America Is Bleeding, and Band-Aids Won’t Fix It
More Americans are giving up their citizenship now than ever before
I grew up in India in an era where “brain-drain” was a common term used to describe a certain phenomenon that was plaguing the country. This phenomenon was described as one big reason for India’s lack of development despite its population and glorious past.
Brain drain refers to the fact that many of the smartest minds in India, studied from premier institutes of science and management, and then moved abroad in search of greener pastures. These greener pastures most often meant the land of dreams — the United States of America.
America had everything — Silicon Valley for the tech minds, Wall Street for the financial geniuses, and this unique ability to nurture the best talent and provide opportunities unparalleled by any other nation of the world.
Fast forward to today, and the results of that brain drain are evident. Google with Sundar Pichai, Microsoft with Satya Nadella, Adobe with Shantanu Narayen, Pepsi with recently retired Indira Nooyi, and many other Fortune 500 organizations have or had Indian CEOs at the helm.
America had the nack of providing opportunities to the smartest of minds and then also embracing them as one of their own. The immigration or conversion to a Green Card or citizenship was a slow one, but if you proved your worth, it eventually worked out.
Not just Indians, but many others from other nations of the world would do everything in their power to get the coveted Green Card.
From 1999 to 2019, the annual number of new legal permanent residents rose from 645k in 1999 to over 1 million for most years starting 2006. 2006 was actually the peak with the number being over 1.2 million.
With stricter immigration policies that number has plateaued or gone down over the past couple of years. Yet, there are enough and more people that would happily take a US citizenship if they were lucky to get one.
However, the best of minds may not be looking towards America as their land of dreams the same way they did two decades ago, or even a decade ago.