One obvious thing that the U.S. needs to do is to get our immigration policy in line. 

It seems crazy that kids from all over the world still want to come to the U.S. for higher education, for PhD degree programs, in particular in science and engineering where we don't produce enough American grads, but as soon as they graduate they're forced to leave the country because they don't have the right work papers. 

So the number one priority is to get our immigration policy right.  Not only do I think it's stupid economics to force away the most highly trained folks in the very areas you need.  I also think it's downright un-American.  There is this wonderful lady that sits in the harbor in New York who beckons to the world and holds out this image that I think we still have for ourselves: "Bring us your tired.  Bring us your hungry, your poor, et cetera", but that's actually not the way U.S. immigration policy works anymore.

I think it's both counter to the philosophy of the country and certainly counter to sound economics. 

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

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