America, keep rewarding your dissidents

Ever since I became an academic six years ago, I have been one of the biggest critics of U.S. competitiveness policies. I documented, for example, that we had our data wrong when it came to India and China’s advantages in engineering education and R&D, that we didn’t understand how to build innovation centers, and that our assumptions about entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship were wrong. I have been particularly vocal about America’s flawed immigration policies. I quantified the amazing contribution that skilled immigrants make in the technology industry and raised the alarm about the reverse brain drain that is in progress. I testified, assertively, to Congress, and have been badgering our political leaders to act on these important issues.

Want to grow innovation? Fix immigration

As movements such the startup visa program continue to gain steam in Washington, the CTO of the United States is joining the call. Aneesh Chopra, in this Entrepreneur Thought Leader Lecture given at Stanford University, says the key to fixing the decreased flow of innovation in this country is to fix the nation’s broken immigration system. Chopra offers his personal perspective on the issue, noting that his father was an engineer who immigrated to America for work.

America is bleeding competitiveness

With anti-immigrant sentiment building across the nation, and clouds of nativism swirling around Washington, D.C., skilled immigrants are voting with their feet. They are returning home to countries like India and China. It’s not just the people we are denying visas to who are leaving; even U.S. permanent residents and naturalized citizens are going to where they think the grass is greener. As a result, India and China are experiencing an entrepreneurship boom. And they are learning to innovate just as Silicon Valley does.