Sanjay Mavinkurve, a brilliant Indian immigrant, wants to live the American dream — you know, go to Harvard, have some wealthy putz steal your software, then slave away as a Google code jockey!
Mavinkurve is the star of a piece by Matt Richtel on immigration: He won an H-1B visa to work in America for Google, scored big in that company's 2004 IPO, but then fell in love with Samvita Padukone, an India-born woman who couldn't get a permit to work in the U.S. So she got a work permit in Canada, and Mavinkurve relocated to Google's Toronto office. He has to fly a lot, and boy are his arms tired!
That's the sum of the argument the article makes for liberalizing immigration rules. If it sounds weak, that's because it's almost a complete retread of an article which appeared last year in The American, the journal of the American Enterprise Institute, a pro-free-markets think tank.
The argument over liberalizing immigration is kind of stupid. Yes, on the one hand, American companies should hire more American workers. But have you met any American workers lately? Lazy and surly, the lot of them. The number of American college students studying science and engineering has been plummeting for years. Only recently have students started to figure out that studying computer science might be a good idea.
No wonder companies like Google and Microsoft want to hire people like Mavinkurve, who are genuinely excited about living in this country and writing software. So excited that they're willing to put up with any number of insults.
For example: In 2003, as a student at Harvard, the founders of ConnectU had Mavinkurve write code for their then-nascent social network. That group, which included wealthy Olympic-rower twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, then brought on a kid by the name of Mark Zuckerberg to do additional work.
Next thing they knew, he'd launched a remarkably similar site called TheFacebook.com, which ConnectU's founders believed was built on their site's code. Lawsuits ensued, which Facebook settled last year for $65 million.
The Times article described Mavinkurve as having "helped lay the foundation for Facebook" — which can't possibly be true, unless the newspaper is accusing Zuckerberg of having used Mavinkurve's code in his website. Don't feel too bad for Mavinkurve, though: We hear he got a piece of the ConnectU settlement. Now if only he could get his wife a green card.