WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Consider This By Fred Fiske: Brookings Institute Report On Immigration

Play associated audio

My stepson, Eric Bord, is an immigration lawyer. The metamorphosis of his career alone should have given me a clue. When he started his solo practice about 15 years ago, his clientele consisted largely of the type of immigrants we now see daily – hard-working, mostly undereducated Hispanics who make their livings in such low level jobs, such as landscaping, restaurant work, and domestic service.

Eric helped many of them to get green cards, which allowed them to remain in the United States, and was the first step in obtaining citizenship. His practice has changed significantly. Eric is now a partner is a very large firm, where his clients are for the most part big corporations, which are increasingly seeking to bring educated and skilled workers from abroad to this country.

You might find it puzzling that in these times when joblessness is a major problem, American employers are unable to find enough people skilled in high-tech science and engineering. They have to look abroad.

We should have seen it coming. American students have been slipping in math and science, while those in Asia, India and Europe have been climbing. Have you attended any graduations lately? I have. It’s apparent there too, in the grads obtaining academic honor. A large proportion are either immigrants or the children of immigrants. And now, a Brooking Institution report reveals that, based on Census figures – more high-skilled, educated immigrants are coming to the United States than lower skilled ones. Thirty percent have at least bachelor’s degrees, twenty-eight percent are high school graduates. This gradual change has come to our attention only recently.

I’ll admit that my thinking about immigrants was based on the stories I heard in my childhood, about the throngs of poor, uneducated who flocked to our shores in the 19th and 20th centuries.

There were impressions based on my visits to Ellis Island, stories told by family members, and by the increasing immigrant presence among us – the foreign accents that we hear, the bi-lingual signs in supermarkets, and the controversy about immigration in the media and in politics.

For generations, job growth in the United States increased for Americans generally. Many immigrants found employment in factories, mines, and on farms. Now, and in the forseeable future, jobs – especially high-paying jobs – high-paying jobs will require training in those fields where American schools have lagged.

The importance of this report can’t be overemphasized. We’re wrestling with lingering problems of employment, immigration and education. The findings of the Brookings Institution report should serve to awaken us to the important changes that must be made in our thinking and education.

NPR

After Sketchy Science, Shark Week Promises To Turn Over A New Fin

Shark Week is here, and scientists are afraid. Not of the toothy swimmers — but of inaccuracies, bad science and the demonization of animals that aren't as ferocious as Discovery Channel has made out.
NPR

Do Try This At Home: 3 Korean Banchan (Side Dishes) In One Pot

If you've ever eaten at a Korean restaurant, you're used to the endless side dishes that come out with the meal. They're called banchan, and they're remarkably simple to make for yourself.
WAMU 88.5

Cutting Local Taxes in The District

The D.C. Council has taken steps to accelerate tax cuts for all income earners. They're part of a broader overhaul of the city's tax levels, but some council members argued there wasn't enough time for a rigorous debate about the new schedule. We explore the debate over cutting taxes for D.C. residents and how it affects the city's ability to pay for critical local services.

NPR

Reddit CEO Says Miscommunication Led To Blackout Protest

A user revolt briefly shut down the social site last week after a key employee was dismissed. Interim CEO Ellen Pao says the company has "apologized for not communicating better" with site moderators.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.