On Saturday, October 24th, Stanford University hosted the Stanford Roundtable. The renowned interviewer Charlie Rose moderated a discussion titled: ‘The Road Back: From Economic Meltdown to Renewal’. The archived webcast video is available on iTunes and on YouTube.
At one point in the discussion Charlie Rose asked about the education system. President Hennessey remarked that: “We depend at the graduate level on importing lots of graduate students because we don’t do enough out of our K-12 system. Because if it’s broken somewhere it’s broken deeply in science and math education.”
The following conversation is simply brilliant and is a showcase for how silly and frustrating the US immigration policy really is — even to those who have a direct audience with the President of the United States. Here are some of the best quotes from the video:
Eric Schmidt: “We don’t give them visa guys! This is a brilliant strategy; bring the smartest people in the world to Stanford, educate them and kick them out of the country. Brilliant strategy, great for America!”
Charlie Rose: “We should staple a greencard to a diploma”
Eric Schmidt: “Don’t you think a Stanford Graduate education is a reasonable condition for actually becoming a US Citizen?”
Eric Schmidt: “It is the stupidest policy in all of government; take the smartest people who are going to build companies and pay taxes and have them do it in another country.”
John Hennessey: “It makes no sense to take somebody who came here at two or three, with their parents, and say ‘you got a Harvard education, now go back to where you came from’”
The above quotes don’t really come through with their full intensity until you watch the video below. Watch from 0:24:41 till 0:27:45.
I have written before about my story as an immigrant founder. I am constantly meeting brilliant people who have come to the US for their education, studied here, and either have to return to their home country, or, are stuck working with their big-company employers simply because of their visa/immigration status. Perhaps the US should really consider taking the top 10% of all foreign students who earn their bachelors from a top 50 US school and give them greencard. Lets make that top 25% of all foreign students who earn a Master’s degree and 100% of all foreign students who earn a PhD. (I’ve tweeted this before, but Twitter search is so broken I can’t find my own tweet.)
Smart people come from all over the world. The US is lucky that they want to come here. It is foolish to not do everything to keep them here.