Friday, November 24, 2017
Editorials

Editorial: Reform needed to stop brain drain

RECOMMENDED READING


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.

Comments

Another voice: Wall isnít a lifesaver, itís a boondoggle

The first stage of President Donald Trumpís controversial border wall project ended last week, while the prospects for any more construction ó and even what type of wall ó remain uncertain.A Border Patrol agent was killed and his partner seriously wo...
Published: 11/21/17
Updated: 11/22/17

Another voice: Time for Republicans to denounce this tax nonsense

Mick Mulvaney, the phony deficit hawk President Donald Trump tapped to oversee the nationís budget, all but admitted on Sunday that the GOP tax plan currently before the Senate is built on fiction. Senators from whom the public should expect more ó s...
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/21/17
Editorial: Florida should restore online access to nursing home inspections

Editorial: Florida should restore online access to nursing home inspections

In a state with the nationís highest portion of residents over 65 years old and more than 80,000 nursing home beds, public records about those facilities should be as accessible as possible. Yet once again, Florida is turning back the clock to the da...
Published: 11/20/17

Another voice: A time of reckoning on sexual misconduct

Stories about powerful men engaging in sexual misconduct are becoming so common that, as with mass shootings, the country is in danger of growing inured to them. But unlike the tragic news about that latest deranged, murderous gunman, the massive out...
Published: 11/20/17

Another voice: Trump does the right thing for elephants; he shouldnít back down now

There is bad timing, and then there is this. Last week, an apparent military coup placed Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe in custody, ushering in a new period of political uncertainty. A few days later, the Trump administration announced that Zimba...
Published: 11/19/17
Updated: 11/22/17
Editorial: Fighting the opioid crisis on many fronts

Editorial: Fighting the opioid crisis on many fronts

From birth to death, opioid addiction is ravaging the lives of thousands of Floridians. Drugmakers, doctors, state lawmakers and insurance companies all have a role to play in slowing the epidemic. Lately some more responsible answers, including mill...
Published: 11/17/17
Updated: 11/21/17

Editorial: Good for Tampa council member Frank Reddick to appeal for community help to solve Seminole Heights killings

As the sole black member of the Tampa City Council, Frank Reddick was moved Thursday to make a special appeal for help in solving four recent murders in the racially mixed neighborhood of Southeast Seminole Heights. "Iím pleading to my brothers. You ...
Published: 11/17/17
Editorial: Itís time to renew communityís commitment to Tampa Theatre

Editorial: Itís time to renew communityís commitment to Tampa Theatre

New attention to downtown Tampa as a place to live, work and play is transforming the area at a dizzying pace. Credit goes to recent projects, both public and private, such as the Tampa River Walk, new residential towers, a University of South Florid...
Published: 11/17/17
Editorial: A time for real thanksgiving

Editorial: A time for real thanksgiving

By now the guest list if not the table is all set, and the house will be warmed with the noise of loved ones and the smell of that dish with cream of mushroom soup. Tucked between the sugar rush of Halloween and the sparkle of Christmas, Thanksgiving...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/22/17
Editorial: Rays opening offer on stadium sounds too low

Editorial: Rays opening offer on stadium sounds too low

The Rays definitely like Ybor City, and Ybor City seems to like the Rays. So what could possibly come between this match made in baseball stadium heaven? Hundreds (and hundreds and hundreds) of millions of dollars. Rays owner Stu Sternberg told Times...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/17/17