Most of you reading this are probably familiar with author and researcher Vivek Wadhwa and his observations and research on what he calls the “reverse brain drain”—that America’s outdated immigration policies are causing it to lose some of the best talent in the country. Brilliant immigrants—engineers, doctors, lawyers, teachers—are coming to the U.S. for a short period of time, then getting kicked out before they have a chance to fully realize their potential, so their home countries are the ones benefiting. In ROI terms, this is setting up for and resulting in a very negative return for the U.S.
This “immigrant exodus,” as it’s called by Wadhwa, should be receiving much more attention than it currently is for a country built on immigrants. Their innovation, smarts, and perseverance have built cities, railroads, successful companies, and effective products. In Wadhwa’s new book, The Immigrant Exodus: Why America Is Losing the Global Race to Capture Entrepreneurial Talent, he posits that the U.S.’s immigration policies are essentially telling immigrants to go home, as in the country they were born in, instead of encouraging and allowing them to make America their home. This is bad news for government, too, for new perspectives can sometimes cultivate the best and most innovative solutions to today’s most pressing issues. It may be quite some time before immigration policies change, but it’s something that needs to be made a priority if the U.S. wants to keep its reputation as one of the best countries to come to build a business and a life.