Scientists, Yes, but Most Immigrants Aren't Scientists
Wall Street Journal

I am an immigrant scientist. To Prof. Coclanis's example of the recently named Simons Investigators, I can add that between the years 1901 and 2012, 34% of the 98 winners of the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine based in the U.S. were foreign-born.

Prof. Coclanis points out that success in basic research doesn't always translate into business success. True, but there is evidence aplenty that immigrant scientists also contribute to the latter. According to a 2012 report published by the Partnership for a New American Economy, foreign-born scientists were listed among the inventors on more than five out of six information-technology patents, almost eight out of 10 pharmaceutical drug patents and three out of four patents in molecular biology and microbiology.

In order to preserve America's leadership position, we need reform that takes into account a wide range of immigrant contributions.

Prof. Jan Vilcek
NYU Langone Medical Center
New York

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  • A Message from Jan and Marica Vilcek

    Our founders arrived as penniless refugees over fifty years ago, but with the kindness and opportunity they received in the United States, they went on to accomplish great things in biomedical science and art history. Read their statement on the recent executive order imposing a travel ban.