Readers of this blog know that I've challenged the notion that the government is particularly good at picking immigration winners and losers. Don't get me wrong. I'm all for allowing talented university graduates with degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math to get accelerated green cards. Still, some of the greatest success stories from American history (from Washington, Lincoln, Edison, Carnegie and the Wright brothers) and our own era (Jobs, Gates, Dell, Puff Daddy, Lady Gaga and Jessica Simpson) never even graduated from college.
So while we fashion a 21st Century CIR program to serve America's clear national interests, we should also acknowledge a degree of humility, and the benefits of randomness, chance and serendipity. We can never develop a flawlessly intelligent system that brings in just high-contributing immigrants. But we can debunk the errant myths about immigration and humbly acknowledge that great achievers arriving in America can come in through other than the employment-based visa categories. Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google, came with his parents to America from Russia as a refugee, much like Tech CEO, Tan Le, fled Vietnam for refuge in Australia, and then immigrated to California:
Proponents of an expansive form of CIR should therefore remind the Democrats to continue standing firm against the GOP's latest proposal to cut green-card quotas. For as the Dems' former leader, Richard Gephardt, has noted: “Those who have prospered and profited from life's lottery have a moral obligation to share their good fortune.”