In a time where immigration policy is a controversial, polarizing debate, this article questions what the "right debate" is. As we have read in the Huntington article, most of the debate around immigration centers on illegal immigration, primarily from Mexico. Furthermore, opinion data shows that the American public has a very negative view of illegal immigrants. However, framing the immigration issue this way excludes entire segments of society. After all, unless you are a Native American, we are all immigrants. Though not as frequently discussed in mainstream politics, immigration into America encompasses many more people than those who decide to jump the boarder.
Thompson argues that illegal immigration is not the debate we should be having at this point in time. Rather, we should be focusing on a different portion of immigration - the highly educated, self-motivated immigrants denied visas because of filled quotas. Thompson paints a picture of this group of immigrants as feeding the high-tech science and engineering industries. They are more likely than natives to create their own business, which is exactly what is needed in our struggling economy. In a sense, these immigrants have adapted to American culture in the sense that they are self-motivated and are determined to "pull themselves up by their bootstraps," so to speak. Thompson argues, "If it's un-American to export a job, how un-American is it to export entrepreneurs -- job-creators -- just because they weren't born in the U.S.?"
Although he doesn't specifically identify it, many of Thompson's arguments hinge on this notion of an American Identity. He sees this group of immigrants as assimilating into American culture and identity norms in a manor that not only strengthens our economy, but supports our core values.
However, Thompson only addresses economic values and norms. He does not address social or political cultures and norms. Will this group of immigrants, consentrated in Silicon Vally and other high-tech hot spots, face similar integration challenges that Huntington argues Latinos face? Or is this highly educated immigrant, likely from India, seeking opportunities in white collar industries entirely different from the illegal immigrant with limited education, working for less than minimum wage? Is Thompson right? Should Obama and Congress shift attention away from illegal immigration, a polarizing and divisive topic, and focus instead on MIT-educated immigration?