WSJ WadhwaEvery few decades, America experiences a wave of pessimism.The population begins fearing economic stagnation and rising global competition, and starts leaning towards protectionism. Then, out of the blue, the country reinvents itself.

Today, we fear China, earlier we feared Japan. But America is in the midst of its next great rebound. In this decade, it will reach new heights. That is because its scientists and engineers are developing an assortment of technologies that will solve the problems of health and security, bring knowledge and education to the masses, and create an abundance of energy, food and clean water.

We can all observe the exponential advances in computing within the last decade — with our smartphones, social media, and health apps. The same advances are happening in many other fields, including synthetic biology, 3D printing, medicine and robotics. These are going to transform entire industries.

Sadly, our flawed immigration policies are hurting innovation and may slow America’s rebound. Research by my team revealed that immigrant entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley has declined. Immigrants are getting frustrated with America’s immigration policies and leaving the country in droves. This is not only a loss for the U.S. — it’s a loss for the world. No other land is as fertile for innovation and entrepreneurship as the U.S.—yet. If we don’t fix our flawed policies, another country will surely surpass us. Our entrepreneurs will be competing with their former colleagues and classmates.It isn’t the big research labs or governments who are creating these breakthroughs, it’s our entrepreneurs. And immigrants are leading the charge. During the recent technology boom, 52% of Silicon Valley’s startups were founded by people born abroad. Look at any of our research labs: Immigrants perform much of the cutting-edge research.

(Read about startup mentor Vivek Wadhwa.)

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