Opinion | Diversity please
Over 60 American CEOs and deans have written an open letter to Donald Trump and other leaders in the Wall Street Journal, urging them to ease H-1B visas and dump country-specific limits. This suggests a growing realization that the US president’s clamps on the entry of non-citizens to the US have hurt its own economic interests. The letter reportedly says that the US lacks high-skill talent, and a drop in student admissions over the past three years has worsened the scarcity. It lauds the creation of three million science, technology, engineering and mathematics jobs, but bemoans the country’s inability to fill them on its own.
America’s very success, many would argue, was powered by its openness to immigrants. Some of its most vibrant enterprises, especially tech start-ups in Silicon Valley, have relied on scooping up foreign talent. The country would’ve been worse off without Sabeer Bhatia, Vinod Khosla, Sundar Pichai, Satya Nadella and millions of others who made it their home. Such immigrants not only contribute to the firms they work for, but often end up creating a great many more jobs when they venture out on their own.
It has also been posited that at the heart of the Silicon Valley success model lies its diversity. It often takes varied perspectives to come together—and even clash—for new ideas to emerge. By curbing an influx of outsiders, the US will end up dulling itself and depriving its businesses of exactly what they need to stay innovative. Ultra-nationalism may work in politics, but is bad economics.