Who cares about politics anyway?

Karlesha Hewitt

By Karlesha V. Hewitt

I care, that’s who – and you should, too. You can’t turn on the TV without hearing something about the current issues discussed among Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, and Newt Gingrich anyway. Pardon the order I chose to list them – everyone has an opinion, right? Right.

One hot topic is what I like to call the “Educated Immigrant Phenomenon,” or EIP. The United States has a bad habit of allowing lawful immigrants and foreign students to receive a college education here and then go back to their own country. Once there, they’ll apply for a U.S workers visa but have difficulty returning to work in the U.S. because of our outdated procedure to attain a permanent visa, according to U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO).

It makes absolutely no sense to invest time and finances into educating immigrants if we are going to lose them at the very point they can contribute to our society.

How can anyone complain about the failures of the economy when we intentionally reject perfectly productive members of our populace every day? Such a touchy topic, isn’t it? So let’s hear what the three candidates have to say.

In lieu of the EIP, the Obama Administration enacted a plan to expand the pool of foreign students eligible for a 17-month visa extension. This gives immigrant graduates more time to train and, in some cases, secure a long-term job. Student visa holders can stay in the U.S. longer through the “optional practical training” program, which originally allowed students to work and train in their field for up to 12 months after graduating. The George Bush Administration allowed certain students in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) field to stay an extra 17 months, for a 29-month period in all.

The Obama administration added degree programs to this list, hoping to add to shortages in some high-tech science sectors. According to the National Science Foundation, more temporary visa holders enrolled in graduate engineering programs in 2008 than U.S. citizens and permanent residents. In 2009, 53 percent of physical science doctorate recipients were citizens or permanent residents, compared with 42 percent studying on temporary visa.

Obama’s initiative toward handling the EIP seems fruitful. However, those against it are concerned that the change could hurt U.S. citizens looking for jobs by making them compete against more foreign graduates, at a time when unemployment is already high. To this I say, maybe this competition will encourage more Americans to seek STEM degrees. If this sector is a weakness for Americans, why not let immigrants save us? They have been saving this country for years anyway. You are allowed to disagree, and if reading this disturbs you in any way, I do not apologize. Maybe you’d rather Mitt Romney’s strategy. I should warn you, it isn’t that different from Obama’s.

As stated on Romney’s website, Romney for President Inc., Romney supports the U.S’ attracting and retaining job creators from wherever they come. He feels foreign-born residents with advanced degrees start companies, create jobs, and drive innovation at high rates. Romney’s Human Capital Policy outlines a strategy that staples a green card to the diploma of every eligible student visa holder who graduates from a U.S. university with an advanced degree in the STEM field. The site reveals Romney’s view that permanent residency would offer the certainty required to start businesses and drive American innovation.

As for the presumed weakness behind Romney’s approach, Romney wrote in his plan that, “highly skilled workers would not displace unemployed Americans but would fill high-skill job openings where there is an acute shortage of labor, and get the US economy back on track.”

For a change of pace, Gingrich agrees with me: He feels it is foolish to educate someone well enough for them to start the next job-creating startup, only to force them to leave America and start their business overseas. On his website, he addresses “in-sourcing the best brains in the world.” He also says, “We want the jobs here and that means we want the job creators here.”

Gingrich’s site says that he would like to allow qualified foreign students to transition immediately into the American workforce. He has considered a program that grants foreign graduates of STEM programs a work visa with their diploma. The site claims this strategy will maximize the amount of talented individuals who are building the next great American businesses, creating American jobs, and paying taxes in the United States.

It seems each candidate is on a similar page. Obama would like to expand the list of STEM degrees eligible and allow student visa holders to stay in the U.S. longer after graduation. Romney would like to offer green cards to graduates from STEM fields because permanent residency would assure them progress in the U.S. economy. Gingrich would like to offer STEM degree graduates work visas upon graduation.

The effort that is required to attain a degree in science, technology, engineering, and math alone should qualify someone for permanent residency. Romney has won me over in this case. Whichever perspective you think best to address the Educated Immigrant Phenomenon, do us all a favor: Since every vote does, in fact, count, think long and hard before checking off any ballot on a whim. Seek to attain what the powerful envision. The powerful envision power, and voting is ours. Use it wisely!

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Categories: Opinion

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13 replies

  1. Wow, Jamaal,

    Powerful response. It really got me thinking of things in a new perspective. To an extent, I agree. America can’t play superhero to the world. However, it is the very dream we sell which enticed immigrants to enter and yearn for the education we provide here. We shouldn’t reject them for what we mean to produce. The last quote is so frighteningly true. Assimilation is no new form of oppression, and it is that sort of “melting” you mentioned that unfortunately makes America.

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  2. Great article first off, my opinion I think may differ from the norm because I am not neccessarily the most patriotic. I am not a anti-american of any kind but as a humanitarian and someone who cares for global interest of all people their cultures, their lands and their people I think that yes the policy in America to educate foreigners and then send them away is a bit inefficient, but I don’t mind it. America has propigated the message for to long that it is this righteous, caregiving state all about benevolence and tranquility for all the worlds nations. This statement is incorrect or simply to difficult a task to be true. Despite efforts to rectify many world conflicts America is simply becoming worn out, people from foreign lands need to see the oppurtunity to become educated in America as a investment to help “their” nations in its nationbuilding. We harbor a large amount of intelligence in America and we use it to take care of our needs and wants as well as those needs of others. I find it near impossible to take care of the needs of your own and your neighbor’s needs forever. Also as someone who is conscious of the effects of the American “melting pot”, I think it is becoming increasingly more important to take pride in oneself via culture, ethinicity, race etc. Americanization is destroying cultures world wide, to some up my opinion I think the system of educating foreigners is ineffecient for Americans and America but as a global interest hopefully these educated foreigners may utilize their education to build their nations. This would in turn decrease the amount of money utilized by America in foreign affairs, benefitting the American economy in the long run.

    – “The entire world cannot live off American pride and contribution”

    -“You can feed a man today or teach him how to fish and he will eat forever”

    -“America the great melting pot you go in as yourself and leave assimilated, conformed and endoctrinated… you loose sense of identity and self, you become AMERICAN!

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  3. Brilliantly written!

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  4. I’ve just had time to read your article, although I’m pretty far away, you’re never really far away from the consequences of politics- especially if they are from the United States -, living in a world more and more connected. Everything influences everything. It’s nice to see, that are you are active and care for what’s happening. Keep up, what you are doing and don’t forget to be critical against yourself, because the danger of becoming aggressive and radical is always there, when you show your opinion in an article mixed with “facts”; and of course “facts” are subjective, too, you decide, what you are presenting at other people and influence them, always: responsibility.

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    • All great inquiries, thank you guys so much for posting! Michael, it is great to hear from you again! I hope all is well with you since Guatemala. You are absolutely right. It is a great responsibility to have any opinion. Specifically when it comes to politics, people tend to take offense at ideas they do not agree with. I hope I kept the article neutral enough to offer the facts of each plan regardless of how I felt about it. I only pray the influence this article had involves people doing their own research. Trusting but validating my words.

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  5. If you care about how much you pay for higher education tuition, if you care about the cost of your medical bills, or if you care about what kind of employment will be available to you upon graduation— THEN_ you better care about politics and about the people making decisions about your future!
    Good for Kalisha for being pro-active!

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  6. Karlesha, I am very impressed by your writing. I was unaware of this debate and it’s definitely something that will cause a tremendous impact on our future job market and economy. While I see both sides of the issue, it has raised a few questions…

    For example, with Romney’s plan, green cards would be given to all those who graduate with advanced degrees in the STEM field. What happens if the person leaves these designated fields? What happens if they never get hired into that field out of school?

    I think that the competition in the job market has the potential to create a stronger, more educated work force, but it may also cut the opportunity for those already working and trying to advance in their careers. However, I think I need to do more research on this topic before saying anything else!

    Great article Karlesha, very well written!

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  7. Wow, this article is very eye opening. I don’t think it’s right for a student to be educated in the united states, have to pay the cost to attend school in the states and in the end, be refused the right to practice their area of expertise here. It seems foolish to do that.

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  8. Well written, I appreciate the intellect that was just bestowed upon me from a political nature. I had no clue about the topics discussed in your article and I have now been deeply enlightened and moved by this subject matter. Thank you

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  9. I am so happy the article is serving its purpose. Too many people don’t pay attention to the debates when in reality, it all trickles down to us. So we should at least try to grasp it all. I am happy it helped you!

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  10. Karlesha! I learned so much from your piece & for that, I must first say thank you; I just changed my major to politics and I was really struggling to get an intellectual handle on the types of things that are going on in the presidential debates. I was not interested before, to be honest. However, more and more of these issues are hitting closer to home & I appreciate the fact that you chose to discuss something that isn’t always addressed thoroughly by the presidential candidates, but pretty much left to interpretation by the GOP, per the usual. Please continue to enlighten with your writing; I’m sure I’m not the only one benefitting from this. Excellent, excellent job, Karlesha.

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  11. Where is John Doerr’s credibility when he told a generation of MBA students he did the right thing by firing Steve Jobs? John Doerr should ask Kit Wong why Chinese engineers only sought venture capital when they were out of work and Wong told them to start restaurants to learn entrepreneurship as they rejected Wong when they had safe jobs. Foreign students can be bright, but faculty exaggerate their brilliance because foreign students are servile in doing work and favors for faculty and not demanding that professors actually earn their tuition keep. Moreover, faculty like that foreign students are either afraid, complicit or morally ambivalent about the immoral grant guzzling behavior of professors. In many cases they are more likely to share the professors’ anti-Americanism than American students. Meanwhile perfectly good American engineers have to get jobs at Home Depot. And Google cancels my account for saying these things but dares to complain about censorship.

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  12. This article is very intersting for me as I’m a student who find a job position in the states 😀
    I’m very proud of you have interested this kind of issue and wrote this article! 😀

    Like

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