My (edited) response (awaiting moderation) below:
First of all, we don't turn away all talented scientists and engineers who were not born
or naturalized here. We have visa programs in place that allow a finite number of such
people to enter the US and work.
Secondly, let's say that the visa programs stay as they are, indefinitely. Is the sky
falling? Are we failing to compete, globally, technically? For example, which country
has the superior electrification infrastructure - India or the US? Which country has the
better motor vehicle transportation infrastructure? Which country has the better emission
If you want to talk technology, which country supplies the most Internet routers and
switches on a global scale? India, China, Russia, or the US? Which country develops the
most cost-effective desktop and server hardware?
I could go on. It strikes me that with the visa limits in place, we are doing pretty
So what is it that we are afraid of? That a few disgruntled people decide to live and
work in someplace like Canada, or they return to their home countries? That they decide
to form businesses there? They're already doing that; they've been doing that despite the
existence of visas. OTOH, they're not exactly putting the US out of business.
I could also make the argument here that hiring visa-holding people to do work that those
born or naturalized in the US puts an unnecessary strain on our unemployment benefits
system. Here in California, the EDD has become so swamped with claims that they've had to
hire extra people. Arguably, some of those people were displaced by visa holders who were
asked to train their replacements. There was no good reason for any of these people to
need to draw unemployment checks because they were getting their jobs done. (Otherwise,
why would they be asked to train their replacements?)
Could we improve the STEM education available to US residents? Yes. Are we in danger of
becoming technically irrelevant? IMO, no.