NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 20, 2004

While much of today's immigration debate focuses on those arriving from Latin America to work in unskilled jobs, the contributions of skilled foreign-born professionals are no less important to the American economy, according to study from the National Foundation for American Policy.

Without skilled foreign-born workers and their children, the United States would struggle to maintain its worldwide advantage in fields like math, science and engineering:

  • More than half of the engineers with Ph.D.'s working in the United States, and 45 percent of the nation's computer science doctorates, are foreign-born.
  • Children of immigrants make up 65 percent of the 2004 U.S. Math Olympiad's top scorers and 46 percent of the U.S. Physics Team.
  • At this year's Intel Science Talent Search, 60 percent of the finalists and seven of the top 10 awards winners were immigrants or their children.

Many of these immigrants and their families are here on H-1b visas, which are given out to fewer than 100,000 foreigners each year.

Any immigration policy that would limit the number of H-1b visas even further isn't in America's long-term economic interest, especially in a world where economic competitiveness depends on human capital, says the Wall Street Journal.

Source: Editorial, "Give Us Your Nerds," Wall Street Journal, July 16, 2004; and Stuart Anderson, "The Multiplier Effect," National Foundation for American Policy, July 19, 2004.

For WSJ text (subscription required),,SB108994338611565631,00.html

For NFAP text


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