3 months ago my son returning from a business trip to Europe and connecting via the US missed his connecting flight even though he had a 3 hour window. The reason? The interminable security. He personally had not problem. It was just endless. This week my god daughter who has an American mother was denied boarding on her flight to see her Granny to the US as she only had an English passport. I suspect that one of the reasons why our Tourism is so bad this year is that crossing the border has become a nightmare.
So for white middle class folks crossing the border is becoming very difficult. But what if you were Indian, Chinese or from Pakistan. What would it be like to be not white? What does it mean for the USA and for others if gaining entry into the US is a humiliating & uncertain endeavor?
Until recently the best and the brightest of the young of the world saw the US as the destination. "An astounding 60 percent of the top science students in the US and 65 percent of the top math students are children of immigrants mainly from India and China", says a new study of graduate schools.
Much of the lead that the US has in technology is driven by its past attraction for immigrants. But now the corner has been turned - "Anderson said due to denials of high-skilled employment visa applications which doubled in recent years, fewer international students are seeking admission into US universities. For the fall 2004 semester there is a 76 percent decline in applications from Chinese students and 58 percent from Indian students, according to a survey of 113 graduate schools by the Council of Graduate Schools."
There is a history of the value of such immigrants and refugees. The Huguenots, French Protestants, were driven out of France. many, speaking French came to England where they played a significant role in adding to the talent pool that took England from being a small Island off the Coast of Europe to becoming a world power.
The real cost of Homeland Security is that the best and the brightest will go elsewhere. Who wants to be treated so badly? Canada may well pick up the difference provided we are not held top ransom by the stop the immigrants lobby.
Here is what Richard Florida thinks:
"Besides their public health-care system, Canadians define their national identity in two principal ways. They support their writers, musicians,artists and performers through deliberate, longstanding cultural policies -- and they encourage and welcome immigration to a degree not seen in most other nations. Could these quintessentially Canadian traits now serve as the foundations for economic growth and national prosperity?
Surprising but true, according to our research. City-regions in Canada that are leading centres of arts and immigration are also blossoming as centres of technology-based industry -- thus following very closely the growth pattern that has been found in previous socio-economic research in the United States. That research examined why U.S. growth in industries such as computing and biotechnology was clustered in, and being driven by, certain metropolitan areas: the San Francisco-Silicon Valley area, Austin, Boston, Seattle and others.
These regions did not enjoy traditional economic advantages such as proximity to raw materials or cheap energy. Nor were they cheap places to do business. It turned out that the two most striking features they shared were a thriving arts scene (reflected statistically by high numbers of artists, writers and other "bohemians") and a highly diverse, tolerant social character -- reflected by, among other things, high numbers of immigrants. San Francisco, Austin and the rest were well known as artists' havens and open cities before they became high-tech industry hotbeds.
Why are these two features important? We found that they appear to attract, and galvanize, the people who are crucial to economic success: creative workers, the engineers and scientists who develop new products and industrial processes, and the creative businesspeople, financiers and other workers who play lead roles in the game of starting new businesses and improving the old.
Such people tend to be mobile. Having the skills and the means to live wherever they choose, they will be attracted to (or remain in) city-regions that offer the amenities and the broad "quality of place" they desire.
Field interviews in the U.S. told us that these workers seek out just the qualities we've been discussing. Being a creative and highly diverse lot themselves, they gravitate to places where all sorts of people and ideas are welcome. Thus growth comes to be driven by the city-regions that are "creative habitats" in which all forms of creativity -- arts and culture, technology and business -- flourish together.
Our recent Canadian research indicates that Canada's major city-regions are now exhibiting these dynamics. Many -- such as Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Halifax -- stack up well against U.S. regions. If policies can continue to bolster existing strengths, and add some missing pieces, the future looks bright."