secretary Robert Reich suggested in an interview with CIO Insight, demographic forces are behind our need for skilled workers as baby boomers rapidly move into their later years. "The baby-bust generation, people born in the U.S. between 1965 and 1990, will be in relatively short supply," Reich said. "Companies will have to worry even more about recruitment and retention than they do now. Immigration will become an ever more contentious issue because we'll need many more people than we have available to do all sorts of jobs, at the high end and also at the low end."
Bill Gates is concerned with the high-end jobs. In testimony before the Senate Wednesday, the Microsoft chairman says it makes no sense to open our universities to smart foreign nationals, educate them, and then keep them from working in our country. "America will find it infinitely more difficult to maintain its technological leadership if it shuts out the very people who are most able to help us compete," Gates testified.