Sunday, June 17, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Reform needed to stop brain drain

One of America's strengths has always been its ability to lure talent from elsewhere. Yet now this nation too often forces foreign-born students educated in our colleges and universities to take their initiative elsewhere. It is a waste of human potential that denies Florida and the nation a competitive edge in the global economy. Congress needs to pass comprehensive reform to stop the brain drain.

Kathleen McGrory of the Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau put another face to the problem this week, chronicling the story of Juan Gomez, a native Colombian raised and educated in Miami who was forced to leave the country for a career in Brazil. Gomez was 2 years old when his family arrived in New York City in 1990 on a six-month tourist visa. His father applied for and was rejected for political asylum; the family ignored an order to leave the country and eventually settled in South Florida, where Juan Gomez excelled in school, finishing near the top of his class at Killian Senior High.

His case drew the attention of South Florida's congressional delegation after federal officers showed up to deport the Gomezes in 2007. Juan Gomez was allowed to remain. He worked his way through the honors program at Miami Dade College. Georgetown University awarded him a scholarship. When he graduated, Gomez landed a job on Wall Street, but his pathway came to an abrupt end last month. His application to extend his work permit got tied up in the backlog of similar requests, and he left for a new job in Brazil in order to continue supporting his parents and to prevent any fallout down the road for overstaying his legal residency.

Gomez's case is hardly unique. Countless illegal immigrants were brought here as children through no fault of their own, and they have attended public schools and given back to their communities to the extent the law has allowed. This week, the presidents of some of Florida's largest colleges and universities — including Eckerd College and the Universities of South Florida and Miami — co-signed a letter to Florida's U.S. House delegation urging members to support meaningful immigration reform, citing the costs of this brain drain to the economy. In 2009, most students in graduate-level science, math and high-tech programs at the state's research universities were foreign-born. Three of every five in doctoral engineering studies were noncitizens. And because they lack a clear path to remain in America after graduation, with all the fruits of establishing themselves in their careers and communities, these students are picking up their diplomas and buying tickets to start new lives overseas.

Gomez's decision to leave shows what happens when the government takes months to process a routine permit. But his departure is compounded many times by an immigration policy that denies the United States an ability to retain the very educated workforce it has created. Congress needs to fix a system that's become little more than a publicly subsidized farm club for America's competitors.

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Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18
Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Forty years ago today, Nelson Poynter died. He was the last individual to own this newspaper, and to keep the Times connected to this community, he did something remarkable. He gave it away.In his last years, Mr. Poynter recognized that sooner or lat...
Published: 06/15/18

There was no FBI anti-Trump conspiracy

The Justice Department released Thursday the highly anticipated report on the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe and other sensitive issues in the 2016 election. It is not the report President Donald Trump wanted. But there is enough i...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Voter purge may be legal, but it’s also suppression

The Supreme Court’s ruling last Monday to allow Ohio’s purging of its voter rolls is difficult to dispute legally. While federal law prohibits removing citizens from voter rolls simply because they haven’t voted, Ohio’s purge is slightly different. T...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Editorial: Free rides will serve as a test of whether the streetcar is serious transportation

Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to ride for free?This fall, the TECO Streetcar Line eliminates its $2.50-a-ride-fare, providing the best opportunity yet to see whether the system’s vintage streetcar replicas can serve as a legitimate transportation a...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

AT&T and the case for digital innovation

A good way to guarantee you’ll be wrong about something is to predict the future of technology. As in, "One day, we’ll all …" Experts can hazard guesses about artificial intelligence, driverless cars or the death of cable television, but technologica...
Published: 06/14/18
Editorial: State, nonprofits share obligation to help Hillsborough’s foster kids

Editorial: State, nonprofits share obligation to help Hillsborough’s foster kids

The Florida Department of Children and Families has correctly set a quick deadline for Hillsborough County’s main child welfare provider to correct its foster care program. For too long the same story has played out, where troubled teens who need fos...
Published: 06/14/18
Editorial: Educate voters on Amendment 4 and restoring felons’ rights

Editorial: Educate voters on Amendment 4 and restoring felons’ rights

This fall voters will have 13 constitutional amendments to wade through on the ballot, but Amendment 4 should get special focus. It represents a rare opportunity to rectify a grievous provision in the Florida Constitution, which permanently revokes t...
Published: 06/13/18
Updated: 06/14/18
Editorial: How Florida and the Trump administration are tampering with your health care

Editorial: How Florida and the Trump administration are tampering with your health care

The Trump administration just can’t stop sabotaging Americans’ access to health care. Instead of giving up after it failed to persuade Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act, it continues to quietly undermine the law in ways that would reduce acc...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Editorial: Parkland students set example for advocacy

Music is healing. Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas Senior High School put that theory on display Sunday night in New York with their stirring performance at the Tony Awards — beautifully.The students, all from the school’s drama department, bro...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/13/18