Want Geniuses? Welcome Immigrants

In IMMIGRATION -- articles only On

Maybe “some are rapists,” in Donald Trump’s nasty words. But many are geniuses. Just ask the MacArthur Foundation, which responded to our president’s frequent demonization of immigrants, including that infamous phrase, by doing a little math.

Every year since 1981, the foundation has bestowed so-called genius grants on more than 20 of the country’s most accomplished and promising scientists, scholars, artists and writers. These awards are a huge deal, trumpeted in the media and worn with pride forevermore. And the winners, typically in the middle of their careers, get $625,000 each.

Of the 965 geniuses (or, more properly, MacArthur fellows) to date, 209 were born outside the United States, according to Cecilia Conrad, who leads the fellowship program. That’s 21.7 percent. The 2010 census determined that less than 13 percent of the American population is foreign-born.

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