Fun_People Archive
11 Jan
Immigration Pays - Andy Grove, in WSJ

Date: Thu, 11 Jan 96 17:18:37 -0800
From: Peter Langston <psl>
To: Fun_People
Subject: Immigration Pays - Andy Grove, in WSJ

Forwarded-by: (Keith Bostic)
Forwarded-by: Ajay Soni x5237 <>

Immigration Pays
  The Wall Street Journal    January 8, 1996

By Andrew S. Grove
  I came to this country from Hungary early in 1957 as a 20-year-old refugee.
I owned the clothes I wore and $20. I had relatives who took me in, but they
were in no position to support me through school.
  Three days after I arrived in New York, I was enrolled as a second-year
engineering student at the City College of New York, with modest financial
assistance for my first semester.
  I came from a country where immigrants were a rarity, and consequently I
expected that I would be made to feel an intruder. To my surprise, I wasn't:
not by the college, not by the government agencies that I had to deal with,
not by my fellow students, nor anyone else in the almost 40 ensuing years. I
received an outstanding education, tuition free. I went on to graduate school
at the University of California at Berkeley, another great public
institution, with further financial assistance, and six years after I landed
at the Brooklyn Naval Terminal, I started working in the semiconductor
industry as a freshly minted Ph.D. I like to think that in the 32 years that
I have spent in this industry -- five years at Fairchild and the rest at
Intel -- I have made contributions to the industry and to my adopted country.

  I wonder how this scenario would play out for an alter-ego of mine today,
who would land penniless in this country, eager to seek his education and
eager to become a part of our industry and our society. Certainly the high
quality, free education is a lot scarcer today than it was when I arrived,
but that is another story.  What I am concerned with is how my younger
alter-ego would fare under the various forms of the immigration law
modifications that are working their way through the Senate and House. I
wonder if my alter-ego would find an employer that would undertake to invest
in the horrendous paperwork that is needed to keep him employed in this
country. I wonder if the law would require him to go home -- wherever home is
-- after three years or so. I wonder whether other obstacles would be placed
in the way of either my alter-ego or his would-be employer.

  Our country is engaged in a pitched battle in a fiercely competitive
commercial world. Our citizens go to work daily to earn a living, but they do
so while their employers are competing against their counterparts in other
countries on other continents. We need the best brains in this competitive
battle. We need to have these best brains honed and educated in our
institutions. We must do everything so that, with the value added to the
native intelligence of these individuals by the exceptional education that is
still the hallmark of our technical universities, we retain their services
indefinitely.  We need to make sure that this process of renewal continues
  When I look around at Intel, I often see the work of foreign-born
employees, many of them educated at our technical universities, contributing
to leadership product after leadership product. I wonder what would happen to
Intel if they, too, would have to go "home" after three years of
  Usually, when I consider the pros and cons of controversial legislation, I
can see one side and then the other, even if I prefer one over the other. In
this case, I just don't get it. If our foreign competitors had conspired to
contrive a scheme to slow us down, I doubt that they could have come up with
a better way to do that than the immigration law revision that is in the
works today.
  Mr. Grove is president and CEO of Intel Corp. An earlier version of this
article appeared in an American Electronics Association newsletter.

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