Regeneron Science Talent Search Society for Science & the Public2017 finalists
Courtesy of Society for Science & the Public

America's Top High School Science Students Are the Children of Immigrants

Mar 14, 2017

If the children of immigrants somehow disappeared from the U.S., America would suddenly be in a serious science talent deficit.

That's the conclusion that can be drawn from a new report from the National Foundation for American Policy, a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to public policy research on trade, immigration, and education.

The organization found that 33 of the 40 finalists of the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search--the leading science competition for U.S. high school students, run by the Society for Science & the Public and now known as the Regeneron Science Talent Search--were the children of immigrants. Specifically, 30 out of the 40 finalists had parents who worked in America on H-1B visas, the option that is no longer available for expedited processing due to a recent policy change from the Trump administration.

"The science competition has been called the 'Junior Nobel Prize,'" the Foundation says. "These outstanding children of immigrants would never have been in America if their parents had not been allowed into the U.S."

Their ranks have been steadily increasing since 2004, the Foundation showed.

Here were the countries of origins for the 2016 finalists' parents: India was No. 1 at 14, followed by China at No. 11.

And of the nine winners of the 2016 competition, seven were the children of immigrants.

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