What would we lose if immigrants could no longer come to America? Surprisingly, one of the most important things America would lose is the contributions made by their children.
A new study from the National Foundation for American Policy found a remarkable 83 percent (33 of 40) of the finalists of the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search were the children of immigrants. The competition organized each year by the Society for Science & the Public is the leading science competition for U.S. high school students. In 2017, the talent search competition was renamed the Regeneron Science Talent Search, after its new sponsor Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, and a new group of 40 finalists – America’s next generation of scientists, engineers and mathematicians – are competing in Washington, D.C., from March 9 to 15, 2017.
Both family-based and employment-based immigrants were parents of finalists in 2016. In fact, 75 percent – 30 out of 40 – of the finalists had parents who worked in America on H-1B visas and later became green card holders and U.S. citizens. That compares to 7 children who had both parents born in the United States.
To put that in perspective, even though former H-1B visa holders represent less than 1 percent of the U.S. population, they were 4 times more likely to have a child as a finalist in the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search than were parents who were both born in the United States.
Three of the finalists, or 7.5 percent, had parents who came to America as family-sponsored immigrants (although the number is 4 parents, or 10 percent, if one counts the family-sponsored immigrant who married an H-1B visa holder).