When it comes to politics, the common narrative puts the United States against China, seen as two countries at a race for being the leader of innovation and economic development. In fact, fear of China has even impacted immigration, with several leaders calling for reform on Chinese immigration policies. For example, Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) believes dramatically reducing immigration from China is necessary to protect against Chinese spies stealing American secrets, and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) went so far as to block a bill allowing for citizens of Hong Kong to get work permits and become refugees because he’s afraid of spies.
While the Chinese spy narrative has proven to be a good angle for politicians, it is an incomplete narrative that only speaks to stereotypes and limited scenarios. One of the biggest areas that Chinese are thriving? Innovation. And one area that the US needs to maintain momentum? Innovation!
In fact, Chinese immigrants are making huge contributions to research and development that will unlock economic and technological innovation going forward for the entire world. Many of these intelligent and hardworking students excel in all STEM fields right here in America. Currently in the US, there are around 46,000 Chinese undergraduates, about 41,000 master’s students, and an estimated 36,000 PhD students at U.S. universities, typically on F-1 visas. However, immigration restrictions under the goal of combatting espionage guarantees that many of them will return to China and that fewer will come in the future. We simply have no systemic process in place to keep these talented graduates here.
To remain competitive in the innovation and technology industries, the US needs to evolve policy. Expanded asylum options, green cards for all Chinese graduates of American universities, and creating a program to allow educated Chinese immigrants to come here should all be on the table. The benefits are two-fold: one, America remains competitive by attracting an expanded pool of talented speciality workers, and two, we become a realistic and welcoming solution for Chinese immigrants looking for a democratic future.
For now, the options are limited for Chinese immigrants looking to legally reside and work in the United States. If you are looking for a US immigration attorney to help you on your path to residency, contact us today.