Friday, October 21, 2011 - A Better Idea for Green Jobs

Washington has spent years trying to force-feed green jobs, to little good effect. So here's a better idea: Expand the number of green cards, as in the number of immigrant visas for foreign-born graduates of American universities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

This could even be bipartisan. President Obama this week praised the latest report from his jobs council that proposed more such visas. And this week Idaho Republican Raúl Labrador, a freshman of tea party provenance, introduced a bill in the House to do the same. The evidence is overwhelming that if we let these young people stay in America, rather than sending them home, they'll end up building new companies and tens of thousands of new jobs.

Meantime, the U.S. has to compete for talent. "We're finding a lot of these graduates get job offers, but when they find out how long it will take them to get green cards they leave and go work in other countries where they become our competitors," Mr. Labrador says. The global competition for human capital is as fierce as it is for financial capital, and the U.S. can't afford to reject either one.

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