tv Close Up CSPAN February 11, 2011 7:00pm-8:00pm EST
there is no return to china and india contrary to what you may begin newspapers. it seems like those who return to this selection of professors who are in good schools are likely to return to their own country. despite some recent concerns the united states remains a very attractive place to do science. [applause]
>> good morning. i would like to thank david for inviting me and brookings for hosting this session today and you for having an interesting topic. but like to do today is present some ways of thinking about immigration, skilled immigration and policy responses. it seems a lot of our thinking certainly about skilled immigration as well as between to characterize it these kind of polar opposites. we need more that generate unusual productivity and jobs. or we need fewer because they compete and they reduce opportunities for domestic students. i think by the end of this you will see i come out with a third way f. thinking about things. and i want to kind of build a little bit on what you have been hearing here as well.
immigration policy crudely speaking has two important things it accomplishes. one is to set the numbers we emit and the offer is to control the quality. are we getting the best and the brightest? the numbers thing is fairly easy to understand, the pressures that set the demand for more or preferably designer for lower supply. but the other thing that is happening is globalization, and globalization and really skyrocketing education rates in many countries is changing the nature of both the student marketplace can't the possibilities we have for admitting the best and brightest and want to discuss that. selectivity earlier is kind of a social science concept many of you are familiar with. it's how you actually get the best and brightest. the forces create the demand for the best and brightest migrants to come to the united states. i've got 12 minutes, going to
skip some of this. i've got too many overheads. i would welcome you to listen to what i'm saying and skip them a little bit. but i want to do is set up in this slide when i'm going to be discussing briefly which is do we have evidence of past shortages in science and engineering, what evidence we have in the medical restriction when we look at the labor market outcomes and what will the future bring? do we admit to few? if you look at this slide some of you have seen this. the reason you see the bulk of a lot of phd students from abroad in the u.s. population at younger ages is because we admitted a lot of skilled migrants in various kinds of fields as well during the latter 1990's and that was set in place by the 1990 act and say that.com boom which changed the nature of
demand and supply both the policy of the labour market level. so in fact you look at this and arguably we admit a lot of doctoral students but even masters students it shows up in the data. there are the foreign students. now, what you see there is a big dip in 2001 but you also see a big dip after 1981. what's going on in the economy in fact a global economy affects student supply and flows into the united states and arguably the 9/11 affect was pretty minimal and i have data to suggest that that was the case. the numbers have again started to respond to the global economy. as the inflow of students in china and india is down 20%. i assume indy 500 is down 20% similar to what it was after 9/11. it's the economy. what's unique about what's going on right now is there's been a 40% increase in chinese students the last couple years so chinese students are coming to the
united states in record numbers and there is such a large group they are offsetting which would otherwise be a decline in student enrollment in the united states. but think about this in terms of globalization and like market share. we know that the u.s. market share of international students start bum 25 to 20% over the last decade. people say that's terrible. yet at the same time the number of students in the united states increased by about 20%. the six nominal rate of increase. if jazz is the case we are seeing the nonlinear growth of students in a source countries, for us to read game effort of the international student marketplace like we did 15 years ago we would be upwards in the u.s. institutions. can we absorb that have any stance, how would it change the nature of the education? and for what does it mean to have shortages? if you looked on the box here
and you can't read all this stuff in any great detail wage changes lag by the professions. the person who looks at this says it is difficult to understand why an industry with a high level of demand has few gains. and i play another game. i took a projection. this is a few-years-old. this is the total number of computer scientists and engineers have 2017. i then looked up at rates of employment and extrapolate the mountain to the future and the residual then is what is with foreign-born students and the skill of migrants and the increase from 18 to play for% of
their share of the particular occupational sector. here's the two things i want you to keep in mind. one is that is an increasing share buy almost one-third in terms of foreign-born in these occupations. and here is the other thing that is interesting. at the current level of immigration the numbers we had met annually we will hit that coming enough for unskilled workers to meet that sizable gain in foreign share of the labor markets. now let's talk about the globalization and selectivity a little bit. i want to talk about a couple of different examples so we, for the oracle are moving from quality. the noble laureate for the cream of the crop they are also a small number so when people see this the business the example and think it's a small number. i agree with their systematic of the phenomena that i'm talking
about when you have big barriers to migration say the chinese example, you create an environment you are highly selective of those who can move and bear the cost and have the special qualities that make the move across the international boundaries payoff. so we know for example that the immigrant share of the nobel prize winners has actually declined. that's the globalization. globalization shrinks markets, lower the cost of mobility and therefore is less selective. you can certainly see it here but another remarkable way, too. that is the immigrant share of ph.d. labor markets has actually increased while at the same time to share of the nobel prize winners has decreased a bit so there's a decreasing selectivity in the two ways you can see.
are there other ways in which you can see this? well, this is an ugly graph i realize. it was better when i did it last night. what we have got here is three different fields. the point is this is the ratio of educated and this is what the data permits me to become educated life and physical scientists about 35% more likely to have a college education than natives. that is out here back in 1950. but the ratio of education advantage has been going down. same thing with engineering. and then life science quite different and that's fascinating. but remember, excuse me, information technology. remember information technology is a bit odd because a little under 10% of the i.t. workers don't even have a degree among of the domestic labor force so
it doesn't need to be more educated in that context. earnings ratio have gone down. again except for i.t. which is strange. basically over time with this is is what we call social sciences the selectivity. it shrinks the labor markets, decreases the selected the of migrants and you see it in terms of the religious education to the labour force and in terms of the relative earnings. you are going to hear from life think dr. hunt and others and you heard there is a lot of good evidence that both workers and students are productive. or they uniquely productive as the question. one thing you also hear about and we may hear it from david is the rate of start-ups. depending on the data you get, you get somewhat difference stories about the relative productivity of immigrants.
but what i want to look at very quickly is this idea of corporate leadership using just simple data. what we can see is that if a national level of the united states, about 12% of the workers in the information communication technology industries are self-employed and a large share, a fairly remarkable share of ceo business owners and silicon valley which you probably can't see too well on less you look at what is said here quite a bit remarkable in silicon valley in terms of basically directorship of corporations, yet fair share of the labor force is higher. so we're in my going -- where am i going? i want to return to the quality,
numbers you can sit in different ways, quality is also set by the marketplace but it's also uniquely set by policy and there's three different philosophies i think generally. one in 3i opened in the presentation with. you can set large numbers in the market will sell for delete. meek policy process in less. not simply to facilitate the migration but to make it painless. talk to anybody yet it is this a chore department, hiring people is not painless. it's not clear that at a meeting migrants' need to be less painless, less painful than just doing good hiring. the 2006 bill that i mentioned, at 261 he lived in what have increased the scope migration over fivefold with escalators for h-1b, but it would have set
the system pretty much the same. the numbers increased in that way i would argue would have an adverse affect on the selection. on the bottom end, there's an argument we have an oversupply of highly skilled workers. the third way which is number two is what i suggest people also consider which is balancing numbers. thank you. [applause] >> thank you. finally we have gerald. >> thank you, mitch. but i would like to do is focus on the policy aspect of immigration specifically as it relates to how your education building on the interesting papers and analysis that has been presented here. i want to start with some brief remarks on my immigration took -- book.
what i do is our duty to immigration reform in order to boost long-term economic development and productivity beebee i also put a picture of albert einstein on the cover of the book just to remind all of us about the many contributions immigrants have made to american life over the years. we all know that it was surrounded by hamdi and indian, google was co-founded by a russian immigrant, dahuk was established by someone born in taiwan, and ebay started by someone in france. but with the american economy look like today if intel was a hungarian company, google was based in russia, yahoo! was a taiwanese company and ebay were french? inr do these are not isolated stories. studies found many silicon valley companies have a foreign-born founder or cofounder. immigrants have made a vital contributions to our economy, just this morning we have heard very interesting examples of the rule of international students
in terms of productivity. we've seen in the paper just the rising number of foreign students over the last 20 years. patrick documented the higher productivity. lindsay had some very interesting nuances to the story in terms of workers shortages broken down by steel and we see some of the interesting contrasts and between the i.t. field versus the other areas and then leader on the second panel you will hear more from david about the role of immigrants and students in establishing start-ups. so i think it in a lot of respects there is evidence about the contributions that immigrants make, yet when you look at our politics, our politicians are paralyzed by this subject. and it's kind of ironic that it's been difficult for the political leaders to address immigration even though
virtually every but he dislikes some aspect of the status quo. and i think the problem with the immigration area is people perceive the cost as being high while the benefits are low. in that situation no big surprise, the policy area becomes radioactive for politicians, it becomes hard to resolve. there's a lot of emotion, there are many false information surrounding the discussion. so one of the reasons why we wanted to put on this forum today is to object some facts into a very emotional and polarizing topic and it's not like everybody is in agreement on what the facts are, would i think it is both interesting and important that there be some factual basis to these discussions so we are not just making decisions based on opinions, ideology or false beliefs. in my book by make a number of policy recommendations about various aspects, but i want to focus specifically on the
international student aspect because that is what this panel was really focusing on a sound is a very interesting in roberts paper that he's found that 38% of doctoral students today are coming from abroad. yet very few of these people actually have an opportunity to stay here. one of the suggestions i make in my book and others have made the same suggestion, for example mile to the coming year michael bloomberg has talked with this as well as automatic green card for for individual american science and technology ph.d. programs. and we are not talking about a large number because if you look at roberts peter, it's not a huge number that is required. but in terms of the quality, the possibilities for innovation, and the opportunities for the entrep argue that the economi fits or huge. certainly when you look to the information technology field,
the dot com or foreign students who came to enter ph.d. programs, there certainly are a number of examples where these individuals have made a dramatic improvement. now we could trust the market and there certainly are some policy mechanisms that are in place to match up the supply and demand in terms of the need we have for science, technology and engineering and math students. but we need to keep in mind that the job opportunities are starting to change. you know, it used to be that we just needed math students were hired education to jane teacher mathematicians and so on, of it in recent years, we have seen the world of finance start to high year mathematicians. they are starting to take some of the people that used to go
into high gear education and become college professors, the hedge fund companies, private equity firms, the risk assessment and officials are now starting to train some of these individuals. so i would be very interested in seeing lindsay's paper projecting to the future that when you start to see greater demand across a variety of different areas, not just traditionally science and technology for people with ph.d. s in this area. it's a mismatch when to become larger. is it actually going to become a national crisis? so for that reason i feel we need to become more productive as a nation. we do need to think about some of the policy actions designed to fulfil fields where there are likely to be shortages and if you take the results of david's paper seriously if we did with the entrepreneur aspects and the
startup aspects these are the people who are going to innovate, create jobs, build businesses, they are going to be major parts of the u.s. economy so much as think we need to get more strategic in thinking about the need for high skilled workers and the role of international students in that area. thank you. >> okay. thank you all. have i forgotten anybody? i don't think so. well, we've cut to our time and admirably. in fact we are ahead of time so lots of opportunity for q&a. i would like to start if i might use the moderator's prerogative. of course we've been hearing about the immigrants and the contribution they make. but we also regularly here anguished reports about the state or state of the stem education in the united states. actually every country seems to
moan about that. and the implicit in education there is not always being discussed is just the assumption that we need more people in these fields. and yet, lindsey, you were talking about maybe there is a supply problem. do we seem to have enough? we seem to have foreign students clamoring to come in. so how do you -- this is a big question, but how do you bellman's the immigration issue policy debate with calls for improving our domestic supply of scientists and engineers? am i on? boogerd. thank you. this isn't an easy not to crack. on the domestic side of the work i've done with my colleague at rutgers certainly suggests some
of the simplistic ways in which we think that there's a lack of supply in the pipeline don't measure up. about one-third of incoming freshmen of the last decades said by one to study in stem fields so there's no drop in interest in terms of those who are capable. high scores are naturally not. if you look at international tests we don't do that well but then remembered as five, six, 7 million stem workers out of a labour force over 150 million. how many highly skilled people, how many top percentage of the s.a.t. scores you need to supply the labor market? now darryl brings an interesting initializing and at its extreme it gets into an issue of science citizenry and this is an old thing that's been around a century or more, the idea that to be an adequate member of the modern society you better understand science.
at the extreme it's hard to know how to deal with that. i fink it's true but how much science to you need to know. if you look at financial industry, a large share of the workers in the stem occupations, but a small sector role switch ascent psychiatric yep. another way to look at it there may be 15 million people in the united states would extend education and maybe one-third of that in jobs so clearly some of them are working out side of stem and that is a good thing but how many more do you need? and that is a hard nut to crack. did i answer? >> just one comment. i believe that saltzman also points out when compared to foreign students coming to rest citizens tend to leave the pipeline earlier, and the sense is that talented americans don't stick around to get their
doctoral degree. the greater tendency to enter the workforce, so at a certain point when you compare the of foreign students with a u.s. citizen students you have two different populations and i don't want to misquote or misrepresent views but he seems to suggest the best and the brightest tend to leave the pipeline earlier where has the most talented of the students tend to stick around and get your doctor if. >> that's not right? >> okay, please, correct me. >> we just worked with about several longitudinal data set and looked at progression from the pipeline from high school to college into the labour market from the 70's to the 1990's and the early part of the last decade. what we found is that the change or the rate of attrition in the pipeline college, master's, ph.d., labor market, three years
of conflict, six years out the transition hadn't changed much over all except for interestingly, and we didn't break it up, in the 1990's there seems to be a dip in retention and stem high year degree among the top quintile performers and that is an odd outcome and we don't know what's going on something did happen in the 1990's in the top performers. >> i believe there are microphones coming around. i believe you are first and then the gentleman back there. >> thank you. i'm a congressional correspondent for the hispanic out of higher education and read a lot about immigration and i've written a book on immigration and the american dream. being a journalist to have questions for each of you, so please, bear with me.
patrick, i wonder if you've studied about the clustering in the various universities in certain geographic areas lackluster in one university say a scholar from that university. i wanted to ask you more about that with the wages tending to produce as the foreign student population and i haven't heard that 90% before. i usually say 70%. so that's really huge. and i wanted to ask you about the numbers. you said there's a few, but as you were saying, something like the actually hit the peak 600,000, over that peaked couple of years ago and not as close to
700,000. the majority of the students on a foreign student visas on the 700,000 the majority are graduate students, the majority of those are in stem. as we are talking to hundred 50,000 people, and if they are given automatic green cards, i would think that is a sycophant number. xu could you talk about the number and then -- yeah, they are not all noble laureate, so we are talking quality of 250,000 plus and it's retroactive we are talking maybe a million people. and i would also like in the politics of course the whole of their politics recovery is on the low-skilled workers and i think that you and i were talking at one point that this is a zero sum game if we are electing green hards come into the foreign students that it may be at the expense of family
visas and i find there's a lot in the hispanic process particularly who are against that. >> patrick? skilling we definitely have the clustering of the chinese students and so then universities if we get in why you 50% [inaudible] if you look at the labs, headed by the chinese professor of about 14% chinese students, much higher. an intriguing fact [inaudible] doing very well where you have one professor saying [inaudible]
>> again stem the immigrants were better educated so the nominal earnings tend to be higher. the point i was trying to make is if you use wages has another way of looking at some activity, but burns premium over the last half century kind of thin >> you know, that was a new set of slides i do, so i like to do something new in my presentations. i was also doing simple aggressions on wage differentials, and it turns out organizations don't have the french learnings in stem fields for the natives. jennifer hunt is not here, but there's a heavy caveat, again, on admission. policy is a screening mechanism. it's a big difference in earning
outcomes for migrants. policy matters. i'll skip the rate question. >> peggy had interesting questions in terms of numbers. if we kind of gave every foreign student who got a ph.d. in a stem field an automatic green card, would that overrun the system? i guess i would argue that, you know, when you break down the number of foreign students who are here today, you know, you're taking out the undergraduates, the graduate students in nonstem fields, and then taking out the people who drop out along the way. i think the nirms do start to -- numbering start to drop. still, a big number, you know, we don't have the best device for picking, you know, who is going to be the one starting google or an equivalent type of company, and so, you need to admit numbers sufficient to raise the probability of
actually being able to find those people and keep them here, so the spirit of that proposal is basically designed to expand the field beyond what we have today because today we're kind of at the opposite end of the spectrum where there are so few foreign studentings who really have an opportunity to stay here unless they have found a job and are able to qualify tar a visa through their employerment on the zero sum game with low and highly skilled workers, it's a zero sum game only if we stick with the current numbers in terms of the visas, either permit other temporary visas we provide. in that situation, there is tension between the high skill and low skilled area. if we reach the point where we increased those numbers, it becomes much less of a zero-sum game. >> i guess, again, i'll throw policy issues out there because they are tricky.
there's something called the staple act, this idea you give, you staple a green card into a foreign student's degree, and they get to stay in the united states. i have the following issue with that. if you look at the australian experience where they gave land and status to students it created a decade of problems. it created the wrong infrastructure. what happened, the students came to australia to get land and status, not to study. the incentive structure you build is important, and greater numbers will not necessarily yield you greater results. you have to design the incentive structure right. i noticed this year lengthing the opt for stem workers is the right way to go for research and study, which is what we want our students to be doing. >> okay, with the -- [inaudible] the microphone is coming, and
please, just one question per person. >> i'm david north, and i'm with a small think tank down the street. my question to this all-male panel is why hasn't anybody mentioned the tension between essentially male ph.d. students and residents of this country who are female? i also would note in passing, i think this is correct, in the area where the percentage of foreign born ph.d.'s is smallest, which is life signs, i think is also the area in which there are more women percentage wise than in the other four fields. i wonder if one of you can speak to the gender issuement thank you. >> thank you, sir, for asking
that question. connie mcneillly, george maison, and i are beginning a study on the gender issue. it's fascinating. what we'd like to do is take a look at the demographics as a presentation i gave, break it down by gender to see if there's association to the richer nations if they tend to have larger or smaller representations in the male or female populations, but the question that i asked is there a large untapped population of talented women out there that are not being recruited to u.s. universities? give me a year, and i'll get back to you on that. >> okay, there, and then we'll start in the back. >> mark, retired physicist. i want to ask a little bit about your data about the
entrepreneurship. you gave these examples of intell and google. there's two types of immigration involved in that. one that comes here to study, and one that came here for political reasons. either with a visa not necessarily to study, but for political asylum, and both examples, intel and google, are the latter, i think. >> response? >> [inaudible] >> anybody like to comment on that? >> oh, okay, in this case, back there, yes.
>> hi, i'm jennifer miller, a doctorate candidate at usc chapel hill. you mentioned an intriguing counterfact if google were a russian company, but do we know that that is the alternative outcome are perhaps these entrepreneurial success stories due to some of our other institutions around the u.s., and mike counterfactual if we waited a few more years before the companies were founded, and then they would have been u.s. companies by the next person who grasped a similar idea. >> good question. counterfactuals are always hard to test by definition. i think it is apparent that the united states is facing growing competition for entrepreneurship
especially in the i.t. area. i mean, the new president of russia has talked a lot about trying to create a russian silicone valley, so they are very much devoted to training their students and keeping them in russia and building the companies there. we see the same phenomena in a number of different asian companies and countries. i guess the worry i would have is when you look to the future with so many other countries seeing the power of information technology as well as life sciences, the link between those areas and economic prosperity and job creation, they are now basically trying to keep those students home so that they can get the benefits of those contributions, so that would be the thing i would worry about as we move to the future. >> okay. i believe, yes, in that same row. >> hello, i'm lauren, working on
my masters in poets policy and i'm an immigration paralegal. it's a great intersection of the two interests. i'm curious if you think for chinese and indians there's any progression to stay in the pipeline through ph.d.es and to be productive to obtain the eb-1 category. >> go ahead. >> well, i think you're exactly right. that could be the story, but it's a bit difficult to distinguish this from the type of students who come into the united states are different from some other respects. yeah.
>> i only add it's typically for older more productive scientists. i'm not sure it applies to the student model to readily. >> okay, someone over here, black shirt. >> cosh, miam, with the global innovation forum. i have a question regarding a very small snipit. there was higher presence of immigrants interested in science and engineering possibly that there are fewer americans that were actually disinterested to pursuing it to that level. this is for anybody who wants to answer this. what is the best incentive that people seem to respond to? is it the wonder of science? is that why people come here and continue to get ph.d.'s and stick around? is it actually for cash? somebody said a decrease in wages is why americans are less
interested and finances draining our math mathematicians. how do we get people here interested in science and pursue it to the educate tent -- extent that it's important? thanks. >> if you look at surveys of immigrants the reason they come to study in the united states is the institutions, but also the love of the science. you look at the data and what we find is that economic incentives really matter to the flow of migrants across different countries. there's a fascinating piece recently looking at the availability of h1b slots. the story there is that there's a labour market moative as well as. creating the right incentive structure is a difficult thing to do. one thing is clear is that you
can't up the supply side. you have to have a demand side. if you don't have the demand side, you don't get the wage growth and then attract the labor force or have a favorable force on the impact of quality either. >> yes, fellow right behind him. >> hi, i'm an intern for immigration colleague. i have a question about you guys, some of you mentioned studies that speaks of how many people get ph.d. degrees and how many go back to their countries. would you say that's related to reasons like ratings and we create a system where they can stay in the states with their family, how much of an impact would that have to the american economy? >> yes, that's a very important question. if we did, say, do the automatic
green cards for ph.d. graduates and the science and technology field, how many would actually want to take advantage of that opposed to going home. i think in the past more would have been availing themselves for the opportunity to stay here because of the opportunities, but i think moving forward, this is where the united states is facing more competition that the home countries are now making a major effort to bring those students back and the economic opportunities that will be available to those students especially those coming from asian countries is going to be huge. we all have seen the estimates that by 2050, china will have a larger economy than the united states. i think when that individual student is making that decision, do they stay in the united states or go home? obviously, there's a lot of factors going into it in terms family reasons, the situation of the home country, and as well as their perceptions of economic
opportunity. >> okay. let's see. >> hi, audrey singer from brookings. i have a question about demand and supply and how to measure these things. how do we understand the demand for workers? how do we measure it, and what do we know about international, you know, the international selection of workers into the stream? it's a bigger question about our economy. we're going through a restructuring right now. what do we know from the past, how do we understand demand at this point? big question, i realize, but i'm looking at lindsay. >> well, we don't.
[laughter] we do look at certain kinds of indicators, levels of unemployment which in stem tends to be low. we look at wage change which has been low, and if demand for lawyers increases wages 30%-40% over a long period of time, why is it not changing stem earnings at all? why does it lag from other professions? what's the demand? we don't know. we do know one thing clearly is supply responds to wages. basically, if employers put their money where the mouth is, they will stimulate a supply, and so in a simple way, that's one way to look at it. the more complex answer is commissions to do this stuff, the migration adviser, and the u.k. is an interesting example. using multiple ways to determine demand.
the standard critique i get from my presentation is how about petroleum engineering? it's a booming field. yes, it is. it doesn't match up with engineering generally of the to get to that fine level of detail which is of course we care about and what the economy cares about and what darrell cares about with certain kinds of mathematical aptitudes, it takes a really finely disciplined aprof. my approach is not to try to overfine tune things, but just to set the appropriate incentive structures and let the market work it out. >> hello, i'm starting a project on human migration. my question is for everybody on the panel, and what aspect of this topic that we're talking
about today you think would be the most useful for the u.s. public to discuss? thank you. >> darrell? [laughter] >> that's a very good question, and obviously, we debating answering it. i would answer it by saying the problem i have with public discussions in the immigration area in general is just how emotional it is and not linked to facts. i mean, i often like to contrast discussions about immigration with social security. social security is also seen as a yaid yo active issue, a third rail, politicians can't address it, but the difference in the social security area is there tends to be an agreement on basic facts, and that people argue like cats and dogs over
the interpretation of the facts of the policy ramifications and how to address things and so on. the problem in the immigration area is not only are we arguing over things, but the basic facts. what we tried to do this morning is just try to provide some empirical evidence to address these things so what i think the public needs to understand is what the facts are of the situation, and it's not like, you know, there's always going to be a complete consensus on those facts, but i think that's what anguishing the immigration area from a lot of other areas, and the reason why it's been so difficult for our country to address. >> just, i think, for the general public, i think it's useful to just to say that there's a lot of talented people in the world, and if the united states or any other nation has use for those folks, then what's
the problem? the -- if you see the study some type of migration movement, a student mite get a -- might get a degree from the united states, but they have contacts in china or india. studies show their contacts in both u.s. and china is a win-win situation. for example, a taiwan company might be started by a doctorate from silicone valley. jobs are created in the san fransisco area, maybe in taiwan, and maybe there's an offshore somewhere else, mexico or whatever. i think the mexico, whatever. this isn't a zero sum game, this is a potential for the wind when. people are able to go where there are jobs there are good
things that happen and the challenge for the researchers to quantify that and make the case that this is more. the challenge now is to get evidence to show how this makes lives better for other nations in. >> it's not normal for somebody in education. >> consider this. the gnf did an international survey and asked people in the united states what portion of the united states population is foreign-born. they said about one third. that is double the actual percentage and the set what proportion of >> they said about half. i said, boy, they don't know what they're talking about; right? you know?
then the commentator at national press club made a very interesting point. he said they may not be knowledgeable, but maybe they are wise, but a third of the u.s. population is foreign-born and their children. what do you mean by immigrant? at least half of those who arrived in the last decade are unauthorized. there's a number of unauthorized migrants exceed legal migration for a good part of the last decade. how much more do we need to educate in what way? i think from my presentation what i'd like the public to understand is that there's a tradeoff between numbers and quality and setting incentive structures is a very difficult thing. possibly, and there may be a few here who agree with me, congress should be less involved in doing things but have a model like canada or australia where there's bureaucratic control with congressional oversight so
you get the incentive structures correct. >> okay. [inaudible] >> james sang. we have a system that mixes h1-be, and eb. would any of the panel is want to talk about how they fit together and whether there's an optimal mix of the two? >> [inaudible] i think we need a lot of creative thinking. the mpi's recommended a provisional visa to do away with the system we've got so if one gets a visa, you automatically progress to permanent status. there's a lot of smarts to that. if we stay with the current system, clearly the h1-b numbers
exceed the eb. even if you weigh per country caps, you're not going to get around the problem. the numbers just don't wash. if you stay with the current system, the h1-b's need to be smaller or temporary like a three year max. i think if you did that and maybe expanded the eb which would be a very good idea, i think we'd be in a much better situation. >> george mason university. the panel seems to imply that there's a u.s. problem. we need immigrants to grow our country, to innovate, to be successful, and i really wonder it that's true. i mean, because what you're implying is that there's something really wrong we want to fix, and we want to fix it
with immigration, and i'm not sure that the panel actually believes that, or is immigration really a bigger issue of american exceptionalism that we sort of don't understand, but this economic issue, i'm not sure that there's something really wrong that we need to fix with immigration. >> i guess i would answer that by focusing on innovation, and certainly the president in his state of the union address talked about the importance of innovation for long term prosperity and job creation, so i'm interested in the immigration ang the because of the -- angle because of the tie between immigration and innovation. i think there are lings between the two at various levels that we've talked about in terms of start-ups, contributions to knowledge and so on, so i think that's the crucial link. the united states has done very well on innovation in the past. i think the worry that i have is
going forward. are we going to do as well, and if we don't do as well, you know, what is that going to mean for our economy over the next 10, 20, and 30 years? >> okay. did you have your hand up? i'm afraid this is the last question. >> i'm ken jacobs, a recently released democratic congressional staffer. [laughter] in talking about the incentive structure, i wonder if one of the problems isn't the marked trend to send both productive capacity and high skilled jobs to other countries in recent decades, and maybe compounded now by what we've seen in the last couple of years, a market lack of investment, particularly at home, companies are sitting
on a lot of cash. i wonder what message that sends to people here about whether their skills are going to be appliable here with places like ge and inntel doing so much research abroad. the foreign students are already from somewhere else, and they come here, so presumably, they are willing to go somewhere else or they are willing to go home. americans, i think, tend to believe that we're the number one country on earth, and so why would they want to go someplace else? what i'm wondering about is in the absence -- and also, when it comes to innovation, it seems that for a number of years, at least what i've heard about in silicone valley, if you have a start-up plan, and part of your work is not being done in asia, you can't even get in to talk
somebody, so my question is in the absence of a clear future regarding either productive capacity in the united states or commitment to corporate research in the united states, are we going to have a great deal of success attracting young people who are american citizens into scientific careers? >> well, all i can say is before i came to brookings two years ago, i taught at brown university. when you go into the ph.d. programs in many of the math, engineering, and science fields, the clear majorities, and some departments it's up to two-thirds or three quarters, are foreign students, so that's the crisis that some people are perceiving about stem education in the united states that american students are no longer going into those fields, and so, and then if you combine that with lack of opportunity for
foreign students to get the degrees, and then to stay here, that becomes a crisisment i mean, we can solve that problem in several different ways, but if american students are not studying the stem fields, and we're not providing many opportunities for the foreign students who are interested in stem areas to stay here, that has the makings of a crisis. >> yeah. one thing, darrell, i certainly agree on is the number of foreign graduates coming from our institutions isn't so large that will tip things one way or another. it's an important resource, and we believe we benefit from my grants, and we know at the least the system is running in mud. it should be fixed in some way to not have these bottle necks we have in so many levels. if you have to simplify the question, can you resolve the
innovation issues that basically called the american fear of being a diminished giant? can you address these innovation demands and these fears by simply jamming up the supply side? arguably, no. you've got to have heavy investments in research and development. what friggerred the sputnik in a moment was investments in military. i think we have to work on the demand side as well as the supply. we can overfocus on the student's issues all together and the domestic pipeline i think will respond if the appropriate incentives are there. >> okay. i wish we had more time. this has obviously been a very lively and productive discussion. i want to thank you all, and i invite you back for the next session. [applause]
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