Strategic Foresight Initiative Director Mathew J. Burrows writes in The Huffinton Post, with Alidad Mafinezam, about the importance of embracing diversity in America to ensure its long-term strength:
Lost in the current arguments over immigration is America’s dependence on a diverse workforce for its long term strength. The emotionally wrenching sight of thousands of children from Central America seeking refuge in the United States is persuading many Americans that the country should close its doors. This is despite the fact that the single most important action we can take for our future is ensuring America remains the magnet for the world’s talent. Instead of seeking political advantage in the current unfortunate crisis, US leaders of all stripes should be making the case for diversity — it is after all what makes the US exceptional among the world’s leading nations.
Open immigration is not the answer, but the United States should not hold up the reform of skilled-immigration programs like the H-1B and L-1 visas because of the political logjam over how to stop the flow of illegal immigration. The US government could also do more to encourage diversity not just in science and technology fields, but more broadly in using America’s diversity to strengthen its influence in the world.