Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Overseas PhD's under Obama

Nature, a top tier UK based science journal, has recently taken an interest in the US presidential election. They sent questionnaires to both Presidential candidates. Only one candidate answered. Guess which one? :)

One of the very interesting questions I read was this:

Would it make sense for more overseas students who receive PhDs at American universities to stay in the country and contribute to its research base and its wealth? What immigration reforms would you support?

Obama: I believe that we must enact comprehensive immigration reform to restore our economic strength, relieve local governments of unfair burdens stemming from an inefficient federal immigration system, ensure that our country and borders remain secure and allow a path to citizenship for the 12 million undocumented immigrants who are willing to pay a fine, pay taxes, and learn English. A critical part of comprehensive immigration reform is turning back misguided policies that since 9/11 have turned away the world's best and brightest from America. As president, I will improve our legal permanent resident visa programmes and temporary programmes to attract some of the world's most talented people to America.

While I can't speak to being a foreigner at a US university, I do have non-citizen friends who were/are in PhD programs in the US and I was always surprised at the troubles they were having with their visas. I was SHOCKED that some of them were afraid to fly home for fear of not being able to return. These situations only got worse after 9/11.

One might assume that I am talking about countries like Iran or North Korea but these were students from Japan and all over Europe! Ooo...French Biology PhD student-don't come to the US with your Freedom Fries! (which oddly enough were actually invented in Belgium who confused the American troops by speaking French!)

I, for one, would support policies that would allow access to our educational facilities from other countries. Who wouldn't want to welcome in the next Einstein or Fermi (Fermi also had a particle accelerator lab near my childhood house named after him!)into the US?

Obama - you had me at enact comprehensive immigration reform to restore our economic strength...


Diane Mandy said...

The immigration system (and I am just speaking about those who have been caught in the LEGAL process) is a huge mess. Poor Max, who just got his citizenship a year ago, has some stories he could tell you.

Cap11C said...

My son made the mistake of marrying a lovely Canadian woman; now they can live in either country but only 1 can work at a time! They're living in the US now and trying to get her a "green card", but the process is long and expen$ive!