Teach and return
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

In the immigration debate, Sen. Orrin Hatch suggested that the more learned and skilled immigrants be given some preference on the path to citizenship. President Barack Obama also leans in that direction. They are both wrong.

The United States should welcome the opportunity to educate those seeking better opportunities, but we should not contribute to the "brain drain" by giving educated immigrants preferential treatment on the road to U.S. citizenship.

Our country may have some shortages and deficiencies in some disciplines, but we're in a far better position than less-prosperous countries to address them.

We should open our colleges, universities and professional schools to the most promising students from around the world. But rather than making special allowances to keep them here, we should encourage them to share the fruits of their learning beyond our borders.

The United States needs champions around the world. People educated here are more likely to embrace, or at least understand, American values.

By siphoning off poorer countries' most educated citizens, we hurt those countries and, ultimately, our own.

James P. Cowley

Salt Lake City