Saturday, April 11, 2009

U.S. Immigration Policy Does Not Support Marriage

There is a graduate student at the University of Houston that is admired by many people, including professors. He immigrated from Mexico years ago and is now an American citizen. In 2005 he married a teacher in Monterrey. She has not been able to immigrate. Now she cannot even obtain a visa to visit him, even though they have a child who is an American citizen.

He is writing his dissertation now. Every few weeks he returns to Monterrey to see his wife and child. Writing a dissertation is really hard, especially when you have a baby who is 500 miles away and living in another country.

The following article is about a Harvard educated engineer whose wife, who is from India, cannot immigrate to the U.S. - so the engineer who works for Google, lives in Toronto. Why is Canada so much more open than the U.S.? Why can't the U.S. appreciate one of the inventors of Facebook and let his wife come here?

Why can't the graduate student at UH complete his PhD and live with his wife and baby here in Houston while he completes his studies? Why can't the Google engineer bring his wife to Mountainview, CA?

Bush and Cheney may be living peacefully somewhere out of sight, but they (and their Republican colleagues) left a big mess behind.

April 12, 2009
Tech Recruiting Clashes with Immigration Rules

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Where’s Sanjay?

The question comes from one of dozens of engineers around a crowded conference table at Google. They have gathered to discuss how to build easy-to-use maps that could turn hundreds of millions of mobile phones into digital Sherpas — guiding travelers to businesses, restaurants and landmarks.

“His plane gets in at 9:30,” the group’s manager responds.

Google is based here in Silicon Valley. But Sanjay G. Mavinkurve, one of the key engineers on this project, is not.

Mr. Mavinkurve, a 28-year-old Indian immigrant who helped lay the foundation for Facebook while a student at Harvard, instead works out of a Google sales office in Toronto, a lone engineer among marketers.

He has a visa to work in the United States, but his wife, Samvita Padukone, also born in India, does not. So he moved to Canada.

“Every American I’ve talked to says: ‘Dude, it’s ridiculous that we’re not doing everything we can to keep you in the country. We need people like you!’ ” he said.

“The people of America get it,” he added. “And in a matter of time, I think current lawmakers are going to realize how dumb they’re being.”

Immigrants like Mr. Mavinkurve are the lifeblood of Google and Silicon Valley, where half the engineers were born overseas, up from 10 percent in 1970. Google and other big companies say the Chinese, Indian, Russian and other immigrant technologists have transformed the industry, creating wealth and jobs.

Just over half the companies founded in Silicon Valley from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s had founders born abroad, according to Vivek Wadhwa, an immigration scholar working at Duke and Harvard.

The foreign-born elite dating back even further includes Andrew S. Grove, the Hungarian-born co-founder of Intel; Jerry Yang, the Chinese-born co-founder of Yahoo; Vinod Khosla of India and Andreas von Bechtolsheim of Germany, the co-founders of Sun Microsystems; and Google’s Russian-born co-founder, Sergey Brin.

But technology executives say that byzantine and increasingly restrictive visa and immigration rules have imperiled their ability to hire more of the world’s best engineers.

While it could be said that Mr. Mavinkurve’s case is one of a self-entitled immigrant refusing to live in the United States because his wife would not be able to work, he exemplifies how immigration policies can chase away a potential entrepreneur who aspires to create wealth and jobs here...
link to complete article

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