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Reverse immigration! - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The Americans, more than anybody else, know that one of the reasons for the success and excellence of their society is its ability to attract the most gifted and talented people from across the world. American society has supplemented these talented immigrants to their creative and production industries, and they serve as a valuable addition to the society as a whole. One of the most excellent and important features of the US economy has been its desire to facilitate immigration. Historically, America’s great asset and advantage has been people’s desire, from across the world, to immigrate there.

America has always been a magnet for Chinese students, Indian doctors and British and French bankers, not to mention other nationalities and occupations across the world. American universities are home to hundreds of foreign intellects, while US companies are filled with capable immigrants. Many of the above decide to remain in America on a permanent basis, and therefore officially apply for residency. Any country is capable of progress, development and excellence so long as it is able to attract talent from across the world. However this is a dream that vanishes in the wake of the US government’s actions following 11 September, 2011. This saw legal immigration becoming a routinely long and complicated process where the main objective is to “defer” immigration numbers, and ultimately reduce this.

Those seeking US visas or residencies are now beginning to realize that there is a new trend in US immigration policy, which is a central issue in the current US presidential election. What is strange is that there is a general belief that immigrants from Central American and Latin American states, particularly Mexico, are being targeted. However this policy has also now begun to target Chinese and Indian immigrants in a very clear manner. More than one poll of Chinese and Indian students studying at American universities reveal that these foreign students are suffering as a result of the extremely complicated process of changing their official status from students to permanent residents seeking employment to asylum seekers. What is striking is that perhaps the region that is most “targeted” as a result of these new policies is California’s Silicon Valley, which is considered the heart of the computer industry and home to many immigrant computer programmers. The American computer industry strongly relies on foreign immigrants, as does the multifaceted and indispensable medical industry.

All of these developments have created a phenomenon known as “reverse immigration”. This can be seen in significant emigration from America, particularly from major industries. This is an issue that has created uproar in the business sector, and resulted in pressure being exerted to develop and improve America’s immigration laws.

Perhaps the most prominent description of this can be seen in what was said by an Obama administration expert, who stressed that America closing the door to immigration is tantamount to the country cutting off its most important lifeline. Giant and iconic US companies like Pepsi, IBM, Citibank and others were established by the children of immigrants. These represent a great achievement and concrete proof regarding American society’s ability to accept immigrants and allow them to excel and achieve impressive and unparalleled success. There is also a common belief that more stringent immigration laws will also be applied to immigrants from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Singapore, and elsewhere. These are countries that actively seek to attract immigrants, viewing this as an attractive prospect, particularly in terms of their economies. Therefore if America does not fix this mistake regarding its increasingly stringent immigration laws, this will represent a historic turning point in the country’s political and economic fate.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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