I was dismayed on Monday to read that the U.S. is suspending the H1-B visa program at least through the end of the year. This effort to discourage immigration can only bring distress to workers from other countries and harm to the U.S.
H1-B visas allow U.S. companies to bring in talent from around the world, enriching both their business and the economy. People from many different countries have been central to U.S. innovation in AI (see “Mapping AI’s Talent Pipeline” below).
To me, H1-B holders aren’t just “workers.” They are my friends, students, and collaborators, and it pains me to see them facing the stress and uncertainty that comes with sudden, arbitrary shifts in immigration policy.
Stanford University sponsored my H1-B visa many years ago, which enabled me to teach and do research there. It feels deeply unfair to deny the same opportunities to the next generation. We should do whatever we can to attract top talent, not turn it away. As a planet, we should be working to empower individuals to do their best work, wherever they may end up doing it.
Through education, I remain committed to creating opportunities to learn and grow for as many people as I can. I hope the AI community will continue to transcend national borders and come together to build AI for the betterment of all.