Tag: immigration



To the Washington University community:

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program should be continued and even expanded. With President Trump’s decision to rescind the program and end it within six months, I hope that Congress acts quickly to pass legislation to continue the DACA program so that those registered in the program and others who may be eligible can stay and continue to realize their full potential in this country.

As I have shared directly with our elected leaders, DACA is not only a moral imperative, but it also benefits the United States as a whole. Students who participate in the program have been raised here. They are part of our community, with great potential to make positive contributions to our country. We should be embracing them, not abandoning them.

Because of this decision, hundreds of thousands of young people and their families are scared and worried for their future. Members of Congress can address this and they should. I, and other university leaders, will continue to press elected officials on crafting a permanent solution as soon as possible.

Every Washington University student — regardless of immigration status, race, ethnicity, nationality or any other identity — deserves the same opportunity for academic success.

Here at our university:

  • The Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) is available to aid and assist students impacted by changes in DACA. OISS can provide information about available resources — including housing and legal assistance.
  • We will work directly with students impacted by changes in DACA to address challenges that may make it difficult for them to continue their studies, including financial hardships.
  • The Washington University Police Department’s (WUPD) primary role is to maintain a safe learning environment on our campuses. WUPD does not inquire about immigration status in carrying out their duties. Officers do not detain individuals based solely on their immigration status. Though WUPD is required to comply with lawful subpoenas and other legal requirements, it is not the university’s practice that WUPD will function as an agent of the federal government in the enforcement of federal immigration laws.
  • We zealously protect privacy of confidential student information. We will not release information about a student’s immigration or citizenship status to third parties unless required to do so by law or directive from a court.

You can learn more about available resources here.

Our university draws strength through our differences. We have a long tradition of attracting talented people from all around the world to our community and that will continue. It is on each of us to work to ensure that every member of our community feels welcome, included and empowered to succeed.

Sincerely yours,

Mark S. Wrighton

Image: Flickr Creative Commons Ana Paula Hirama, Statue of Liberty – NYC, Set2011




Immigration is an interesting issue. There are multiple vantage points to view it from depending on where you are standing.

Although the idea is a mutual benefit to the immigrant and the host country, it’s a tough decision for both. The problem for the immigrant is dislocation, and for the host country it is designing effective filters to screen potential immigrants.

Let’s take a step back and look at the megatrends shaping global geopolitics. Many of the developed nations within the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) face an ageing population, and more importantly, an ageing workforce. This demographic shift has two solutions: mass migration from emerging market countries and automation (including robotics, machine learning, and Artificial Intelligence). Interestingly, countries such as Germany, Japan, and China are countries with the highest automation and a graying workforce. The United States is also at an interesting juncture. Tech titan Apple has joined Google and others to form a partnership on Artificial Intelligence. At the World Economic Forum (WEF), Sergey Brin spoke about the centrality of neural nets and deep learning to most of Google’s applications, including search and photos. However, automation is one component of improving productivity in countries with a high component of service industries as a percentage of GDP. The other component, not surprisingly, is immigration—an import of the best brains.

Just as capital gravitates toward the highest returns, human capital migrates toward the best rewards, working conditions, and lifestyle. It seems like a fairly simple decision for an immigrant—a move toward a better life. That is, until the politics of the human heart take over.

Many immigrants face a tremendous conflict. They end up being global citizens, but also end up losing their identity and in some cases, their roots. Is that a fair price to pay for material comforts for the immediate family? Like many other questions, this is a deep grey zone; a binary answer for the mind. Not so for the human heart. Consider raising children in a foreign country. Children born in a foreign country feel the full effects of this conflict.

For humanity as a whole, immigration could end up advancing the body of human knowledge. Many scientists, geneticists, and economists have found better resources in a host country and ended up winning Nobel prizes attributable, to a large extent, to the conditions promoting their research. But for the home country of these immigrants, a migration of brains means a drain on intellectual capital.

An interesting force shaping the global landscape is reverse brain drain—an empathetic and needed migration back home. For a balance to emerge, capital flows in the form of foreign direct investment (FDI) and foreign institutional investment (FII) must flow to low income countries, i.e. countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. The only thing superior to logic at this point is empathy toward fellow humans. At this juncture, logic “fails” and the need for empathy really takes over.

Unfortunately, logic fails to provide answers to many of the vital questions concerning the human heart. Just like a political movement with a beating heart (such as the alt right) is a fight for survival despite logic deeming the movement illogical, it does gain momentum. In matters of the heart, logic can inform, but not guide.

Immigration, in my humble opinion, is hostage to the politics of the human heart. Uncertain times call for empathetic decisions with mutual benefit for both parties.

This post was originally featured on Medium and was republished with permission from the author, an Olin MBA ’14 alumnus.


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