New York Times admits skilled immigration braindrains the Third World
One of the major downsides of skilled immigration to the U.S. is that it also represents skilled emigration from other countries, many of which are struggling Third World countries that need all the smart people they can keep.
Unfortunately, the rest of the New York Times - especially the Editorial Board (NYT editorial) - is on the wrong side. So, the next time the NYT prints an article or an editorial promoting skilled immigration or the DREAM Act, send them the link to this post.
From the article:
As an idealistic, energetic young doctor [in Lusaka, Zambia], [Kunj Desai] imagined he would spend his career in Zambia, serving those in desperate need. But over the months at the hospital, he found himself fantasizing about another life — as a doctor in America. And in 2004, after he finished his internship, Desai quit his job at the hospital and began studying for the exams for a training position at an American hospital. Even while he did so, he told himself that after his stint in America, he would return to Zambia. His fellow Zambians, he knew, suffer from some of the gravest health crises in the world, not least of which is that Zambia's doctors tend to leave the country and never come back. "After completing residency training in the United States, I hope to return to Zambia and work where the need is the greatest, the rural areas," he wrote in a personal statement when applying for jobs in the United States in 2005. "I am Zambian, and I am committed to improving the quality of care that fellow Zambians receive."
...The uncomfortable question that Desai put to the back of his mind when he arrived in the United States has begun to resurface and trouble him: Will he really fulfill his promise to himself and his country?
...Even in the unlikely event that American medical schools produce more general practitioners, nothing but legislation would prevent American hospitals from cherry-picking the most promising young doctors the world has to offer, according to Laurie Garrett, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. "If you can take from an applicant pool from the whole planet, why would you only take from Americans?" Garrett said. "For the foreseeable future, every health provider, from Harvard University's facilities all the way down to a rural clinic in the Ethiopian desert, is competing for medical talent, and the winners are those with money."
Some of the responsibility for the migration of health care workers lies with the immigration laws in the host countries. In 1994, Senator Kent Conrad, a Democrat from North Dakota, introduced legislation that empowered states to grant waivers to foreign doctors on J-1 student visas. They could stay in the United States after finishing residencies in American hospitals if they agreed to practice in communities where doctors were in short supply. The law, which has been continually renewed by Congress, has allowed more than 8,500 foreign doctors to gain jobs in rural communities, where patients often have to drive great distances to get medical care, and in underserved cities...
...The medical brain drain from poor countries gets a fair amount of attention in international health circles, and initiatives both private and public are trying to resolve the shortage of doctors. The teaching hospital in Lusaka where Desai trained, for example, is one of 13 sub-Saharan medical schools receiving support from a United States-financed $130 million program to generate more and better graduates. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria provided money to Zambia's ministry of health to recruit and retain doctors. Western aid agencies, many financed by donors like Bill and Melinda Gates, have also hired local doctors at higher salaries. But apparent solutions can create further problems; many of the doctors hired by aid agencies are doing research. They don't see patients. Frustrated public health officials in Zambia and other developing countries call this the "internal brain drain."
..."Particularly when I look at the investment that the nation had put in me to give me my basic training and what the nation would have expected me to contribute," [George Ofori-Amanfo, a Ghanaian associate professor of pediatric cardiology at Duke Children's Hospital in Durham, N.C.] said. "There's a lot of guilt in that. Some cocoa farmer worked very hard to pay his taxes so I can go to school."...