Monday, August 16, 2010

Birthright Citizenship II

OK, so Brian beat me to the punch with this link which pretty says what I was going to say.
There was also another article from the L.A. Times from 2004/5, that highlighted the same thing the Turkish preggars are doing in the link above, but in that case it was Chinese and Korean preggars. Can't find the damn link now. Sorry.

As the article explained, admittance to a higher education in those countries is very competitive. American citizenship allows the student easier access to already easier-to-enroll-in American universities without the bullshit and limitations of the student visa process.
With the Asian preggars, the demographic was highly educated/upper-stratus babes with the intent of providing their child with one more additional arrow to add to their quiver of advantages. So, these are upper-crust, motivated and professional minded potential United States Citizens.

At a time when we are bitching and moaning about millions of under-educated, under-civilized third-world lettuce pickers rushing our borders and gobbling up services, I think a few thousand potential mathematicians, scientists or engineers who are familiar with indoor plumbing would be welcome, don't you?

Not that I can't think of good reasons to change it. Among them:

  • American Universities receive federal funding, supposedly for the benefit of American students. That would be... students who truly are American in fact and not merely in law.
    Every seat a foreigner occupies is an admission spot denied to an American, who's taxes support/provide for that seat.
    Indirectly, I see it as an injustice to some individuals who may never know the real reason why they didn't receive the opportunity.
  • American citizenship should be an identity held close your heart, not a commodity for trade. Birthright citizenship as practiced by these likens citizenship to a Costco card whose primary purpose is to enable the holder easier access to bigger carts of shit. I know. I have an old-fashioned idea of what being an American means. It may not pass muster with the erudite, but it is the way I was raised by a father who knew the difference and I see no good reason to re-educate myself.

It is a loophole.
I do not believe it is what The People intended when the 14th Amendment was ratified.
That said, is it really worth the political struggle, the debate, and the emotional energy required to sustain the movement to change it? I think not.


my name is Amanda said...

"With the Asian preggars, the demographic was highly educated/upper-stratus babes...So, these are upper-crust, motivated and professional minded potential United States Citizens."

Hm, pretty much what I guessed, based only on common sense.

I agree with your first point, about welcoming scientists and mathematicians. (If not the way you said it...)

"At a time when we are bitching and moaning about millions of under-educated, under-civilized third-world lettuce pickers rushing our borders and gobbling up services..."

Who are these people that are being referred to? I mean, are these Mexican immigrants? Is there something in there to imply that Mexico doesn't have an education system or, um indoor plumbing? Because that's a very offensive sentence.

Besides that, there's nothing to say that these babies, when grown, wouldn't come to the US and feel just as affectionate ("held close to your heart") toward this country, and there's nothing to say that people born here, whose parents live here, would love this country any more than someone who moved here when they were 18. There's no hard formula for identifying the love that other people have in their hearts for people or places - aside from, of course, asking them.

Gino said...

amanda: the last portion of your comment is getting way ahead of me. i havent addressed the other side of the coin yet.

my name is Amanda said...

Whoops! Okay then, I'll rein myself in for a while.

Bike Bubba said...

The only thing I can say against it is that the parents' wealth does not necessarily translate to the childrens' wisdom. We are not necessarily getting scientists and engineers out of the deal--very often, the children of the wealthy turn out to be not the best use of oxygen.

Examples; Paris Hilton, the Kardashians, etc..

Brian said...

A lot of (probably most of) the federal dollars going to universities are to fund research. That students and postdocs get trained along the way is a happy side-effect.

Every seat a foreigner occupies is an admission spot denied to an American, who's taxes support/provide for that seat.

I can assure you that at the postgraduate level in the sciences (which is where most of that federal money is going) that this simply isn't true. If it weren't for foreign grad students and postdocs, the output of American research universities would be much, much lower. (I realize that if you think the feds spend too much $ on research or shouldn't spend any that this is just fine...but that's not the conversation we're having.) And it isn't like there are qualified Americans being turned away from these positions...many investigators would much prefer to hire Americans simply for the fact that they are proficient in English and there are no visa headaches with which to contend. They simply aren't there.

At the NIH division where I used to work, Americans were only about 1/3 of the postdocs.

But all of this is tangential to whether or not Americans "on paper" coming into the system are worth worrying about. I'd say that, no, because there are so relatively few of them, and also no, because if they are coming here educated and qualified and have money, then they would have very little trouble securing and H1B or a J1 anyway.

Gino said...

thanks brian, for clearing that up.

if anybody here should know, it would be you.

kr said...

Heya, Brian, Mum sez that, at least back in the day, the influx of foreign students to topline universities had the effect of bringing the overall level of conservative religious viewpoints up. I heard in the 90s that some universities were selectively bringing in students who did *not* bring this profile.

I wondered what you impression is nowadays ... since most of the world is still pretty religious and intelligence and religion are not diametrically opposed except in the minds of some Western thinkers ;), there are a lot of smart religious people out there ...

Brian said...

Hi KR--in my field, the non-religious are much more highly represented than in the population as a whole. In my direct experience, this is true pretty much across the board regardless of country.

Now it should be said, the largest group among foreign scientists that I know are Chinese, who are at least officially atheists for the most part. Japanese are mostly non-religious. The Indidans I know are more culturally Hindu than actually devout (ditto Jewish people). Most of the people I know from Muslim countries are secular, or at least outwardly so. And I can't think of a single European I know through work who is terribly religious.

The only exceptions I can think of are Korean Christians and scientists from Latin America, who still tend to be practicing Catholics. But they are not very well-represented among foreign scientists in the US, at least compared to those other groups.

The vast majority of religious scientists I know are Americans, actually.

kr said...

Huh. I guess maybe the rumor of selective acceptance was true, then--undoubtably combined with the general secularization/Westernizing influence that continues to rage via the dreaded cultural imperialism.

'K thanks, just curious :).