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ACM Opinion

Wanted: A Smarter Immigration Policy


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Log onto the Web site of the U.S. Consulate in Chennai and you will see a snapshot of what visa processing is doing to the competitiveness of American companies and research institutions. Click on the link to "Case Status Report," and there is a list of hundreds of visa applications from Indians who await processing. The oldest dates back to 2005, and dozens of others have been pending for a year or more while Washington plods through security background checks.

In recent months I have been in contact with many individuals caught in this Kafkaesque bureaucracy. Most are scientists and engineers who have earned advanced degrees from U.S. universities and are (or were) working for American companies in Silicon Valley, Wall Street and other centers of the U.S. economy.

Of all the initiatives undertaken in the name of homeland security after 9/11, the visa screening requirements for foreign scientists and engineers have probably done the most lasting damage to America's economy — particularly in the cutting-edge technology fields that are vital to our economic leadership and national security.

From The Wall Street Journal
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