[amsat-bb] Fwd: Immigration is a kind of oxygen

KE6BLR Robert ke6blr.robert at gmail.com
Tue Jun 25 21:00:19 UTC 2019

Thanks for sharing!

On Tue, Jun 25, 2019 at 1:52 PM Ray Soifer via AMSAT-BB <amsat-bb at amsat.org>

> MIT president L. Rafael Reif issued the following statement today to all
> members of the MIT community, including yours truly.
> Reif, himself a Venezuela-born US citizen whose parents emigrated from
> Europe in the 1930s to escape Nazism, received his PhD from Stanford
> University and is a recognized authority in information technology.  He has
> been president of MIT since 2012.
> In his letter, he draws attention to the global nature of the MIT
> community and its foundation as a meritocracy, as well as the need to
> protect against academic espionage wherever it may occur.  Like MIT, AMSAT
> and amateur radio itself are global communities, whose members think for
> themselves about the issues Reif is raising, and develop their own points
> of view.
> For this reason, I am circulating Reif's message for your information and
> without further comment.
> 73 Ray W2RS
> -----Original Message-----
> From: President L. Rafael Reif <leadershipnews at mit.edu>
> To: rsoifer <rsoifer at alum.mit.edu>
> Sent: Tue, Jun 25, 2019 8:46 am
> Subject: Immigration is a kind of oxygen
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> |
> | To the members of the MIT community,
>  MIT has flourished, like the United States itself, because it has been a
> magnet for the world’s finest talent, a global laboratory where people from
> every culture and background inspire each other and invent the future,
> together.
>  Today, I feel compelled to share my dismay about some circumstances
> painfully relevant to our fellow MIT community members of Chinese descent.
> And I believe that because we treasure them as friends and colleagues,
> their situation and its larger national context should concern us all.
>  The situation
>  As the US and China have struggled with rising tensions, the US
> government has raised serious concerns about incidents of alleged academic
> espionage conducted by individuals through what is widely understood as a
> systematic effort of the Chinese government to acquire high-tech IP.
>  As head of an institute that includes MIT Lincoln Laboratory, I could not
> take national security more seriously. I am well aware of the risks of
> academic espionage, and MIT has established prudent policies to protect
> against such breaches.
>  But in managing these risks, we must take great care not to create a
> toxic atmosphere of unfounded suspicion and fear. Looking at cases across
> the nation, small numbers of researchers of Chinese background may indeed
> have acted in bad faith, but they are the exception and very far from the
> rule. Yet faculty members, post-docs, research staff and students tell me
> that, in their dealings with government agencies, they now feel unfairly
> scrutinized, stigmatized and on edge – because of their Chinese ethnicity
> alone.
>  Nothing could be further from – or more corrosive to – our community’s
> collaborative strength and open-hearted ideals. To hear such reports from
> Chinese and Chinese-American colleagues is heartbreaking. As scholars,
> teachers, mentors, inventors and entrepreneurs, they have been not only
> exemplary members of our community but exceptional contributors to American
> society. I am deeply troubled that they feel themselves repaid with
> generalized mistrust and disrespect.
>  The signal to the world
>  For those of us who know firsthand the immense value of MIT’s global
> community and of the free flow of scientific ideas, it is important to
> understand the distress of these colleagues as part of an increasingly loud
> signal the US is sending to the world.
>  Protracted visa delays. Harsh rhetoric against most immigrants and a
> range of other groups, because of religion, race, ethnicity or national
> origin. Together, such actions and policies have turned the volume all the
> way up on the message that the US is closing the door – that we no longer
> seek to be a magnet for the world’s most driven and creative individuals. I
> believe this message is not consistent with how America has succeeded. I am
> certain it is not how the Institute has succeeded. And we should expect it
> to have serious long-term costs for the nation and for MIT.
>  For the record, let me say with warmth and enthusiasm to every member of
> MIT’s intensely global community: We are glad, proud and fortunate to have
> you with us! To our alumni around the world: We remain one community,
> united by our shared values and ideals! And to all the rising talent out
> there: If you are passionate about making a better world, and if you dream
> of joining our community, we welcome your creativity, we welcome your
> unstoppable energy and aspiration – and we hope you can find a way to join
> us.
>   |
> |   *                *                *  |
> | In May, the world lost a brilliant creative force: architect I.M. Pei,
> MIT Class of 1940. Raised in Shanghai and Hong Kong, he came to the United
> States at 17 to seek an education. He left a legacy of iconic buildings
> from Boston to Paris and China to Washington, DC, as well as on our own
> campus. By his own account, he consciously stayed alive to his Chinese
> roots all his life. Yet, when he died at the age of 102, the Boston Globe
> described him as “the most prominent American architect of his generation.”
>  Thanks to the inspired American system that also made room for me as an
> immigrant, all of those facts can be true at the same time.
>  As I have discovered through 40 years in academia, the hidden strength of
> a university is that every fall, it is refreshed by a new tide of students.
> I am equally convinced that part of the genius of America is that it is
> continually refreshed by immigration – by the passionate energy, audacity,
> ingenuity and drive of people hungry for a better life.
>  There is certainly room for a wide range of serious positions on the
> actions necessary to ensure our national security and to manage and improve
> our nation’s immigration system. But above the noise of the current moment,
> the signal I believe we should be sending, loud and clear, is that the
> story of American immigration is essential to understanding how the US
> became, and remains, optimistic, open-minded, innovative and prosperous – a
> story of never-ending renewal.
>  In a nation like ours, immigration is a kind of oxygen, each fresh wave
> reenergizing the body as a whole. As a society, when we offer immigrants
> the gift of opportunity, we receive in return vital fuel for our shared
> future. I trust that this wisdom will always guide us in the life and work
> of MIT. And I hope it can continue to guide our nation.
>  Sincerely,
>  L. Rafael Reif
>   |
>  |
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> expressed
> are solely those of the author, and do not reflect the official views of
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