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U.S. Should Welcome Asian 'Anchor Babies'

Which of America's immigrants are the most innovative? Naturally, it's the STEM graduates. According to the Department of Education, Asian-Americans have the highest ratio of science and engineering graduates to population. It's nearly 3-to-1. Next closest are non-Hispanic white Americans, which have a ratio slightly higher than 1-to-1.

Asian-Americans also punch well over their weight in higher education graduates. The bachelor's-degree-to-population ratio is nearly 2-to-1 among Asian-Americans, and for Ph.Ds it's nearly 3-to-1.

Education statistics skew toward not just U.S. immigrants, but Asians in general. Looking at the 2009 rankings from the Program for International Student Assessment, the top five countries in math scores were: Shanghai-China, Singapore, Hong Kong-China, South Korea and Finland. The U.S. ranked 27th. The top five countries in science were: Shanghai-China, Finland, Hong Kong-China, Singapore and Japan. The U.S. ranked 24th.

The U.S. also needs more immigrants to support a growing economy. The U.S. in 2012 reported its fertility rate was below the replacement rate. The last thing the debt-soaked U.S. needs is a smaller working population, just as its population of retirees who depend on Social Security and Medicare is growing.

The rise of Chinese anchor babies appears to also have a more direct benefit to the U.S. economy. According to the Institute for International Education, foreign students contributed nearly $22 billion to the U.S. economy in the 2011-2012 school year and are paying into the health care system.

Further, a report by NBC estimated that the parents of anchor babies are in the country only three to four months but spend about $30,000 here on heath care, accommodations and travel.

It's not just a school-funds shortage, potential population shortage and STEM graduate shortage that these children are helping to alleviate. Asian-Americans also have the highest average earning capacity of any hyphenated-American group. According to the Pew Center, the average income for an Asian-American household in 2010 was $66,000 vs. $49,800 for the U.S. population. Much of that difference can be attributed to being STEM graduates.

In the U.S., the average STEM major earns $500,000 more (in discounted lifetime earnings) than the average non-STEM major. That probably means they are also disproportionately contributing to paying down the deficit and not contributing to it. Asian-Americans are proportionally under-represented as welfare recipients and, according to the Bureau of Labor, they have the lowest unemployment rate of any hyphenated-American group.
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