I remembered the day I stepped out of a winter morning from JF Kennedy airport in New York. I had just landed in America – the beautiful. I looked into the horizon; I saw an unbounded and unconstrained future. My good friend, Kunle, told me “Oke madu [the great one], we’re in America”. I responded, “Oba dy/dx, it is recorded” [The royal Oba whose subjects are calculus].
From New York, we took Greyhound to Alabama. It was a very long one, as I have written in my First Day in America piece. America was open, culminating the day I received a letter that Johns Hopkins University would cover 100% of my doctoral education in that iconic university. In short, it was not just covering my tuition; I started my company from excess scholarship money I was getting, hiring the first batch of engineers.
I worked hard, and created new technologies: last year the United States Government licensed a patent that came out of my doctoral degree. In the industry, I designed the first wafer level chip scale package for inertial sensor for the American company that employed me, and made great contributions in developing the inertial sensor used in the iPhone. To a large extent, I have returned multiples to all the risks America took on me.
But America is changing. That unbounded future is being attacked. From Brexit and President Trump era, the fear of immigrants like me is scoring (football) own-goals in UK and U.S. Brexit has already contracted the UK economy by 2.1% before the actual exit. So, the fear of immigrants is already contracting the economy of UK. I am very confident they would have their country, free of immigrants, post-exit (deal or no deal), and we would see.
New analysis by the CER – which we will update quarterly – estimates that the UK economy is 2.1 per cent smaller as a result of the vote to leave the EU. The knock-on hit to the public finances is now £23 billion per annum – or £440 million a week.
In United States, President Trump and Congress have partially shut down the government because President Trump wants a big wall to keep immigrants out. As that drags, it is very likely that U.S. will enter recession. You cannot put so much stress on the economy without a negative impact.
Brexit happened mainly to keep immigrants out. The Trump Wall was conceived to ensure immigrants do not enter. But today, UK and US are stressing their economies through internal fractures, not triggered by immigrants. So, in the fear to keep immigrants out, they are scoring own-goals destroying what they have. That is very unfortunate.
Barricading America with walls would not look right on Google Earth view. It would not be a good scene for a nation that has the best mechanism to get the best out of immigrants. What America has today is working: it should not be destroyed. The symbolism of wall is offensive to the spirit of America where men have entered with nothing, and created much to uplift the lives of their fellow global citizens.
USER COMMENT: With all due respect Sir, I disagree. What is a nation without enforceable borders. Having a wall does not prevent anyone from migrating to America using lawful routes. I believe this idea of a nation without walls is sentimental and flies in the face of current realities of terrorism , economic opportunism and of people not wanting to take the destiny of their nations of origin into their hands and working to make things better but rather taking the easier route of moving to other already established countries. America and other developed countries were not always great but became great through a combination of great leadership and a body of citizens demanding accountability from their governments. America cannot accommodate everyone or else the average quality of life will reduce. What do we have to say about countries like Singapore, Japan, UAE, Qatar that maintain a strict control of who becomes a citizen or not? Yes, I know that ancestors of several renowned contributors to American industry are descendants of migrants who walked into the nation through ports and other established routes. Trump has talked about establishing a route to citizenship for such highly skilled people just like Canada, Australia and the UK ()
MY RESPONSE: We see this world differently – personally, I do not see a need for passport or visa and there is no illegal immigration. Man should be free to move freely around the world. The idea of border is offensive to the spirit of humanity. We need to be thinking of the RISE OF ALL and not just the stability of few.
If U.S. is rich and Mexico is poor, U.S. in clear spirit should not celebrate it. The fact is this: U.S. can make Mexicans better even as it becomes greater using Mexicans. We do not need to protect the borders, we need to institutionalize lucks for all to rise!
Selecting people into your country based on skill is abhorrent. Trump grand father was a carpenter. But his grand son is a president. The man might not have made it in his generation but he had better process than even those that came with PhDs as his son because a real estate mogul, and grandson became even greater.
Bill Clinton who removed skill in U.S. lottery was smart: your education, skill, etc cannot qualify you for America. It is your ambition and process that should. I believe that what makes Nation is not PhDs or Drs but the spirit of the people. Carpenters, cleaners, etc have roles also.
In this forum, I care not education. I see humans when we chat.
USER: Well Sir, I consider the world you describe an utopia that may or may not be realizable going by current trends in terrorism and nations bent on expanding their sphere of control, mainly Russia and China. That said, I am equally in support of the rich helping the poor just like what George Bush tried to do with his African trade pact for which we didn’t see any continuation from the Obama presidency. I believe in the current case, the Mexico and US governments should have a discussion on this. There must be some form of control because humans left to themselves can be funny. Other nations like Singapore, Israel and UAE already have such pacts where low skilled workers from other nations (e.g. the carpenters that you mentioned) come in to do much needed work and are free to repatriate funds. This is an advisable model. It seems to me that however Nations without borders can only work within a One World Government kind of framework which I personally do not support due to my religious beliefs.
MY RESPONSE: Illegal immigrants do not cause terrorism – 98% of terrorists are typically legal in the countries. My point is this: you can make a case to build a Wall (it decorates the border) but do not flip same on men and women looking for $7 per hour job to help families.
I lived in Baltimore where a former mayor focused on building more prisons than schools and playgrounds. He found kids to put there. A new one came, and focused on building more schools and playgrounds and the prisons have no customer.
Simply, you can engineer anything you want in this world. If U.S. invests $5.7B across the border, I promise you that no Mexico would cross because they would have opportunities. Sure, we do not expect that to happen. Yes, illegal immigrants should not be seen as people with choices: it takes uncommon pain to be separated from your 8 year old daughter in the name of better future! Yet, those immigrants take the risks.