A group of 35 “tech pioneers” have issued a public statement endorsing Biden, citing objections to Trump’s immigration policies. Of course, their focus is the H-1B work visa and related programs:
“The most brilliant people in the world want to come here and be grad students, but now they are being discouraged from coming here, and many are going elsewhere,” said one of the scientists who organized the endorsement, David Patterson, a Google distinguished engineer and former professor at the University of California, Berkeley.
The document is way off the mark for a few reasons:
- According to yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, Biden has indicated that he would retain Trump’s policies on H-1B if elected. No surprise, since both political parties have decried the program ever since its inception. In 2016, Clinton, Sanders, Trump, Cruz, Rubio and so on all made such statements.
- Contrary to the group’s statement on the need to attract “the best and the brightest” from abroad, no one, including Trump, has ever advocated blocking the immigration of outstanding talents. Trump in particular has stated repeatedly that talented international students at US universities should be given the means to stay here. He tweeted in 2016, for instance,
When foreigners attend our great colleges & want to stay in the U.S., they should not be thrown out of our country…I want talented people to come into this country—to work hard and to become citizens. Silicon Valley needs engineers…”
His recent restrictions on H-1B have excluded foreign students.
- Only a small fraction of STEM foreign students are of the quality the group cites.
The group’s statement is highly uninformed, if not deliberately biased.